Figure of the Day: Day 707
4/12/2008 5:22:13 PM | Reported by Adam

Power of the Force Flashback Photo Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 69680 No. 69680
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightning, Flashback Photo
Action Feature: Snap-on lightning
Retail: $5.99
Availability: December 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Appearances can be deceiving - a saying never more true than in the case of Emperor Palpatine. In his early days as a senator of the Galactic Republic, Palpatine seemed like an ordinary politician. However, as the Republic fell apart, the senator's hidden thirst for power grew and his true evil spirit became apparent. He declared himself Emperor of the galaxy, and used the dark side of the Force as a means to enforce his tyrrany. He nearly succeeded in wiping out the Jedi Knights, who stood as the most potent threat to his reign of terror. As destiny would have it, Luke Skywalker, the son of Palpatine's loyal apprentice Darth Vader, would ultimately bring about the evil Emperor's downfall. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.

Commentary: Back in late 1998, fans were waiting on pins and needles to see the new Star Wars film, and since we just saw leaked prequel figures we were pretty forgiving of the frankly uninteresting character choices that ended the year. Nevermind the fact we already had at least four Emperor Palpatine figures, including one with non-electronic blue lightning, we were still pretty high on what Hasbro started dealing and picked up figures like this one. The most interesting feature about this figure is that, underneath his robes, they actually sculpted some individual legs. Previously released figures just sliced the robes and had them act as legs, or left the figure a solid single piece from the waist down. Even though this figure actually had sculpted legs, it didn't really matter because his robes prevented any movement. So what you had was a figure with moving arms, a waist joint, a robe thing covering most of his body, and a head that could barely turn. It wasn't really an improvement, but he was part of an assortment that kicked off with a wave of 100% retreads-- every figure had been released before in some capacity, which I think may have made it the second modern wave to be made up of previously released characters in previously released outfits. (Or the first genuine "just different enough to make you mad" wave.) The Emperor's sculpt was good, arguably as good as or better than previous releases. Unfortunately, as you can see on the photos, there was still a lot of room for improvement and Hasbro really hasn't managed to perfect this wrinkly old evil guy despite releasing a new version in 2003. It just seems he's hard to get right. This figure is a neat one to add to a scene, or to a collection. But it's not the perfect Emperor for any fan, although you can do worse. My pick for the all-time best is the 1997 version, as he's pretty plain and more or less just looks good.

Collector's Notes: Like many POTF2-era figures, this one hasn't made a return appearance-- if you didn't get it in early 1999, you didn't see it ship from Hasbro in another format. Fun fact: this Emperor was the first one released with a Hasbro logo right on the packaging. All previously released figures said "Kenner." ( MORE IMAGES )

--Adam Pawlus

Day 707: April 12, 2008

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