Power of the Force, 1995
Accessories: Lightsaber, Grappling Hook Blaster
Appears in: A New Hope
Card Back: Raised by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on their Tatooine moisture farm, young Luke dreamed of being a pilot for the Rebel Alliance. He realized his destiny after being saved from the Tusken Raiders by the mysterious Obi-Wan Kenobi, who told him of his past and began to teach the boy the ways of the Force. When the Empire killed Luke’s family, he and Kenobi set off to find Princess Leia, whose message hidden inside the droid R2-D2 beckoned them to join the Rebellion.
With the aid of smuggler Han Solo and his ship the Millennium Falcon, Luke and Obi-Wan saved the Princess, but at the cost of Kenobi’s life at the hands of the evil Darth Vader. His sacrifice allowed them to deliver the technical readouts for the Empire’s deadliest weapon, the Death Star, to the Rebel forces. The Rebel fleet used this information to find a weak spot in the Battle Station’s defenses and launched its attack. Luke then became a hero to the Rebellion by flying his T-65 X-Wing fighter through a furious dogfight to deliver the final blow.
They don’t make Star Wars card back bios like that anymore.
They also don’t make Star Wars figures like the 1995 Power of the Force Luke Skywalker anymore either, which is why this full-on action figure remains something of an anomaly – despite Hasbro releasing countless versions of the Tatooine farm boy since. So what makes the POTF2 Luke Skywalker so unique?
The Power of the Force line was as exciting as it got when it launched in 1995. But even back then, the fandom was abuzz with the notion that Luke was a bit too… ripped.
Much like his wave mates Luke is muscle bound and oddly proportioned, but it’s a style that worked for the time. This was when X-Men and Batman figures were at their zenith, and it made perfect sense for Hasbro to follow suit with Star Wars – which, alien a concept as it seems today, was not actually intended for adults.
Both the sculpt and the paint show flashes of the attention to detail that would come to characterise the Power of the Force line. The portrait captures a neat caricature of Mark Hamill, something that characterised the first few waves of POTF2. Meanwhile the paint apps are miles better than any Star Wars figure that had come before.
The robe is creased and lined and his belt is adorned with small sculpted pouches and a shiny silver buckle. His toned legs are nondescript until you get to the boots, which feature sculpted lined details and a darker grey colour for the sole. This is the kind of detail I never even noticed on Luke’s actual costume until examining it for this review. The colours are flat, but it otherwise looks like Hasbro brought their A-game for this figure.
Luke also introduces a sixth point of articulation to Star Wars figures with a waist swivel; something that became a mainstay of POTF2. It’s hard to believe that the modern basic line doesn’t even get that swivel action any longer, but then the 5POA regression is a topic for another time.
The accessories continue the blend of raising the bar and fun factor above anything from the vintage era. Luke’s lightsaber features a flat silver hilt detailed with greeblies and grooves and a translucent blue plastic for the blade. It’s a design that has more or less served as the template for all action figure lightsabers since; testament to how well the concept works. I’m actually missing the grappling hook blaster but have an idea of it from pictures. It highlights that Hasbro designed this as a toy first and foremost.
Star Wars collecting has moved on in the 22 years since the Power of the Force Luke Skywalker hit stores. We’re past the point of saying that the figure hasn’t aged well and should instead be considering it as something of its time – and with that frame of reference, it’s clear to see that this is a fun action figure.