Black Series, 2017
Accessories: Lighsaber, Blaster, Helmet, Flight Vest
Appears in: Expanded Universe
Card Back: Daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo, Jaina Solo is a Jedi student of Luke Skywalker. Like her father, she is also a crack pilot and skilled mechanic. Like her mother, she is a born leader.
Jaina Solo’s appearance in the Star Wars Black Series line is something of an outlier under Disney’s stewardship of the franchise. Jaina was the winner of a Hasbro fans poll that ended up causing acrimony amongst some collectors due to the way that Expanded Universe fans organised themselves for a unified vote. Given that the nomination of Jaina was a reaction to Rey in The Force Awakens it’s surprising that Disney let the result stand. The mouse wasn’t as lenient for the next fan vote, when several valid selections were thrown from the ballot.
Given the way that the Sequel Trilogy has unfolded it’s difficult not to feel a bit of positive bias towards Jaina Solo, even if I’m not hugely familiar with the Expanded Universe stories she takes part in. But, this is a review of the toy rather than a commentary on Star Wars overall (because there’s not enough of that on this blog already) – so let’s see how Black Series Jaina Solo figure holds up in its own right…
First things first, Jaina Solo looks fantastic. Yep, my X-Wing pilot bias may be showing but bear with me. The black-and-orange-trimmed New Republic flight suit is a great Star Wars design that looks like a natural evolution from the OT. The sculpted details such as the tight folds in Jaina’s flight vest and the lined stripe down her arms give the figure a decent texture. Her flight box, straps, belt and holster are well realised and full of painted detail. It’s clear that a lot of love – and a lot of work – went into bringing this figure to life.
This effort is most present in Jaina’s head sculpt. Hasbro used a digital mesh of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s face to create the likeness for Jaina, and you can see it in the finished product. Han’s cocky half-smile drives the look home, and also gives the figure a different expression depending on which way you’re looking at it. Given that there’s no real world parallel for Jaina Solo this stylised look works wonders. I’d go as far to say that it’s the pre-digital face printing highlight of Hasbro’s Black Series line.
Jaina comes with the standard Black Series abundance of articulation, including an almighty ab crunch. She can hold her lightsaber in two hands with the best of ’em, which is always good for a Jedi. The sculpted hair does limit her neck articulation a little – but while looking up isn’t an option there’s an otherwise good range of motion. The only other issue I’ve found is that the ankle joints are a bit loose on my version. When combined with her narrow feet it means that Jaina is prone to the odd shelf dive. The sooner Black Series figures start coming with stands the better…
In keeping with the solid presentation so far, Jaina comes stacked with accessories. Her black and yellow New Republic helmet has a brilliantly scuffed up look. Her blaster is like an evolution of Han’s trusty DL-44, and while her lightsaber hilt may not look like much it is functional. The purple blade looks solid in hand, and is easily one of my favourite Black Series laser swords. The belt holster for Jaina’s hilt is much stronger than the X-Wing Pilot Luke Skywalker version, that’s for sure.
Jaina’s removable flight vest was a pleasant surprise once I had the figure in-hand. This provides an excellent extra display option (and dare I say more playability) and doubles up what is already a superb offering.
Despite having very little attachment to the character I’m very impressed with this figure. It’s my guess that Hasbro knew they’d only get one swing at making this character, and decided to utterly knock it out of the park.
Regardless of how you feel about the Sequel Trilogy and Disney’s management of the franchise in general, there are some facts that can’t be undone with a canon reset. And the fact for today? Well, that’s easy: Black Series Jaina Solo is a great example of how to make an action figure.