Positive Fandom #1: The Story

The Story of Star Wars | Green Card Back

The Art of Storytelling

As a lifelong Star Wars fan (born in ’83 and raised on the Original Trilogy while still young enough to enjoy the Prequels), the Disney era has been pretty tough to take so far. That’s been reflected by a rising cynicism in my posts here, which, while understandable given the current state of Star Wars, isn’t exactly how I want to celebrate my fandom of the greatest film saga in Western culture.

With Solo only weeks away it’s time to heed the call of the light and bring balance to the blog. Welcome to the first part of a series about why Star Wars is so special – and where else to start but with the story itself?

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C-3PO (POTF2) Review

C-3PO Figure Review (POTF2, 1995) | Green Card Back

Power of the Force, 1995

Accessories: N/A

Appears in: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

Card Back: Designed as a protocol droid, C-3PO’s main programming function is to interact with human society. He is an interpreter fluent in over six million galactic languages, specializing in the areas of etiquette and translation – especially important during diplomatic missions. To aid in these tasks, he is equipped with microwave and olfactory sensors, photoreceptors, vocabulator speech units, energy transducers and broad-band antenna receivers. He was programmed with an elegant, human sounding voice, but more often than not C-3PO is heard whining and bickering with his companion, the astromech droid R2-D2.

C-3PO was once a simple interpreter aboard the transport ship Tantine IV, but a twist of fate made him one of the most wanted droids in the galaxy and a reluctant but loyal hero in the Rebel Alliance’s struggle against the Empire. When her transport was attacked by Darth Vader, Princess Leia Organa hid secret technical readouts for the Empire’s new Death Star in the memory banks of C-3PO’s companion R2-D2. The two droids then jettisoned from the ship in an escape pod, setting about the chain of events that brought Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi into the Rebel Alliance and ultimately led to the destruction of the Empire’s ultimate Battle Station.

I thoroughly enjoy the Prequels, but also firmly believe that the execution of the rather brilliant story could have been better. And so, if I could change three things about The Phantom Menace, they would be thus:

My first priority would be making Anakin Skywalker older. Imagine Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi encountering Anakin at 15, a veteran pod racer and Mos Espa slave on the verge of being sold off – how much more believable would his anger be, or his relationship with Padme? Secondly, I would make his accidental destruction of the Trade Federation control ship a deliberate action, the culmination of the Queen’s plan that only he had the skills to pull off. Show him as truly the greatest starfighter pilot in the galaxy.

My final change would be simple: the ‘Darth Vader built C-3PO’ connection would have to go.

Even though the concept gave us a rather excellent comic tale, that’s not enough to make up for the unnecessary and somewhat belittling connection between two characters that should never have had that level of relationship.

Such an idea was so out of the left-field that it would have been laughed out of town in 1995 – which is exactly when we’re going back to for the POTF2 C-3PO review…

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Stormtrooper (POTF2) Review

Stormtrooper Figure Review (POTF2, 1995) | Green Card Back)

Power of the Force, 1995

Accessories: Blaster Rifle, Heavy Infantry Cannon
Appears in: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

Card Back: Feared throughout the galaxy, Stormtroopers are elite shock troops deployed in support of both ground forces and the Imperial fleet. Stormtroopers are unquestionably loyal to the Empire, and their unshakable military discipline has led to speculation that they may be the result of accelerated Imperial cloning experiments, although this has never been confirmed.

The armored spacesuits worn by standard Stormtroopers give them the ability to operate in almost any environment and offer limited protection from blaster fire. The white outer shell consists of 18 snap together pieces which form an anti-blaster cocoon, and includes a self-contained power source. Underneath this armor is a black, two piece temperature controlled body-glove. The protective helmets feature polarized lenses and communication units that allow troopers to maintain communication with each other and with their commanders. Also outfitted to the armor is a compartmentalized utility belt, which houses a spare comlink, rations and batteries, plus specialized survival equipment. Standard issue weapons include hand blasters and blaster cannons, grenades, mini proton torpedoes and laser cutting devices – easily the most fearsome personal arsenal in all the Empire.

The Imperial shock troops are unfalteringly loyal to Emperor Palpatine and his wishes. These elite corps are deployed to neutralize resistance to the Empire and placed aboard Imperial vessels to ensure lower officers stay true to the Emperor’s wishes.

Whether you’re a casual Star Wars collector or a two-of-everything mega hoarder, no collection can be complete without the ever-present armoured soldiers of the Empire: Imperial Stormtroopers.

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Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (POTF2) Review

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi Figure Review (POTF2, 1995) | Green Card Back

Power of the Force, 1995

Accessories: Lightsaber
Appears in: A New Hope

Card Back: Trained by the Jedi Master Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi learned the ways of the Force and became a Jedi Knight. He successfully defended the Old Republic in the Clone Wars and was hailed as a hero. He took on his own apprentice, the young Anakin Skywalker. But Obi-Wan was not yet ready to pass on the way of the Jedi, and his student became impatient with the rigors of Jedi training. Skywalker allowed himself to be seduced by the dark side of the Force. Taking the name Darth Vader, he pledged allegiance to the evil Senator Palpatine and went on to hunt down and kill the remaining Jedi Knights in the name of the Galactic Empire. Kenobi felt responsible for Skywalker’s fall, and determined to stop his one time pupil. He confronted and defeated Vader in an epic lightsaber duel, leaving his broken body for dead.

Kenobi then went into seclusion on the Dune Sea of the planet Tatooine, where he became known as the hermit “Old Ben”. There he watched anonymously over young Luke Skywalker, whom he had hidden from his evil father before Vader even knew of the boy’s birth. Luke sought Ben out after discovering a plea for Kenobi’s help hidden inside the droid R2-D2 by Princess Leia Organa. The two quickly became involved in the rebellion against the Empire, leading Kenobi to a final confrontation with Darth Vader on the Empire’s Death Star. Cloaked in fearsome black armor, Vader was more machine than man at that point and proved to be more than a challenge for his teacher. Obi-Wan sacrificed his life to Vader’s lightsaber for the sake of the Alliance, his spirit becoming one with the Force. In doing so he became powerful beyond imagination, and later guided Luke to the final victory at the Battle of Yavin.

It’s remarkable how now, over two decades later, we can see how well that card back bio follows (or is it leads?) the story of the Prequel Trilogy. My only point of contention is the statement that “Obi-Wan was not yet ready to pass on the way of the Jedi”, because I’d argue that he’s way too hard on himself for Anakin’s fall. But then, that’s part of what makes him such a great hero.

As it was, back in 1995 Hasbro’s copywriters were working from the backstory given in the OT along with little details from Lucas himself. Whatever your opinion of the Prequels, there’s no denying that ol’ George had a good idea of how the key points would play out, at the very least.

All that aside, we’re here to look at the 1995 Power of the Force Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi. Trust your instincts and click through for more!

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