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JTA Presents: Evolutions - Han Solo (Bespin Outfit)

Welcome to our JTA Presents: Evolutions feature! Let’s check out how close or far we are from having a definitive Hasbro 3.75″ Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) action figure. Have we arrived at definitive status yet? Weigh in and let us know what conclusion you’ll come to by clicking through and adding your two cents in the comments!.

Han Solo (Bespin Outfit)

 

Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) often ranks as the top “Han Solo” outfit that fans adore the most. Kenner made a fantastic figure in The Empire Strikes Back line, but Hasbro hasn’t fared as well in the modern era. It always feels like they missed the mark with each version they release. An original vintage Kenner release, Kenner and Hasbro released eight unique sculpts of this particular version of him. But do we have a definitive version? Before assessing this, check out each version in our RDRs (links are listed below) and refresh yourself with what Hasbro has done with this figure to date.

 

Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) from 1981’s The Empire Strikes Back line.

            

It all began with The Empire Strikes Back’s Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) figure. With only five points of articulation and one single accessory, this figure became a favorite figure for young boys and girls back in the early eighties. Interestingly, despite all of the modern versions produced by Hasbro, many collectors still feel it is the Kenner figure that holds up remarkably better. Kenner produced the figure with the limited technology they had back then, but it feels like it is the one figure that ages the least.

 

Bespin Han Solo from 1997’s The Power Of The Force “2” [Green/Freeze Frame] line.

            

OWhen Hasbro relaunched the Star Wars basic figure line, one character that didn’t resonate well with collectors was any version of Han Solo. After a very weak Han Solo (from A New Hope) figure in 1996, things didn’t fare much better for collectors when they released Bespin Han Solo. He still had a much-too-bulky frame and a huge weapon that looked ridiculous. Maybe his head sculpt wasn’t the worst we’d seen from Hasbro, but it was far from perfection. For many, Bespin Han Solo is all but forgotten. If you have him, it’s likely because you’re a completionist and not that you think it’s a good figure.

 

Han Solo from 1998’s The Power Of The Force “2” [Green/Freeze Frame]  Princess Leia And Han Solo Princess Leia Collection set.

            

As if one Bespin Han Solo figure wasn’t enough, Hasbro retooled the character from almost the ground up to add a new version of Han Solo in his Bespin outfit in the Princess Leia Collection in early 1998. This version came with a soft-goods removable vest which would have worked much better if Hasbro got the measurements looking a little more fitted. But aside from the soft-good vest, Han Solo doesn’t seem all that different from the 1997 basic figure release.

 

Han Solo (Bespin Capture) from 2001’s Power Of The Jedi line

            

Things changed dramatically for Star Wars collectors in 2001 when the Power Of The Jedi line transitioned from aline mostly comprised of Episode I and The Power Of The Force “2” leftovers into a line which of fresh new characters and classic character updates. Hasbro also took into account scale, articulation and pursued out-of-the-box sculpting. Han Solo (Bespin Capture) was one of the first (if not the first) basic figure to be given two ball-jointed shoulders. He also came with binders (that worked beautifully with the figure) in addition to a functioning holster that housed a new and smaller scaled blaster pistol. The figure sold like crazy, and Hasbro reused this sculpt more times than we can count.

 

Han Solo (With Torture Rack) (30 38) from 2007’s 30 (77-07) line.

            

Oh, the horror! Collectors all over the world made this bold exclamation to describe a figure that should have turned out better than he did. Han Solo (With Torture Rack) is the first super-articulated version of Han Solo wearing his Bespin outfit, but Hasbro based the figure on his appearance after getting tortured by the Galactic Empire on Bespin under Lando Calrissian’s watch. In case you’re not away, his shirt is untucked his hair is a mess, and his jacket is opened much too broad to be an acceptable replacement for a clean cut Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) figure. Collectors would have to wait a little while longer before something much better came along.

 

Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) (VC50) from 2011’s The Vintage Collection line

            

Hasbro made most collectors extremely happy in 2011 when they released The Vintage Collection’s Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) (VC50) figure. If you’re not aware, the release of this figure marked 30 years to the day Kenner released the vintage version of this character. He came super-articulated and with plenty of accessories to make him scene-specific as you wanted. While some claimed he was too “hippy” in the lower body, others happily overlooked his imperfections because waiting for a modern update to the vintage Kenner figure took so long…. and it finally was here. The head sculpt is a bit iffy, but other than that we think most collectors are satisfied with this release. You may not remember, but a curious “Han Solo (Bespin Outfit)” showed up on the back of a Comic Packs set during the Legacy Collection that never came to fruition. It’s hard to judge the figure now because all that exists of it is a tiny picture, but the jury is still out if it could be a definitive version of this character. 

 

Han Solo (SL24) from 2015’s Rebels line.

            

Four years after The Vintage Collection release, Hasbro thought a simply articulated version of Han Solo in his Bespin outfit would make a wise release. In all honesty, the head sculpt isn’t the worst we have ever seen, but the limited articulated makes Han Solo feel like the line took significant steps backward instead of forward. Part of the Rebels basic figure lineup as it approached the end of its run, Han Solo left a bit of concern in collectors’ minds. Would Hasbro go back to the way things were or was this figure a sign that this is the new way things are headed?

 

Han Solo from 2017’s Star Wars [The Last Jedi] Han Solo/Boba Fett Two-Packs set.

            

One look at the Han Solo figure from the Star Wars [The Last Jedi] Han Solo/Boba Fett Two-Packs set, and you’d probably question what went awry at Hasbro. Was this Han Solo from The Force Awakens, reinvented to be Han Solo from 30 years earlier? What’s up with the figure’s jowled expression? Why is he perplexed? And why does this 5POA figure looks lightyears worse than the 5POA figure two years earlier? We’re not sure, but this is a figure that signaled the beginning of the end for action figure quality. Thankfully, Hasbro made improvements since this figure’s release which gave hope to collectors who believed that quality action figures are a thing of the past.

 

Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) Group Shot

 

Questions for discussion:

1. In your opinion, do we have a definitive version of this figure?

2. If we don’t have a definitive version of this figure, should Hasbro tool a new figure from the ground up again, or should they tweak a current sculpt to perfect it instead?

3. If the figure ranks as definitive for you, do you want to see it packaged (or repackaged) in vintage Kenner packaging (The Vintage Collection)?

4. Add any other points of note or interest in the comments about any of these versions of Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) action figures.

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