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The Saga Collection

Early Bird Figures - TSC - Exclusives

Name: Early Bird Figures
Collection: The Saga Collection
Number: N/A (Exclusive)
Source: A New Hope (Replica Of Vintage Early Bird Figures)
Availability: September 2005
License: Hasbro

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Back in 1977, Kenner celebrated the launch of the original Star Wars movie with a truly unique item: the "Empty Box" promotion. With the runaway success of Star Wars and no time to produce their now-famous figures in time for the holidays, Kenner offered Star Wars fans an alternative: an “Empty Box” that included no figures, but instead contained a mail-in certificate that fans could redeem for four 3.75” Star Wars action figures by mail-- the very first Star Wars figures ever made.

Now, to celebrate the May 19th launch of the last Star Wars movie, Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Hasbro has created a near-exact replica of that 1977 “Empty Box” with a certificate that offers updated versions of the first four original Star Wars action figures from 1977: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, R2-D2, and Chewbacca. Get yours while supplies last – only 50,000 will ever be available, far fewer than in 1977!

The Early Bird Set includes four sturdy 3¾ inch scale, plastic poseable figures (see photo below):

Luke Skywalker - with a lightsaber which slides out of its hand-held case ready for action
Princess Leia - with her special star puffs hairdo, and laser pistol like the one she used in the movie.
R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo) - with movable legs and a head that "clicks" as it turns around.
Chewbacca - with his special laser rifle and ammunition belt across his chest.

There remains debate on the official beginning of The Saga Collection. Loosely known as the “collection of 2006,” the line actually really spanned from 2005 through 2007. And when the Revenge Of The Sith collection was released in April of 2005, Hasbro assured Original Trilogy collectors that they weren’t forgotten and along with the new ROTS line they also released the Early Bird Certificate Package. What better way to hold a grasp on the old time collectors, huh? Hasbro promised us that later in the year they would send us the four figures, just like they did in 1978, to our homes and the delivery was one of the most anticipated of all time. And it really was the perfect opening act for The Saga Collection. Since The Saga Collection was going to be the first collection to span across all six films and various Expanded Universe sources so what could be better that starting it off with the first four figures that started Star Wars collecting from the very, very beginning? We thought it was a perfect start and so did many other collectors. Although not all of the figures included were super-articulated, there was still enough in the small mailer box to make most everyone very happy. Overall, the Early Bird Certificate Package may be the more impressive replica here, but getting four Early Bird Figures is pretty remarkable too.

Perhaps the included Luke Skywalker figures pays the most homage to the original vintage Kenner figure. Hasbro built in a real functioning telescoping lightsaber (in blue this time) that slides up and down a cavity in his arm. It’s cute, but not really necessary or warranted. This is gimmicky at best, but it will definitely stroke the heartstrings of hardcore collectors. We think the coloring of Luke Skywalker is off and we’re not sure why he looks so bizarre. But he is too dark and Hasbro should have spent more time getting the palette correct. Princess Leia is a great figure if you don’t mind miniature statues. Limited with only four points of articulation, she is a one pose wonder and not a figure you’ll be able to do a lot with thanks to her very limited mobility. The proportions are great and her hood up look splendid, but instead of giving us an “ultimate” version of Princess Leia, we get this type of figure instead. Chewbacca is awesome. Hasbro took the 2004 VOTC figure and gave him an Episode IV specific head. It looks incredible. And R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo) is a retool of the 2004 VOTC version as well and the droid comes with a lot less accessories and a glued down front panel. R2-D2 still has a shiny dome and until this is resolved we will still say a definitive update is needed.

It would be fantastic if Hasbro would continue making all 12 original vintage figures so we can display them all on the provided backdrop in the Early Bird Certificate package. But it appears that this is a one-off exclusive and Hasbro probably won’t continue this trend. This exclusive really wasn’t a huge seller unfortunately. Hasbro, who rarely releases production numbers, created only 50,000 Early Bird Certificate packages. (And likely not all of these were redeemed, perhaps even many weren’t.) So we bet that the Early Bird Figures may be much rarer than all of us expect. Despite this, eBay auctions for this mail-away exclusive range from $5 to $75 which proves the interest for this set is all over the map. In out opinion, this set is a necessary addition to your collection. Hasbro could probably bring us better figures years later, but 2005 was the time and place to revisit this collectible from long ago. The Early Bird Figures set is great and if you’re a lover of all things “vintage” this set is absolutely for you. And as we have mentioned earlier, it was the perfect opening act for The Saga Collection. With four of the most popular characters from A New Hope (and the original vintage Kenner toy line), this should be a win-win for your collection. You’ll have to make the ultimate decision however.

Collector Notes

Early Bird Figures

Assortment Number: 85868

UPC: N/A

Retail: $0.00 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Luke Skywalker

Status: Luke Skywalker is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 7 points

Articulation Details: swivel head, 2 ball-jointed shoulders, swivel left arm, swivel waist, 2 swivel hips

Accessory Count: 1

Accessory Details: telescoping lightsaber

Date Stamp: 2005

Princess Leia

Status: Princess Leia is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 4 points

Articulation Details: swivel head, 2 swivel shoulders, swivel waist

Accessory Count: 1

Accessory Details: blaster rifle

Date Stamp: 2005

Chewbacca

Status: Chewbacca is a retool of 2004's VOTC Chewbacca figure. This time the figure has an all-new head.

Articulation Count: 15 points

Articulation Details: ball-socket head, 2 ball-jointed shoulders, 2 ball-jointed elbows, 2 swivel wrists, ball-jointed torso, ball-jointed mid-section, 2 swivel hips, 2 ball-jointed knees, 2 ball-jointed ankles

Accessory Count: 2

Accessory Details: bowcaster (2 pieces)

Date Stamp: 2004

R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo)

Status: R2-D2 is a retool of 2004's VOTC Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) (With Extension Arm) figure. This time the figure doesn't come with all of the accessories and the front panel has been glued down.

Articulation Count: 5 points

Articulation Details: swivel dome, 2 swivel arms, 2 swivel "ankles"

Accessory Count: None

Accessory Details: None

Date Stamp: 2004

The Saga Collection
All Products

Added: June 7, 2011
Category: Saga Collection, The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
Score:
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