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JTA Presents: Evolutions - Han Solo (In Carbonite)

Welcome to another one our JTA Presents: Evolutions features! Let’s check out how close or far we are from having an ideal Hasbro 3.75″ Han Solo (In Carbonite) 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 (In Carbonite)


By the time 1985 rolled around, young Star Wars fans either lost interest in Star Wars or simply became underwhelmed with collecting more Star Wars action figures anymore. In reality, the Kenner Star Wars line died that year. But before it did Kenner released 15 of the greatest Star Wars figures ever made in that final year. Han Solo (In Carbonite Chamber) was one of the last 15 Kenner Star Wars figures produced, and although most who grew up with the line missed the figure when it hit stores, it has become one of the most sought-after action figures for modern Star Wars collectors today. When the Kenner/Hasbro line relaunched in 1995, they’ve produced many versions of this character. But do we have a definitive version after all this time?


Han Solo (In Carbonite Chamber) from 1985’s The Power Of The Force line.


The very first Han Solo (In Carbonite Chamber) figure was a marvel for young Star Wars fans and came in the final wave of figures from The Power Of The Force line in 1985. Having the option to freeze Han Solo and then instantly thaw him out and then freeze him again was something that was purely magical. If you bought this figure when it initially hit pegs, you know the packaging’s plastic tray served as part of the carbonite chamber (it kept the figure locked inside of the carbon-freezing). The figure’s neck was extraordinarily large, but it was the only version of Han Solo we received where he wasn’t wearing a vest or jacket. It was just him and his shirt!


Han Solo (In Carbonite Block) from 1996’s The Power Of The Force “2” [Red] line.


1996’s The Power Of The Force “2” [Red] Han Solo (In Carbonite Block) was a welcomed addition to the lineup. Its release was overshadowed by the Shadows Of The Empire multimedia event, but he remained an essential acquisition for fans who adored the Original Trilogy – which meant everyone. He came with bulky proportions and a terrible likeness, but not too many collectors cared (at the time at least). Today, this version of Han Solo (In Carbonite) is obsolete. You likely still own it today only for morbid curiosity. And it might go down as one of the first modern Star Wars figures ever made.


Han Solo (In Carbonite) from 1998’s The Power Of The Force “2” [FlashBack/CommTech] Jabba’s Palace (With Han Solo In Carbonite) 3-D Display Diorama set.


Two short years later Kenner/Hasbro revisited Han Solo (In Carbonite) by releasing a slightly revised “melted” version of him in The Power Of The Force “2” [FlashBack/CommTech] line. They produced a special 3-D Display Diorama set based on Jabba’s Palace and included a unique version of Han Solo as a pack-in figure. While a significant upgrade from the 1996 release, Han Solo still didn’t meet full expectations of collectors because of the figure’ lack of articulation and the very scene-specific look of “wet” hair from thawing out of the carbonite. Collectors were waiting anxiously for a new version. (Editor’s Note: Thank you to Chris Swanksi for taking this figure’s images for us!)


Han Solo (SAGA 002) from 2005’s The Saga Collection line.


After the Revenge Of The Sith line ran its course in 2005, the basic figure line transitioned into The Saga Collection. December 2005 launched the line with a wave of characters based on Return Of The Jedi. An all-new version of Han Solo (In Carbonite) was part of the wave and included a partially-melted version of the carbonite chamber along with an all-new version of Han Solo, complete with Jabba’s palace sand on his shirt from hitting the ground. While the sculpt was significantly improved, the articulation was not, and collectors wondered if Hasbro was ever going to give us a super-articulated version of this character.


Han Solo (#19) from 2015’s The Black Series [Phase II] line.


It took another decade, but Hasbro finally came through for collectors with the release of a new Han Solo (In Carbonite) figure. While more closely based on his pre-freezing likeness from The Empire Strikes Back (as evidenced by the binders), the figure came super-articulated with a significantly upgraded sculpt. However, the paint operations are lacking on this figure and that alone disappointed collectors. Many collectors would love to see this sculpt revisited with “photorealistic” technology and released somewhere in The Vintage Collection. But that remains unseen at this point. Or does it?


Han Solo (In Carbonite) Group Shot

Han Solo (In Carbonite)


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 repackaged in vintage Kenner packaging (The Vintage Collection) if it isn’t already?

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

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