Welcome to another entry in our The Vintage Collection: The Ninety Six column. Hasbro recently committed to collectors that they will be “focusing” on characters in The Vintage Collection that fall under “The Ninety Six” banner. If you’re new to this, it means that for every classic Kenner figure, there needs a modern counterpart. Between 2020 and 2021, Hasbro’s made an admirable effort by focusing on these characters. But there is more work to be done, and we’ll figure out where we are step by step.
We’re right in alignment with Hasbro in our vintage Kenner database. There are 21 figures under the STAR WARS banner, 29 figures under THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK banner, 31 figures under the RETURN OF THE JEDI banner, and 15 figures under THE POWER OF THE FORCE banner. (Sy Snootles, Max Rebo, Droopy McCool, and Blue Snaggletooth bring the number to an even 100 figures.)
Read our assessment, and then be sure to add your thoughts to the comments. Let us know if you agree or disagree. If you’re a customizer, show us your custom definitive figure in the comments as well! Who knows? It might give Hasbro some ideas.
Is there a definitive modern counterpart to 1978’s SW Death Squad Commander figure?
2012’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Imperial Navy Commander (VC94) is regarded as the closest placeholder.
Has Hasbro added this character’s card art and figure into THE VINTAGE COLLECTION?
No. And it’s possible Hasbro may never offer it to collectors either. Lucasfilm has deemed the “all black” Imperial Navy Commander the modern equivalent to Death Squad Commander/Star Destroyer Commander. To date, 2012’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Imperial Navy Commander (VC94) serves as the closest placeholder.
Does THE VINTAGE COLLECTION release completely satisfy the modern counterpart to 1978’s SW Death Squad Commander figure?
No. 2012’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Imperial Navy Commander (VC94) is a different character from A NEW HOPE. Reference exists to prove that the Death Squad Commander with the gray outfit (without a ranking badge – a Kenner construct) controlled the console on the Death Star and has a headset with a cord hanging down, as seen in the reference image used for the Kenner card art. The character also doesn’t wear gloves. (Yes, the Kenner figure is evidently inaccurate.) Click HERE to see the proof. (Look to the far right of the image.)
If Hasbro didn’t release the figure yet, do we have a near-definitive to definitive release of this character that can be added to THE VINTAGE COLLECTION with little updating?
The 2012 THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Imperial Navy Commander (VC94) figure provides a decent template to extrapolate on to give us a genuine Death Squad Commander update. But perhaps Hasbro should create a figure from the ground up since there are enough differences in the style of the costume and the helmet that would warrant new tooling. Lucasfilm needs to be persuaded that it’s a different character first.
What does Hasbro have to do so we can check off “Death Squad Commander” from our Vintage Vs. Modern checklists?
Hasbro will need to plead its case to Lucasfilm and get the Death Squad/Star Destroyer Commander with the gray-outfit approved and viable candidate status. We need this figure desperately in the 3.75-inch basic figure line. It’s been neglected for much too long. Hasbro will also need to ensure they use the proper teal color for the nameplate and figure backer.
The year and years elapsed (through 2021) since we last had this character in classic Kenner packaging?
2012’s TVC Imperial Navy Commander (VC94). (Not a direct update.) 9 years ago.
1978’s SW Death Squad Commander. 43 years ago.
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