Weapon of Choice
Staff with lightsaber-like blade
Loyal servant of the Empire
Each one of these elite guards is specially chosen by Palpatine for his exceptional loyalty to the Emperor, and for his ability to use the Force. Each carries a pike that can be ignited to use as a lightsaber-like blade.
The introductory glimpses of The Force Unleashed immediately brewed a new level of interest in the Expanded Universe for most collectors. Even the purists couldn't help but get excited about a Battle-Damaged Darth Vader and Imperial EVO Trooper among many other cool characters. But it also introduced us to new angles of existing characters. Case and point: the Emperor's Shadow Guard. Showing up on early rumor reports as a "Reverse Stormtrooper," it was an accurate description because that is essentially what he is. Specifically, he looks like a reversed Royal Guard. But if you get technical, there are quite a few things that aren't accurate (from the images of the video game). Hasbro took the 2005 ROTS Royal Guard (III 23), the red variant, and created a new "force-pike" lightsaber and new robes and a new character was born! But if you study some of the source material, they look a lot more like Shadow Stormtroopers with a Royal Guard helmet instead. We think if Hasbro spent a little more time discussing this figure's best approach for ultimate accuracy, that we would have gotten a much different figure. The good news is that the robes hide this inaccuracy for the most part. But should Hasbro decide to revisit this figure, we hope that they utilize a Stormtrooper body in its place.
The completed figure actually looks a lot better than you might think, despite our initial criticism. And while it looks good, we still think that a few other tweaks should have been made as well. For example, we feel that Hasbro should have made the black robes not so shiny. The sheen is clearly from an inferior fabric and the figure aesthetic would have been much approved were it duller or fuzzier (or something else). But it goes without saying that the Emperor's Shadow Guard is one awesome action figure. Moving along to other parts of the figure, you already know about the articulation of the figure and it passes for us. But many of you out there do not like swivel arm joints at all. We partially agree, but it gives enough movement to pose him with his weapon. His weapons include the lightsaber pike and a blaster pistol. They are the perfect accessories for an almost perfect action figure. The legs have great movement potential and the scale and likeness of the helmet is a standout accomplishment. The figure clearly was liked by many collectors as it was the one to seem to fly off of the shelves first. (It even outsold the other "new" Imperial soldiers like the Imperial Jumptrooper and Imperial EVO Trooper.)
The Force Unleashed is full of some very cool Imperial soldiers. The Emperor's Shadow Guard is perhaps one of the more obscure characters and in fact, not much is known about them except that their direct report is Emperor Palpatine and have no interaction with any other members of the Empire. But despite is rarity and obscurity, it ended up being one of the most popular characters from The Force Unleashed. We hope Hasbro continues to make cool characters like this one from this video game. It has the staying power of the original Clone Wars and Shadows Of The Empire multimedia events. And this says a lot. The Royal Guard form has taken many shapes over the years and it seems that the Expanded Star Wars Universe continues to make them as cool as their familiar movie counterparts. The Emperor's Shadow Guard is one of these fine examples. Yes, it will be cool if Hasbro can update the action figure to be authentic to the video game character. But until that happens, this figure will do its part to fill that void. We fear that it's likely that The Force Unleashed won't hold the attention of Star Wars fans forever, but we hope that Hasbro can bang out one last super-articulated version of this character just to make us happy.
Emperor's Shadow Guard
Status: Emperor's Shadow Guard is a rework of 2005's ROTS Royal Guard (III 23) figure (the red variation).
Articulation Count: 12 points
Articulation Details: ball-jointed head, 2 ball-jointed shoulders, 2 swivel elbows, 2 swivel forearms, swivel waist, 2 swivel hips, 2 ball-jointed knees
Accessory Count: 4
Accessory Details: soft-goods robes, force pike lightsaber handle, lightsaber blade, blaster pistol
Date Stamp: 2004
Assortment Number: 87488/87500
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.