As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.
Did you ever have such little interest in an upcoming movie yet have this uncontrollable draw to a character in that film just because of how he/she looks? Well, that’s probably where we’re at when it comes to the Elite Praetorian Guard from The Black Series [Phase III] 6” line. Admittedly, we’re not even sure if we like the character’s design, but there is something obsessively interesting about how these characters are going to be represented into the film. Thankfully, Hasbro has produced an action figure of this character beautifully and despite some engineering issues the Elite Praetorian Guard definitely stands out as one of the most interesting characters of all the 6” figures released on or around Force Friday II so far. So far, Hasbro, the marketing of Episode VIII and Disney have linked the Elite Praetorian Guard as part of the continuing chain of royal guards that have all made their unique appearances in the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy. In fact, Hasbro is producing a The Black Series [Phase III] 6” timeline set which includes the various phases of these evil guards to help show their evolution in the Star Wars saga. So the Elite Praetorian Guard is only the latest transition in these typically popular characters. Hasbro did faithfully recreate all of the details that make a Elite Praetorian Guard what it is. A rather faceless character, the Elite Praetorian Guard still boasts the crimson robes that its predecessor sported and some sort of staff or force pike to defend its Master’s honor. The 6” version of the Elite Praetorian Guard looks great, has it’s typical 6” issues, but may stand out as one of the more interesting characters in the film.
Despite how unlikely it sounds, it appears there are varying degrees to how far these figures’ arm joints can move. We’ve seen pictures online proving that the Elite Praetorian Guard doesn’t have a fair range of movement in the arms, especially the elbows, but our sample just didn’t want to move that well. Whether it’s an inherent problem in a certain batch of these, or just frozen joints, we have great difficulty articulating the arms that we just accepted it as a design flaw. But like we said we have witnessed others being able to obtain better results. Despite arms issues or not, Hasbro designed a nice action figure here. The “collapsible cup” arms are definitely a strange concept for any Star Wars character, but they also create this insatiable morbid curiosity that you just want to understand these characters so much more. Hasbro utilized a brilliantly red and shiny, glistening plastic to cast this figure in and the results are beautiful. Reminiscent in many ways of the characters from Crimson Empire (without the faces of course), the Elite Praetorian Guard has a much more warrior-like look and feel to him. At the same time, we do question how these characters can see anything meaningful and be able to fight and protect who they’re intended to protect. Despite the figure’s arm issues, the Elite Praetorian Guard does have wonderful articulation throughout and can obtain a wonderful array of positions thanks to its functional articulation system. Even the lower robes have been cast in a plastic with a lower durometer scoring to allow for more flexibility when making the most out of its leg articulation. Hasbro absolutely thought ahead here.
Once again, the accessories are very light for the Elite Praetorian Guard, but we think Hasbro was limited just by the very design of the character. Both the left and right shoulder armor pieces are removable for reasons unknown. It seems that they needed to have some wiggle room when you articulate the figure’s shoulders, but to have them completely removable is something we’re not sure we understand. Either way, they completely come off so be sure not to lose them. And the final accessory is a bladed staff with a mostly red base and shiny silver blade. Despite the figure’s limitations, the Elite Praetorian Guard can hold the staff pretty well. You can pose him in action while holding the staff and he looks great accomplishing it. As you know, multiple versions of this character will appear in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Some have differently shaped helmets from one another, but all have differently designed weapons from what we can tell so far. Hasbro has already announced that we will see most if not all of them in The Black Series [Phase III] 6” line via basic release and retailer exclusives. In fact, Amazon.com has one version of the Elite Praetorian Guard packed by itself and is taking pre-orders now. We’re not sure if we can admit to whether we find the Elite Praetorian Guard an interesting character or not. He does seems to follow closely in the footsteps of the Royal Guard that we fell in love with so many years ago, but we don’t know if he’ll ever be able to come close to the same coolness factor of that 1983 character. Time will obviously tell, but for now it’s safe to assume we have a cool toy of him now.
Elite Praetorian Guard
Status: Elite Praetorian Guard is an all-new figure.
Articulation Count: 28 points (17 areas of articulation)
Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), hinge-jointed neck (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right elbow (2), ball-jointed left wrist (2), ball-jointed right wrist (2), ball-jointed torso (2), ball-socket left hip (1), ball-socket right hip (1), swivel left thigh (1), swivel right thigh (1), double hinge-jointed left knee (2), double hinge-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed/"rocker" left ankle (2), ball-jointed/"rocker" right ankle (2)
Accessory Count: 3
Accessory Details: force pike, left removable shoulder armor, right removable shoulder armor
Date Stamp: N/A
Assortment Number: C3290/B3834
Retail: $21.99 USD
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