A generation before Star Wars: A New Hope...
In a galaxy far, far away, an evil force is gaining strength and threatens an entire civilization. Two courageous Jedi, a young queen, a Gungan outcast, and a slave boy named Anakin, band together to save a planet under attack as the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance.
The Episode I line feels very much like a wash, rinse and repeat of Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn. In both the mainline and various sub-lines within Episode I, Hasbro produced an array of products that captures the various poses, attitudes, and outfits of the three main characters in the film. And these three characters are part of their limited Deluxe line which features decent sculpts of the figures intertwined with a gimmicky play feature that you may find amusing as well as annoying. During The Power Of The Force “2” run, Kenner/Hasbro produced more than just a few Deluxe figures, and they all focused on events outside of the main Star Wars timeline. Who could forget the Crowd Control Stormtrooper, or Luke Skywalker’s Desert Sport Skiff, or the Han Solo With Smuggler Flight Pack, or the Deluxe version of Boba Fett? Kenner/Hasbro also worked in some screen-accurate Deluxe figures like the Snowtrooper (with E-web cannon), the Probe Droid and the Deluxe version of the Hoth Rebel Soldier (with the anti-vehicle laser cannon). No matter their sources, collectors embraced this line because it was “outside of the box” thinking and a fresh new way to present some of our most favorite action figures. For the Episode I line, Hasbro veered off the path and produced something quirky, somewhat uninteresting, and generally niche and novel. But kids will probably like it.
Enter the Episode I Deluxe figure line. It’s comprised of three characters: Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. Surprisingly, the action figures aren’t “terrible.” They have admirable to excellent likenesses and aside from loose articulation for the action features (so they can swing their lightsabers easily), we’ve seen worse in the basic figure line. Each figure comes with its signature lightsaber, but then Hasbro added a “deluxe” version of the lightsaber which activates the action feature. The “deluxe” lightsabers’ handles trigger the battle swing of the action figures included with them. When you depress the button on the “deluxe” lightsaber hilt, the figures’ arms move up and down to recreate lightsaber swinging. To make the play feature more seamless, each “deluxe” lightsaber has a clip at the front which holds the action figure in place. Yes, this has “gimmick” written all over it, and we don’t think action figures need some complementary device to swing its lightsaber, but we believe the “deluxe” lightsaber adds extra “real life” or “role play” value to these releases. Interestingly, the “deluxe” lightsaber hilts are uniquely designed to match the real onscreen lightsaber of the character that it’s for, and each comes with a translucent telescoping blade. These deluxe figures are as colorful as they are screen-accurate. You may find it interesting that the Deluxe line was featured on the news when the media covered the Midnight Madness event at FAO Schwarz in NYC.
Darth Maul might be the best-looking figure of the three Deluxe figures. His face is brighter than the basic figure versions of Darth Maul, and the posture of the figure is menacing and agile. He can hold his double-bladed lightsaber with both hands thanks to extra articulation and looks fantastic doing so. The paint operations on his face are cleanly applied and accurately recreated. He looks slightly angry, and he’s ready to take on Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon Jinn also looks decent. He is lean and tall and looks relatively proportionate to Darth Maul and Obo-Wan Kenobi. Hasbro painted his hair, in particular, beautifully. Our only gripe, aside from the action features, is that he looks a little too happy when he should be concerned about fighting for his life. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the weakest of the three figures. We don’t think that Hasbro tooled a great likeness of the character for the Episode I line, and especially this figure. We would have liked to see some tweaking done before finalized. But perhaps screen-accuracy isn’t the point of focus with the Episode I Deluxe figures. These figures are all about interaction, play features and recreating some of the final moments from The Phantom Menace easily. No other Deluxe figures are on tap from Hasbro, so perhaps this was always intended to be a tiny subset of an action figure line that is mammoth in scope and scale.
Status: Darth Maul is an all-new figure.
Articulation Count: 9 points (9 areas of articulation)
Articulation Details: swivel head (1), swivel left shoulder (1), swivel right shoulder (1), swivel right elbow (1), swivel left glove (1), swivel rigth glove (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), action feature button (1)
Accessory Count: 2
Accessory Details: double-bladed lightsaber, deluxe telescoping lightsaber
Date Stamp: N/A
Assortment Number: 84045/84144
Retail: $9.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.