Malakili was one of the keepers of the only known rancor specimen. Kept in a special pit below the crime lord's court, the rancor was reserved as a method of getting rid of unwelcome guests or others who failed the crime lord.
If you think long and hard about it, finding an action figure more boring than Malakili (Rancor Keeper) may prove futile. We’ve always adored the character and his love for the rancorous rancor, but overweight and shirtless bald men may not be the first character of choice for most Star Wars aficionados. Although there are many examples, you probably won’t find a better case and point to what defines a total peg-warming action figure. Malakili (Rancor Keeper) was the textbook definition of this in 1997, and the figure’s re-release in 1998 didn’t support selling through the existing stock one bit. The figure has been blamed for the inability for the highly sought-after and popular Expanded Universe line to make its way out to retail. In case you’re not aware, Malakili (Rancor Keeper) shared the same Collection 2 assortment numbers and stock-keeping units. It’s fair to say that Malakili (Rancor Keeper) was guilty by association, and not guilty itself. The over-release of this figure was only incidental to the greater problem. What’s unfortunate is that Kenner/Hasbro crafted a fantastic modern update to the 1984 ROTJ Rancor Keeper figure, but sadly, the 1984 figure wasn’t a fantastic seller either. The modern tooling captures the spirit of the character beautifully, and also adds details that we never could see or know existed in the past. Chest hair? Yes! Dirt? of course! A more colorful outfit? Maybe. A collar? You bet! All of these extra enhancements make an underrated Star Wars character special for collectors and a must-have update for your Star Wars collection. But all is not perfect here.
Malakili (Rancor Keeper) also brings something less to the table than before too, and we’ll explain. The figure comes with the standard six points of articulation that most other POTF2 figures come with, and the amount of movement this figure has is solid for what it needs to do. Still, the figure's joints are noticeably looser for one reason or another when compared to other figures in the line. Believe it or not, this affects the figure when you pose it. When you reach a position you want to hold, a slight bump to the figure will completely twist the waist, head, or limbs. It’s a little bit frustrating. Other than this setback, Malakili (Rancor Keeper) is an achievement when considered as a modern update! You will be interested to know that his head covering isn’t removable, unlike 1984’s ROTJ Rancor Keeper figure. We find this disappointing, but it prevents the accessory from getting lost, bumped, or inappropriately set on the figure’s head. That said, however, we have to admit that it provided a cleaner look for the figure. But we no longer can see the bald head. On the classic Kenner figure, the head covering wouldn’t stay in the same spot too long without getting knocked off, ajar, or ultimately lost. So it’s nice to have a little more “security” in this regard. Collectors like having multiple accessories with their figures, and it seems that from this perspective, collectors might feel a little left out. The long-handled vibro-blade accessory has been tooled and colored beautifully and complements the Malakili (Rancor Keeper) action figure nicely. It’s a shame that Malakili (Rancor Keeper) didn’t perform better at retail.
Altogether, collectors should be happy with the overall results of this action figure. Things slowed down at the retail level dramatically in 1997 and 1998 with the Star Wars brand. Kenner/Hasbro attempted to refresh the line with the Freeze Frame Action Slide phase of The Power Of The Force “2” line, including bad selections like Malakili (Rancor Keeper) into the mix. Still, we understand why they did. The Rancor And Luke Skywalker Creature set was also part of The Kenner Collection lineup, and Kenner/Hasbro wanted to have the Rancor’s caretaker in the lineup as well. Regardless, it was much to everyone’s surprise to see the refreshed packaged figure enter the line again while so many were hanging on pegs without a Freeze Frame Action Slide. To most everyone’s surprise, Malakili (Rancor Keeper) sold well, perhaps because of the pack-in premium, and collectors were wanting to ensure they had a complete set of them. It was interesting to witness Star Wars figures on “green” card backs hanging on the pegs while their “Freeze Frame” counterparts flew off the shelves (for $1.00 more no less). Proving to all that a great pack-in premium can do marvelous things for action figure sales, the Freeze Frame Action Slide put the Star Wars line in a new direction to give collectors more value for their money. When any action figure line gets stale, it needs to be rejuvenated and brought to a new life in some way. Variations hunters will enjoy learning that initial Malakili (Rancor Keeper) figures in the Freeze Frame Action Slide line arrived at retail without any gold paint on the right arm band and gauntlet. Kenner/Hasbro quickly revised this, but there are multiple samples that exist with this error.
Malakili (Rancor Keeper)
Status: Malakili (Rancor Kepper) is a repaint of 1997's POTF2 [R/G] Malakili (Rancor Keeper) figure.
Articulation Count: 6 points (6 areas of articulation)
Articulation Details: swivel head (1), swivel left shoulder (1), swivel right shoulder (1), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1)
Accessory Count: 1
Accessory Details: long-handeled vibro-blade
Date Stamp: 1997
Freeze Frame Details: Luke's defeat of Jabba the Hutt's loathsome rancor creature.
Assortment Number: 696050/69723
Retail: $5.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.