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The Saga Collection

Early Bird Figures - TSC - Exclusives

Name: Early Bird Figures
Collection: The Saga Collection
Number: N/A (Mail-Away Exclusive)
Source: A New Hope (Replica Of Vintage Kenner Early Bird Figures)
Availability: September 2005
License: Hasbro

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Back in 1977, Kenner celebrated the launch of the original Star Wars movie with a truly unique item: the "Empty Box" promotion. With the runaway success of Star Wars and no time to produce their now-famous figures in time for the holidays, Kenner offered Star Wars fans an alternative: an “Empty Box” that included no figures, but instead contained a mail-in certificate that fans could redeem for four 3.75” Star Wars action figures by mail – the very first Star Wars figures ever made.

Now, to celebrate the May 19th launch of the last Star Wars movie, Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Hasbro has created a near-exact replica of that 1977 “Empty Box” with a certificate that offers updated versions of the first four original Star Wars action figures from 1977: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, R2-D2, and Chewbacca. Get yours while supplies last – only 50,000 will ever be available, far fewer than in 1977!

The Early Bird Set includes four sturdy 3¾ inch scale, plastic poseable figures (see photo below):

Luke Skywalker – with a lightsaber which slides out of its hand-held case ready for action
Princess Leia – with her special star puffs hairdo, and laser pistol like the one she used in the movie.
R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo) – with movable legs and a head that "clicks" as it turns around.
Chewbacca – with his special laser rifle and ammunition belt across his chest.

There remains debate on the official beginning of The Saga Collection. Loosely known as the “collection of 2006,” the line spanned from 2005 through 2007. And when the Revenge Of The Sith collection was released in April of 2005, Hasbro assured Original Trilogy collectors that they weren’t forgotten and along with the new Revenge Of The Sith line they also released the Early Bird Certificate Package. What better way to hold a grasp on the old time collectors, huh? Hasbro promised us that later in the year they would send us the four figures, just like they did in 1978, to our homes and the delivery was one of the most anticipated of all time. And it was the perfect opening act for The Saga Collection. Since The Saga Collection was going to be the first collection to span across all six films and various Expanded Universe sources so what could be better than starting it off with the first four figures that started Star Wars collecting from the very, very beginning? We thought it was a perfect start, and so did many other collectors. Although not all of the figures included were super-articulated, there was still enough in the small mailer box to make most everyone very happy. Overall, the Early Bird Certificate Package may be the more impressive replica here, but getting four Early Bird Figures is pretty remarkable too. It's a blast from the past, a call of nostalgia and a reminiscing of our childhood all wrapped into one awesome set. It's surely going to impact the Star Wars collecting community greatly.

Perhaps the included Luke Skywalker figures pays the most homage to the original vintage Kenner figure. Hasbro built in a real functioning telescoping lightsaber (in blue this time) that slides up and down a cavity in his arm. It’s cute, but not necessary or warranted. This is gimmicky at best, but it will stroke the heartstrings of hardcore collectors. We think the coloring of Luke Skywalker is off and we’re not sure why he looks so bizarre. But he is too dark, and Hasbro should have spent more time getting the palette correct. Princess Leia is a great figure if you don’t mind miniature statues. Limited to only four points of articulation, she is a one pose wonder and not a figure you’ll be able to do a lot of thanks to her very limited mobility. The proportions are great, and her hood up looks splendid, but instead of giving us an “ultimate” version of Princess Leia, we get this type of figure instead. Chewbacca is awesome. Hasbro took the 2004 VOTC Chewbacca figure and gave him an Episode IV specific head. It looks incredible. And R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo) is a retool of the 2004 VOTC version as well, and the droid comes with a lot fewer accessories and a glued down front panel. R2-D2 still has a shiny dome, and until this is resolved, we will still say a definitive update is needed. Incidentally, the figures come packaged in two ways; some arranged Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Chewbacca, R2-D2 (r2-D2) left to right, and then some were packaged in this reverse order.

It would be fantastic if Hasbro would continue making all twelve (12) original vintage figures so we can display them all on the provided backdrop in the Early Bird Certificate Package. But it appears that this is a one-off exclusive and Hasbro probably won’t continue this trend. This exclusive wasn’t a huge seller, unfortunately. Hasbro, who rarely releases production numbers, created only 50,000 Early Bird Certificate Package sets. (And likely not all of these were redeemed, perhaps even many weren’t.) So we bet that the Early Bird Figures may be much rarer than all of us expect. Despite this, eBay auctions for this mail-away exclusive range from $5 to $75 which proves the interest for this set is all over the map. In our opinion, this set is a necessary addition to your collection. Hasbro could probably bring us better figures years later, but 2005 was the time and place to revisit this collectible from long ago. The Early Bird Figures set is great and if you’re a lover of all things “vintage” this set is absolutely for you. And as we have mentioned earlier, it was the perfect opening act for The Saga Collection. With four of the most popular characters from A New Hope (and the original vintage Kenner toy line), this should be a win-win for your collection. You’ll have to make the ultimate decision however on whether to buy the Early Bird Certificate Package and then mail-away for the figures. It's a pain in the neck to gather the required documentation, but ultimately it's worth it because you get plastic Star Wars figures for your efforts (and money).

Collector Notes

Early Bird Figures

Assortment Number: 85868


Retail: $0.00 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Luke Skywalker

Status: Luke Skywalker is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 8 points (6 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: swivel head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1)

Accessory Count: 1

Accessory Details: telescoping lightsaber blade

Date Stamp: 2005

Princess Leia

Status: Princess Leia is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 3 points (3 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: swivel left shoulder (1), swivel right shoulder (1), swivel waist (1)

Accessory Count: 1

Accessory Details: blaster rifle

Date Stamp: 2005


Status: Chewbacca is a retool of 2004's VOTC Chewbacca figure. This time the figure has been given an all-new head sculpt.

Articulation Count: 25 points (15 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: swivel head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), swivel left wrist (1), swivel right wrist (1), ball-jointed torso (2), ball-jointed mid-section (2), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed left ankle (2), ball-jointed right ankle (2)

Accessory Count: 2

Accessory Details: bowcaster (2 parts)

Date Stamp: 2004

R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo)

Status: R2-D2 (Artoo-Detoo) is a retool of 2004's VOTC Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) (With Extension Arm) figure. This time the figure doesn't come with any of the accessories and the front panel has been permanently glued in place.

Articulation Count: 8 points (8 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: swivel dome (1), swivel left leg (1), swivel right leg (1), hinge-jointed left "ankle" (1), hinge-jointed right "ankle" (1), left leg rolling wheel (1), right leg rolling wheel (1), center foot rolling wheel (1)

Accessory Count: None

Accessory Details: None

Date Stamp: 2004

The Saga Collection

All Products

Added: June 7, 2011
Category: Saga Collection, The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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