Published on December 16, 2015

Star Wars Action Figure Evolution: Luke Skywalker [Infographic]

 

In 1978, a little-known director released a gamble of a movie called Star Wars upon an unsuspecting populace. Coming off of his first monster hit, American Graffiti, George Lucas was in a position to make himself a large payday on his next major motion picture. What he did instead would change the landscape of film for all of time. Lucas asked for a small sum of $150,000 and in exchange, he would retain the rights to any sequels and all merchandising. 20th Century Fox took the deal, which eventually made Lucas a billionaire, thanks to the ensuing mania over all collectable Star Wars items. Over the last 35 years, those merchandising rights became worth over $27 billion.

 

No Star Wars merchandise is as iconic as the countless number of action figures that have been released in conjunction with the films. Explore how these awesome toys have changed over the last 37 years as we concentrate on that farm boy turned Rebel hero, Luke Skywalker.

 

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Evolution of Luke Skywalker Action Figure Infographic

 

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The Action Figure Evolution of Luke Skywalker Transcript

Star Wars stands atop a storied franchise valued at over $27 billion dollars. The merchandise and toy lines encompass the lion's share of that pile of money. These toys line the walls of fanboys' basements and the floors of children the world over. There is limited time for us to review ALL of the thousands of figures created in the last four decades, so instead we concentrated on the iconic Luke Skywalker, his primary looks, and how these four simple versions of his action figure have evolved over Star Wars' long and successful history.

 

A New Hope Action Figures

Before he suited up to take on the Death Star, this toy detailed the outfit Luke wore the first time we laid eyes on this backwater farm boy from Tatooine. The earliest action figure rendered Luke's hair bright blond and his original saber yellow. As time passed and toy-making technology became more advanced, the details on the figure became more and more accurate.

 

1978 Vintage Star Wars

  • Toy Line: Vintage Star Wars
  • Released By: Kenner
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, and legs
  • Accessories: Telescoping lightsaber

 

1995 Power of the Force 2

  • Toy Line: Power of the Force 2
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, legs, and waist
  • Accessories: Grappling hook, blue lightsaber

 

2002 Power of the Jedi

  • Toy Line: Power of the Jedi
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Neck, arms, legs, and waist
  • Accessories: Grappling hook

 

2003 Star Wars Saga

  • Toy Line: Star Wars SAGA
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, elbows, legs, and waist
  • Accessories: Blue lightsaber

 

2011 The Vintage Collection

  • Toy Line: The Vintage Collection
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Ball-jointed neck, shoulders, legs, knees, ankles, and elbows with swivel wrists and waist
  • Accessories: Imperial blaster, commlink, and white rope with grappling hook

 

X-Wing Pilot Action Figures

The first iterations of Luke in his pilot gear make him almost unrecognizable, with bland facial features, unexplained dark hair, and black pinhole eyes. Each version of Luke in his pilot uniform has vastly different facial expressions, with 2009's Legacy Collection sporting a smile.

 

1978 Vintage Star Wars

  • Toy Line: Vintage Star Wars
  • Released By: Kenner
  • Articulation: Swivel Neck, arms, and legs
  • Accessories: Blaster

 

1995 Power of the Force 2

  • Toy Line: Power of the Force 2
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, legs, and waist
  • Accessories: Blue lightsaber and blaster pistol

 

2001 Power of the Jedi

  • Toy Line: Power of the Jedi
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, legs, and waist
  • Accessories: X-Wing pilot helmet and cable

 

2006 The Saga Collection

  • Toy Line: The Saga Collection
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Ball-jointed head, shoulders, elbows, arms, waist, legs and ankles
  • Accessories: Helmet, lightsaber hilt, blue lightsaber, and removable chest box

 

2011 The Vintage Collection

  • Toy Line: The Vintage Collection
  • Released By: Hasbro, Target Exclusive
  • Articulation: Ball-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, forearms, waist, legs, knees, and ankles
  • Accessories: Blaster pistol, helmet, and Vader's lightsaber hilt

 

Bespin Fatigues Action Figures

The earliest iteration of Luke in his Bespin gear rendered him with an all-yellow lightsaber alongside a laser pistol. Similar to its predecessors, the first versions also portrayed Luke's hair as bright blond. The color of the fatigues themselves changed drastically across collections, starting as beige and transitioning between grays, a speckled granite coloring, and back to beige.

 

1980 Vintage Star Wars

  • Toy Line: Vintage Star Wars
  • Released By: Kenner
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, and legs
  • Accessories: Yellow lightsaber and blaster

 

1998 Power of the Force 2

  • Toy Line: Power of the Force 2
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, shoulders, right wrist, waist, and legs
  • Accessories: Blue lightsaber and blaster

 

2004 Original Trilogy Collection

  • Toy Line: Original Trilogy collection
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, and ball-jointed knees
  • Accessories: Display stand, blue lightsaber, blaster, tourniquet, and removable hand

 

2007 The Saga Collection

  • Toy Line: The Saga Collection
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Ball-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, legs, knees, ankles, and swivel wrists
  • Accessories: Blue lightsaber, blaster

 

2010 The Vintage Collection

  • Toy Line: The Vintage Collection
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Ball-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, legs, knees, ankles, and swivel wrists
  • Accessories: Blue lightsaber, lightsaber hilt, blaster, and belt with holster

 

Jedi Knight Action Figures

The first release of Luke in his Jedi Knight garb shared the same basic facial features as previous introductory models. The lightsaber was the correct color this time and as Luke evolved, so did his cloak. The Power of the Force used a rubber cloak with later versions using black cloth and the latest version using a brown cloak with sleeves.

 

1983 Vintage Star Wars

  • Toy Line: Vintage Star Wars
  • Released By: Kenner
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, and legs
  • Accessories: Green lightsaber, blaster, and Jedi robe

 

1996 Power of the Force 2

  • Toy Line: Power of the Force 2
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, waist, and legs
  • Accessories: Green lightsaber and black cloak

 

2003 Star Wars Saga

  • Toy Line: Star Wars SAGA
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, elbows, and legs
  • Accessories: Green lightsaber with removable blade and 3-piece stand

 

2004 Original Trilogy Collection

  • Toy Line: Original Trilogy Collection
  • Released By: Kenner
  • Articulation: Swivel neck, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles
  • Accessories: Green lightsaber, display stand, skiff guard blaster, and Jedi robe

 

2010 The Vintage Collection

  • Toy Line: The Vintage Collection
  • Released By: Hasbro
  • Articulation: All-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, legs, knees, ankles, and swivel waist
  • Accessories: Green lightsaber, binders, and lightsaber hilt

 

Sources: http://jedibusiness.com, wookieepedia.com

 

Did you collect any of these Luke Skywalker figures? Which one was your favorite? Check out some of these Star Wars gifts, figures, and many more, as you gear up for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens! May the Force be with you!

 

Design Credit: Travis Green

David Rosencrance
David Rosencrance

David is an Inbound Marketer at FUN.com. What is fun for him? Dave finds fun in a good book, a yummy beer, or a great video game. Currently he’s saving the universe with Master Chief in Halo 5: Guardians as he patiently awaits the arrival of Star Wars Episode VII, which he will certainly see dozens of times.

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