Friday, December 16, 2005

A Look Inside Kenner's Aborted Star Wars Plans for 1985 & 1986

With Return of the Jedi already 2 years old and The Phantom Menace still 16 years away, Kenner was desperately trying to find new ways to energize the waning sales of their popular Star Wars action figure line. Apparently a number of new products had actually reached the prototype stage. Below is an article providing details about a "secret" Kenner binder as well as a series of pictures of what might have been.

"This Special Feature is a virtual flip-through of a very special presentation binder. The binder was acquired from a Hasbro employee who worked on Kenner's Star Wars line during the 1980s. He was part of the team that was tasked with coming up with a way to extend the longevity of one of the most successful toy lines in history. There is a great article about this line extension by Steve Sansweet in Topps' Star Wars Galaxy Collector Magazine, Issue 2, Winter 1995. It is obvious from reading the article that Steve, or somebody he was interviewing for the article, had access to a presentation binder like the one shown here. Steve even mentions in the article the existence of these presentation binders and the chance that somebody might come up with one someday.

The binder itself is an ordinary black 3-ring binder, with pockets on the inside covers. The first four pages, and some of the larger single pages, were placed in the pockets. The rest of the pages are in sheet protectors. The binder was given out during a presentation to Lucasfilm. This binder provides us with a great view of what Kenner would have had in store for Star Wars fans in 1985 and 1986 if Lucasfilm had approved their plans.

The pages for the X-Wing and Tandem X-Wing are missing from this copy. The X-Wing would have been the same old X-Wing that Kenner had been selling since 1978. The Tandem X-Wing can be seen in the Galaxy Collector magazine article, or in the hardcover version of the Second Edition of Tomart's Priceguide to Worldwide Star Wars Collectibles.

This binder and all the pages included in it are from the collection of Lisa Stevens and Vic Wertz, the authors of this Special Feature."








6 comments:

Octopunk said...

Ha! Those are a riot! I've never seen these before. An AT-AT with a flatbed, who knew?

The cut-and-paste style is hilarious. There's a Zuckuss with 21-B's resperator and arms (the extra arms sticking straight up out of his shoulders, holding 4-LOM's gun). There's a mangled 21-B right below that, and the Mongo Beefhead Tribesman has Jedi Luke's body (I think), Hammerhead's arms, and Squidhead's head, mounted so its neck is facing forward.

Why, it'd be a cinch to make these ourselves!

Octopunk said...

And what's General Madine doing next to that rust-colored Snowspeeder? Were they going to include a free Madine fig with the vehicle? They probably had a lot left over.

Octopunk said...

I forgot Mongo Beefhead's vest thingie, which I'm pretty sure was boosted from 4-LOM.

(When I refer to 4-LOM and Zuckuss, I am of course using the original designations, before they flipped them.)

JPX said...

Of course I fully expected you to recognize where all those kit-bashed figs came from - I mean, if you hadn't I would've been very sad. It shows you that even back then Kenner was tryng to figure out ways to re-use old molds. The one thing I'll say about the original Star Wars figures is that Kenner very rarely double-dipped it's figures. All I can really think of is R2 and 3PO.

Octopunk said...

Gah! I just this second noticed that the "head" on the "Zuckuss with four arms" thing is made from the glued together shoulders they hacked off those same 21-B arms! Jesus!

Mac said...

check out the whole binder....
http://www.toysrgus.com/images-speci/85LineExt/index.html