Author Archive



From Boonta to Baobab: Droids and the Star Wars Prequels

Tim Veekhoven | April 1, 2014

Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO aired on ABC in the US in 1985 and 1986. The cartoon was developed by Nelvana, but it only lasted one season (13 episodes) and one special (“The Great Heep”). The episodes aired during the Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour, which also showed an episode of Nelvana’s other Star Wars cartoon: Ewoks. Droids was a typical US cartoon (though Nelvana itself was Canadian) from the mid-eighties, so it couldn’t show physical violence. Droids also aired in other countries, such as Spain and France, where it was very popular.

Droids takes place 15 years before the Battle of Yavin. Our beloved droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, hook up with three different masters and they meet a lot of new friends and enemies during these adventures. There is no sign of any of the other heroes from the movies. Still, the series looks like it’s a part of the Star Wars galaxy and from time to time it shows ships and vehicles from the movies (Lambda-class shuttle, Bantha II Cargo Skiff, and TIE fighters) and even from Kenner’s vintage line of toys (probably to promote toys that didn’t sell very well).

Something you might not immediately realize is the fact that the show features several elements or designs which have also appeared in the prequels. Some have been used almost literally, others have been used as a concept or are similar in design. One of the people at Lucasfilm who worked regularly on Droids was sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt wrote the last story arc about the droids’ encounter with adventurer Mungo Baobab. Art director and conceptual designer from the original trilogy, Joe Johnston, co-wrote the elusive episode “Cody and the Starhunters.” It is not exactly known how and why several elements of Droids ended up appearing in the prequels, but it could have been Ben Burtt who offered George Lucas or the conceptual team some ideas for a particular name or design.

Let’s have a look at how Droids influenced the prequels!

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This Is Podracing: Sports in the Star Wars Galaxy, Part 1

Tim Veekhoven | March 26, 2014

Anakin and Sebulba Podracers

The World Cup of football, the Tour de France, the Super Bowl, and the Olympic Games are but a select group of popular sport events that take place on our planet. They’re not only watched in the stadium or on the road, but also followed by millions of fans in front of their television screen. They’ve become massive media events, sponsored and supported by the largest corporations in existence. But what about sport in the Star Wars universe? In this two-part blog we’ll talk about some of the most famous sports in a galaxy far, far away…

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Kenner’s Star Wars Playsets, Part 2: From Icy Trenches to Ewok Campfires

Tim Veekhoven | February 26, 2014

In the first part of this series, I discussed the playsets of A New Hope. Onto the next batch!

Darth Vader's Star Destroyer Action Playset box
Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Action Playset (1980): This one has always been a bit of an ugly Nuna. Not because it’s a bad playset, but because personally I’ve always considered this to be a ship and not a playset. And the Star Destroyer doesn’t look like the Executor at all. The toy can roughly be interpreted as the bridge of Vader’s Super Star Destroyer. The box has an ominous reddish hue and it shows Boba Fett, Bossk, and IG-88 standing on the ship/playset. A picture on the side of box does the same (and even adds Dengar). On the back of the box you can spot a lot of the action features of the set, explained by black and white artwork. Another issue that makes this set rather odd is that most of its features never appear in The Empire Strikes Back.

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Kenner’s Star Wars Playsets, Part 1: Cardboard Death Stars and Creature Cantinas

Tim Veekhoven | February 5, 2014

Star Wars Kenner playset

Bernard Loomis, president of Kenner, decided to make the Star Wars action figures 3 ¾” tall. That decision caused a revolution in the toy industry, as action figures were usually made 12” or 8” tall. The new size meant that the figures could be offered for a reasonable price and that the line could also include spaceships, vehicles, and playsets. Playsets have always been an important part of the toy industry, from those in the Louis Marx Toy line to the Mego sets in the ’70s. With Star Wars, Kenner produced some of the most memorable playsets ever, rivaling classics like Castle Grayskull from Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe’s USS Flagg.

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The Official Star Wars Fact File Returns to Our Galaxy

Tim Veekhoven | January 17, 2014

The Official Star Wars Fact File #1

When Star Wars fandom was preparing itself for the start of the long awaited Clone Wars in the upcoming movie Attack of the Clones, publisher DeAgostini released its very first issue of The Official Star Wars Fact File on December 27, 2001. Fact File would eventually run for 140 issues, filled with Star Wars lore about characters, ships, locations, technology, and much more. Now, Fact File has returned for another series of 120 issues!

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Vintage Kenner Collector’s Cases: Warning! May Cause Hibernation Sickness for Action Figures

Tim Veekhoven | December 6, 2013

Darth Vader Collector's Case by Kenner

One of the true icons of the vintage Kenner toy line is the Darth Vader Collector’s Case.It was already iconic when we were kids and it still is today, even though it really was an ubiquitous toy in the eighties. Besides the Darth Vader case, Kenner did release several other items, meant for carrying your action figures around or for stocking them safely whenever you were asked to clean up your room. Let’s have a look at the different Star Wars collector’s cases from Kenner.

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F.A.C.T.S. 2013: Report from the Largest Convention in the Benelux

Tim Veekhoven | October 29, 2013

factsMain Hall

One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting is returning home from a convention and unloading your loot. Where will the new items find their rightful place? Didn’t I already have this figure? And sometimes, to your delight, you might have even forgotten that you bought a certain item. F.A.C.T.S. (Fantasy Anime Comics Toys and Space) is the largest convention in the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg) and this year the organization celebrated its twentieth anniversary. The convention has evolved throughout the years and you could easily call it the “Benelux Comic Con.” F.A.C.T.S. has always been organized in Ghent, one of the largest cities in Belgium (Flanders), and like Bruges, the city is often visited by tourists because of the medieval streets and buildings. For the fifth time the place to be was Flanders Expo, a large complex with several halls near the city.

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Offscreen, but Not Forgotten: Mini-Rigs, Body-Rigs, and Other Kenner Vehicles

Tim Veekhoven | October 14, 2013

t_vh_vin_imperial_troop_transport

“R2-D2, where are you?” and “There’s one! Set for stun!” will probably be two of the best recognized quotes from the Star Wars movies by parents in the ’70s and ’80s. These phrases were among two of the six sounds produced by Kenner’s Imperial Troop Transport vehicle. It was announced recently during the panel of Star Wars Rebels at New York Comic Con that this iconic toy will appear in the upcoming animated television series. So it seems like a perfect timing to have a closer look at the Kenner vehicles that have not (yet?) made it into a Star Wars movie. But, be not mistaken. Several of these vehicles have already flown, hovered or rolled their way into other mediums of the Star Wars franchise.

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Tessek, Sim Aloo, Pagetti Rook… Kenner Action Names Sold Separately!

Tim Veekhoven | September 13, 2013

Snaggletooth, Ponda, and Momaw.

Ever since I received my first Star Wars figures in 1981 I have always been an avid fan of Kenner’s vintage line. It brought me a lot of childhood memories and it has taken a prominent place in my collection. One of the charms of the Kenner line are the “naive” names given to a lot of the figures. I’ve always embraced and loved more realistic names like Ponda Baba and Momaw Nadon, but I keep calling the Kenner figures Walrus Man and Hammerhead. Lucasfilm rarely named background characters during the production of the classics so Kenner didn’t have much of a choice but to use the production names or a few monikers given in the novelizations or the comics.

What if Lucasfilm had already given all those characters their names when the figures were released? Let’s have a look at the contemporary and alternate names of the Kenner action figures.

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Return of the Jedi Creature History with Pablo Hidalgo

Tim Veekhoven | August 9, 2013

149_CHR_IA_933_forCEIIonly

Saturday was certainly the busiest day at Celebration Europe if you were intending to visit different panels. I’ve known Gerald Home (Tessek, a Mon Calamari Officer) for many years and he said that Return of the Jedi Creature History was going to be a panel that I would enjoy — knowing I’m a fan of trivia and uncovering the smallest details from the movies. I had been able to speak to Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo after the Holocron panel, and Pablo also said I was really going to enjoy it. So I couldn’t wait.

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