Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Star Wars: Imperial Sentinel from the Expanded Universe collection by Kenner

(Look into the eyes of your impending doom.)

Kenner's Expanded Universe series came too early in the Star Wars figure series. Kenner fully relaunched Star Wars in 1995 and this series only came out three years after that. Only fans that were seriously immersed in the saga would have had any clue who these eight figures were. Hell, most people's first introduction to the Expanded Universe was Shadows of the Empire for N64, which is still in my personal top 5 N64 games of all time. But even the figure series based on Shadows of the Empire didn't make it past the first wave of figures and ships. No Virago ship, no Skyhook space station and no figure of Dash Rendar's faithful co-pilot Leebo (LE-BO2D9). Also, Lucas says only what's in the movies should be considered canon and nothing else. So at any time he could completely debunk an entire continuity just on the whim of continuing the Star Wars Saga past episode 6 or before episode 1. In the end, the Expanded Universe exists by the good graces of George Lucas and no one else.

(care of figure-archive.com)

This series for me was so cool since I was always reading the novels and comic books. When I saw names like Admiral Thrawn or Mara Jade, it sent my mind racing into thinking about all the figures they could make out of my favorite characters. The only serious downside was the price of these figures was slightly more than the basic figure assortment on the shelves. All things considered, they were worth it to support a budding line but it didn't do it any good. Out of all eight, one figure stood out above anyone else, the Imperial Sentinel.

This figure was massive, filling the bubble top to bottom and left to right he was worth all the money. But there was something more about him, like I had seen him before but in an older picture and it wasn't the comic book. At this point it finally came to me, this was the original design for Atha Prime with a couple of color changes. Atha Prime was supposed to be the main villain after the fall of the emperor if Lucas had continued Star Wars past Return of the Jedi. His back story was that he was a genetics terrorist that had a falling out with the Emperor and had been banished into the most remote part of the galaxy with his clone warriors. His story was supposed to be able to bridge Obi-Wan's mention of the Clone Wars to the Star Wars saga, instead we got Jar Jar Binks, an Australian-accented precursor to Boba Fett and fairly cool ethnic cleansing of the Jedi Order. This made the figure even more desirable to me, like a small piece of Star Wars history that never was in physical form in front of me. One good thing about Lucas is that he never throws away an idea for a character, it will eventually be used or recycled into something else later down the line.

The Imperial Sentinel has only 4 points of articulation and no legs. His base is the similar, but not identical, as the late 90's Royal Guard figure which give the figure a strange salt and pepper shaker feeling. He comes packaged with an ax staff, which I'm sure is called something like a vibro-ax or force ax or something like that ( in the Star Wars universe you can't have something as simple as a plain old knife, it's gotta vibrate or something. Don't believe me, read one of the character guides.). An added bonus feature was the back of the card opened up into a pop up diorama to proudly display your figures, like they walked off the comic pages and into your hand.
(original design art of Atha Prime)

(not just one but two times the fun)

(actually a Star Wars mini of the Imperial Sentinel, like I said Lucas rarely shit cans a design.)
(excellent example of the instant diorama on the back of the package)

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