Back in early 1983, before Return of the Jedi was released, action figures in support of the movie started hitting store shelves. Now, at that point, no one knew what an Ewok was. And Lucasfilm wanted to keep the reveal a secret, which meant keeping the Ewoks off toy store shelves until after the movie was released. So kids could get their Biker Scout, or an assortment of ghouls from Jabba’s palace, but there were no Ewoks. Now, what’s interesting here is that the toy Ewoks were in certainly in production. But Lucasfilm went as far to blot them out of the marketing on the back of action figure packages, with no explanation that these were blotted out. For three months of my life I thought this is what Ewoks looked like: Evil shadow blobs.
This all reminds me of the whole Baby Yoda situation (yes, I know his official name is “The Child”) and the fact there wasn’t any merchandise to buy when The Mandalorian was actually on. (That’s another weird thing about streaming. I guess it’s technically always “on.”) I realize there was no internet in 1983 and there was very little chance toy Ewok images were going to leak, as opposed to today. So I get it, if this needed to be a true surprise, Baby Yoda toys couldn’t be being made in factories around the world.
But was Baby Yoda that big of a reveal? I remember being spoiled that he was “the big secret” and I shrugged. At least, it wasn’t really a plot-driven spoiler. Like, say, if it were baby Ben Solo, or something like that. And it’s not like we haven’t seen other Yodas before. But Baby Yoda became popular not because of his mere existence, but because people really loved the character and thought he was cute “doing things.” Anyway, this is a long way of saying I’m not convinced just a picture of a toy would have spoiled anything.
But, the good news is there will be plenty of Baby Yoda merchandise to buy very soon and it was all on full display at Toy Fair. And, on Tuesday, I went to Toy Fair and took some pictures and a few videos of the Baby Yoda toys you’ll probably be owning very soon. (And, also, it’s the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (which is a bit depressing) so Hasbro is doing a big push celebrating this fact. I have some images of this, too. Look, it’s the only day a year I get to pretend my job is to just write about Star Wars toys. I look forward to this day every year. It’s like my Pretzel Day on The Office.)
Well, here’s the Baby Yoda that will be in a lot of homes very soon. I asked how much it cost and expected some crazy number, but it’s apparently going to be under $60. Though, it doesn’t come with the cradle we see here. But, still, it’s weird knowing this very realistic toy will be in the house of pretty much everyone I know in a matter of months.
There’s also an assortment of so many other Baby Yoda toys for your purchasing pleasure, including the Black Series Yoda (shown first) that is surprisingly small, but has to be in scale to the other six-inch figure.
So, you like Baby Yoda? Well, I have news for you, because there’s a movie turning 40 this year that includes the first time we ever met the real Yoda. (It’s kind of weird to realize the actual Yoda is 10 years younger in our real-time then Baby Yoda is supposed to be on The Mandalorian. Yoda seems older than The Empire Strikes Back, somehow.) Anyway, I’m including these photos from The Empire Strikes Back 40th-anniversary collection just because they are cool. I love that classic Empire packaging. It’s such a smart design: just a logo and a huge color photo of the action figure represented. Here, it’s being reused for a few repackaged Black Series figures (which mean, yes, I will be re-buying action figures I already own) and two new additions: Hoth Rebel Soldier and Luke Snow Speeder Pilot. (Also, technically, the R2-D2 packaging is brand new packaging not from the original line and he now has a senserscope.)
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