Star Wars action figures. They’re among the most popular and most expensive collectibles in the world, with the rarest pieces going for as much as houses. Naturally, they’re still making toys for the new movies, and they’re all pretty good. But not every figure in the modern era of Star Wars is.
The modern era of Star Wars action figures began in 1995, with the launch of the Power of the Force 2 (POTF2) line. Let’s just say it was a rough start. Things have improved a lot in the last twenty-five years, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some clunkers. Here are the ten worst modern Star Wars figures, ranked. All pictures credited to the amazing archive at Rebelscum!
10 POTF2 Princess Leia
Things got off to a bad start right away in 1995 with this attempt at the beloved princess of Alderaan. Carrie Fisher’s likeness was historically hard to capture until just recently (thanks to advancements in printing technology), but that was no excuse for what fans derisively dubbed ‘Monkey Face Leia.’
This unflattering portrait was paired with a figure that, like the rest of the initial offerings in the Power of the Force 2 line, gave all the characters uncharacteristic muscular builds. A better version would follow in 1998, but some scars never fade.
9 SAGA Mace Windu (Arena Confrontation)
The Jedi were kind of puppets on strings for Darth Sidious in the prequels, but this is ridiculous. In the early 2000s, in the middle of the prequel trilogy, Hasbro got experimental.
The static poses went out the window in favor of extreme action poses and gimmicky action features like the one stabbing Mace Windu in the back here. The rod protruding from his back allows you to manipulate his rubber arms into lightsaber slashing and dueling poses until the rod broke, which it often did.
8 Padme Amidala (Ambush On Ilum)
Proving the ghosts of the past would haunt Star Wars collectors well into the future, this version of Padme Amidala from the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars micro-series debuted in 2007. An ok figure by the standards of the time, she fared poorly in comparison to most of the figures in the rest of this set.
She had limited articulation, and a static action pose mostly left behind a few years before. Fans weren’t happy, and before long – the next year in fact – Hasbro would revisit this outfit with a better version.
7 R2-D2 (with Launching Lightsaber)
This monstrosity of plastic engineering raises some serious questions about our favorite little astromech droid. Look at the middle leg. Look at it. Early on in the modern run of Star Wars action figures, accuracy wasn’t a high priority. So fans got things like this version of R2.
An R2-D2 that actually fires Luke Skywalker’s green lightsaber to him during the battle at the Sarlacc Pit is an awesome idea, but in execution, it leaves a lot to be desired. If R2 had rolled around on that third leg in the movie, he probably would have gotten stopped.
6 Mace Windu (Geonosian Rescue)
Poor Mace Windu. As cool as Samuel L. Jackson is, his early action figures didn’t do too hot. This figure debuted in 2002 with the launch of Attack of the Clones and is infamous for its screaming head. Mace Windu never wore this expression in the movies.
Well, maybe except for when Palpatine and Anakin murdered him in Revenge of the Sith, but that was three years after this toy hit the shelves. Accompanied by a slashing attack feature, this figure was perpetually angry.
5 Han Solo (Carbon Freeze Playset)
A theme develops: action features don’t really work with Star Wars action figures. They basically sit or stand and look cool. That has never stopped Hasbro, and one of the early and unfortunate experimentations with making the figures do stuff is this Han Solo from a Star Wars Fan Club exclusive Carbon Freeze playset.
Usually, kids use their imaginations playing with toys, and they would have been better off left with them here. The fabric carbonite didn’t produce the desired effect, making it look like someone was hiding under the covers rather than frozen in ice.
4 Spirit Obi-Wan Kenobi
If there’s one thing Star Wars collectors agree on, it’s they want everybody. It doesn’t matter if a character doesn’t have lines or is only partially seen behind someone else, they’re fair game.
So the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi was inevitable and made a big splash when Kenner offered him as part of a mail-away promotion with Frito-Lay in 1996. Except the final figure was a blue translucent statue that fans dubbed the ‘Windex’ figure. That didn’t stop Kenner or Hasbro from making figures of dead Jedi though.
3 POTF2 Rebel Fleet Trooper
If the Rebel Fleet Troopers had these kinds of muscles in the original Star Wars film, then the Stormtroopers and Darth Vader never would have made it through that hallway. The credits would have rolled before we ever got to meet any of the main characters.
This behemoth towered over all the other figures in the line when it debuted in 1997. Fans were very disappointed, as they had been looking forward to this figure since Kenner forgot him in the original vintage line. Better versions followed later (there are always better versions to come).
Everybody remembers when R5-D4 split open and launched missiles at the Imperial forces invading the Lars homestead, right? No? This figure is a classic case of mid-90s extremism.
Kenner designers must have thought a random droid wouldn’t be interesting, so to make him exciting, they housed a rocket inside his body and fitted his legs with laser guns. Even more astounding, legend has it this figure was initially intended to be another version of R2-D2 (which to be fair, R2 hides a lot of stuff).
1 Luke Skywalker (Throne Room Duel)
Here he is. The crowning achievement in what-the-hell-happened. This version of Luke Skywalker from the throne room duel with Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi was so bad, Hasbro announced another, better version of this same outfit almost immediately.
A rage-monster with a hack-and-slash action feature to cut through some railing, this Luke is so far from the movies – and reality – that it may have killed off action features in 3 and 3/4 inch Star Wars figures forever. Afterward, they mostly focused on enhanced articulation and accurate likenesses.
Star Wars action figures have been a staple of the franchise since the first film, but some modern figures were pretty horrible.