Princess Leia Organa (Kenner, 1995)

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It was 20 years ago when Star Wars began it’s incredible resurgence in the public eye. After roughly a decade of taking a back seat to various other franchises such as Transformers, Ghostbusters, He-Man, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was time for the masses to rediscover the magic of that universe far far away. Kicked off by the re-release of the trilogy in THX, those who grew up with the films but tucked their fandom away in the back of their minds became full blown addicts again. The re-release also introduced the movies to a new generation creating a brand new fanbase of young children.

An integral part of the resurgence was an entirely new line of Star Wars figures being sold under the tag “The Power of the Force”. As mentioned in a previous post about the R5-D4 figure, Kenner (now a subsidiary of Hasbro) took a multitude of creative liberties with the new line. The aforementioned R5-D4 figure featured a break open body revealing a spring loaded missile. Most kids and collectors would probably have preferred a simple “straight up” droid with no gimmicks. Luke, Vader, and Han Solo were given the physiques of pro wrestlers. Although they never appeared that way in any of the films, at least you could understand the approach Kenner was taking. Everything in the 1990’s was “extreme” and they were giving the figures an exaggerated look. What they chose to do with their Princess Leia Organa figure however is still baffling.

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That figure has a better resemblance to Susan B. Anthony than it does Carrie Fisher. See for yourself.

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Good heavens!  It really is an uncanny resemblance.  Perhaps someone in the Kenner offices lost their manila envelope full of Carrie Fisher screen stills and publicity shots.  In a panic and not sure how to proceed with the workload assigned, they pulled a dollar coin out of their pocket and went to work.  After all, this Star Wars thing is just a flash in the pan anyway right?  Who cares what kind of sculpt is on a children’s toy?  Little did that nameless employee realize that die hard fanboys obsess over licensed merchandise and discuss these pieces of painted plastic decades after they are out of production.  Looking at this figure’s gruesome mug I think Austin Powers summed it up best.

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Everything from the hands to the body type to the stature screams masculinity. Even the gown they dressed her in looks ridiculous. She comes packaged with the sporting blaster seen on the Tantive IV in A New Hope. In addition to this is some kind of heavy blaster rifle I’ve never seen before. In the early days of modern Star Wars figure collecting variants were all the rage. Princess Leia had a variant in the sculpting of her belt. The first release had 3 rings on the belt, the 2nd release had 2 rings. These days I don’t think too many people care but in 1995 traders and hobbyists hunted these variants down.

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Not long after hitting store pegs the figure earned the nickname of “Monkey Face Leia”. Subsequent releases were softened and feminized and in 1998 Hasbro reissued a new sculpt of Princess Leia in her Episode IV digs to rectify this mistake. If nothing else, this figure has provided quite a bit of comedic relief over the past 20 years and for that it was well worth the purchase.

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