Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Imperial Items I'd Like to See in the Star Wars: Rebels Animated Series



This year's New York Comic Con (NYCC) came and went last weekend, and it had the usual geeky fanfare: panel discussions, celebrity appearances, cosplay, and previews of upcoming films, TV shows, and merchandise. From this particular NYCC event, the one event that really stood out from the others was the preview presentation of the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels, a CGI animated series that will debut in the fall of 2014 on Disney XD. The presentation was given by Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, and it gave many tantalizing glimpses into the series that will show fans what the Star Wars universe was like during the rapid growth of the Empire after the Clone Wars and the early days of the Rebel Alliance.

Of the many details that were revealed during the presentation, one in particular caught my attention: the inclusion of vintage Star Wars toys as part of the series' vehicles and weapons. In particular, the Imperial Troop Transport, a vehicle toy that was released by Kenner as part of their toy line in the late 70s, will be used by the Imperial characters in Rebels.


The original Imperial Troop Transporter toy by Kenner ... 


... and the Imperial Troop Transporter that will be seen in Star Wars: Rebels.


With that in mind--and the fact that toy companies love to reissue old toys to save on production costs--Rebels could bring back many previous toy designs into official Star Wars canon. Read on to see some additional Imperial vehicles and Stromtroopers that could be returned to the spotlight through Rebels.

Mini-Rigs

Shortly after the release of Empire Strikes Back in 1980, Kenner began releasing smaller vehicle toys for its action figures called "Mini-Rigs". None of these vehicles appear in any of the Star Wars movies, but their smaller size and cheaper price made them ideal products for Kenner to squeeze a few more dollars out of the Star Wars license.

Of course, some Mini-Rig designs were better than others. The two that I would like to see in Rebels are the CAP-2 Captivator, which looks like a vehicle than can be used for both space combat and repairs, and the INT-4 Interceptor, a scout craft with retractable wings that looks like a legless AT-ST and was designed to fit inside of Kenner's AT-AT toy.

The INT-4 Interceptor.



The Imperial Outpost Playset

Kenner's line of Star Wars toys began to wind down during the mid-80s, but it wasn't ready to let go of such profitable series just yet. It put together a binder of conceptual ideas to keep the toy line running through 1985 and 1986, although none of the toys suggested in the binder made it to production. One of the toy ideas is conceptual artwork for an Imperial Outpost Playset. It looks like a modified version of the Imperial shield generator base in Return of the Jedi, and I think it would be great if this idea could be dusted off for use in Rebels.




The TIE Defender

Galoob was one of the toy companies that picked up the Star Wars license during the 90s, and it is largely remembered for producing miniatures of many Star Wars vehicles as part of its Micro Machines line. Most of the Micro Machines vehicles were from the first three Star Wars movies, although a handful were from Star Wars novels and video games. A replica of the TIE Defender, which first appeared in the Star Wars: TIE Fighter video game, was released in the Micro Machines Action Fleet line, a line of vehicle toys that were bigger than the regular Micro Machines toys and came with tiny figures that could fit inside the vehicle. Even though the Extended Universe stories place the first appearance of the TIE Defender just before the events in Return of the Jedi, it would be nice to see this or some other alternate design appear alongside standard TIE Fighters in the Rebels series.




Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its sequel were two video games that took place in the same era as Rebels. While it hasn't been confirmed as of yet if Force Unleashed is still part of Star Wars canon and if any of its characters and events will be involved in Rebels, it would be a shame to let the alternate Stormtrooper and Imperial Guard designs created for the games go to waste--especially since these designs have already been released as action figures and could be re-released with Rebels packaging. The designs include an EVO Trooper, Jump Trooper, Incinerator Trooper, and Shadow Guard.






2 comments:

  1. Great article. I didn't really get into the Star Wars toy collecting when I was younger, but seeing these awesome pics, makes me wish I did. I hope as well that Rebels brings back some of those older designs in toy form.

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    1. Yeah, the Star Wars franchise really is a toy collector's paradise--particularly now, since Hasbro is still releasing all sorts of high-quality Star Wars toys. Nevertheless, the older stuff by Kenner and Galoob has its own charm, and I still regret that I didn't collect all of the scale-accurate Action Fleet vehicles.

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