Gary Collinson reviews Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi Force Link Starter Set Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker action figures…
We’re just a few months away from the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which of course means a brand new range of action figures tying in to the hugely-anticipated sequel – and this time, we even get a Luke Skywalker! Rejoice!
Hasbro’s range of The Last Jedi action figures invaded stores on Force Friday II earlier this month, and unlike the Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story lines, this year’s figures have thankfully done away with those unnecessary Build-a-Weapon accessories. Instead, the figures and vehicles come equipped with ‘Force Link’ technology, which promises to “bring the galaxy to life” through various dialogue, sounds and lighting.
In order to access these Force Link sounds, you’ll need to get your hands on a piece of wearable technology via the Force Link Starter Set, which includes a wristband/gauntlet contraption, along with a 3.75″ Kylo Ren action figure.
Force Link is basically an updated version of the CommTech chips that were included with The Phantom Menace figures (for those of you old enough to remember them!), although this time it’s the figures themselves that activate the sounds, rather than stands. Basically, you strap the kit to your wrist (after inserting three AAA batteries), pick up the figure, wave it about, and you’re up and running. In the case of Kylo Ren, we get some lightsaber sounds, as well as a handful of phrases which may or may not be from The Last Jedi (I’ll tell you in December).
I’ll be upfront here: personally, I’m much more interested in the action figures themselves than the wearable tech. That being said, the sound quality – particularly the dialogue – is a big improvement over the old CommTech chips, and I’m sure kids will have lots of fun with the Force Link effects. The Starter Set retails for around £25, so it’s not particularly cheap, but if your child is expecting Santa to deliver them a near-full set of figures and vehicles this Christmas, then it’s definitely going to add some additional play value.
The big plus point with the Force Link Starter Set for me is the inclusion of a rather nice Kylo Ren figure in his new costume, which (I believe) is the only masked version of the character in said costume in the Last Jedi line so far. As with the rest of the standard 3.75″ figures, Kylo features five points of articulation, and while his mask isn’t removable, his new Vader-esque cloak is. Naturally we also get his signature crossguard lightsaber, although the lack of wrist articulation means we’re a little limited in terms of poses. Overall though, I really like this version of the Master of the Knights of Ren – his costume looks great, and it’s easily my favourite of the 3.75″ Kylo Ren figures we’ve seen to date.
And so, we come to the figure that I – and many others, I’m sure – have been waiting for since September 2015: Luke Skywalker in his Jedi Master robes, as seen at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rather sadly, I waited outside of my local Smyths Toy Store about ten minutes before opening on Force Friday II to make sure I could get my hands on this figure. There were a couple of fellow thirtysomething nerds waiting alongside me. Through the glass doors, I could see the figure sitting there in the display stand. So could they. It got tense. The doors opened. We raced in. One guy was faster than me, and just as I thought all hope was lost… he walked straight past the Star Wars display to the Cars 3 section. The figure was mine! All mine!
As you may be able to tell, I was very excited to get this Luke Skywalker figure, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s fair to say the quality of some of the regular Star Wars figures has been mixed over the past few years, but Hasbro has definitely hit a home run with this one, particularly with the head sculpt which delivers a solid likeness of Mark Hamill. It really is a fine figure indeed.
As with Kylo Ren, Luke comes with a removable robe (in case you want to show off his robotic hand), along with the aforementioned Force Link technology. Don’t expect any “Rey, I am your father” reveals with his phrases though. Interestingly, Luke doesn’t come with any accessories either, although his belt does include a clip for a lightsaber. My guess is that, as with the first Rey figure from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this is to avoid any spoilers… as in he’s wielding a red blade in The Last Jedi. That’s my theory, anyway – although the Luke Skywalker (Jedi Exile) figure from the second wave includes some kind of staff, so maybe I’ll be proven wrong come December.
Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi figures are available in stores now, with a second wave set to follow soon. You can check out promotional images of the first wave of Last Jedi products here, as well as images of the second wave here, and the upcoming Black Series and Vintage Collection figures here.
In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set for release on December 14th in the UK and December 15th in the States and sees returning cast members Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt), and Warwick Davis joined by new additions Jimmy Vee (Pan) as R2-D2, Kelly Marie Tran (Ladies Like Us) as Rose, and Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park).