|Princess Leia Unproduced Poncho Outfit|
|The piece you see here was part of an important find of prototypes relating to Kenner's 12" action figure line. As you've probably already figured out, the figure is a standard 12" Princess Leia, first released in 1978. But the outfit is something else entirely. It looks like nothing the Leia character appeared in in any of the Star Wars films. Rather, it was conceived as a leisure outfit, which Leia might have worn while spending her free time flying around the galaxy, or doing whatever else young female senators in the Star Wars galaxy do for fun.
All of the pieces shown on this page are parts of either a "Photo Sample," made for photography purposes, or a "Quote Sample," made to send to Kenner's vendors for cost estimates and production guidance. The outfit you see on the doll above is the photo sample.
An image of this photo sample--adorning a production Leia doll--was first published in Steve Sansweet's book, Star Wars, from Concept to Screen to Collectible. Until recently, that photo was the only piece of evidence proving that the outfit had indeed been created. Fortunately, these pieces Todd has came with a glossy print of the original file photo, the same one published in Sansweet's book. It can be seen above.
The outfit Todd has may or may not be the one shown in the photograph; indications are that it probably is the same. As the outfit was found, it was loose, without a doll to display it on. It was also missing its original accessories, which included a pair of plastic binoculars and a pair of brownish-orange boots. Luckily, Todd was able to find nearly identical binoculars in another Kenner line. As for the boots, they're colored versions of those packaged with Kenner's International Velvet doll of around the same time. Many of these prototype outfits were photographed with versions of these boots. So Todd found a pair and painted them accordingly. Interestingly, these boots seem to have served as the basis for those packaged with the standard Han Solo 12" figure. Although the Velvet boots are shorter in the toe than the Han versions, the stirrup-like detail around the heels and ankles is exactly the same.
The story behind this outfit and its counterparts (which also can be found on the Archive) is fascinating. Apparently, Kenner was planning on releasing mid-priced outfit/accessory packs for their line of Star Wars 12" dolls, much as they had for their extremely popular Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman lines. To present this concept to Lucasfilm for approval, several conceptual outfits were created. They can be seen in the photo above. Disco was popular at the time, and the oufits reflected its glittery aesthetic. Lucasfilm, however, had different ideas of what these outfits should look like. They asked that the colors be toned down and the metallic fabrics be eliminated. Also, that goofy "disco ghost" outfit on the far right was nixed entirely. But the rest went through some modifications and were eventually ok'd for release. This Leia outfit is the only one in this find which is not represented among the photographed concept prototypes. However, an early version of it was shown in another Kenner file photo, one which has been published by Tomart. This photo shows a Leia poncho outfit that is very similar in design to the one that Todd owns, but that is primarily white in color.
Still, Kenner wasn't too happy with the sales of their 12" Star Wars figures and the planned outfit packs were cancelled before going into production. But before they were cancelled, plenty of work went into producing "Quote Samples" for the purpose of determing production costs. These samples include a fully-finished prototype of the outfit; patterns, so that Kenner's vendor could reproduce the prototype exactly; and several specification sheets. Above you see the patterns for this outfit, complete with hand written identifications.
The above five pieces of paper are the spec. sheets included with the quote sample. The information included here would have allowed the manufacturer of these oufits to know exactly what types of fabrics to use. They include samples of the materials used for the outfit, as well as reference to an identical fabric used to make an earlier Kenner outfit.
Here's the prototype that was included with the quote sample. It's basically the same as the jumpsuit on the above photo sample. It's tagged for the purpose of identification.
Finally (if you're still reading), here's the envelope the sample material came in. It has the name of the oufit written across the front of it. And the fact that it's a Kenner envelope makes it all the nicer.
Any way you cut it, these outfits are a major find of unproduced Star Wars toys. It's especially nice to know that they were approved for production by both LFL and Kenner, and cancelled only after their development was almost entirely finished. This outfit certainly must rank among the most special things in Todd's collection, and thanks have to go to an anonymous collector and Gus Lopez for tracking it down.
To see the design of the blister card that would have been used to package this outfit, click here.
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|From the collection of:||Todd Chamberlain|
|Film:||A New Hope|
|Category:||Toys / Action Figure Related / Large Size Action Figures|