Mock-Up Star Wars Action Figures

This confidential internal Kenner photo shows what is almost certainly the first three-dimensional representation of a Star Wars action figure. From left to right we have:

  • Luke Skywalker
  • Chewbacca
  • Stormtrooper
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Princess Leia
  • C-3PO
  • Han Solo
  • Darth Vader
  • R2-D2

This photograph, along with twelve others from this collection, is dated May 10th, 1977, a mere 15 days before A New Hope hit theaters. It is likely these figures were created shortly before that. Considering that it takes a toy company approximately 12-18 months to get a toy from concept to store shelf, we can see how truly behind Kenner was in bringing Star Wars toys to the market.

Most of these figures are mock-ups created from Fisher Price Adventure People-- an already existing toy line. However, C-3PO and R2-D2 are not. C-3PO is a cardboard stand-in, while R2-D2 appears to be made from scratch. As these mock-ups were only meant to show each figure's general appearance and basic functionality, these types of shortcuts are understandable.

It is interesting to note that there are nine figures shown here. Kenner decided to add the Death Squad Commander, Tusken Raider, and Jawa to the 12-back line shortly after the original nine characters.

In the summer of 2005, a former Kenner designer attended the Ohio Star Wars Collectors Club Summer Social where he brought with him a binder full of Kenner photos and blueprints. Among those photos was the following:

Here we see the same mock-up figures as before, except C-3PO has now been replaced with an actual mock-up (not made of cardboard) and the Tusken Raider and Jawa have been added. Both include capes made from socks. The Death Squad Commander was probably the last figure to be mocked-up. Another view of these two new figures (plus a mocked-up Death Squad Commander) can be seen in on page 32 of the 1978 Toltoys catalog.

The Star Wars Collectors Archive is proud to ring in 2006 with these never-before-seen photos. Who could have imagined what these few prototype toys would eventually lead to 29 years later. Indeed, these prototypes would form the basis for many kids' childhoods, created a legion of collectors, and revolutionized the toy industry itself.

To view the other photographs from this collection, simply click on the following links:

Description by: Isaac Lew
Photo: Isaac Lew, Dustin Roberts
From the collection of: Anonymous
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Product Concepts


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