The Star Wars saga began in 1977 with the original Star Wars, beginning the trend for summer blockbusters. Next came The Empire Strikes Back, not as popular but artistically superior. The final film was Return of the Jedi, delighting fans with Jaba the Hutt and annoying them with the Ewoks, a race created for cheap merchandising.

Years later, the saga was ruined by the soul-less and flatulence-celebrating SW:The Phantom Menace and JarJar Binks. Despite high hopes, SW: Attack of the Clones has proven to be a flaccid come-back, better than SW: The Phantom Menace but sub-par in comparison to the original trilogy.

Star Wars celebrates a landmark year in 2002 with the release of the second prequel, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and the 25th anniversary since A New Hope in 1977.

In conjunction with Episode II's release, Hasbro unveils a new packaging for their Star Wars toys dubbed simply, Star Wars Saga.

Unifying the Star Wars brand under one assortment, the Saga packaging features the new but familiar logo of the classic hands with ignited lightsaber set against a blue starry background and a design reminiscent of Kenner's vintage action figure line.
Figues from all of the films will be introduced with this packaging.



ATTACK OF THE CLONES

Anakin Skywalker (Hanger Duel)
Anakin Skywalker (Outland Peasant)
Battle Droid (Arena Battle)
Boba Fett (Kamino Escape)
C-3PO (Protocol Droid)
Captain Typho (Padmé's Head Of Security)
Clone Trooper
Count Dooku (Dark Lord)
Dexter Jettster (Coruscant Informant)
Geonosian Warrior
Jango Fett (Kamino Escape)
Jango Fett (Final Battle)
Jar Jar Binks (Gungan Senator)
Jorg Sacul (X-Wing Fighter)
Kit Fisto (Jedi Master)
Luminara Unduli (Jedi Master)
Mace Windu (Geonosian Rescue)
Massif (With Geonosian Handler)
Nikto (Jedi Knight)
Obi- Wan (Coruscant Chase)
Orn Free Taa (Senator)
Padmé Amidala (Arena Escape)
Palpatine (Supreme Chancellor)
Plo Koon (Arena Battle)
R2-D2 (Coruscant Sentry)
R3-T7
Royal Guard (Coruscant Security)
Saesee Tiin (Jedi Master)
Shaak Ti (Jedi Master)
Super Battle Droid
Taun We (Kamino Cloner)
Tusken Raider Female (With Tusken Child)
Yoda (Jedi Master)
Zam Wesell (Bounty Hunter)


THE PHANTOM MENACE

Qui Gon Jinn (Jedi Master)


A NEW HOPE

Djas Puhr (Cantina Alien)


THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Chewbacca (Bespin Escape)
Darth Vader (Bespin)
Luke Skywalker (Bespin Duel)


RETURN OF THE JEDI

Endor Soldier (Beard)
Endor Soldier (Helmet)
Han Solo (Endor Raid)



Ships and Vehicles
Anakin Skywalker's Speeder
Jedi Starfighter
Republic Gunship
Slave I
Zam Wesell's Speeder
The “Star Wars Saga” action figures are not just packaged differently from the older Hasbro lines. Many of them are much better made, as well, and seem geared towards collectors rather than the traditional children’s market. The sculpting is cleaner and more accurate than it ever has been in the past (shout if you remember Big-Head Han!) and more accessories are being packed in with the figures. The poses are dramatic, and most of these figures have some sort of “Force action” or other gimmicks built into them - R2-D2 beeps electronically, C-3PO comes with removable plates to cover his wiring, and several figures have spring-loaded arms for quick lightsaber moves. Hasbro seems to have finally realised that the simple poseable 3 3/4" dolls are no longer as exciting as they were in 1977. I think we have McFarlane Toys to thank for this new thinking in the action figure world - as far as I know, McFarlane and their Spawn figures were the first to mass-produce this type of action figure.

Of course, not all is perfect with the Saga figures. One thing I find horribly tacky about them is the deplorable use of bright “crystal” plastic attachments simulating blaster fire and electrical effects. Many of them come with little muzzle flash effects that are meant to attach to the weapons, supposedly making it look like the weapons are actually firing. Not since Darth Vader’s “Look, I’ve got a red plastic wire sticking out of my hand” lightsaber in the original Kenner line, have I seen such an ugly accessory for an action figure. It looks hideous on a figure sitting on a shelf as part of a carefully posed geek army, and I can’t imagine that little kids are playing with it much.

---“ZAP! CRACKLE!! You’re dead, Jedi scum!”
---“No I’m not, you forgot to snap the plastic 40-watt phased plasma effect on your blaster. ZZOOM-SWISH-HUM. Eat lightsaber energy, you poop!”
---“Argh. I’m dead.”

One more thing collectors should note: some of these figures, at least in the ATOC line-up, have variant packaging available in the form of little cardboard backdrop inserts within the plastic enclosing the figures. The backdrops show light blue-tinted photos of the appropriate ATOC scenery. From my personal figure hunts in New York City, it seems that the backdrops are in about 1/3 or 1/4 of all these units. Some stores hardly stock any figures with backdrops, while others (notably Toys’R’Us) have backdrops in every unit. While meatspace stores charge the same price for figures with and without backdrops, online merchants geared towards collectors are charging up to $15 more for backdropped figures. I don’t like the insanity of variant hunting, so I wouldn’t go out and look for the backdrops specifically, but if you see them, buy them.

Here is a list of all figures (so far) that have backdrop versions:

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