The Star Wars franchise is a futuristic, Sci-Fi based franchise. This franchise portrays the constant struggles between the evil Empire and a group of heroes, the Alliance. The franchise also depicts the relationship between humans, robots and droids, and other extraterrestrials. There were mentions of The Force and the war between the Jedi order (those that use the Force for good) and the Sith (those who use the Force’s dark side) with their signature weapons, the lightsaber.
The Star Wars franchise began with the first George Lucas’s Star Wars movie in 1977, and instantaneous became an accepted pop-culture phenomenon. After the success of the Star Wars Trilogy, which contains the first three Star Wars movie (Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi), the franchise grew to consist of other products like more movies, television series, video games, novels, comic books, theme park attractions, and toys.
Kenner Star Wars Action Figures
In 1976, before the release of the first Star Wars movie, George Lucas and his production team sort out top toy producing companies like the Mego Corporation to acquire the license to make action figures for the Star Wars movie, but they all turned down the offer before Kenner Products chose to pick up the license and the rest was a beautiful history. Kenner produced thousands of action figures in different series and subseries based on the original Star Wars trilogy, including the very successful line of 3 3/4 inches action figures, the 12 inches action figures. There was also a line for the Droids and Ewok action figures based on the animated television series.
After the sale of Kenner Products to Hasbro in 1991, Hasbro released some Star Wars action figures under the Kenner brand. It was not until the turn of the century before Hasbro completely replaced Kenner’s signature logo with theirs.
Presenting the best ten vintage Kenner Star Wars toys.
10. Imperial Gunner (1985)
Kenner released the Imperial Gunner action figure in 1985 as part of the Power of the Force series of Star Wars toys. This figure is an all-black figure with a red slit visor and five points of articulation. Then, a Blaster accessory accompanies the toy.
Kenner based their Imperial Gunner action figure on the Imperial Gunners or Death Star Gunners from the original Star Wars Trilogy. The Imperial Gunners were either still training in or washed out from the Imperial Navy Piloting School. Though not a pilot, they have trained to handle, manage, and operate heavy-duty weapons like the Star Destroyer and World Devastator for the Imperial Army.
9. AT-AT Driver (1998)
Kenner released their AT-AT Driver action figure in 1998 as part of the Star Wars Collector Series. By that time, Hasbro had purchased Kenner; however, the company still used the Kenner logo until 1999. The action figure is a 12 inches figure with a firing Imperial Blaster. The AT-AT Driver has a colorful representation of its life support pack and reinforced helmet.
This action figure is a replica of the AT-AT Drivers from the original Star Wars Trilogy. They are the drivers of the most prestigious Imperial vehicle, The AT-AT Walker, which is issued to the best pilots. They are the strongest and elite of the Imperial Soldiers.
8. Chewbacca (1979)
Kenner released their Chewbacca action figure in 1979 as part of the Empire Strikes Back series of the Star Wars toys. The action figure consists of a crossbow rifle, a Bandolier, and 17 ammunition cartridges.
Kenner based this large-size action figure on Chewbacca from the Star Wars Trilogy. Chewbacca was a Wookie male warrior, a smuggler, a mechanic, a pilot, and a resistance fighter. During his adventurous travels, the Empire captured Chewbacca until Captain Han Solo liberated him. He subsequently became Solo’s co-pilot and eventually his best friend. Both Chewbacca and Solo went through many missions and fought many battles together.
7. Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) (1981)
Kenner released a figure of Han Solo wearing his Bespin outfit in 1981 by Kenner Products as part of the Return of the Jedi toys. The action figure possesses five points of articulation and comes with a DH-17 Blaster Pistol.
Kenner based this Han Solo action figure on the character from the original Star Wars Trilogy. In this trilogy, he was a space smuggler, pilot, and Chewbacca’s best friend. After the series, he became Princess Leia’s husband. Han Solo also became a leader in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and fought in many battles alongside Chewbacca. The resistance recognized Han Solo’s contributions and promoted him to a General. He then received command over the Pathfinders unit, who he led on a many successful missions.
In the sequel series, his son, Ben Solo, killed Han Solo as he tried to save him from the dark side, which had enticed and ensnared him.
6. Electronic C-3PO and R2-D2 (1999)
Kenner released C-3PO and R2-D2 action figures as a duo pack in 1999 as part of the Collector Series of the Star Wars toy line. Both the C-3PO and the R2-D2 action figures are electronic, generating both sound and lighting effects. A button on C-3PO’s back activates his talking action, which has about four different phrases. Meanwhile, pushing a button on R2-D2 gives off sounds and lighting actions.
Kenner based these action figures on the droid characters from the Star Wars Trilogy. C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to interact with organisms with its ability to communicate fluently in multiple languages and read various texts. Before he became a Jedi Master, a young Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO. R2-D2 is an Astromech droid that Industrial Automation manufactured. Both C-3PO and R2-D2 served Anakin Skywalker together before the Jedi master turned to the dark side of the Force.
5. Boba Fett (1979)
Kenner released their Boba Fett action figure in 1979 as part of the Empire Strikes Back toy line. This Boba Fett action figure is a colorful toy with five points of articulation, and it comes with a Stormtrooper Blaster. Kenner originally planned for this figure to fire a missile from its backpack, but due to safety reasons, they abandoned the plan.
Kenner based this action figure on the character from the original Star Wars Trilogy, where he was a bounty hunter. Boba Fett is the very first replica of Jango Fett, Boba, and Kamino’s scientists designed the remaining Fett clones as fighters for the Republic’s army. Jango raised Boba as his son and taught him how to become a skilled bounty hunter. After Jango died in battle, Boba Fett grew up alone and became a bounty hunter at a youthful age. He went on to become a great bounty hunter taking assignments from individuals like Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt.
4. Yoda (1981)
Kenner released their Yoda action figure in 1981 as part of the Empire Strikes Back series of the Star Wars action figure. The figure comes with an orange-colored snake, a gimer stick, a removable belt, and a removable cloak too.
Kenner’s Yoda action figure is a replica of the grandmaster of the Jedi order as he appeared in the Star Wars Trilogy. Yoda is small in stature but all respect for his wisdom and his mastery of the Jedi order. Having lived for over 900 years, Yoda has trained generations of Jedi Masters, and he was important to the rebirth of the Jedi order through Luke Skywalker.
3. Princess Leia (Boushh Disguise) (1983)
In 1983, Kenner released the Leia in Boushh disguise action figure as part of the Return of the Jedi series. This figure with the helmet on can pass as Boushh the Ubese bounty hunter, but when the helmet is removable so Princess Leia’s head is recognizable. This action figure comes with a Blaster rifle and a removable bounty hunter helmet.
This Leia toy took inspiration from a scene in the original Star Wars Trilogy, where Leia used Boushh’s signature armor to gain access to Jabba’s Palace. In the Star Wars franchise, Princess Leia was the brave wife of Han Solo, daughter of Darth Vader, and the twin of Luke Skywalker. She also became the most influential leader of the Alliance.
2. Darth Vader (1979)
Kenner produced their Darth Vader action figure in 1979 as part of the large-size series of Star Wars toy lines. The action figure is fifteen inches tall, and it has five points of articulation, the neck, the two hands, and the legs. The Darth Vader action figure comes with a candy-like translucent lightsaber replica and a detachable cloth cape.
Kenner based this action figure on Darth Vader from the original Star Wars Trilogy. Darth Vader is an alter ego that emerged when Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Master, turned to the dark side and pledged his allegiances to Darth Sidious. Darth Vader helped his new master Darth Sidious to become the Emperor, but in a twisted way, Darth Vader fulfilled the prophecy by killing Darth Sidious. He died from the encounter.
1. Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) (1980)
Kenner released the Luke Skywalker in Bespin Fatigues action figure in 1980 as part of the Empire Strikes Back toy line. The action figure contains five points of articulation, and the figure comes with a yellow lightsaber replica and a smuggler’s Blaster.
Kenner based this action figure on Luke Skywalker from the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke Skywalker is a legendary Jedi master, twin brother of Princess Leia, and the son of Anakin Skywalker, who turned to Darth Vader. Luke learned the Jedi order from his father’s master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and trained with Grandmaster Yoda.
Later, Luke became devastated by the loss of his nephew and protege to the dark side of the Force. So, he exiled himself to a distant universe choosing to live out the rest of his days in isolation. A young woman, Rey, who desired to become a Jedi Knight eventually disrupted his solitude. Luke Skywalker reluctantly trained her as his final apprentice before passing away into the Force.
The Kenner Products line of Star Wars action figures was a revolutionary movement in toy production and marketing. The Kenner toy lines were very successful. Now, the vintage action figures have become collector’s items that are worth a considerable sum of money.
Do you have old and used Star Wars toys?
If you have a collection of old and used toys, you can turn those toys into cash. There is no reason to let those old toys collect dust. Contact us today to sell your Star Wars toy collection.
About the author
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!