A Look Back At Star Wars in 2004 (12/31/2004)
It was a big year for Star Wars, even though it didn't really feel like it. Thinkig about it though there was a lot going on, there were several conventions around the world (incl. ECCC in Seattle with 2 Star Wars actresses), Lucasfilm released the first 'Revenge of the Sith' Trailer and we even heard the first rumors about a possible Star Wars T.V. show for 2006.
The original movies on DVD
2004's best Star Wars moment was definitely the release of the original trilogy on DVD. Amazing is that Lucas & Co. managed to restore the old movies in a crystal clear quality! Sure, Greedo still shoots first and Jabba on Mos Eisley still looks a bit strange, but overall I think the set turned out great! They gave us just enough material to make us happy for now, and left enough room for improvements (e.g. original version of the films, deleted scenes etc...) so that we'll come back again and buy another set in a few years from now, after 'Revenge of the Sith' is out.
OTC and VOTC
Hasbro released a lot of characters from the original movies in their Original Trilogy Collection and Vintage Original Trilogy Collection. Both old-school packaging styles turned out to be superb and made a lot of collectors happy. The quality of the Action Figures throughout both toy lines was high, with a few exceptions. We got to see a lot of previously released figures in the OTC line, some of them improved with new paint jobs (Tusken Raider, Jawas), and some were simply re-releases of older figures (e.g. Ponda Baba). The good thing about the re-releases was that collectors new to the hobby, and children new to the movies (DVD release), had the chance to pick up some cool characters. Even though a lot of collectors were frustrated with all the re-releases there was still the Vintage Original Collection which featured brand new sculpts and the packaging style of the 70ties and 80ties. In my opinion this sub-line was one of the best Hasbro has released so far.
We got some really cool Unleashed Figurines from Hasbro this year. Yoda, Han Solo, Aayla Secura etc... ; The line seems to get better and better and I am curious to see what Unleashed Figures they are going to release for 'Revenge of the Sith'. Best of all, Fred Meyer stores had a promotion going on where you could buy 2, and get 1 free, and luckily they had stocked up with a lot of different unleashed figures!
Gentle Giant Statues and Prop Replicas
Gentle Giant surprised me this year. Some of their mini busts turned out great and I couldn't resist and got the Deluxe Stormtrooper Bust. For prop collectors it must have been a great year. Some of the pieces worth mentioning are the Master Replicas AT-AT, the Leia Blaster, the Stormtrooper rifle, and the Rebel Fleet Blaster. Gentle Giant's Sandtrooper with Dewback is supposed to come out soon and they have just announced a 15 inch Darth Vader statue, which also looks extremely nice.
Collector Meetings and Christmas Party
One of the highlights this year was that a few of us collectors got together and met for the first time to talk about Star Wars collecting, the movies, props, etc... (thanks Tom!) We all had a good time and made a monthly event out of it. For more information about our meetings, click [here] please. Another fun get-together was at this year's Christmas Party at Lauren's house. He's got the most amazing collection I've ever seen and it was fun to meet all those people. There were also a few big names from the Star Wars collecting world like Gus Lopez for example.
Any good online deals? Store deals? Luck on Ebay?
I didn't find any good deals at any of the online retailers this year (except Ebay). Last year KBToys sold the Imperial Shuttle for 59 bucks and FAO had the Darth Vader FX Saber for 47 dollars. I even scored the Count Dooku Master Replicas saber on Amazon for less than 100 dollars last year. So, where are the online deals this year??
Throughout the year Fred Meyer had the best deals in my neighborhood, right before Thanksgiving their Star Wars deal was buy 2, get 1 free. This included VOTC figures, regular OTC's and Unleashed figures.
The best Ebay deal I found was 6 Star Tours figures for a little below 30 dollars mint in package.
Toys'r'us gave away free Silver Darth Vaders with a purchase of over 20 dollars on Halloween. Right on time for the deal the Naboo 4-Pack arrived in stores.
2004, the year of Jedi-Business.com
The idea of setting-up a Star Wars Website to keep track of my collection had been in my head for a long time and finally, in March 2004 Jedi-Business saw the light of day. Since then 166 different figures have been entered into the database. Each figure entry features about 5 small and 5 big images, which brings the total number of images up to over 1.700.
Disappointments in 2004
I'd like to point a few things out that I thought were disappointing. For one I have to mention the Jedi Council sets. Man, what happened there Hasbro? The Y-Wing repaint was cool, but the figure that came with it? The VOTC line was great, but how come some of the figures don't have peg holes in their feet? And 5 dollars more than for regular figures because of the clamshell? Some of the figures re-issued for the OTC line were simply outdated, we would have really deserved a newly sculpted Bib Fortuna, and as much as I like Han Solo, but the 6th? CommTech Solo re-issue is beyond good taste.
Star Wars in 2005 and beyond
This is it, the year of the last Star Wars movie ever. How long have we all been waiting for this? One thing is for sure, this is going to be the last time ever for Star Wars Fans where we will get swamped with Action Figures and other Star Wars merchandise. It's going to be the year of the 'Revenge of the Sith' release, the final season of the Clone Wars Cartoon, Celebration 3, the DVD release during the Christmas season, and hopefully the announcement of a live action TV series.