Was San Diego Comic-Con Your Only Hope For This Terrific Obi-Wan Kenobi Figure? [Review]
There are Jedi that you know, and then there are Jedi that you love. Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is about as treasured a relic of the Clone Wars as there is. It helps that he's one of the only two surviving Jedi in the original trilogy, but through the prequels, the Clone Wars and beyond, Old Ben has persevered as one of the greatest Force-sensitive heroes in the Star Wars Universe not named Skywalker. It's a wonder then why it's taken so long for the classic Alec Guinness version of the character to get a Star Wars Black Series figure.
Sure, we've had a Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan to tide us over, but before he was attacking the Sith, Obi-Wan was a weird old desert wizard. Thankfully, Hasbro finally got its act together and brought Ben Kenobi to life in the Black Series as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive. While he'll be available everywhere down the line, this special edition of the figure comes with the first interactive accessories in the Black Series, making it one of the gems of the line.
As I've said in reviews before, I'm not necessarily one to care very much for packaging. Toys, no matter how rare or exclusive, are meant to be pried from their plastic prisons and displayed for all the world to see --- or at least for all the world as it pertains to the number of people who have come into my living room. With that in mind, I do understand the appeal of keeping certain well-made packages completely whole. The standard Black Series packaging may not be anything to write home about (it's perfectly serviceable), but for the convention exclusives, Hasbro does tend to go beyond the basic form. Such is the case with the Obi-Wan, which gets some nice graphic design throughout, as well as a clever sliding panel window display.
Inside is of course where all the action is, and Hasbro's Star Wars team really outdid itself with this one. Hasbro's Star Wars exclusives these past few years have all been fairly memorable for different reasons, but none of them have had quite as impressive an accessory as this Obi-Wan deluxe package. In addition to Obi-Wan himself, along with his and Anakin's lightsabers, the table from his Tatooine home is included. While that might not sound very impressive, the table includes the hologram of Princess Leia Organa projected by R2-D2 as well as two different audio recordings that play when you press one of the pots.
A light beneath the little plastic princess illuminates her, giving the impression she's being projected by the little droid. Both the full speech and a truncated quote --- "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope." --- can be played. You don't really get a choice in which one plays at any given time, but all you have to do is press the pot again to get the opposite dialogue to play. The Leia piece is removable too, so if you really want to play the whole scene out, you can only have her "appear" if you have R2-D2 in the vicinity.
The actual Obi-Wan figure itself is nearly perfect. About the only thing I'd have changed is the thick sleeves, but you can't really fix that without making him slightly screen-inaccurate or by making the tan tunic out of fabric. If Hasbro had done that, it's unlikely his larger Jedi Knight robe would have been fabric. As it stands, making that element actual soft goods works really well, and it comes on and off with relative ease if you're not too hot on an actual fabric robe. Plus, it allows you to recreate the end of his fight against Darth Vader on the Death Star.
The portrait is one of the better Black Series head sculpts to this point, too. It captures the essence of Guinness well, and is a great tribute to the actor even if he'll never have seen it. When you get a head that's this well done, it does make it a bit more frustrating that others don't come out quite as well. That's not just a problem with the Black Series, but with these figures being based on actual people it definitely stands out more when there is a bit of a wonky likeness.
Despite being in the robes, the articulation here is nice as well. There's enough give in the molded elements to pose Obi-Wan in a few different ways. It's not quite as freeing as the prequel figure of the character, but New Hope Obi-Wan wasn't exactly doing splits on the Krayt Dragon bones either. Sometimes the joints get a little loosey-goosey with the Black Series, but that's not an issue here either. This is about as solid an effort as you can hope for from the line.
It's a shame accessories like those included here and with the SDCC/SWCE exclusive Kylo Ren are only available in these deluxe, limited packages, as Hasbro has shown it can have a bit of fun when it wants to with this line. When the normal Obi-Wan Kenobi arrives later this year, you won't be disappointed, but if you can manage to track down one of these exclusive versions, it's definitely the recommended way to enjoy this figure. I don't often feel that way about early access editions, but this talking table is just too cool to pass up for any Star Wars fan.
The Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi (A New Hope) will be available worldwide later this year. This SDCC exclusive version was provided by Hasbro for review.