Saga Collection Ultra Figures
Item No.: Asst. 84716 No. 84740
Includes: Rail, Pipe, Bowl, Food, Tongue
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Spring 2004
Appearances: Return of the Jedi
Bio: A loathsome slug of a gangster, Jabba the Hutt was the preeminent crimelord in the Outer Rim Territories. Basing his operations out of Tatooine, the Hutt had his pudgy fingers in a number of lucrative and unsavory rackets. He lived in an opulent if sand-scarred palace out in the Tatooine deserts. After the carbonite-frozen Han Solo was delivered to the Hutt, Han's friends attempted a rescue that seemed to end in failure in the Hutt's audience chamber. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' Toy Shelves.
Commentary: As part of the obscenely popular (in theory) Ultra assortment, Jabba the Hutt was a source of much delight and much complaining. The figure was the first-ever Return of the Jedi Jabba figure in the modern line, but it was based largely on a sculpt of the 1999 "Jabba Glob" toy with some modifications. (For example, it's significantly tougher to pop off his head and have goo come out of his mouth.) The figure is one of the better Jabba toys on the market, but it's missing his trademark tattoo which even the vintage Jabba had on his arm (seriously, go look, you'll see it.) This new figure has excellent decoration but didn't quite hit all the marks for some fans. In some cases, the criticism was valid-- like the paint looking a little weird in places, or the fact that the figure was missing his trademark throne. Other criticism was, well, annoying-- OK, we get it, you're mad it wasn't a 100% new sculpt. And no, Jabba's not too short-- a common fan misconception is that Jabba the Hutt is this towering beast. If you look at the movie, most of his height comes from his throne, anyone standing on his level appears taller than he is. Anyway, where was I? Let's move on.
The figure was nicely accessorized-- you could take the included railing and put it on a vintage Jabba throne, or on the modern Jabba's Palace cardboard playset that Hasbro released a few years earlier. With Jabba's mouth being sculpted to accept... erm, items, you could have him smoke on his hookah or insert a special "tongue" accessory so it looked like he was thinking about his next meal. Since the figure was sculpted with more than a little drool (a feature I didn't care for), this is actually quite appropriate.
Collector's Notes: In 2004, Hasbro sold a number of Ultra figures, including repackaged deluxe figures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett. The rest of the line was mostly new figure-and-accessory sets, like a Wampa with part of an ice cave, C-3PO with an escape pod, Jabba's Court Denizens, General Rieekan with a big tactical screen, and an Ewok with a combat glider. The original idea was to have each series of figures in early 2004 tie in with the various Ultra figures, and for the most part, they did. Since they were first announced, fans clamored for more of these larger deluxe figures, but sadly Trilogy-based upsized figures haven't been sold in stores ever since.
Until Hasbro releases a new modern Jabba the Hutt, this figure from 2004 should be a required purchase to anyone interested in buying figures from Return of the Jedi. There are surprisingly few to be had on eBay, and at the going rate of about $20 shipped, it isn't a bad item-- but then again, I've got one, so you'll need to make the call on if this giant slug is worth $20, $10, or somewhere in between. Although I have to say, it's totally worth it for about $15.
Day 331: April 2, 2007