Power of the Force Flashback Photo
Item No.: Asst. 69680 No. 84046
Includes: Lightsaber, cape, flashback photo
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: December 1998
Appearances: Star Wars
Bio: Darth Vader was known and feared throughout the galaxy as incredibly ruthless and evil, one who used the awesome powers of the dark side of the Force to carry out Emperor Palpatine's horrific plans. But deep inside Lord Vader lay vestiges of the person he once was: young Anakin Skywalker, discovered on the planet Tatooine by a Jedi Knight who recognized the boy's special Force talents. Anakin showed much promise and grew to be a great Jedi. Finally, the dark side beckoned him - and Anakin became Darth Vader. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' couch.
Commentary: Hasbro originally told us that this figure was "Darth Vader with a double cape." Nobody knew what this really meant, but we eventually found out that Hasbro was aiming to make the first Star Wars-specific Darth Vader in the modern line. You can tell it's from the original film because he has lines on his gloves running perpendicular to his fingers, he has a bit of a robe/vest over his shoulder armor, and he has very pronounced red eyes. (The vintage 1978 Darth Vader didn't even have all of these things, which is really, really weird when you think about it.) The figure was designed to be a bit more in line with the then-"modern" sensibilities being introduced for the prequels, like additional arm articulation, more "skirt" pieces, and overall better decoration. The figure was, at the time, the most articulated Darth Vader ever made as he had the normal six joints plus wrists and cut joints at the biceps, which was really impressive. More or less. The figure's "skirt" prevented him from sitting, and some fans (OK, just me) didn't care for this. This Darth Vader was also a little more muscular than the early 1998 removable helmet release, which was easily the best sculpted figure of Darth Vader at the time. This figure was a little off when it first came out, and now that he's about nine years old, he really isn't all that much better. You can do better as far as Star Wars-specific Vader figures go, but he didn't age as badly as the 1995 model.
Collector's Notes: This figure came out as a transitional wave which was meant to bridge the 1995-1998 line with the new fans and aesthetics of Episode I. Also, the package had a little "flashback photo" where you pulled on a tab and Darth Vader "magically" turned into young Anakin Skywalker. It was a clever gimmick, and for this figure, it more or less worked-- however, some didn't quite make as much sense (or were a bit of a stretch), and the gimmick was mercifully removed from the line in May, 1999 when CommTech chips reigned supreme for a full year.
Day 446: July 26, 2007