Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 886: Chancellor Valorum

CHANCELLOR VALORUM with Ceremonial Staff
Episode I Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 84105 No. 84132
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: CommTech Chip, Staff
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: As the beleaguered leader of the Galactic Republic, Supreme Chancellor Valorum faces many challenges to his authority, from the greedy Trade Federation to the manipulations of his one-time ally Senator Palpatine. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: The Pawlus computer desk.

Commentary: Back in 1999, it seemed like Hasbro had a good formula for its then-new prequel line. It was as follows: make anything, it will sell, nobody needs to see the movie first. It worked. Chancellor Valorum was one of the very first figures produced for the line, and he's as exciting as he looks-- not very. While the figure has a good likeness for its time, and probably wouldn't look much better were it released today, it's just not very exciting. It's somewhat depressing to cite it as an example of some of Hasbro's finest work at the time, because it's a character that, like most of you, I can't fake much of an interest here. Yes, it is Terrance Stamp as a small plastic man. Yeah, he's got the dress, complete with all the detail. And yes, he's even got a big fat staff for waving around. But he doesn't do much. The only meaningful articulation is at the neck and shoulders, because the big robes prevent any articulation from the waist on down from doing much of anything. Without more senators or some other diorama, this figure doesn't offer much to fans other than another notch in your collection's bedpost. Yes, it's stunning, but it isn't remotely cool-- which is a shame, really.

Collector's Notes: As you might expect, fans didn't much go nuts for this one. It sold better (or rather, it sold through faster) than a lot of other equally interesting characters of its time in part because Hasbro made fewer of them. You can get this figure today on eBay for next to nothing, and you probably should. Hasbro will probably never make another one, and the character did relatively little before being eventually blown up in the comics.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 886: November 5, 2008

1 comment:

Ben Carthage said...

While you're right, that he's hardly a dynamic character, I liked it that figures like Valorum (and Senator Palpatine) came with neat accessories like the senate-cam droid or a staff we didn't see in the movie. Any time Hasbro expands the universe even a little, generally speaking, I like it.