‘Star Wars’ Collectibles & Toys Review: Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary) Deluxe 2-Figure Set

Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“You must unlearn what you have learned!”

LUKE SKYWALKER AND YODA (JEDI TRAINING): At the urging of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda agreed to instruct Luke Skywalker, developing his Jedi abilities. – Hasbro promotional blurb

On Tuesday, September 1, Hasbro released a deluxe two-figures set of Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) as part of its Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-collection from the popular Star Wars The Black Series line. This two-pack consists of two iconic characters from the original 1977-1983 Star Wars trilogy: Luke Skywalker, the 22-year-old Rebel pilot/Jedi-in-training and the nearly 900-year-old Grand Jedi Master Yoda and a set of accessories for the two six-inch scale action figures.

 Like another deluxe figure in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary collection – Imperial Probe Droid– this new two-figure set comes in an oversized version of a standard Star Wars The Black Series red-and-black box with a logo similar to the one used by Kenner, the original toy manufacturer that introduced Star Wars figures in 1978, in its 1980-1982 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back collection.  

You will go to the Dagobah system. There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me. – Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi to Luke Skywalker, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

In director Irvin Kershner’s 1980 smash film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, a young ex-farmboy from the desert planet Tatooine, Luke Skywalker, is prompted by the Force spirit of his late Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi to go the remote planet of Dagobah. On that boggy planet – Luke initially calls it a “slimy mudhole” – lives the exiled Jedi Master Yoda, the only surviving member of the Jedi Council and one of Obi-Wan’s Jedi teachers back in the days of the Old Republic.

Image Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.“―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker

Lawrence Kasdan, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

A long-lived member of an unnamed species, the diminutive Yoda was 899 years old when Luke, the son of Anakin Skywalker, arrived on his cloud-shrouded and swampy refuge seeking the ancient Jedi Master’s help in order to become a Jedi Knight. Yoda had witnessed not only the fall of the Republic he had served faithfully for centuries, but also the tragic transformation of Luke’s father from a kind but troubled slave boy to a skilled, cocky, but overly ambitious Jedi Padawan and Knight, and from there to an angry and vengeful young Sith Lord renamed Darth Vader. Fearing that Luke’s impatience, recklessness, and anger might lead the boy down the same path as his father, Yoda was reluctant to train him in the ways of the Force.

Nevertheless, Obi-Wan – now at one with the Force after sacrificing himself on the Empire’s planet-killing Death Star battle station shortly before the Battle of Yavin – convinces Yoda to train Luke as a Jedi, telling the diminutive Jedi Master, “That boy is our only hope.” 

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.“―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker

Star Wars The Black Series: Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) Deluxe 2-Figure Set (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary)

 What’s in the Box?

The oversized Star Wars The Black Series red-and-black box bears some of the elements present in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary packaging, including the Kenner-style red-and-silver Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back logo and the 2020 “40th Anniversary” graphic that depicts silhouettes of Luke Skywalker dueling Darth Vader inside a stylized silver rectangle. This variant of the packaging also bears the number D4 (I’m guessing it stands for Deluxe Set #4) and the product name, Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) near the top edge of the left side panel on the red and black box.

MOVIE-BASED CHARACTER-INSPIRED ACCESSORIES: This Star Wars The Black Series action figure set comes with 4 Luke Skywalker and Yoda (Jedi Training)-inspired accessories that make great additions to any Star Wars collection. Hasbro promotional blurb

As is the case with “regular” Star Wars The Black Series boxes, the front panel of the package is dominated by a clear plastic window through which we see the contents, including two figures and their accessories.

Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) comes with the following items:

  • Luke Skywalker figure
  • Yoda figure
  • The Skywalker Lightsaber
  • Backpack
  • BlasTech DL-44 Blaster Pistol
  • Yoda’s Gimer Stick Cane
Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

The variant of Luke Skywalker in this deluxe figure set is not one that I have owned in any of my Kenner/Hasbro Star Wars collections. I had a long hiatus from buying Star Wars collectibles while I was taking care of my ailing mother from 2010 to 2015, and until 2017 I never considered resuming my habit of buying figures. As a result, I don’t know if Hasbro ever released a sleeveless undershirt-clad “Dagobah Luke” depicting the young Jedi-in-training in the sequence in which he carries Yoda in a blue-denim backpack whilst swinging, Tarzan-like, from vines or running and jumping on the boggy terrain of the planet Dagobah.[1]

I admit that I have not looked online for every Luke Skywalker figure variant in existence, so for all I know there is a 3.75-inch “sleeveless top” Luke-in-Dagobah” action figure out there. All I can say, honestly, is that I have not seen one, so this version is new to me.

Luke Skywalker comes with three scene-specific accessories: the Skywalker lightsaber, the blue backpack, and a DL-44 blaster similar to the one wielded by his friend Han Solo.

The Yoda figure in this deluxe set is probably a repackaged version of the one in the “Kenner” cardback released in an earlier wave of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary figures this spring. The figure looks identical – the character only wears one costume in the film – and comes with his gimer stick cane and the blissl flute that hangs from a strap on Yoda’s neck. The Yoda in this set does not include a snake or a lightsaber, though.

“Pose may require support.” Um…yes. This certainly looks like you need some kind of super adhesive or Photoshop trickery to replicate the “Luke does a one-hand stand” pose seen here. Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

My Take

Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. ― Yoda

 My current domestic situation precludes my ownership of a complete Star Wars The Black Series collection; I have been graciously given one room in the house where I live where I can have a desk, an office chair, IKEA shelves and multimedia storage towers, a TV (with a soundbar and Blu-ray player), books, and some collectibles out for display. In addition, I have to pay the house owner a modicum of rent – an amount far lower than the average rent in this part of Florida. As I have said in previous Star Wars Collectibles & Toys reviews, I don’t have the space or the money to even attempt being a completist.

I wasn’t going to buy Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) when I saw it as a “coming soon” release in Amazon’s Star Wars store. I had just spent over $100 on a Star Wars The Black Series’ The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Snowspeeder with Dak Ralter, and I was soon going to plunk down another $20 on a Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) figure. I asked myself, Do I really want to spend $40 on yet another Star Wars collectible.

Obviously, I changed my mind – I think the coronavirus pandemic and other stress-inducing events are eating away at my emotional well-being – and I ended up ordering this deluxe set of Star Wars The Black Series figures.

PREMIUM ARTICULATION AND DETAILING: Star Wars fans and collectors can display these highly poseable (Luke Skywalker figure has 4 fully articulated limbs) figures, featuring premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Hasbro promotional blurb

Yoda tells Luke, “your weapons. You will not need them.” Luke doesn’t think so, and learns a lesson he won’t forget in a Dark Side cave. Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Although I am not fond of the visual effect caused by the various points of articulation  (POAs) in the Luke Skywalker figure, I have to remind myself that this is not one of those “toys for adults” that are made to look 100% lifelike. For one thing, the scale of the figures is six inches (I believe that Yoda is two inches in height here), and while I suppose it Is theoretically possible to make a more life-like figure in that size, it probably would have fewer POAs or, more likely, come in a permanent pose reminiscent of a Hallmark Christmas tree ornament that my half-sister Vicky gave me nearly 15 years ago.

Hasbro clearly knows that its customer base consists mainly of adult collectors between the ages of 21 and 60, but it makes these mass-market figures as playable toys rather than purpose-built “displayable collectibles.”  The lower age limit is “4 years and up,” so as exquisitely detailed as the Star Wars The Black Series figures are, they are toys and they look like toys.

That having been said, I am over the moons of Yavin – so to speak – about how cool this set of figures looks, even though they are  still in their original package and, for the foreseeable future, will probably remain there unless I can buy my own place and can devote more space for IKEA shelves or cabinets for my collection.

 I especially like how Hasbro’s designers eschew the original Kenner figure’s “pristine” costume look and add “grime” and “sweat stains” to Luke’s clothing and footgear. If you are going to create an authentic-looking diorama based on a Jedi-training scene from The Empire Strikes Back, these are the best figures to get.

Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Seriously. A Luke Skywalker in this outfit without “dirt” or “sweat stains” on his Rebel-issue fatigues outfit simply doesn’t look authentic, so it is so cool to see that this figure looks as though it has been to hell and back on the swampy “mudhole” of Dagobah.

As I said earlier, the Yoda figure in this deluxe set is identical to the “Kenner” cardback single-figure released in May, so I’ll refer you to this review I wrote on May 30.

Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)
Image Credit: Hasbro, Inc. (C) 2020 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

All in all, this Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) deluxe set is definitely a winner in my opinion as a Star Wars fan and long-time collector. It might not be perfect – see my comments regarding POAs – but Luke is highly poseable, and the sculpt is good enough to make the figure’s face and body resemble Mark Hamill, the actor who portrays the character in six of the Skywalker Saga films.

I enjoyed writing this review of the latest addition to my Star Wars The Black Series collection, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading it. And with that, Dear Reader, I humbly beg your leave. Until next time, I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things, and remember: the Force will be with you, always.


[1] The closest previous Hasbro product that I have seen in my research for this review is a 2008 Star Wars: The Legacy Collection five-figure “Battle Pack’ called JEDI TRAINING ON DAGOBAH, which features 3.75-inch scale figures of Luke Skywalker, Yoda, R2-D2, the apparition of Darth Vader, and the “Force Ghost” of Obi-Wan Kenobi. R2-D2 is “mud-stained,” and because this set is based on several sequences after the one in which the characters from Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) are seen, Luke is wearing his Rebel-issue long-sleeve jacket, as in his Luke Skywalker (Bespin) variant.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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