‘Star Wars’ Collectibles & Toys Review: Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) Action Figure

Photo Credit: Hasbro via Target (C) 2019 Habro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“A Little Too Short for a Stormtrooper” –  Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape)

In a brave attempt to rescue Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker disguises himself as an Imperial Stormtrooper and infiltrates the detention center of the Death Star. –  Packaging blurb, Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape)

In May of 2019, Hasbro released its 6-inch scale action figure. Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) as a Target exclusive. The Pawtucket, Rhode Island toy and game manufacturer unveiled the figure at that year’s New York Comic-Con, then shipped it to Target’s warehouses and/or department stores. By Summer 2019, the figure was sold out; if you went to the now-gone Target product page for Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) on the retailer’s official webpage, you’d see a Sold Out advisory at the foot of the page.

Interestingly, Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) was an updated reboot of the Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper Disguise from one of “waves” released in 2015. It used many elements of the older figure – which has a shorter torso than the Star Wars The Black Series Imperial Stormtrooper – and some from the Stormtrooper figure itself. However, Luke Skywalker’s head is now sculpted and painted so that the figure’s “hair” looks wet to give the young Rebel that “just out of the water in the Death Star trash compactor” look.

Additionally, the Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) figure’s Imperial stormtrooper armor has realistic-looking “smudges” that simulate the dirty water in the aforementioned trash compactor. So does the stormtrooper helmet that is one of the five accessories that come with the figure.

What’s in the Box?

The Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) comes with a removable helmet, an Imperial-issue E-11 blaster, a comlink, a new utility belt, and a display stand. Photo Credit: Hasbro via Target (C) 2019 Habro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Because Hasbro produced Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) as a retail partner exclusive, the Star Wars The Black Series package does not have a figure number assigned. (Non-exclusive releases have numbers based on the order of release, e.g. 2019’s Jannah from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is packaged as #90.) As a result, the figure bears only a small assortment numeral code on the packaging.

In the box, you’ll get:

  • Luke Skywalker Action Figure
  • Stormtrooper Helmet
  • BlasTech E-11 Blaster
  • Comlink
  • Display Base

My Take

Kids and fans alike can imagine the biggest battles and missions in the Star Wars saga with figures from Star Wars The Black Series! with exquisite features and decoration, this series embodies the quality and realism that Star Wars devotees love. Star Wars The Black Series includes figures, vehicles, and roleplay items from the 40-plus-year legacy of the Star Wars galaxy that includes the Star Wars comics, Star Wars movies, and Star Wars animated series. – Hasbro promotional blurb

I have been collecting Star Wars action figures since I received my first two Kenner Star Wars figures – See Threepio (C-3PO) and Artoo Detoo (R2-D2) –and the Landspeeder vehicle for my 15th birthday a long time ago in a neighborhood far, far away.[1] For practicality’s sake, I only collected figures, vehicles, and “action playsets’ in the 3.75-inch scale; I believe that by the time Kenner closed its original 1978-1985 production run, I had acquired 85% of the action figures, 60% of the vehicles, and 50% of the action playsets.

One of the figures I never acquired from the original Kenner collection was Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Disguise). That figure was released late in Kenner’s 1985 Star Wars: The Power of the Force line and was hard to find in stores. I only learned of its existence after I started attending college in early 1985, and by then I was too focused on my studies that I rarely went to stores to look for new additions to my collection. The last item I remember purchasing was the Rebel Transport, and that was during a last visit to a toy store during the Spring Term of the 1984-1985 academic year.

I eventually received a Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Disguise) figure as a gift from a friend when Hasbro bought Kenner (and its valuable Star Wars license and re-introduced Star Wars action figures in a revamped Power of the Force collection in the mid-1990s.  It was given to me loose – i.e. unpackaged and without an E-11 blaster – but the figure came with a removable helmet. I am not sure where that figure is, but I do have a carded specimen from the same line that I bought many years ago on eBay from a private seller.

I also have two other 3.75-inch Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper Disguise figures; one comes in a late 1990s Cinema Scene three-figure set called Death Star Escape (the other two are Chewbacca (as Prisoner) and Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise; the other one is inside a Star Wars Saga three-figure set from 2002 called Death Star Trash Compactor.

Although Hasbro released this as a “Target Exclusive” in May of 2019, many specimens of Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) were bought purely for the online resale market by third party resellers with online stores hosted by Amazon and Walmart. I found my figure on Amazon when I searched for one last summer and saw that Target did not have more in stock.  

I don’t have the original 6-inch scale figure – the 2015 #12 Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Disguise) – that this 2019 Star Wars The Black Series collectible is based on, so I can’t compare the two. From my online research for this review, though, I checked out Rebelscum.com, and this is what the respected collectors’ website has to say about it:

When Hasbro designed the…Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Disguise), they had planned to release it with both the released head and the wet head featured on the (Luke Skywalker Death Star Escape figure). Lucasfilm licensing shot the idea down.

Overall, I have to give Hasbro’s Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) four stars out of five; the amount of detail on the figure – including the inclusion of “dirty water stains” on Luke’s purloined stormtrooper gear and wet-looking hair – is astounding. The sculpt and paint job give the figure’s face a strong – if perhaps not exactly flattering – resemblance to the then-24-year-old Mark Hamill’s, and though I suspect that the figure’s arms were borrowed from an existing Imperial Stormtrooper figure and are perhaps a tad longer, Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) looks good.

Photo Credit: Hasbro via Target (C) 2019 Habro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

You can even put the Stormtrooper helmet accessory on the figure’s head to make the farmboy-turned-Rebel from Tatooine look like a menacing – if perhaps a bit messy – Soldier of the Empire as he helps the captive Princess Leia Organa escape from the Empire’s planet-killing battle station, the Death Star.

MOVIE-BASED CHARACTER-INSPIRED ACCESSORY – This Star Wars The Black Series action figure comes with a blaster accessory like the one Luke fires off in the trash chute scene in Star Wars: A New Hope! – Hasbro promotional blurb, Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape)

Hasbro also did a magnificent job by adding many points of articulation (POAs) to this figure; the company has always strived to make action figures more lifelike ever since it acquired Kenner in the 1990s and with it, the product license to manufacture Star Wars toys and collectibles. The larger 6-inch figures benefit greatly from the addition of more POAs. Cleverly added to look like the segments of the Imperial battle armor, these multiple points of articulation allow collectors of all ages to pose Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape)  in more life-like positions.

I also appreciate that the figure comes with a transparent plastic display stand for additional support. I plan keep my Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) figure in its original packaging indefinitely. However, it’s nice to know that the display stand is there in case I change my mind and decide to pose the figure on a shelf in my study.

I’ve owned my Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) for well over a year, and I do not regret buying it, even though the third-party seller added $10 to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for shipping and to make a modest profit. I would have preferred getting it from Target.com, but as I pointed out earlier, I did not have that option. I sometimes take the red-and-black box to peer at the figure from the “window” on the packaging’s obverse side; I think it looks good there, plus I won’t lose any of the small accessories!

Well, Dear Reader, this brings us to the close of another Star Wars Collectibles & Toys Review. I enjoyed writing it, and I sincerely hope you found it both informative and entertaining. So, until next time, May the Force be with you always, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

[1] March 1978, actually.

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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