“Red Five Standing By…”
Luke Skywalker uses the power of the Force and his piloting skills to destroy the Death Star. – Packaging blurb, Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot)
Back in July 2013, less than a year after George Lucas retired from “big movie” filmmaking and sold Lucasfilm Ltd. and all of its intellectual properties to The Walt Disney Company, Hasbro created a new collection of Star Wars action figures in the six-inch scale. The new collection was dubbed Star Wars The Black Series and featured brand-new sculpts and paint jobs of collectible action figures, their accessories, and a handful of vehicles rendered in a scale that was larger than the 3.75-inch scale figures based on characters – human, non-human species, and droids – from the various Star Wars films and TV series that make up the storied franchise set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” and created by Lucas in the late 1970s.
Among the first figures in the new Star Wars The Black Series collection was Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot), which was based on Star Wars: A New Hope’s Tatooine farmboy-turned-Rebel hero in his Alliance-issue flight suit and visored helmet from the 1977 film’s climactic Battle of Yavin sequence.
Lavished with a brand-new sculpt and state-of-the-art detailing and paints, the 2013 figure is descended from Kenner’s original Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) 3.75-inch figure from Kenner’s second 1978 wave of action figures.
Four years later, Hasbro re-issued Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) in an upscale version of a Kenner-era blister pack that closely resembled the original cardback packaging from 1978 for Star Wars The Black Series’ collection which commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars’ theatrical release.
With a suggested retail price of $19.99 and offered both online and brick-and-mortar stores such as Target and Walmart, the 2013 figure was packed in a silver- and-black Star Wars The Black Series box with a transparent window on the front panel through which you can see the figure and its three accessories. The entire kit consisted of:
- Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) Figure
- Removable Helmet
- BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol
- Lightsaber with Removable Ignited Blade
In July of 2018, at the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con, Hasbro announced that early in 2019, the company would release a new subcollection of its increasingly popular Star Wars The Black Series line. Dubbed the Black Series Archive, this new subset was comprised of revamped reissues of figures made and released in past years.
As Hasbro’s web page for Luke Skywalker (X-Wing)explains:
The most epic figures from Star Wars The Black Series are back with the Black Series Archive collection. These archive figures have the same premium design and detailing as the original issue, so new and old collectors alike can add to their Star Wars collection. Human figures in the Archive collection, like this Luke Skywalker figure, showcase photorealistic detailing for improved facial features.
Although the packaging and online copyright are dated “2018” (the year of manufacture), Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) was part of a five-figure first wave released in early January of 2019. That first Black Series Archive wave of figures also included:
- Boba Fett
The 2019 reissue is not just a repackaged version of the 2013 figure. Yes, the basic design of Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) is the same, but as time passes, tech – including that used in designing and making toys – evolves. As a result in these industrial technology advances, some of the fine detailing, particularly on Luke’s face, is a bit more photorealistic and life-like.
Along with the new-and-improved action figure, the new Black Series Archive blister pack includes the three-piece set of Star Wars accessories for the flight-suit garbed Rebel who participated in the daring mission to destroy the Empire’s Death Star battle station at the Battle of Yavin.
• Includes: figure and 3 accessories.
• Detailed, 6-inch-scale Luke Skywalker figure from Star Wars: A New Hope
• Improved, photorealistic facial features
• The best of The Black Series figures return to the Black Series Archive
• Includes 3 character-inspired accessories – from Hasbro’s Black Series Archive product page, Luke Skywalker (X-Wing)
Star Wars: The Black Series Archive: Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) is a larger and therefore more detailed version of the young farm boy from Tatooine who flew an Incom T-65 X-wing fighter against the Death Star under the call sign “Red Five.” The sculpt is nicely rendered and gives the figure “photorealistic detailing” that was simply not possible 42 years ago.
Gone, for instance, is the generic “Rebel fighter pilot” vibe of the 1978 figure with no weathering or color differentiation in the helmet and flight suit; it has been replaced by a more life-like rendition of a 20-something Luke wearing a Rebel Alliance-issue flight suit, complete with black flight gauntlets and matching flight boots, life support pack, and a removable helmet with details based on its appearance in Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope and its two sequels.
And not only is Star Wars The Black Series Archive: Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) larger and more detailed, but the new figure has 20 points of articulation, compared to five POAs in Kenner’s 1978 “20-Back” Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) figure. For fans who plan to take their figure out of its carded blister pack and pose it with other action figures, the additional points of articulation will allow you to get your figure to pose in a more lifelike fashion.
What’s in the Box?
Since this is essentially a reissue of a pre-existing figure from 2013 – the only differences between the two are a more lifelike paint and sculpt job that give Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) a closer resemblance to a young Mark Hamill (the actor was 24 in 1976, when Star Wars was filmed) and a new cardback blister pack – you will get:
- Luke Skywalker (X-wing) Action Figure
- Removable Helmet
- BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol
- Skywalker Lightsaber w/ Removable Ignited Blade
The blister pack bears different livery on the cardback’s front side and back; where the 2013 figure’s black-with-silver packaging simply bore a silver-and-black headshot of Luke and the Star Wars The Black Series logo on the front, we see a sleekly-designed black-and-silver carded blister pack through which we see the four items listed above.
As in 2020’s Hasbro Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Figure, the 6-inch scale figure is made from a specific type of plastic. The G-force harness looks almost as if it’s made from fabric, but it, too, is made from the same material, only a bit thinner-looking. The gray belt Luke wears has a small hook from which you can hang the hilt of his father’s deactivated lightsaber (yes, the blade can be removed).
Everything about this figure shows how committed Hasbro’s designers and artists are to making Star Wars The Black Series 6-inch action figures must-have additions to anyone’s collection. I love the attention to detail Hasbro lavished on Luke Skywalker (X-Wing). The markings on the flight helmet, with its yellow-tinted protective eye visor, the black-and-chrome coloring of Luke’s DL-44 blaster – a close relative of Han Solo’s own pistol – and the authentic-looking miniature of the iconic lightsaber wielded in three Skywalker Saga trilogies by Anakin Skywalker (in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith), his son Luke (in all three films of the Original Trilogy), and by Rey (in the Sequel Trilogy) are just oh-so-cool to gaze at, even in its blister pack!
All in all, Hasbro did a great job with its Star Wars: The Black Series Archive Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) figure. Although it is not as lifelike as one of those expensive ($299.99 and up) for-display-only Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 Scale figures, it is richly detailed for a product that is marketed to the average consumer and is intended for collectors or children aged 4 and up.
As for me, this was part of my birthday gift in March of 2019, along with a few more figures plus more practical stuff that is age-appropriate for a middle-aged man. Fortunately, I didn’t own the 2013 or the 2017 variants, so for me this was not a double-dip or even a triple-dip. After all, I don’t have the necessary income or the space to be a “completist” type of collector, so I can’t just buy every cool collectible that my gaze falls upon.
If you don’t have a Star Wars: The Black Series Archive Luke Skywalker (X-Wing) in your Star Wars collection, I think it would make a fine addition. It is well-designed and comes with a nice assortment of accessories.
 Released by Kenner in late 1978 as part of the company’s second wave of mini-action figures, Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) was the first of many “costume-changed” character figures to expand the collection. Previously, if you wanted to place Luke inside his X-Wing Fighter, you had to use the “basic” Luke Skywalker (#1) figure in its permanent Tatooine moisture farmer garb. Nowadays, there are many “costume-changed” figures that represent characters in scene-specific “costume variants,” such as Luke Skywalker (Bespin) and Luke Skywalker (Jedi Training) from Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary line.