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McQuarrie Concept Starkiller Hero

Star Wars
by yo go re

Watching Star Wars (or, if you insist upon the later, retconed expansion title, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), it's probably hard to imagine Luke Skywalker acting any more womanly than he already does. I mean, come on, one of the first things he does when he's introduced is whine about going shopping. But a more ladylike Luke is possible: at one point during the early planning, the hero of the story was almost an actual woman.

A concept painting done by Ralph McQuarrie depicts an early version of the Luke Skywalker character as a young woman. The initial character envisioned for the epic was explored in various ways including whether "Starkiller" would be male or female. This image in this painting captures the heroic idealism of the character that was to ultimately become Luke Skywalker.

Obviously the Star Wars story has gone through a lot of changes. Around the time it was known as Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars, for instance, the hero was Deak Starkiller, older brother to Luke and the twins Biggs and Windy Starkiller. Leia Lars, daughter of Owen and Beru, was their cousin. So in the grand scheme of things, a female hero isn't all that outlandish.

"Starkiller Hero" (as this figure is officially known) is wearing a lavender bodysuit beneath a brown tunic, with matching gloves and knee-high boots. She has a utility belt with a holster on her right hip. Her hair is cut in a slight bob that's only slightly less feminine than the haircut Mark Hammil had in the actual movie. Everything is sculpted very well, from the subtle wrinkles on the clothes to the distinct ties on the shirt and boots.

Luke... er, Leia... okay, Luka Starkiller is also kitted out with a harness, headgear and a respirator backpack - a lot like the one seen on the exclusive McQuarrie Concept "Luke" (actually Deak). If it's meant to be the same, then that's Aquillian Ranger gear, part of the uniform of a military group within the Rebel Alliance. The backpack plugs into a hole on the rear of the figure, and helps hold the harness in place. Unlike the "Luke" figure, you don't have to remove this figure's head to get the mask in place - though it does make the process much easier.

Additionally, the figure is armed with a small black blaster pistol and a "laser sword," as the device was known at this point in the writing process. The blade is translucent blue, and has the appropriate rounded flare at the base. The blade can be removed from the hilt, and though the hilt is the same mold used on the Luke figure, it doesn't clip onto Luka's belt. The blaster is quite nice, not as oversized as these things usually are, but is a bit loose in the holster.

Articulation is great. Luka moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, gloves, waist, hips and knees, and most of those are balljoints. Her dainty little ankles are too thin to support joints, which is why she doesn't have anything for her feet. The elbows are those weird 45° swivels, which seldom work well, but in this case they're actually okay - I think it's because the "wrist" swivels are so close to the elbow. The tubes on the respirator are stiff, so it will only align with her head in one position, but hey, that's why it's removable! Excellent paint, as well, with all those tiny silver clasps looking sharp.

This figure, even more than most in the McQuarrie Signature Series, is more of a historical oddity than an addition to yor Star Wars lineup. The final Chewbacca may not look much like McQuarrie's concept art, but he's still Chewie, you know? This character, a female Luke (or Deak, if you want to get technical), just sort of dead-ended at an early stage in the process. All the more impressive, then, that Hasbro gave us such a cool figure of her.


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