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Zam Wesell

SWII: Attack of the Clones
by yo go re

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian doctor who dabbled in writing plays and short stories. He also said that "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." In literary circles, that's known as "Chekhov's Gun."

Attack of the Clones introduced us to Zam Wesell, a shapeshifting bounty hunter. The movie shows her shapeshifting. Anakin tells Obi-Wan to be careful in the bar, because they're after a shapeshifter. So you might expect that this would somehow come into play, right? Except that when she sneaks up on Obi-Wan, she's using the same human form she'd been using the entire time, rather than using her shapeshifting ability to look even slightly different. Then she dies, shapeshifting once again.

But still, wow! There are shapeshifters in the Lucasverse! We just saw it explicity. That's new information that can really throw a wrinkle into everything we know, and will certainly be important later! Except, nope, it has no bearing on the plot and never comes up again. It isn't used as a red herring; it isn't used as an excuse; it just isn't used, period.

Zam's looking pretty swank in her all-purple ensemble. She has a little bit of metal armor on her boots, gloves and chest, but she's mainly clad in cloth - you know, probably so it doesn't get in the way of her amazing shapeshifting abilities. Her skirt is made from squares of leather that have been stitched together, and there are sculpted seams on her arms and legs. The detailing on her weird belt/breastplate/life-support whatsis is impressive, but not as much as the wee little etching on her armor (lettering?) or the bone spikes on her big toe. Basically, if it's on the real costume, it's on this toy.

She's wearing her helmet, and her face is covered by a thick veil. Instead of only covering her face (like on the 2002 Sneak Peek figure) or only hanging off to the side (like on the 2002 "Saga" figure), this veil can do both. Well, two veils can do both: the figure comes with two veils that plug into the helmet; one's all the way across, the other hangs down. The binoclars on her forehead are on a hinged sprue, but in every picture we can find of her, the bend in the arms is pointed at the back of her head, not the front. Fortunately, they're easy to pop off and back on. Easier than Catwoman's ears, at any rate.

The helmet is removable, showing us Zam's full head for the first time. Well, first time in toy form - she's been bare-headed in the comics before. The character was portrayed by Leeanna Walsman, and the figure provides a decent likeness. She's been given flat brown hair, rather than the somewhat spiky blonde that was actually under her helmet.

Rather than a little extra face mask to display her amazing shapeshifting abilities - which is how the Saga release did it, in case you were wondering - this one has a second head. Presumably this big-eyed lizard look is her natural state, since it's what she defaults to upon death. It's molded in pink and painted green, so be careful that the paint doesn't scrape off.

Since this is a black-carded Vintage Collection release, the articulation is very good. She's got a balljointed head, swivel elbows and hips, and then swivel/hinge joints at the shoulders, elbows, torso, knees and ankles. The tubes on her waist dealie plug into the figure's abdomen, holding it in place as you turn her, rather than getting in the way of the articulation.

Other than the helmet, binoculars, two face scarves and an extra head, the figure doesn't have many accessories. She's got a pistol that fits in a holster on her hip, and the sniper rifle she uses to shoot Obi-Wan off her window-washing droid. It would have been nice if they'd given her that droid (and maybe its poisoned centipedes) or a blast effect for the end of the gun, but her blister is already crammed pretty full as it is.

This is only the third Zam Wesell figure, which is rather surprising: she may not have done much in the movie, but she's got a pretty cool design; there's not enough purple in Star Wars (Mace Windu aside). Maybe if Lucas had ever gotten the gun down off the wall and pulled the trigger, though, there would have been more interest in the first revealed shapeshifter.

-- 03/09/13

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