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SWV: Empire Strikes Back
by yo go re

As late as the fifth draft of the ESB script (which was revised once, then became the final shooting script), the bounty hunter we know as Zuckuss was called "Tuckuss" - in other words, "tuchus," the Yiddish word for your behind. He was named Butt the Bounty Hunter. Of course, Star Wars drafts have also given us such "creative" names as Cos Dashit and Elan Sleazebaggano, so at least this one got changed.

Zuckuss is one of the bounty hunters that Darth Vader tasks with finding the Millennium Falcon. Although he uses the ancient rituals and keen intuition native to his people, Zuckuss nonetheless fails in his mission when Boba Fett locates the ship first.

As we've mentioned before, poor Zuckuss spent eight years being mis-identified as his best bud 4-LOM, from the time his figure came out in 1981, to the time the The Galaxy Guide 3 came out in 1989. And so there's an entire generation of SW fans who refuse to believe Zuckuss is Zuckuss. It's like Transfans who think Frenzy is red, except more blatantly incorrect.

There might be some merit to the confusion, to be honest: they both have vaguely insectoid heads; 4-LOM because he was designed to deal with insectoid clientele, and Zuckuss because he is insectoid clientele. To achieve the appropriate "compound lens" looks, the eyes on the costume were made from bubble wrap - here they're just sculpted.

This particular figure comes from the 2010 Saga Legends line, but is a re-release from the 2009 Legacy Collection. The quality is on par with the black-carded Vintage figures, so he has a very impressive sculpt. The upper body of the figure is entirely sculpted, as is the armor hanging from his chest, while the lower part of his robe is softgoods. He's not wearing the same armor seen under the plastic robe of the Power of the Force 2 toy, so we have to assume this is based on notes from the Lucasfilm costume department. The plates on his shins are the same style as the ones over his groin, and his pants are padded. Gotta be comfy when hunting bounties!

The articulation is good as well. He has swivel/hinge ankles and knees, a T-crotch, swivel waist and wrists, swivel/hinged elbows and shoulders, and a balljointed head. The only thing he ever did in the movie was stand in place next to the other five bounty hunters, so really, the PotF2 articulation was enough (Big Five plus waist) - but having more articulation means you can stage your own adventures, and having a cloth skirt means the joints in his legs don't go to waste. The only thing worse than not having articulation is having articulation and not being able to use it.

Zuckuss' accessories include a removable backpack with breathing tubes that plug into his face, and his GRS-1 snare rifle, a gun that could either fire a paralytic gas or a liquid web that solidified into a net when exposed to air. Pretty cool stuff! He also comes with a display stand, a bag of random weapons, and a card for whatever game Hasbro was trying to push at the time.

Zuckuss and 4-LOM were paired up by Jabba the Hutt, but became good friends. When Zuckuss was critically injured during a hunt, 4-LOM stuck by him, hoping that the two of them could raise enough credits for the operation that would save his life. This led to the two of them working for the Rebellion - they even tried to rescue Han Solo after he got frozen in Carbonite. During that attempt, Boba Fett blew up 4-LOM, and Zuckuss tried to get him repaired, but the droid came back online with a changed personality, and the two were never as close as before. Sad. Happily, this toy is pretty awesome, and it's unlikely that we're going to see a better one.

-- 09/29/13

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