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Chirrut Îmwe

Star Wars Rogue One
by yo go re

He is one with the Force, and the Force is with he.

Deeply spiritual, Chirrut Îmwe believes all living things are connected through the Force. Though he lacks Force abilities, his sightless eyes do not prevent him from being a highly skilled warrior monk.

He lacks Force abilities? Did you see the same movie as the rest of us, copywriter? Just because he doesn't have a lightsaber or wave his hand around to make people change their mind, it doesn't mean he isn't using the Force. Dude dodged blaster fire from about 20 feet away - I don't care how good your hearing is, Matt Murdock, that ain't gonna happen without some connection to a larger power in the universe. We know he's not a Jedi (though there has to be some ancestral link between "Jedi" and "Jedha"), but we also know that there's more to the Force than being a Jedi. You think Force-sensitive babies stopped being born after Order 66? Of course not! None of them are Jedi, but they still have the affinity.

Chirrut was played by Ip Man himself. Er, Donnie Yen, the guy from the movie version of Ip Man, not the real Ip Man. Because If a Star Wars movie somehow managed to get Bruce Lee's actual trainer, we'd have some questions. The sculpt provides a decent likenesss of Yen, who originally declined the role, fearing he was being cast solely to appeal to Chinese audiences. It was his kids' excitment about seeing him in Star Wars that convinced him to sign on, and without him, Chirrut would have been a much different character: it was Yen's idea to make him blind.

Unfortunately, the character wears long robes, so you know what that means: softgoods. Yaaaaay. Softgoods can look okay, in certain situations, but lordy, this isn't one of them! We can completely understand why they did it this way, but understanding something and being happy with the result are two different things. You can understand why a teenage driver caused an accident and still be mad that your insurance is going up. The upper body is sculpted, given all the wrinkles and whatnot to make it look right. The white strap thing he's wearing around his chest is a non-removable separate piece with a piece of cape molded down the back, while the bits on his left arm are part of the sculpt.

But then we get to the lower part of the body. His shoes and pants are sculpted, but the lower edge of his robe is layered cloth. It's folded over at the waist, so we don't have to see the edges, but that just makes it bulkier than the body it's supposed to match. He ends up looking like he's wearing a towel wrapped around his waist, as though he just got out of the shower. The inner layer is red, adding a flash of color, and there's a red and white stripe down the front of the outer black layer. They did a nice job with the materials and the printing, but the fact remains that it looks out of place on the toy.

So clearly the reason Hasbro made the lower part of the robe out of cloth is so the figure's articulation doesn't get impeded, which, we admit, is pretty important when you've got a toy of Donnie Yen. He has all the same articulation as the rest of the Black Series figures, moving at the head, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The choice of the softgoods robe is undercut somewhat by the fact that the "cape" part is molded plastic, and thus completely stiff. Well that isn't very helpful, now is it?

Chirrut's accessories include his staff and his lightbow. The stick is the weapon he's most often seen with, a flame-hardened "uneti-wood" staff that has a sliver of a kyber crystal (the thing that makes lightsabers work) in the metal cap on the tip, allowing him to hear where the end is the same way he was able to hear Jyn's necklace. The lightbow is a traditional weapon for the Guardians of the Whills, just as the lightsaber is for Jedi; they build it themselves when they reach the right level, and the front half can swivel so he can use it in either "longbow" or "crossbow" configurations. The white armor stuff on his left hand is an "impeller gauntlet" that helps him stabilize the weapon. Both the staff and the gun are done as two separate pieces that can be pulled apart, if for some reason you want to.

It's good that Hasbro decided to include Chirrut Imwe in the 6" Black Series, because he's a fun character and deserves a good toy. This one is brought low, sadly, by his goofy-ass robe.

-- 07/02/17

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