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Rio Durant

Star Wars Solo
by yo go re

Okay, I knew that all the old continuity was being tossed out the window when Disney bought Star Wars, but I can't believe this is now what General Grievous looked like before he became a cyborg!

Rio Durant has carried out dangerous operations alongside the scoundrel Tobias Beckett for years. The good-natured Ardennian pilot is up for any challenge, not unlike his young counterpart Han Solo.

Boy, one thing the new Star Wars movies love is referencing popular music, huh? First, we've got the Abedendo race, where all the members - and the species itself - are named after Beastie Boys songs (Ello Asty, Roodown, Ilco Munica, Sowa Chuan, Awls Ooteek, Ippi Ippi, etc.) and now Solo has brought us Rio Durant? We'd say that the writers need to get more creative, but this is Star Wars, the property that brought us Ree-Yees and Voolvif Monn, so maybe scrolling through the ol' iTunes playlist for character names isn't the worst thing ever.

Rio was voiced by Jon Favreau, meaning that a speedy little war-monkey and the leader of a Mandalorian terrorist cell sound exactly alike. Hey, it's a big galaxy out there; who says two sentient beings couldn't end up with strikingly similar vocal cords? Just ask Luke Skywalker and Darth Bane, or Darth Maul and Galen Marek. (And, judging by the way Rio pronounces "Wookie," Ardennia is somewhere near Space-Philadelphia.)

As you may have been able to guess from the General Grievous joke, Rio's defining trait is that he has four arms. He wears a little blue flight suit, and it was clearly tailored specifically for him, because every arms gets a sleeve - he doesn't have to leave any limbs tucked inside, nor rip holes for two of them to emerge. A yellow harness crosses his chest, and there's a white belt with a holster, a few utility pouches, and a communicator (or grenade?) sculpted on it. The goggles he wears pushed up on his forehead are a separate piece, molded from translucent red plastic and then given white apps for the body and black for the strap, but the microphone headet in his left ear is permanently glued in place. He wears fingerless gloves on his hands, which is how we know the ones that touch the ground are feet on legs, not a fifth and sixth arm.

Those extra appendages mean extra articulation - Hasbro didn't skimp in the joints, even though there are lots more of them than usual here. We do lose the (usually ubiquitous) thigh-swivels, but Rio is so short he might not have had those anyway. We get swivel/hinge feet, swivel ankles, swivel/hinge knees, balljointed hips, a balljointed waist, balljointed torso, balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge elbows, and swivel/hinge wrists. They even made the hinges in the wrists go different directions: on each side, one will move side-to-side, and the other will move up-and-down.

The figure comes with two guns: first there's the BlasTech SE-14r light repeating blaster, a small little pistol based on the Rexim-Favor Swiss submachine gun that was also seen in Rogue One, and fits in the holster hanging against his right leg; and then there's the larger rifle, which appears to be based on the Swedish K SMG, complete with the squarish stock folded around the side. All four hands are molded with the trigger fingers out, so the guns will look fine no matter which way you want him to hold them.

The original concept for Rio Durant would have been heavily influenced by Wilford Brimley - an alien with a big, bushy mustache. That character was combined with Zapf, a "squid-monkey" whose blue-furred design stuck around long enough to appear on some early posters, as well as the Funko POP! and Lego Minifigure Rio Durants. He really was a fun character in the movie, so it's nice that Hasbro, at least, got his design right.

-- 03/24/19

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