Yeah yeah, it’s taken me like a week to get this all done but that’s just how it is. In the interest of moving this along as quickly as I can and getting to Part 3 and covering other stuff, let’s jump right in. Oh, but be sure to read ’til the end for new info on upcoming releases! Here are the brand spankin’ new Character Cars we were able to snag:
- FINN (Battle Damage)
- CAPTAIN PHASMA (Clean)
- ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD
- FIRST ORDER EXECUTIONER
- REY, JEDI TRAINING & LUKE SKYWALKER (2-pack)
- KYLO REN & SNOKE (2-pack)
Out of all of these, Kylo was the only redundant car, which is pretty good. These aren’t the only ones issued, however. Along with them are the likes of BB-8, Chewbacca, Leia, Luke (pilot outfit), and Vader as singles plus 2-packs of “Dirty” R2 & 3PO, Poe and BB-8, Jabba and Carbonite Han, and Boba Fett & Bossk. The Jedi-in-Training Rey is also available singly. There may be others, but this is what I remember seeing on the shelves that night. I didn’t have the foresight to take a picture beforehand – nor do I want to prolong this article any further – but this does not include the all-new exclusive Chewbacca that comes with the Millennium Falcon Play Set.
The verdict? Not to bust on Hot Wheels too much, but I felt like Finn and Phasma were cop outs. I guess the Finn isn’t as big of a deal since barely anyone knew about the original Finn anyway, but I wish with Phasma we could’ve gotten something a little more “updated” in appearance. The FO Executioner feels a little uninspired, then again if you’ve seen some of the promo material, you’ll realize that the car does about as good of a job as it can. THe Executioner is just a Stormtrooper with a black stripe and, well, so is the car.
Original (Starkiller Base) Finn | New/Battle Damaged (Last Jedi) Finn
A comparison of the 2 Finns: you can plainly see the dark streaks on the new release, plus his bio on the back of the card acknowledges his battle scars, similar to the Ezra single.
Original Phasma | New Phasma
The slight blemishes on the original Phasma were a little difficult for the camera to pick up, but if you have the car in hand, you should easily be able to see the layer of “grime” or “filth”…kinda like when silver begins to tarnish. For whatever reason, we get a “clean” version for The Last Jedi.
First Order Executioner
Rey, Jedi Training
On the flip side, some are exceptionally well done. Rey has a fresh and unique look that combines both her femininity and the classic Jedi warrior-monk garb. It’s traditional with a hip shape, and I love how the lightsabers appear to “go through” the tires from the rocker panels to the headlight area. It also feels like a natural progression from the Jakku-garb of her previous vehicle. BB-9E – an evil droid according to the card – has that sort of classic droid shape, however it is not a direct re-cast of either R2 or BB-8 (it has its own mold), which I appreciate. Then there’s the Elite Praetorian Guard, obviously a “descendant” of the Imperial Royal Guards. There’s nothing quite as striking as a red car, especially in the Star Wars car-universe that’s full of blacks, whites, and browns, and the Preatorian delivers with its elongated body and sharp angles.
Elite Praetorian Guard
My absolute favorites are Luke and Snoke. I haven’t seen much of the old and presumably world-weary Luke, but so far the car seems to mesh aspects of his time as a Jedi and his roots as a moisture farmer on Tatooine. The green glass is the perfect accent and I really dig the interpretation of his cybernetic hand on the right fender. Snoke, on the other hand, looks more like a fancy sort of old-timey limo thing more than an actual character car, though the appearance is still striking. The body sports a gash indicative of Snoke’s disfiguring facial scar, and the gold evidently represents some sort of gold robe he’ll be wearing. There’s a sort of dark, 40’s-50’s vibe to the car, a lot like Palpatine’s vehicle.
Luke Skywalker (The Last Jedi)
Ready for even more fun stuff!!?? By now I’m sure you’re aware that Hot Wheels have been including small inserts with their most recent vehicles, but we haven’t had one for Star Wars drop…until now! Check out the full spread below and click on ’em for full-sized versions that I scanned myself! (The first side is specific to The Last Jedi while the second covers the franchise in general.)
Cool, right? As you can see, some of the upcoming stuff is silhouetted while others are shown in all their glory. Let’s quickly break it down!
Over on The Last Jedi side we only have a single upcoming release: Rose. Can’t say I know much about the girl, but she is appearing in lots of Episode VIII toys and promo material. I’ve seen action figures of her several times, and I bought my kid one of those PlaySkool sets of figures and Rose was included as well. Why is she the only Ep. 8 character left off? I dunno…seems a little weird…will there be more? I mean we got lots of time ’til Christmas and the film’s release, and in all likelihood some new stuff will continue to trickle out in the weeks and possibly months after the film’s release as well. Judging from what we’ve seen she’ll probably have a generic-ish flight suit type of design, but that’s ok. I’d rather Hot Wheels churn out more characters rather than endless repaints and alternate decos and the like.
Moving on the other side, 3 out of the 4 cars on the top row are new new new to the series and include Scout Trooper, Ahoska Tano, & Saw Gerrera. C…can you…can you…can you f-f-f-f….feel…m-m-m…my r-r-r…can you f-f-feel my…growing…r-rage…at see-…seeing Saw a-a-as an up-and-comer…? I got absolutely no problem with Saw joining the ranks – in fact I welcome keeping the Rogue One story “alive” for a couple of years (especially since it’d be difficult to do much of anything else with these characters) but damn, why can’t we get that Bodhi car!? He might not have stolen the scenes he was in, but his role was pivotal to the plot – he was the freakin’ catalyst for the events of Rogue One as the Imperial defector who leaked all that critical info about the Death Star!
So yeah, a little pissed about Bodhi…but maybe getting Saw means we’ll eventually get a Moroff…?
Glad to see Ahoska joining the ranks. I could be wrong – and please correct me if I am – but I think she may be the first character we’ve gotten who originated from The Clone Wars animated series. Not that I give much of a damn about the animated series (I can’t stand that weird, angular, and damn near disproportionate style of CG-ish “animation”) but I’m glad that Hot Wheels is reaching into all corners of the Star Wars Universe. Now if only Disney would re-canonize Shadows of the Empire! You hear me Disney!?
And then we get to the Scout Trooper who is just, well, a Scot Trooper. We saw this basic design some time ago when some artwork for upcoming cars was released and it looks pretty much the same as it did back then. Again, I’m not totally against putting resources towards “characters” like these, I just feel like there’s a lot of other folks to acknowledge first. And I’ll stop myself there….
As yet to be revealed are the Wampa (another one most of us already know well from the early artwork) and the much-appreciated IG-88! I realize it’s a bit of a stretch to hope for Dengar, Zuckusss, and 4-LOM, but I am happy that both Bossk and now IG-88 are gettin’ some love.
This went on way, way longer than I thought it would, though I still feel the need to close this on a mildly bitchy note. Though I may be more emphatic about Bodhi’s thus far exclusion, I am much more dumbfounded by Hot Wheels’ decision to keep Lando Calrissian out of the mix for so long. I won’t harp on about it too much because I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but way back when we first saw artwork of the Wampa, Scout Trooper, and Hera Syndulla, Lando was included in that batch as well. (Check it out here if you don’t remember.) Is this a hint? A clue? WTF!? I want a Lando, dammit. Put it this way: if I wanted to recreate any of the currently 8 existing Star Wars films (excluding Last Jedi obviously) to any sort of reasonable degree, I would only be able to do A New Hope and Force Awakens. I could even embellish Episode IV even further with cars like the Jawa and Tusken Raider (I wouldn’t consider them essential) and yet I can’t do Rogue One (No Bodhi), nothing from the prequel trilogy (no Qui Gon, no Padme, no Jar Jar), and of course no Ep. V or VI because I ain’t got Lando!
Alright alright enough…I know this has been one fuck all of an article not to mention it’s a week late (more, really). But here it is, for better or worse, and I hope I’ve provided some decent insight into this newest batch of Character Cars. Also, don’t forget to look out for Part 3 (starships) not to mention a good deal of other new news that I need to put out!