I was 8-years-old when Return of the Jedi first hit theaters back in 1983. That was probably the ideal age for experiencing the original Star Wars trilogy. For a variety of reasons, 8 was also the best year of my childhood.
As you can tell from The Film Frontier, and as my wife would no doubt agree, I never did actually turn nine. I have been 8 ever since. Return of the Jedi, of course, was the movie of 1983 in my elementary school. Star Wars meant action figures, and for Christmas 1983, the toy to have was the “Luke Skywalker (Jedi Knight Outfit)” action figure.
I was one of the lucky few among my friends to actually snag one under the Christmas tree. To this day, it remains my favorite action figure of all time. One of my so-called playground “buddies” later stole his lightsaber, though. I still have him around here. I will dig him up someday and post pictures. (The action figure, that is, not the slimeball who took his Jedi weapon.)
Today, we were in Target where I made my usual quick browse of the Star Wars toys. Something caught my eye, a “Legacy Collection Luke Skywalker.” For some reason, he was dressed in a grandma shawl. Underneath the shawl, though, he appeared to be a modern version of my old Jedi Knight Luke figure.
The text on the back of the box explains the shawl: “Luke’s strength with the Force has helped him save the lives of his friends from Jabba the Hutt and avoid a gruesome death in the Sarlaac pit. Wrapped in a scarf to protect him from the blowing sand, he struggles through a Tatooine sandstorm with his friends to reach the waiting Millennium Falcon.”
If you do not remember a sandstorm scene in Return of the Jedi, it is because the scene was left on the cutting room floor. They even make Star Wars action figures for deleted scenes now. I did not care, though, for this one was mine.
On the ride home, like any 8-year-old, I tore into my new action figure. Yes, all you collectors out there, I opened it! (No complaints, for I just made your unopened, mint-in-box figure that much more valuable.) Opening it was the only way to get the silly shawl off and preserve Luke’s dignity as a Jedi.
That is the only reason I opened it.
Below is a shot I took of Grandma Luke (note the goggles for further protection in the sandstorm).
And here is one I took of Jedi Knight Luke, with the shawl removed forever. All he is missing is a proper Jedi cloak and the blaster from one of Jabba’s henchmen, and he would be the perfect modern version of my 1983 figure.
Nothing will ever top the 1983 version but, 25 years later, it is fun to finally re-experience the magic. Guess what movie I will be watching tonight?