Updated: Apr 17
In 2019 Hasbro confirmed that the European Autumn Conventions would get an Exclusive Black Series release. The figure was an early release of the Yavin Ceremony Luke Skywalker, in a comic book inspired display box and with accessories based on the Skywalker Strikes comicbook series by Marvel Comics. The figure was available at conventions in London, Paris, Barcelona and Lucca. It was sold in the US via Hasbro Pulse and other online retailers.
The packaging for the exclusive set follows a similar basis as previous exclusives with an opening display box. Rather than a solid colour scheme like the white of the First Order Trooper or the red of the recent Sith Trooper - the set uses the cover artwork from the Skywalker Strikes comic book for the cover and is even designed like a book. the leaves include some greyed images from the comic book while the spine is black with a solid yellow Rebel symbol and the "Skywalker Strikes" sub-title.
The back of the box has more artwork direct from the comic book pages as well as a short bio that positions the premise of the Skywalker Strikes story.
"LUKE SKYWALKER AND THE RAGTAG REBELS OPPOSING THE GALACTIC EMPIRE ARE FRESH OFF THEIR BIGGEST VICTORY SO FAR - THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MASSIVE DEATH STAR, BUT THE EMPIRE IS NOT TOPPLED YET! WHEN A REBEL ASSAULT GOES WRONG, HAN AND LEIA MUST THINK FAST TO MAKE THEIR ESCAPE - WHEN LUKE COMES FACE-TO-FACE WITH DARTH VADER! IN THE EXPLOSIVE AFTERMATH, A HUMBLED LUKE RETURNS TO TATOOINE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HIS MENTOR, OBI-WAN KENOBI"
The box is well designed and looks brilliant. It is however prone to damage, the spine in particular where it folds when the box is opened. The figure and all the accessories inside are held in with elasticated ties which can't be easily removed if you want to unpack the figure and the box him back up.
Paint & Sculpt 4/5
The figure is the same one that comes in Wave 23 as Yavin Ceremony Luke Skywalker. This does make sense as Luke wears the same costume in the first part of the Skywalker Strikes storyline as he faces off against Vader on Cymoon 1.
The head sculpt is new and is a good likeness to the 1977 Mark Hamill, although the neck is a little short and gives him a hunched look. The face print tech works well and the figure comes with the bright blue eyes and the shaded skin tones.
The costume is well executed with the Corellian style trousers and knee high boots - complete with yellow stripes. Luke is then wearing his black shirt and the yellow jacket which is a cast piece and then painted down the him and with the black insignia on the chest. As we will see in the accessory section, Luke can also wear his blast shield helmet to give the figure an adjusted look.
Everything is painted well apart from the boots, they seem to have been wet when it went in the box and the brown is showing through rubbed patches of brown.
As we will see in the accessory section, Luke can also wear his blast shield helmet to give the figure an adjusted. The costume does change in the comic to the plain black shirt while Luke is training with the remote and with the blast shield helmet. And then a brown longer coat when he arrives on Tatooine. Considering the price of the set, it would have been brilliant had Hasbro gone with swap out arms and one or more of these options also included?
The power of exclusive sets like this one is the large number of accessories Hasbro tend to throw in which won't necessarily appear elsewhere. It is worth noting to begin with that the Yavin Medal is NOT included in this set. It will be packed with the standard release, and that feels a bit off from Hasbro when this is meant to be a deluxe version of the base release.
We start in this set with the grey case that Luke finds on Tatooine at Obi-Wan's house, this later turns out to contain Ben Kenobi's journal - and we get this journal too. Both are weathered on the front - but not all over. The case is hinged and opens up to allow the journal to be held inside.
Luke is armed with a Defender Sporting Blaster Pistol. This is cast in black with painted silver barrel tip and another silver panel on top of the weapon at the grip end. The blaster fits into the gun toting hand that Luke comes with, and the trigger finger slots into place. When not in use the blaster slips into the working holster. You un-clip the soft strap, slide the blaster in, and then replace the strap.
Luke also includes his lightsaber. This is not one of the original sabers from the X-Wing or Farmboy Lukes as the hook on the hilt has lost. It appears to be a re-use of one of the more modern Sabre's that came with Rey.
As usual the hilt separates from the translucent blue blade, and the click in and out works well and is secure. The hilt has good paint apps with black and gold detailing on the silver grip.
Sadly, Luke only comes with the one gun toting hand - and while this will hold the saber, it looks a bit odd (same issue as the Jedi Knight Luke) with the trigger finger sticking out. Again, considering the price of the set an alternative right hand would have been nice.
The final set of accessories are the blast shield helmet, training remote and a blast FX piece. The helmet looks to be re-purposed from the original X-Wing helmet, you can see the slots inside where the chin strap used to go and the blast shield piece is an added section. The helmet is really well decorated with the rebel symbols; red, yellow and grey stripes and the hatched yellow/black panels. It is also weathered well with brown patches around the helmet to dirty it up and make it look worn.
The helmet is a very snug fit on the figures head, and I would be worried about paint rub on the hair if you are putting the helmet on or taking it off regularly.
The training remote is also well decorated. It uses a white base with red around each of the blaster sections. The remote is then also weathered with more brown dry-brushing. The remote sits onto a stand via a hole on its base, this clear upright piece then slots into a base section. The stand and base use a ball joint type connection and this means the remote can be posed on the base and isn't restricted to one upright location.
The FX piece is designed to clip onto the lightsaber and look like a deflected blast. I wasn't sure about the colouring at first, but if you check the comic these deflections are orange so it is accurate to the source material.
Luke arrives with 17 points of articulation, 1 more than a standard Black Series release. This is down to the neck articulation update with a joint at the base of the neck as well as the top, removing the need for an unsightly pivot in the neck.
Head : ball joint neck, ball joint neck base
Body : torso ball joint
Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbow, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knees, ankle rockers
The arms are fine for weapon posing as Luke only needs to be firing his Sporting Blaster with a single hand at any one time.
When we bring the lightsaber into play the arms are a bit restricted with two handed poses - although some good ones can be achieved to line up to the training remote.
You would assume the leg articulation is much better with the double jointed knees, and this is true for kneeling poses. However, the hips seem to be locked and cant swing out into a seating position or for kneeling on one knee, that leaves wider stances the only other alternative. Luke does stand well with solid ankle rockers.
Using the posing options on the remote you can setup a good action shot with the training remote firing at Luke. The base of the remote can be angled depending on where you want to position it. The FX piece can then be slid anywhere on the blade of the saber.
Skywalker Strikes is a good premise for an exclusive, taking a figure that fans can buy anyway at a later stage and making the packaging and some of the accessories the exclusive. In this case it is a bit of a kicker that Hasbro did not include the Yavin medal in this set, leaving a need to still buy the base release even if you've forked out for this one.
The accessories you do get in the set are all well done, I love the idea of Ben Kenobi's diary and the blast FX helmet and training remote are very well done. I would have liked at least one extra hand so when holding his saber the figure isn't sticking his trigger finger up in the air.
The figure itself is well made, well sculpted and well painted and is articulated the same as any other Black Series release, although the hips are a little odd?
In the end the set comes down to value for money. At £39.99 RRP here in the UK, we have a set that is twice the price of a standard release - and for that extra £20 we have a handful of accessories more and a very nice box.
Taking everything into account, including that price tag, I score Skywalker Strikes Exclusive a 4 out of 5.
One sequence in the Skywalker Strikes comicbook saw Luke take to a Speeder Bike to battle the Imperials. I am pleased to say that this Black Series version will sit fairly well atop a Black Series Speeder Bike if you want to recreate these scenes.
The hips, which as I mentioned above are a bit elasticated, will resist the seated position but by having Luke grip at least one of the handlebars he should stay in position. The major issue is that Luke's feet won't quite line up to the footplates, but some tweaking with the pose can mask that a little.
The Blast Helmet and Training Remote did first appear in Episode 4 when Luke was first reaching out to the force on the Millennium Falcon. If you want to recreate this scene you will be pleased to know the Blast Helmet does fit the Farmboy Luke, and actually looks pretty impressive.
The Blast Helmet markings are made as seen in the comics and are not the same as the ones on the helmet Luke wears on the Falcon when training with Obi-Wan - but if you don't mind a bit of inaccuracy then it works. I wonder if Hasbro have this figure in mind for a future release, perhaps an archive release or a retailer exclusive.