The First Partial List of Kenner Star Wars Toy Prototypes
Which Failed Miserably
By Micah Wright, copyright July 21, 1994
- "Luke in Bactine Tank" A favorite scene from "Empire" recreated in miniature, complete with a removable diaper for Luke. Unfortunately, it was found that the glowing bactine wash posed a radioactive health hazard for tykes.
- "Missile Hand Luke" Luke doll with a special lever on his back which causes his artificial hand to shoot off at 25 mph. Manufacturers recalled it when hands started finding their way into eyeballs, windpipes, and other orifices.
- "Exploding Death Star" Potential radiation burn/shrapnel hazard, which did not keep kids from recreating the scene with their own "normal" Death Star and a few M-60's.
- "Black Princess Leia" Promoted as competition for Mattel's popular "Black Disco Barbie"; did not find expected level of popularity.
- "Incredible Shavable Han Solo" Sprouted real hair; failed miserably when tested on real kids.
- "Dissect An Ewok Kit" The deal was off when Play-doh pulled out at the last minute.
- "Nit-laden Chewbacca" Concept behind this was that kids would enjoy picking nits off of a large, furry Chewbacca. Didn't do well, since it came with real nits which quickly spread to other parts of the house.
- The Ugnaught figures made from Genetically altered mice. PETA sank that one real quick.
- Emperor Palpatine Doll/Tesla Coil. Hey kids, real lightning! Kill your enemies! Nixed due to obvious danger of children accidentally running up huge power bills.
- Full scale working Death Star Kit. Kenner built one fully working model, but it was destroyed. They were halfway finished with their second when it too was destroyed. Plans were scrapped to build any more.
- Darth Vader Funeral Pyre. They couldn't figure out how to make a character who had been 4 inches tall and thin into a character 2.5 inches tall and fat as a slug once you removed his helmet. Also a problem with the fact that it only worked once.
- Aunt Beru doll. Nixed as just plain stupid. A huge loss to those fans of Bok Choi and blue Kool-aid out there.
- "Real-Guts" Tauntaun. Also referred to as "The Visible Tauntaun." Once you pulled off the skin, you could see all the internal organs. Much like real tauntauns, it stank to high heaven. Other problem: Like similar toy "The Visible Man," Visible Tauntaun's organs never went back in right and you were always left with an extra organ or two.
- "Learn the Force At Home" Kit. Included self-hypnosis training tapes and rocks to lift. Recalled after thousands of children with no strong parental figure turned to the Dark Side, killing their parents and saying things like "You are part of the Rebel Alliance and you did not make me the type of sandwich that I like!" while strangling them from across the room.
- "Fun Fusion Grenade." Seen in the exciting throneroom scene in Return of the Jedi where a disguised Leia holds it up to bluff out Jabba the Hutt. Problem was, the kids didn't understand the concept of a fusion grenade and would often actually detonate it while trying to bluff their parents into extending their bedtime.
- "Mr. Hutt-Head." A Mr. Potato Head ripoff which had a Jabba body and a series of switchable heads with the faces of famous fat people. See Rush The Hutt, Willard The Hutt, John Candy The Hutt, etc. Nixed when famous fat people got angry at being identified with Pizza Hutt. (they just didn't get it).
- Pimp Lando Figure. Lando as a loc-ed out pimp daddy. Long brown leather coat, straight razor, huge afro, gold tooth, etc. Actually molded, packaged, and ready to be shipped when the makers of the Shaft figures sued for copyright infringement.
- Dead Admiral Doll. Well, Vader killed so many Admirals in the three movies that Kenner figured that there should be a doll. Problem was, he couldn't be posed and would always fall over in a heap. Kids decided they could fake it with a normal Admiral doll and chose not to purchase this no-spined rubbery thing.
- Roller Disco Cloud City Worker. Roller Disco went out of fashion, so the skakes were cut off and the hair removed, and thus the figure was converted to Lando's Pal Lobot with the weird headphones.
- Voices of the Dead Driving Headset. The voice of Ben Kenobi helps You drive around town. "Watch out for the brown van, Luke!" "The light is about to turn green, Luke!" Actually a great help for drivers, but failed on the market due to the fact that not very many people are named Luke, and no one likes a back seat driver.
- Talking Stormtroopers. Pull a string on their chest and they would say things like "There's one, set for stun!" or "Look Sir, Droids!" During production the voiceboxes got switched with talking Barbie. The stormtroopers ended up saying things like: "Gosh, math is so hard!" and "Let's Go Shopping!" while Barbie barked out "What do you mean, radiation leak?"
- Speaking of Radiation Leaks, the best toy of all: The Death Star Detention center. Eventually it was toned down to two lame rooms in the 4-story death star playset, but it was originally conceived of as a set all to itself, with rooms such as "bullshit communications center" where you try to talk your way out of tight fixes with such lies as "oh, weapons misfire." The hallway of harmless light: fifty stormtroopers pump bolts of laser fire down the hall where you and your four friends have no harm done to you, even though you have no cover to speak of. The best part about the detention center was that it included some cool dolls: "torture/interrogation droid," "giggling Moff Tarkin doll," and "flayed flesh Leia," not to mention "stupid gullible guard" doll. Eventually stopped by Kenner brass who noticed that playtesting kids were getting a little too into the torture room. Fearful of breeding a generation of Salvadorean Death Squads, they pulled the plug on this toy.