Welcome to Collectibles from the Outer Rim, where we’ll be looking at some of the most obscure Star Wars merchandise, from things you’ve forgotten, to things you’ve plainly never heard of, to more ephemeral treasures that somehow survived on the collectors’ market for decades!
Since this is the inaugural column, I thought I’d do something special. And by “special” I of course mean open a box of cookies from 1983.
From the Return of the Jedi era, Pepperidge Farm’s Star Wars Cookies let fans eat their favorite heroes and villains. Emboldened by the knowledge that anything branded with the Star Wars logo was bound to be successful, Pepperidge Farm simultaneously released three different flavors…
Vanilla: The “Rebel Alliance I” set, featuring many of the top dogs. Chomp your way through Luke, Han, Leia, Yoda, and Wicket.
Peanut Butter: These boxes were marked “Rebel Alliance II,” which made sense until you noticed Max Rebo among the inclusions. Another double-dealing Ortolan? Rounding out the set were more expected characters: Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Admiral Ackbar.
Chocolate: The version pictured above. This “Imperial Forces” set included Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Royal Guard, Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna, and a Gamorrean Guard. Apropos of nothing, imagine those five as the next set of Power Rangers.
(And yes, I’m very happy that the flavor in my possession just happens to be the one with a chocolate Jabba. You cannot top a chocolate Jabba.)
To alert kids that they could eat their favorite Star Wars characters, Pepperidge Farm whipped up this eerie commercial, where clips from Return of the Jedi bookended shots of a small boy rather unsettlingly opening a box of cookies.
Gotta love the extra-reverbed voice-over guy, too. If pitching cookies didn’t work out, I suspect he may have found a new career as a barker for traveling spookhouse attractions.
Boxes of Star Wars Cookies are found frequently enough on the collector’s market, but they’re usually empty. The box I’m showing you is not. Yes, the cookies are still inside. The 32-year-old cookies… are still inside.
Inside the box was a sealed silver bag. It’s fittingly “space themed,” but I was hoping for a clear one. Now I really have to open it. Wish me luck. Get me a dust mask and hilarious goggles.
How about that? Despite their age, you can still kind of make out the characters. The cookies definitely don’t look good enough to eat, but at least they haven’t become beds of weevil larvae. All told, I’m not sure I completely understood the word “grody” until handling 32-year-old cookies.
While time has dampened their final details, the smell has only intensified with age. I’d compare it to a bottle of amaretto left open in someone’s cellar for three decades. It won’t make you gag, but it won’t make you hungry, either.
I couldn’t have been more than five years old when these cookies debuted, but I absolutely remember eating them. Well, most of them, anyway. I was way too much of a mark for the Royal Guards to bite their heads off. I just played with those cookies.
I think that was the main draw, actually. Kids ate Star Wars Cookies, sure, but not before treating them like mutant action figures. So what if they didn’t have legs? Jabba never had legs!
And what a painless cleanup, too. When we finished playing with our real toys, on came the parental shouts to put everything away. With Star Wars Cookies, you just ate everything when you were done.
Just imagine how much cleaner your childhood bedroom would’ve been if everything inside it tasted like chocolate.