Toy Empire is a column that examines modern Star Wars collectibles by theme, from characters to audience. If you need a guide for your own bounty hunting, look no further.
Being born in 1982, I missed seeing the original trilogy on the big screen the first time around. A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back both came out before I was born, and I was only an infant when Return of the Jedi hit theaters. Regardless, Star Wars became a big part of my childhood. I remember the day when my father said to me, “You know what, I bet you’d like the Star Wars movies.” He knew that the Star Wars saga was right up my alley. We rented the films and my imagination was immediately captured. That galaxy far, far away soon became my favorite place to escape.
Both of my parents still think of that moment when they recommended the films to me and chuckle at how they inadvertently created the Star Wars superfan that I have become. And while it is always worth a laugh, I still think very fondly on that moment. My parents introduced me to an amazing and imaginative world that became more than just movies and action figures.
The stories these movies told resonated with me more than any film ever had. I became so emotionally attached to the characters that I felt as if I knew them personally; like I was going on these adventures with them. As I grew older, I bonded over the films with others who loved them like I did. I excitedly attended the midnight opening of each of the prequel films. I’ve attended fan conventions and have had some memorable experiences. Star Wars was more than just a movie. It became a part of me.
I am now in my thirties with a son of my own, and we’re approaching a very exciting time for Star Wars fans. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18, and with it we will be introduced to a new story with new characters. We’re being given several years’ worth of new films to enjoy, new toys to play with, and new adventures to live out. And my son is going to grow up with all of it.
I’m certain that I am not the only parent out there who is now eagerly hoping that their children will fall in love with Star Wars the same way we did. In fact, this has become in large part why I am so excited for the new films.
My son is currently just a toddler. He’s a bit too young to really sit down and watch the films. But I recently experienced an amazing moment of pure childhood joy while at a toy store with my little one. As daddy was browsing the new selection of Star Wars figures for his own collection, my two-year-old discovered a four-foot-tall stormtrooper action figure with button activated sound effects. With every push of the button his small toddler vocabulary would excitedly exclaim, “WOW! DADA!!! WOW!!!” I felt my heart skip a beat as I just sat back and enjoyed the experience.
As a collector myself, I naturally knew that toys could be a great way to begin introducing him to this property that has been such a huge part of my life. I quickly made it a priority to grab a few of the Playskool Heroes Star Wars toys, which are designed for the pre-school crowd. I even went as far as to seek out a vintage Kenner Preschool Ewok Family Hut playset…something that I had always wanted myself as a Star Wars collector and found the perfect excuse to finally buy. He took to it immediately, as he gleefully snatched up the little Ewok action figures and tried to figure out how to make the elevator work. Of course, I was more than happy to show him and play out an adventure or two. The adventures have more times than not involved a group of dinosaurs coming to visit the Ewok village, which I personally get a kick out of. It’s fun to see his imagination already growing.
Sitting down on the floor to play Ewoks with your two-year-old is one of those moments you start looking forward to the second you find out that you are going to be a parent. It may sound incredibly clichéd, but it’s little moments like this that I find to mean so very much to me. And really, it doesn’t matter what we’re sitting down to play with. It’s always awesome. But it certainly adds a little something extra when you see them enjoying something that has always been so very special to you.
As I said, he’s still too young to really comprehend the story of Star Wars. But these toys are a fun beginning to what I hope will become a shared interest that we can enjoy together. He is going to grow up in a world where there is new Star Wars for the foreseeable future, and it is going to be so much fun to witness. Of course, you can’t force it. A child’s love of Star Wars, or anything for that matter, needs to come organically. That’s how it came for all of us.
“Pixel Dan” Eardley is a reviewer, reporter, and all-around toy enthusiast. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, Dan enjoyed a variety of popular toys including Star Wars, among many others. His love of toys has followed him into his adult life where he continues to collect toys both new and old. Through his popular videos on his YouTube channel, with over 100,000 subscribers, Dan shares his enthusiasm for the collecting hobby with the world.