Friday, January 28, 2022

Wishlist 2022: The Black Series

If there is one that is certain in toy collecting, it’s that it never ends. Unless you manage to quit cold turkey, there will always be something “missing” from your collection or something new and shiny you will be tempted to buy. So let’s do something new to kick off 2022. I thought that it would be a fun exercise to make out a wishlist of new toys that I am hoping will be at the very least officially announced in the next 12 months. And come 2023, I can revisit this list and see how many or little items actually came true!

To keep things organized I decided to come up with separate lists for each major toy line I currently collect; namely Star Wars Black Series, Marvel Legends and Transformers. And if needed, I may also do a catch all list for everything else. And to keep things more straight to the point, I will strictly keep each list to a maximum of 10 entries. I think it also goes without saying that these are just my top ten items and not necessarily the only ones I want. Case in point, in my initial pass, I managed to come up with 40 plus wants just for Star Wars alone! Oh and if there are heavy rumors or even unconfirmed leaks of upcoming stuff that I am aware of, they will not be included. The same goes with characters that I am willing to bet my left kidney on that they WILL be at least announced this year. So no Black Krrsantan in this list.

Also I think it’s worth mentioning that even if I say “Black Series”, this is a more inclusive umbrella that includes SH Figuarts, MAFEX, and even Bandai model kits. As long as it’s 1:12 scale it counts. So with all that in mind, let's get started with a galaxy far far away.

10) Episode One Young Anakin & Padme Amidala (Peasant Disguise)

Ok so right off the bat, yes this is a cheat but with so many “wants” I figured I could lump these two together since they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

While the more iconic and visually interesting Queen Amidala is also a necessity in rounding out the main cast of The Phantom Menace, I would initially prefer her more plain peasant disguise to come out first. I think that she would be a better fit with Quigon Jinn, Padawan Kenobi and Jar Jar.

And as for Anakin, I can’t believe we still haven’t gotten little “Ani” yet. I believe it’s the only version of Anakin we still haven’t gotten up to this point. Yes I know he is a smaller figure, so to even it out you could throw in a Watto or half built C3-PO. Hell, pair him up with a lil’Greedo for him to beat up. Getting a young Anakin this year would definitely warrant a “yippee!”.

9) Episode Six Nien Nunb

Coming in at nine is Nien Nunb (I swear this wasn’t intentional). After Jabba the Hutt, Admiral Ackbar…and the ewoks, Nien Numb has got to be one of the most important second or third string characters from Return of the Jedi. While I’m not the biggest Nien Nunb fan, I do recognize his crucial role as one of the three Rebel pilots who blew up the second Death Star. We already have General Lando and Wedge, we need Nien Nunb to complete this legendary galactic trio.

8) Episode Six Rebel Commando

When it comes to Stormtroopers, it seems that they introduce a new type for every movie and series and so on. And Hasbro has pretty much been up to date with giving us Black Series versions of each of these many variants. As for the Rebels side, there isn’t much, which is probably why the two types that they did do, the Rebel Trooper and Rebel Commander have been some of the best figures they have released in the line. And it’s about time they get around to doing the next Rebel army builder, the Rebel Commando from Episode 6.

From the first time I saw these guys in Return of the Jedi, I automatically earmarked them as my favorite type of Rebel soldier. I just thought he looked so cool, and his vintage figure was one of my favorite ones in my collection.

I’m hoping that this guy will be included when Hasbro celebrates the 40th year anniversary of Return of the Jedi next year, but I wouldn’t complain if he made an appearance anytime before that. And I also hope they go the same route as the previous Hoth Rebel Commander. Switchable face plates for this guy (that can also be interchangeable with the ones we got with the HRC) would just be awesome!

7) Episode Three Darth Sidious/Chancellor Palpatine

This is another one of those characters that is a mystery as to why he hasn’t been released yet. How can we be almost 10 years into the Black Series without a prequel Darth Sidious. I would assume that any release would have to come with two distinct head sculpts, that of Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious. But if I had to choose I would prefer the evil Darth Sidious so I can display him next to Kit Fisto he he.

6) Episode Eight General Leia Organa

Look, I get it, as a whole, the toy lines of both Episodes 8 and 9 didn’t sell very well, so the fact that we didn’t get any updated versions of main characters like Poe and Finn from Episode 9 were understandable (especially since The Rise of Skywalker sucked balls). But given the importance of General Leia to the entire Star Wars franchise and the unfortunate and tragic death of Carrie Fisher after filming Episode 8, I think it’s inexcusable that we only got one Leia action figure from the Sequel trilogy.

Her General uniform that she sported for the majority of Episode 7 is nice and all, but we need a proper regal version, more specifically her dark blue gown with the huge half collar that she wore towards the end of The Last Jedi when she said goodbye to her brother Luke for the last time. It’s an epic moment from one of the best Star Wars movies ever (yes I will die on that hill) and is the best way I would like Leia to be remembered. I think Lor San Tekka said it best…”Oh, the General? To me, she is royalty”.

5) Another Ewok

Last year, Hasbro finally gave us ewoks in the Black Series…and now I want more. While the obvious choice for a new ewok would be Wicket W. Warrick, I feel that he’s pretty much a given. It’s more of a question of “when” he will be released. So for my wishlist I would want at least one more ewok not named Wicket (of course if they give us even more I wouldn’t complain either).

My first choice would be Logray, the medicine man. He has a more distinctive look with his bird skull headgear.  Of course I also wouldn’t mind a Chief Chirpa.

Or how about a two pack of Widdle (Wicket's older brother!) and Wunka, the two ewoks who along with Chewbacca literally turned the tide of the battle of Endor when they hijacked an Imperial AT-ST Walker. Or I wouldn’t mind Warok, Romba, Lumat….you know what Hasbro, just give me an Ewok box set please? Thank you!

4) The Clone Wars Darth Maul

While he was initially meant to be a one off antagonist introduced and then killed off in The Phantom Menace. The “powers that be” rethought their original plans and thankfully made Darth Maul’s survival from being cut in half and falling down into oblivion canon. And from there, the ex Sith Apprentice’s story arc just took off and he blossomed into one of the most intriguing and memorable characters in the Star Wars universe. And it’s this later version of Maul from the Clone Wars series that needs to be added to our collections asap. We already have his dueling partner Ahsoka in hand and a smaller one for the vintage collection already released, so I feel that it’s only a matter of time before we get one for the Black Series.

3) Rebels Agent Kallus

Back in 2020, Hasbro released Zeb Orrelios which finally completed the main Rebel Ghost crew in Black Series form. And since then, there haven't been any other Rebels related characters released. Granted, having a complete Ghost crew seemed like a mere pipe dream a few years ago, they have now spoiled me and I want more.

While not part of the Ghost crew, Agent Kallus has one of the most intriguing character arcs in the entire series. While he started out as one of the main antagonists in the series, a loyal Imperial officer tasked with taking down the Ghost crew, he ultimately ends up defecting to the Rebellion after numerous interactions and encounters with them. I have tried to put together a custom placeholder for him but that’s all it really is. And it’s admittedly a half assed attempt. I want an official version of this guy to add to my Rebels lineup.

2) Rebels Old Captain Rex

And speaking of adding to the Rebels display, the older version of my favorite Clone trooper Captain Rex is a definite requirement. His addition to the show was a real pleasant surprise. Even if he was well past his prime and played more of a support role to the main cast, it was a welcome relief to know that he had survived all those years and was not just killed off or absorbed into the Empire after Order 66.

I am very hopeful that we won’t have to wait too long for an Old Man Rex since his “unique” sculpt can also be reused with some slight tweaks for his fellow clones Wolffe and Gregor.

1) The Clone Wars Embo

When it comes to “factions” or “profession types” in the Star Wars universe, some fans love Jedi, others Sith, or maybe Clone/Imperial Troopers or Droids. For me it’s all about the bounty hunters. I am so happy that Hasbro didn’t stop after they completed the six main hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. Since then we’ve gotten an awesome Cad Bane, Aurra Sing and Fennec Shand. But there is still one Bounty Hunter that I am still dying to add to my collection and that is the Kyuzo Embo.

If you’re not familiar with the character, think of a lanky praying mantis alien, crossed with a samurai, crossed with Captain America. Oh and for a time he traveled with a pet anoobas named Marrok, who was like a giant space wolf with giant fangs, tusks and claws (hello deluxe 2 pack!).

From the moment I saw him in action in the Clone Wars season two episode “Bounty Hunters” it was love at first sight. He just has a very unique look and style centered around his multi purpose large rimmed circular hat which he uses as an offensive and defensive weapon, and even at times as a means of transportation. I know that using words to describe his style doesn’t give him any justice, you just have to actually see him in action.

Of all the characters of this list, Embo is probably the most obscure of the bunch, and aside from adding to the bounty hunter count on your shelf, he doesn’t really complete a certain set or team. He is also currently not featured or even rumored to appear in any current Star Wars media that I know of. So this makes him the longest shot to be produced for the Black Series and it makes him my number one on my wishlist.