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REVIEW:
STAR WARS - "SEPARATION OF THE TWINS"
By Thomas Wheeler



The climactic scene from Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, and arguably its closest link to the classic trilogy, is when Obi-Wan Kenobi presents an infant Luke Skywalker to his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. The next closest scene would be the one just prior, as we see Senator Bail Organa returning to his homeworld of Alderaan with the infant Leia.

Although the next time we see these two babies, they're both in their very late teens, these scenes in Episode III do a nice job of setting the stage for the remaining episodes, and manage to tie the entire six-movie epic together very well. The surviving Jedi -- Obi-Wan and Yoda -- knew that it would simply be too dangerous to allow these infants' father, the fallen Jedi and now Sith Lord known as Darth Vader, formerly Anakin Skywalker, to know of their existence.

Granted, by the time of "The Empire Strikes Back", Vader had figured out at least that Luke was his son, but the name was probably a dead giveaway. Leia's name had been changed to Organa. As it stands at the end of Episode III, Vader correctly believes his wife Padme to be dead, and probably assumes that the child (or children -- Vader didn't know there was more than one, which might also explain why he didn't look beyond Luke for other offspring) died with her. The last we see of Vader, he's standing on the bridge of an early Star Destroyer, alongside the Emperor and Governor Tarkin, on their way to a framework of what will become the Death Star.

Yoda has gone into seclusion on Dagobah (a scene cut from the original movie, restored as "bonus footage" on the DVD), and Obi-Wan has headed off into the deserts of Tatooine, promising to himself to keep something of an eye on Luke as best as he can, while undergoing further training under the direction of his former master, Qui-Gon Jinn, who had found the means to become "one with the Force" or some such.

(It's worth noting that when the DVD editions of the classic trilogy were made available, some wanted to slip a ghostly image of Qui-Gon into the scene on Endor, where the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin appear to Luke. They did switch Hayden Christensen in for the previous actor. Personally, I think putting Qui-Gon in there would've been kind of cool.)

But enough movie talk. Wal-Mart arranged with Hasbro to produce two exclusive action figure items, entitled "Star Wars - Separation of the Twins". Although the packages were not much larger than the standard Star Wars figures, they were designed somewhat differently, with a wider "bubble" and a more scenic background. There are two sets -- Bail Organa with an infant Leia, and Obi-Wan with an infant Luke.

The positioning of the figures is somewhat interesting, given that Obi- Wan didn't keep Luke, but Bail did keep Leia. Obi-Wan's positioning in the package, the way he's holding the tiny Luke figure, is as if he's presenting it to someone. The photo on the package card shows him turning the infant over to Beru.

Conversely, Bail is holding Leia in such a way that he considers Leia his direct responsibility -- well, his and his wife's, anyway. He's not planning to turn this child over to anyone. He and his wife will raise her as their adopted daughter. He's cradling the tiny Leia figure, as opposed to Obi-Wan's positioning of preparing to present Luke to someone else.

The back of the package cards differ in their explanation of the overall situation. Although each mentions the overall concern of making sure the twins are kept safe from their biological father, the specifics relate to the individual items.

The Leia/Bail package reads as follows: "After assisting the last of the Jedi in escaping the murderous rampages of the clone troopers, Bail Organa has a meeting with Master Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Faced with determining the fates of the newborn twins, Yoda instructs Obi-Wan to deliver Luke to his aunt and uncle on Tattoine, while Bail volunteers to adopt Leia and raise her with his wife on Alderaan. There she will be loved and cared for as one of their own. Obi-Wan and Yoda agree that allowing the trustworthy Senator Organa to care for the child is the best option for young Leia."

You know, I just recalled something from Empire Strikes Back. When Luke takes off from Dagobah, the spirit of Obi-Wan says to Yoda that Luke is their "last hope", and Yoda counters with, "No, there is another." Did Obi-Wan forget about Leia's existence? One would hardly think so, given that he was part of the group that rescued her from the Empire in the first Star Wars movie. Perhaps he simply felt that since Leia had not had a Jedi keeping a bit of an eye on her, and hadn't received even the limited training Obi-Wan had given Luke, that she was unsuitable for going against Vader. Just a thought.

The Luke/Obi-Wan package reads as follows: "Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda find themselves in the midst of tragic circumstances and must decide the fates of the newborn Skywalker twins. Senator Bail Organa volunteers to adopt Leia, while Yoda instructs Obi-Wan to deliver Luke to his aunt and uncle on Tatooine. After giving Like to his family, Obi- Wan goes into seclusion on Tatooine. He will one day guide young Luke in the ways of the Force. The separation of the twins is a difficult decision, but Obi-Wan and Yoda are confident that there will come a day when it will prove key in the return of the Jedi."

Heh -- cute way to end that sentence. You know, if you think about it, working out this last movie had to be a fair challenge. It wasn't just about Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader. George Lucas had to make sure that all the players were reasonably in their proper places. That meant Luke and Leia had to be born and placed in the care of certain individuals, Obi-Wan had to return to Tatooine, Yoda had to go into exile -- I wouldn't've wanted that particular continuity task.

The toys themselves are very decently made for the most part, although obviously rather limited in purpose. I suppose if a kid wanted these sets, he could write his own story about Darth Vader retrieving the babies or something (although I'd be a little concered about a kid that would write that!), but for the most part, these sets are intended as collectibles for fans of the movies. The ornate backdrops in the packaging are proof enough of that.

For the most part, these are standard 3-3/4" Star Wars figures. I would suspect, although I am not certain, that the Obi-Wan Kenobi figure probably uses most of a previous body mold. I'm not as certain about Senator Bail Organa, since there haven't been as many versions of him. The figures are designed to be decently articulated. Both have the "diagonal elbow cut" articulation -- at least Bail does. It's kind of hard to tell on Obi-Wan, and I didn't want to remove these sets from their packages. And it's obvious that they both have articulated wrists.

The infants -- well, they're not articulated. And unfortunately, they look rather cheaply made. Hasbro resorted to one of their cheapest tricks to paint the hair and faces on these tiny dolls, and it's especially evident on Leia. They printed it on, with dot-printing like you'd find in a newspaper. They did this a few times years ago with some tattoos and insignias on G.I. Joe figures. I don't know where else it might have turned up. But it's the sort of thing you do when you can't put the money out to make a painting stencil for spray paint.

It should be noted that the wording on the packaging emphasizes the babies. This makes sense, since the set is called "Separation of the Twins". But the individual packages read, "Infant LEIA ORGANA" in large type, or "Infant LUKE SKYWALKER" in large type, with distinctly smaller type reading "with Bail Organa" or "with Obi-Wan Kenobi". This is certainly the only time these classic names will turn up on Star Wars packaging that is related to the prequel movies. And while the packaging is somewhat different than the typical "Revenge of the Sith" packaging, it's pretty much the same color scheme, and does distinctly say "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" at the top. That combination alone is worth mentioning as far as I'm concerned.

Although I do sort of wonder if these tiny babies will be officially counted as specific figures of Luke and Leia in Hasbro's eyes, if they ever do a "100th Luke Skywalker" figure or something.

These sets are Wal-Mart exclusives. As with any exclusive toy, availability is a concern. I suspect they'll prove to be rather popular among Star Wars die-hards, and no doubt are more limited in production by the simple fact of them being exclusives. I have no idea what their availability might be by the time you read this review, but if you're a longtime Star Wars fan and toy collector, this really is your only chance to acquire Luke and Leia as they appeared (briefly) in the prequel movies. From that standpoint alone, I certainly recommend these sets!