From The Mouth Of The Creators:
Brant Bridges, Sideshow Collectibles' Production Manager:
RS: What was your part in the creation of this figure?
BB: I am the humble servant of the artists and brilliant minds around me. Our team manages the coordination of the creative process from concept to prototype, and then transfers the product overseas for production.
RS: Ultimately, why was Jedi Luke chosen to be the first figure?
BB: We wanted to do a main OT character...We wanted to do a version of an OT character that we have not done in the Premium Format line, which pretty well ruled out ANH. We wanted to do a major costume, not one of the transitional outfits (not Dagobah Luke or Ewok Celebration Leia) Jedi Luke stood out as a great candidate, and was a figure done before by both Hasbro and Medicom. Jedi Luke gave us an opportunity to illustrate the difference between Sideshow’s interpretations of the characters, and other companies.
RS: From concept to production, how long did the development process take to create Jedi Luke?
BB: Generally, we spend about 6 months on any given character. This time includes sculpture, submitting the sculpture for approvals, reworking, painting, resubmitting, reworking, costuming, prototyping, and final submission and approval.
RS: What was the motivation behind the packaging design?
BB: We wanted to break out of our traditional packaging, which is one window view of one blister with an opening front flap. We were determined to do something more elaborate. Most of the Star Wars figures are really, really loaded with accessories, so there has to be enough space on the blister to show off all those goodies. The double blister style was the created by Peter Mitchell, a very talented designer.
RS: The production numbers on the Jedi Luke figure are lower than that of the other core characters so far announced. Where you surprised by the overwhelming response the figure received?
BB: Sideshow is a conservative company, with a reputation for high quality collectable product. We hate to see collectors investing in our product, only to have it devalued after it is released, so we try very, very hard to set an edition size that is big enough to include the die-hard collectors that know about the product, and the small group that hasn’t yet discovered Sideshow. We don’t set edition sizes like mass-market companies do, hoping for casual collectors or atypical customers to buy our product. We know, and love, our customer. To say we were surprised by Luke’s popularity may be an exaggeration, but we were very very pleased. It means that we can expect a long and healthy life from the Star Wars 12-inch line.
We’ve been closely watching the sell-out timing on the exclusive Star Wars figures, and we’ve been making changes to make life easier. Believe it or not, the system is designed to be as fair as possible. We don’t want people to have to spend their valuable time or gas money chasing around to find our figures, and we want to make the ordering process as painless and easy as possible. It’s just amazing how many collectors hit our site at once when the priority pre-orders become available! We are still watching everything very, very closely, and we will continue to make improvements as the line grows, and the fan base grows.
RS: The choice of facial expression seems to be a risk that paid off. Were there other expressions considered, and if so, what was it about this expression that won the day?
BB: Great question, and not an easy one to answer. What makes a great portrait, or a perfect likeness? There are a LOT of answers, but it is fairly subjective. Sideshow generally believes that the best portraits are successful because they capture the essence of a character, through a facial expression or those distinctive facial features (think of the features that a caricaturist would highlight). A good portrait sculptor, like Mat, Andy, or Oluf, is able to do more than recreate an exact miniature portrait – they are able to draw out the personality and the flaws that make a face ‘real.’ Mat and the team felt strongly that this version of Luke needed to expose his humanity, his thoughtfulness, his wisdom. Perhaps a future version of Luke will focus more on his grit and determination. It’s not as though this is the only Luke that we’ll ever do... :)
RS: At what point during the design was it determined that the wrist joint should be retooled?
BB: Pretty much as soon as we had decided to include multiple hands. Over the years, many people have complained that it is difficult to switch hands, or that they were simply afraid of breaking the figure. We decided it was time to make it easier.
RS: It would seem that you were able to pretty much cover every accessory Luke had in hand in the first half of ROTJ. Is there a chance that the character will be revisited again in the future with accessories better suited for the second half of the film?
BB: Never say never. We really didn’t intend for this to be a complete ROTJ Luke, because there are a lot of possibilities with Endor. The helmet, the poncho, the speederbike, Wicket, ewok babies, handcuffs, and much more. He would need an entirely different head in order to fit the helmet, or perhaps two heads so that each would look ‘normal’ whether or not the helmet was on (read – no helmet hair). In any event, another version of Jedi Luke is a long way down the road. There are too many other characters to tackle!
RS: Are there plans to use this packaging style on other lines, such as LOTR, or will it be solely for the Star Wars figures?
BB: LOTR will be something entirely different. I don’t believe we’re planning to use the Star Wars format for anything else, at the moment.
RS: In hindsight, would you have liked to see anything changed?
BB: Of course, we’re always reviewing our products for ways we could have made the figure better, and we’re scanning the forums to see what the general consensus is. Perhaps we can tighten the hand connection, and I’m sure we can improve on the arm length for future ‘short’ figures. But all in all, we are very proud of Luke.
Jedi Luke Skywalker is Sideshow's first 1/6 Scale Star Wars action figure.
It premiered on November 8th, 2005.
The exclusive edition sold out in 3 hours.
A Regular Edition was also available without the additional accessory. Click here for a look at that version.
Photography by D. Martin Myatt
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