From: Neil Chazin (n-chazin at uiuc.edu)
"The First Partial List of Kenner Star Wars Toy Prototypes Which Failed Miserably."
By Micah Wright, copyright July 21, 1994
- "Luke in Bactine Tank" A favorite scene from "Empire" recreated in
miniature, complete with a removable diaper for Luke. Unfortunately, it
was found that the glowing bactine wash posed a radioactive health hazard
- "Missile Hand Luke" Luke doll with a special lever on his back which
causes his artificial hand to shoot off at 25 mph. Manufacturers recalled
it when hands started finding their way into eyeballs, windpipes, and other
- "Exploding Death Star" Potential radiation burns/shrapnel hazard, which
did not keep kids from recreating the scene with their own "normal" Death
Star and a few M-60's.
- "Black Princess Leia" Promoted as competition for Mattel's popular
"Black Disco Barbie"; did not find expected level of popularity.
- "Incredible Shavable Han Solo" Sprouted real hair; failed miserably when
tested on real kids.
- "Dissect An Ewok Kit" The deal was off when Play-doh pulled out at the
- "Nit-laden Chewbacca" Concept behind this was that kids would enjoy
picking nits off of a large, furry Chewbacca. Didn't do well, since it came
with real nits which quickly spread to other parts of the house.
- "The Ugnaught Figures Made From Genetically Altered Mice." PETA sank
that one real quick.
- "Emperor Palpatine Doll/Tesla Coil." Hey kids, real lightning! Kill
your enemies! Nixed due to obvious danger of children accidentally running
up huge power bills.
- "Full Scale Working Death Star Kit." Kenner built one fully working
model, but it was destroyed. They were halfway finished with their second
when it too was destroyed. Plans were scrapped to build any more.
- "Darth Vader Funeral Pyre." They couldn't figure out how to make a
character who had been 4 inches tall and thin into a character 2.5 inches
tall and fat as a slug once you removed his helmet. Also a problem with
the fact that it only worked once.
- "Aunt Beru Doll." Nixed as just plain stupid. A huge loss to those
fans of Bok Choi and blue Kool-aid out there.
- "Real-Guts" Tauntaun." Also referred to as "The Visible Tauntaun. Once
you pulled off the skin, you could see all the internal organs. Much like
real tauntauns, it stank to high heaven. Another problem: Like similar toy
"The Visible Man," Visible Tauntaun's organs never went back in right and
you were always left with an extra organ or two.
- "Learn the Force At Home" Kit. Included self-hypnosis training tapes
and rocks to lift. Recalled after thousands of children with no strong
parental figure turned to the Dark Side, killing their parents and saying
things like "You are part of the Rebel Alliance and you did not make me the
type of sandwich that I like!" while strangling them from across the room.
- "Fun Fusion Grenade." Seen in the exciting throneroom scene in Return
of the Jedi where a disguised Leia holds it up to bluff out Jabba the Hutt.
Problem was, the kids didn't understand the concept of a fusion grenade
and would often actually detonate it while trying to bluff their parents
into extending their bedtime.
- "Mr. Hutt-Head." A Mr. Potato Head ripoff which had a Jabba body and a
series of switchable heads with the faces of famous fat people. See Rush
The Hutt, Willard The Hutt, John Candy The Hutt, etc. Nixed when famous fat
people got angry at being identified with Pizza Hutt. (they just didn't get
- "Pimp Lando Figure." Lando as a loc-ed out pimp daddy. Long brown
leather coat, straight razor, huge afro, gold tooth, etc. Actually molded,
packaged, and ready to be shipped when the makers of the Shaft figures sued
for copyright infringement.
- "Dead Admiral Doll." Well, Vader killed so many Admirals in the three
movies that Kenner figured that there should be a doll. Problem was, he
couldn't be posed and would always fall over in a heap. Kids decided they
could fake it with a normal Admiral doll and chose not to purchase this
no-spined rubbery thing.
- "Roller Disco Cloud City Worker." Roller Disco went out of fashion, so
the skates were cut off and the hair removed, and thus the figure was
converted to Lando's Pal Lobot with the weird headphones.
- "Voices of the Dead Driving Headset." The voice of Ben Kenobi helps you
drive around town. "Watch out for the brown van, Luke!" "The light is about
to turn green, Luke!" Actually a great help for drivers, but failed on the
market due to the fact that not very many people are named Luke, and no one
likes a back seat driver.
- "Talking Stormtroopers." Pull a string on their chest and they would
say things like "There's one, set for stun!" or "Look Sir, Droids!" During
production the voiceboxes got switched with Talking Barbie. The
stormtroopers ended up saying things like: "Gosh, math is so hard!" and
"Let's Go Shopping!" while Barbie barked out "What do you mean, radiation leak?"
- Speaking of radiation leaks, the best toy of all - "The Death Star
Detention Center." Eventually it was toned down to two lame rooms in
the 4-story death star playset, but it was originally conceived of as
a set all to itself, with rooms such as "Bullshit Communications
Center" where you try to talk your way out of tight fixes with such
lies as "oh, weapons misfire." The hallway of harmless light: fifty
stormtroopers pump bolts of laser fire down the hall where you and
your four friends have no harm done to you, even though you have no cover
to speak of. The best part about the detention center was that it
included some cool dolls: "Torture/Interrogation Droid," "Giggling Moff
Tarkin Doll," and "Flayed Flesh Leia," not to mention "Stupid
Gullible Guard Doll." Eventually stopped by Kenner brass who
noticed that playtesting kids were getting a little too into the torture room.
Fearful of breeding a generation of Salvadorean Death
Squads, they pulled the plug on this toy.
Note: I'm not the author, these tidbits were all forwarded to me via
email. Where I know the author, it is given.
The From: header may be the author, or it may just be the person who
forwarded it to me.
Feel free to contact me to claim authorship.
Copyright (C) 2009 Brandon Long. All Rights Reserved.
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