It’s STAR WARS’ 45th anniversary! Let’s play!

UPDATED 5/25/22: Star Wars premiered 45 years ago! Perfect time to re-present this piece from 2016’s STAR WARS WEEK. May the Force be with you! — Dan

In some respects, Star Wars is the most personal of franchises.

I think it has to do with how we discover it, usually in childhood, whether we were there at the beginning in 1977, or we discovered it through sequels and prequels, or we binged with Mom and Dad on TV. There’s just something inherently personal about it.

I love Star Wars, though it’s not my favorite. Batman and comics in general rank higher. I like Star Trek better. But I still love that far-away galaxy from a long time ago.

I was actually there at the start. I saw Star Wars — that’s what I still call it — on opening night with my friend Paul Kessin and his dad. Two days later, I saw it with my dad. And three more times in the theater after that. Pretty good for a 10-year-old in the ’70s.

I got one of these at the theater.

As the months passed, I wanted nothing more than Kenner’s Star Wars action figures. They weren’t even ready for the holiday season but even as they finally came out in 1978, I was desperate for them. I had other Star Wars swag, like the program, comics treasuries, magazines and trading cards. These figures would blow them away!

Got this too.

So, I asked Mom. But Mom said no. Her reasoning? I had all those Megos and enough was enough. It was tough to argue her point. It’s not like I was a deprived kid. We didn’t have a lot of money but I had more than my share of cool stuff. I also suspect that she was ready for me to outgrow playing with dolls. (Fat chance, Ma!)

Well, an intractable Mom being the mother of invention, I went and created my own action figures: paper finger-puppets of every character and costume change that appeared on screen. I drew them front and back, even making multiple X-Wing pilots and Stormtroopers. (In essence I created a set much like what was eventually produced by Kenner and, later, other companies.) To this day, I’m proud of my lightsabers — toothpicks colored red or blue, with tiny hand-drawn hilts. I wish I still had them.

The famous Early Bird Certificate Package

Now, as an adult, I could certainly go back and acquire those items I missed the first time around. Hell, my son has a few of them himself, like Luke, Vader, Ben and a Stormtrooper.

But I’ve never done it. I guess sometimes wanting is better than having.

Still, for STAR WARS WEEK, I’ve decided to rank the TOP 13 ORIGINAL STAR WARS TOYS — but kind of how I would have ranked them when I was 10. I’m sure you’ll have your own opinions about this.

They’re not all Kenner, but they’re all from that initial wave from 1977-78. Thanks to, where I took most of these photos from. (They run a GREAT site! You gotta check it out. Amazing.)

Here goes, without comment. (And yes, there are actually 16 listed. I make the rules, I break the rules.):

13. Tusken Raider

12. Princess Leia

11. Chewbacca

10. (TIE) Stormtroopers and Jawas. Lots of each.

9. (TIE) X-Wing Fighter and TIE Fighter

8. Land Speeder

7. Ben Kenobi

6. R2-D2

5. (TIE) Stormtrooper Helmet and Darth Vader Helmet (Don Post)

NOTE: I desperately wanted these too. These are Don Post helmets for sale on eBay.

4. Han Solo

3. Lightsaber

2. Darth Vader

1. Luke Skywalker

Check out our complete STAR WARS WEEK INDEX of stories! Click here.


Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I once had that “Famous Monsters” Star Wars Spectacular magazine. I bought in the night I took my brother to see “Star Wars.” At the time (June 1977), that magazine, the Marvel comic, and the paperback novelization was pretty much the only Star Wars stuff available for purchase.

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  2. That landspeeder was the coolest toy.. unfortunately, it was the victim of a 12-year-old me’s obsession with fireworks.

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  1. STAR WARS WEEK INDEX — 2016 Edition | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] — TOP 13 Original STAR WARS TOYS — RANKED! Click here. […]

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