The tenth Mission Series 2-pack, “Senate Duel (MS10)” featuring Darth Sidious and Yoda, is finally beginning to show up at online retailers such as HasbroToyShop.com after being MIA for the past few weeks; the other two new sets in its presumed wave/revision, “Bespin” and “Utapau”, hit retail awhile back. This set follows the same pattern as the other two: one new figure, Darth Sidious, and one repack, Yoda. If you already purchased the Saga Legends Yoda, the ever-so-slight paint variations on this one are negligible…the only real difference on my MS sample is the superior paint job on his pupils. I’m a big fan of this Yoda; if I had to narrow my PT Yodas down to just one figure, it would be this one.
Though he seems to be a far more polarizing figure than Yoda, I loved
this Darth Sidious right off the bat. Is his face sculpt goofy? Yes. Are the paint apps a little bit iffy? Yes. Does he sort of resemble a mischievous-looking/gassy Noah Emmerich from “The Americans” and “Super 8”? Yeah, he kinda does! Does he feel like a fairly cheap toy rather than an ‘adult collectible with a movie accurate likeness’? Yes, and therein lies his charm (and the charm of Hasbro’s whole 5POA initiative).
The Vintage Collection VC12 Darth Sidious figure, resplendent in his fur stole and bad attitude, is a beautifully-sculpted and engineered figure, and until he was re-released in a Target exclusive multi-pack, he commanded a premium on the secondary market. This Darth Sidious, with his 7 points of articulation (wrists, shoulders, legs, and *sort of* neck), Kenner-style robe legs, minimal/sloppy paint apps, and goofy face, probably won’t be too many/any collectors’ “go-to ROTS Darth Sidious” like the VC12 figure is. For me, though, this figure is fun in a way that the fancier Vintage Collection figure isn’t…and when it comes to my Star Wars collecting, “fun” always wins.
What makes this Darth Sidious figure “fun” to me, beyond the simpler, lower-articulation Kenner aesthetic I prefer, is the feeling I get from that ridiculous face that so many will loathe. Ian McDiarmid was fantastic as Palpatine/Sidious in the Prequels, and his performance in “Revenge of the Sith” was all the way over-the-top—befitting the grand, mastermind villain of the six existent Star Wars films. I laugh when I watch him in ROTS, but it’s not snide, condescending laughter; it’s out of gleeful admiration for how boldly hammy Lucas/McDiarmid were willing to go with the character. The second I look at the face on this figure, I think of a cackling, insane Ian McDiarmid bellowing about “Unlimited Powwwwerrrrr!”, and I can’t help but smile. It’s the same sort of feeling I get from the vintage Kenner Yoda’s enigmatic grin; it may not look exactly like the character, but it *feels* like him.
All that stuff aside, it’s also always great to get a newly-sculpted Star Wars figure in 2014 for five bucks. The seeming
majority of adult collectors have made it crystal clear that they’re not into these (mostly) 5POA figures, but how cool is it for a kid to get this very affordable set, and either reenact one of the most climactic battles in ROTS, or come up some other crazy scenario with these two foes? As much as collectors would love to get army-building 2-packs of Stormtroopers or Snowtroopers, most of these Mission Series sets succeed in giving kids 2 figures in conflict with each other (any of the “duel”-oriented sets), or at least interesting enough together to come up with adventures for (Han and Chewie, Threepio and Artoo).
See, if this figure had a more evil expression, I wouldn’t be able to pull off a photo of Sim Aloo acting as the Jerome to Sidious’ Morris Day, or the Fonzworth Bentley to Sidious’ Puff Daddy. “Oh, just straightening out the wrinkles on this robe before your big speech, sir. Oh yes, sir, you are *all that*, m’Lord.” Like I said, FUN.
You can even buy this set, throw out the lightsabers, and take Palpatine’s “little green friend” comment to Yoda literally, imagining them as the most oddly-matched but inseparable BFFs in the GFFA. Sidious’ left hand perfectly cradles Yoda’s head, and the rest writes itself. Yoda is definitely the “Harold” to Sidious’ “Kumar”—just look at their faces! This Darth Sidious figure just wants to party, party, party, and that’s why I love him.
Review and pictures by Eddie Utrata