To those who have ever read or watched any ‘making of’ or ‘behind the scenes’ content, its common knowledge that George Lucas, and all others who have had the chance to play in George’s sandbox, did not create Star Wars in a vacuum. Star Wars instead is rooted in many things. From mythology to religion, from history to science fiction many aspects of humankind’s stories and creations played a key factor in making Star Wars the primary mythology to come out of the 20th century.
To no surprise, we here at From 4-LOM to Zuckuss are very interested in the influences that have made their way into the action figure line.
Battlestar Galactica has impacted Star Wars in a couple of different ways. The first is the famous and unfortunate case of a chocking death of a child in the late 70’s on a Battlestar Galactica toy missile which prompted Kenner to change the design of their mail-offer rocket-firing Boba Fett to no longer include a firing missile feature. BSG would have a more inspirational influence on Star Wars toys when the essence of the robotobic Cylons were used in the design of the Phase I Dark Troopers from Lucasarts’ popular first-person shooter video game Dark Forces. Some could argue though that the vintage Cylon design found influence from the The Dark Lord of Sith thus making Dark Troopers really a self-influential design instead.
For our next look we have to go all the way back to the German 1927 film Metropolis. Here we see the origin of our favorite protocol droid which Lucas and the late Original Trilogy concept designer Ralph McQuarrie mirrored to reflect Maria from the epic distopian sci-fi film. This conceptual version was brought to plastic form in Hasbro’s The 30th Anniversary Line as a Star Wars Celebration IV convention exclusive.
The Terminator was the clear influence of the Yuuzhan Vong-fighting exoskeleton YVH-1 droid, which debuted in The New Jedi Order novel Star by Star in 2001, 17 years after the James Cameron’s cyborg killer appeared on screen. This figure appeared in the final wave of the Legacy Collection line as a Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive.
And finally for this installment of Sci-Fi in Star Wars Toys, we end with not a design influence but a naming one. In the 1951 sci-fi film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, they day is saved with the phrase “Klaatu nikto barada!” This phrase was then used by Lucas for the naming of Jabba’s Skiff Guards who battled Luke and company at the Pit of Carkoon in Return of the Jedi.