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Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

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Is that a Wampa over there? Or a Christmas Bumble?

Tales of Smelly Tauntauns and Hungry Wampas

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many fans to be the finest of all six live action feature films in the series.  Although my personal favorite is hands down, Episode IV: A New Hope, I do have to admit to having a great deal of nostalgia from when I first saw TESB way back when it was first released in the summer of 1980.  The film is certainly much more polished in many ways than the previous chapter (A New Hope), and the stunning, atmospheric visuals really do transport the viewer to a galaxy far, far away.

Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2D2 and Chewbacca fear for the safety of their missing friend, Luke Skywalker

In particular, when I think about TESB, it really brings to mind the deadly, but beautiful and striking frozen desolation of the ice planet Hoth.  And those wonderful scenes where Han Solo choses to brave the rapidly dropping evening temperatures in order to save his friend and ally Luke Skywalker are, for me, some of the most wonderful highlights of a classic film that has so many fantastic moments to begin with.

Luke Skywalker is down, but not out yet!

And the ice creature (the Wampa) that Luke narrowly escapes from in the beginning of the film, with that face that only a mother could love!  Despite being thoroughly taken off guard by the predatory snow beastie, our man Luke sure showed that big nasty Abominable what to do with his grumpy old self, huh?

Luke reaches out to the ghost of Ben Kenobi, as valiant Han comes to the rescue, astride a Tauntaun!

Of course, the Jedi in training was still gravely wounded after hacking the poor hungry Wampa's arm off, but he did manage to limp away.  Later, lying delirious in the snow, Luke saw a vision of the ghost of his old mentor, Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi, as he struggled to remain conscious, despite his injuries.  Thankfully, a steadfast and determined Captain Solo soon came riding in to the rescue, on a nice, "smelly" Tauntaun, no less.

Han Solo to the rescue!

In any case, how could anybody not love good old fashioned scifi fantasy fare like The Empire Strikes Back?  Really good stuff, that first Star Wars sequel.  Even down to the now infamous Tauntaun that Han utilizes to keep his friend alive throughout the night on Hoth.  Tauntauns are infamous I guess, because they reportedly smell as bad on the outside as they do on the inside!

Thankfully, the Hasbro toy company immortalized that poor, faithful creature in 1:6 scale in the late 1990s when they first released the Han Solo and Tauntaun figure set seen in John Ary (of Ain't It and Articulation Times') video review below.

And then there's Maddwoba's Channel's take on just how remarkable this Hasbro 1:6 scale Tauntaun really is.  As can be seen in the video below, he has managed to pick up a Tauntaun and rider set of his own, this one from 2002.  Look closely however and you will clearly see that this Hasbro Tauntaun included with Luke Skywalker is distinct from the Han Solo and Tauntaun set in that Luke's ride has a broken left tusk, just as the trusty steed that was instrumental in saving his life did in the film.

Given that both action figure reviewers appear to give a definite thumbs up to Hasbro and their affordably sized rendition of the classic Tautaun from The Empire Strikes Back, I really hope to add at least one of these sets to my own Star Wars collection some day soon.  Wish me luck!  Or... more appropriately, I guess, "May the force be with me."

"He's alive... and in perfect hibernation."

But ONLY if you don't bite his delicious chocolaty head off, you rebel scum!

GIF images (excluding advertising), creative content and writing by Will Hoover
Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and all related characters, marks and images, copyright © The Walt  Disney Company
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back theme music by John Williams


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