The Good: Very stable, Looks good
The Bad: Completely inflexible with low playability, Low collectibility
The Basics: The Emperor's Royal Guard is a good support figure which stands up to defend the Emperor and do little else.
In the annals of great Star Wars inaction figures, one of the best has to be the personal guards of the Emperor. The Emperor appears in Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!) flanked by red robed guards who wield pikes and walk out of the room when Vader brings Luke before the Emperor. Yeah, if the second death star hadn't been blown up, these guys would probably be given their pink slips for so spectacularly blowing their jobs. The action figures which Kenner put out do pretty much what the guards do in the film; stand and look menacing or inflexible.
The 4" Emperor's Royal Guard figure is all right, but it cannot even do the secondary action of the royal guards, which was to walk down the ramp of the emperor's personal shuttle (there is such a toy and it is immense!). Still, these guards flesh out the full Star Wars universe well, but they have since been recast, making the Power Of The Force figure more or less obsolete. Then again, with legions of stormtroopers, having several Emperor's Royal Guards is not a problem.
The Emperor's Royal Guard is a mysterious red-robed series of - presumably armored - defensive agents seen on the second Death Star in Return Of The Jedi. The figure stands 4 1/4" tall to the top of its helmeted head. The Emperor's Royal Guard is a robed man, woman, robot or alien creature (we never know, they do not have any lines and the most active one was edited out of the film) that wears red robes to the floor and a red helmet that makes it completely inscrutable. The guard is intimidating for its solid nature and its anonymity makes it a pretty wonderful support toy. The figure is made of hard plastic, save the robe, which is made of a softer plastic.
This toy is a decent sculpt, looking precisely like the guards. Emperor's Royal Guard is mediocre in its coloring detail, only because the sleeves of the figure are much more deep red than the soft plastic robes or the bright red helmet. Still, this is an accurately detailed figure with the eye port colored black. The rest of the outfit is bland and this is a very clean version of Emperor's Royal Guard, which makes sense given that they were only shown in clean environments like the Emperor's personal shuttle and the Death Star. There is no shading detail on the costume, cloak, arms or legs. The robes are simple soft plastic, which is somewhat unnecessary given that the Royal Guard has almost no poseability.
The Emperor's Royal Guard, great defender of the Emperor that it is, requires few accessories. In fact, all it comes with is a force pike. In the movie, he was only seen with this, so it makes perfect sense for the figure. The force pike may be held in either hand and is a three inch long stick with a bulb on one end and a pointed end at the other side. Just as in the film, this is a simple weapon without any surface details and for a change the lack of coloring details on the weapon is accurate.
As part of the Power Of The Force toy line, Emperor's Royal Guard comes with nothing else. The green carded version came with variants in packaging where the photograph was covered with a hologram or not. Later on there was one released with a Freeze Frame slide featuring a slide with an image of the Emperor's Royal Guard on it, but the hologram version does not have that.
The four inch toy line was designed for play and Emperor's Royal Guard is poor in that regard. The figure is poorly articulated and lacks significant articulation to make it interesting with its weapon. In addition to low articulation, Emperor's Royal Guard has limited poseability. The feet cannot move at all as the entire figure is essentially a one-piece. This makes the figure ridiculously stable, but low on the playability. It comes with only two points of articulation; only the shoulders move. As a result, the Emperor's Royal Guard may guard the Emperor by smacking whatever is right before it with its force pike, but otherwise, it does not do much. Given the limited flexibility of the figure, one assumes most play with the Emperor and his Royal Guards will involve the Emperor backed into a corner to make his guards at all useful!
Emperor's Royal Guard is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. Emperor's Royal Guard was ridiculously overproduced, appearing on at least two different cards as an identical sculpt. In other words, Emperor's Royal Guard is a poor investment and it may often be found dirt cheap.
The Emperor's Royal Guard is not much of a figure, but then it wasn't much of a role in Return Of The Jedi. As a result, those building a complete Empire might want a few of the Royal Guards, but the recast version is just as good. Still, this one is adequate and the fact that it does not tip over (even in an earthquake!) puts it ahead of some of the other figures!
For other Return Of The Jedi figures from the Power Of The Force Collection, please check out my reviews of:
Imperial Speeder Bike
Darth Vader With Removable Helmet
Mail Away B'Omarr Monk
For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.