The STAR WARS Dagobah Action Playset from Kenner's THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK collection was hands-down one of my favorite playsets of all-time. Any kid that had this upon release in 1981 can tell you just how many adventures were had putting figures into foam "quicksand" that was supposed to emulate the swamp into which Luke Skywalker crash-landed his X-Wing Fighter - or "levitating" plastic boxes for that true "Force" effect. While my playset is long-gone, I do have a Mint-on-Card (MOC) Yoda that my wife bought me as a gift a long time ago... and a loose Obi-Wan Kenobi that I can look upon with fond memories. The Kenner STAR WARS Dagobah Action Playset is featured as today's entry into Hasbro's Force Friday Countdown Calendar as we move toward the September 4th release of toys from J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Released in 1980, the Kenner STAR WARS Hoth Ice Planet Adventure Set was a retooled version of the earlier Land of the Jawas set (featured here), made to fit with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. This was one of four Hoth sets released for the movie, and while I didn't have this one, I had the Imperial Attack Base, which was one of my all-time favorites. The icy planet of Hoth provided one of the most iconic backdrops in the STAR WARS Saga, and some of the most memorable vehicles (see yesterday's AT-AT entry), so it's only fitting that it also had some of the greatest play value. The Hoth Ice Planet Adventure is today's entry into Hasbro's Force Friday Countdown Calendar, as we look back at four decades of STAR WARS toys leading up to the September 4th release of the first wave of goodies from J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

While it's The Black Series Luke Skywalker and Wampa that's officially featured as today's entry into Hasbro's Force Friday Countdown Calendar, I figured it was worth looking a bit further back than a set of figures from 2015 - back to a time when kids were just discovering THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Actually, I'd bet that when Kenner had the commercials for their "Hoth Wampa" produced, the film probably wasn't even out yet - as the kid in the commercial says "Wampa, Wampa, Wampa!" everytime the Wampa opens his mouth. It would be like saying "Chewie, Chewie, Chewie!" every time you played with your Chewbacca action figure. Amusing, yes - but still not right. 

Boba Fett is one of the biggest characters in the STAR WARS universe when it comes to fan opinion, despite him having a very small place in the actual films. The original test footage for Fett was shot back in 1978, and last year Hasbro unleashed a 6" Black Series figure based upon the all-white armor used in that screen test. While I don't personally have that figure, since it's featured as today's entry into Hasbro's Force Friday Countdown Calendar, I thought it was a fine time to showcase two other figures based on early Boba Fett appearances - the Ralph McQuarrie concept edition, and the STAR WARS Holiday Special First Appearance. Check out a video feature on the early days of Boba Fett below...

It was 35 years ago today, May 21, 1980, that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK hit theaters. Like many fans of the STAR WARS Saga, I hold EMPIRE (or, TESB) in high regard as my favorite - possibly because it's the first STAR WARS movie that I can remember seeing in the theater. That film also spawned some of my favorite toys not just from STAR WARS - but favorites, period - particularly those relating to Hoth and Bespin. From the latter, it was there that audiences first got a big-screen look at Bounty Hunter BOBA FETT, who had already made an appearance in the infamous STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, and a parade of some sort. He, along with his ship, the SLAVE I, became instant favorites for kids like me, and over the years I've owned five incarnations of his famous ship. 

When much of the general public thinks of the badass bounty hunters summoned by Darth Vader to track down Han Solo in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, it's Boba Fett that generally comes immediately to mind. But among those featured in that brief, yet iconic scene (Dengar, IG-88, Fett, Bossk, 4-LOM, Zuckuss), the assassin droid IG-88 has long-been viewed as one of the more interesting (and creepy) by hardcore fans. In fact, the official STAR WARS website describes assassin droids as "independently programmed mechanical killers that had no masters." For the May 18th entry into the Force Friday Countdown Calendar, Hasbro is featuring their 2007 Titanium Series IG-88 figure (find it on eBay). 

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