Updated: Aug 17
Ok, this Blog Title will all start making sense in a minute (or two), just bear with me. Let's start with the definition of "vintage"... A generally accepted industry standard is that items made between 20 and 100 years ago are considered "vintage" if they clearly reflect the styles and trends of the era they represent.
Using that 20 Year+ rule of thumb, Kenner figures produced between 1979 and 1985 are now over 40 years old, putting them deep within the vintage category. It should also be mentioned that, quite simply, Kenner's Star Wars packaging was revolutionary and has become the GOLD STANDARD for how action figures should be presented for purchase and display. Not just my opinion, ask anyone who collects figures, including yourself. Good, glad we agree on that.
A quick history lesson on the fate of Kenner: By the late 80's after the "Power of the Force" and "Droids" lines had run their course, and with Star Wars popularity in decline, Kenner was falling flat in sales with nothing notable to talk about in their line up, resulting in them being acquired by Tonka in 1987. Then Tonka (including Kenner) was purchased by Hasbro in 1991. Hasbro closed the Cincinnati offices of Kenner in 2000 and Kenner's product lines were merged into Hasbro's.
Fast forward to 2010... after some limited success with Star Wars action figures, Hasbro begins what is to be the modern collector's "go-to" for Star Wars Action Figures; Star Wars: The Vintage Collection. By 2010 the original Kenner figures were legitimately considered vintage, hence the name of the new Hasbro line that nostalgically mirrored the brilliance of the Kenner cardbacks; The Kenner logo, the race stripes, the beautiful imagery of the character from the movies, the figure in a clear blister presented perfectly for full display; just the way it always should be.
Notably, as seen here, the art on the back of the cards were done in a respectful way, paying homage to the original figure they reproduced with the new highly articulated and detailed modern figures. With some variations along the way, Hasbro maintained an artistic flair to the back of the cards that were either the new design seen above or very similar to the original Kenner 21 Backs.
In 2012 after a 2-year run, Hasbro's Vintage Collection figures go on hiatus, initially planned until 2015 to coincide with the 3D release of the original trilogy, then pushed to 2018 when the Sequels were then announced to be released. When the figures returned, however, Hasbro put absolutely no effort or creativity into the design of the back of the card. They got lazy and just threw some race stripes filled with other figures from that wave on the back. That hasn't changed to any degree to this very day, until now...
Remember when I said this Blog Title will start making sense in a few minutes? No? Well, I'm pretty sure I did. It was a while ago though... Well, my keen force-like abilities have uncovered a future cardback design that will soon be released on at least 2 figures that I know of, which I've presented below in full glory. This is the big payoff for reading this blog, if you've read this far...
Pre Vizsla VC299 and Darth Revan VC301 are scheduled for release in January 2024 and as you can see here, the back of the card has gone back to the original Vintage Collection style, which was about 14 years ago. Ok, so it's not 20 years ago, but do you see what I was stretching for in this blog title now? The reintroduction of this card "back" style that Hasbro created in 2010 is basically Re-Vintaging the Vintage-ness of the Vintage Collection. Get it??? That's like a triple entendre! It totally makes sense if you really think about it. Or don't. Just be psyched that the back of the cardbacks are going to be artistic and cool again!
So far we only know that these two figures are in the same wave along with R5-D4 (Mandalorian), but we have no images of the back of R5's cardback to confirm the art style.
Here's to hoping this becomes the new norm for Vintage Collection.
What do you think of this upcoming cardback re-design?
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