Leia and Rey Lead The Action Figure Adventures For Hasbro’s ‘Star Wars: Forces of Destiny’ [Review]
The first wave of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated episodes dropped earlier this summer, with even more planned to come as the year continues. As part of that release, Hasbro has finally unleashed its wave of Forces of Destiny collectibles, including new action dolls and role-play accessories for kids. Never one to pass up a good Star Wars toy, we snapped up the new Princess Leia and Rey adventure sets to get an idea of what Forces of Destiny’s toy line had to offer.
Announced at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny has opened the doors for a new line of collectibles geared towards the space saga’s younger fan base. Following in the footsteps of similar action doll lines like DC Super Hero Girls, Forces of Destiny got its start as a series of web-based animated videos taking place within existing gaps in Star Wars canon. The designs on those animated adventures gave way to a collection of new dolls, based on the leading ladies of Star Wars in these never-before-seen moments.
The kicker is almost all of the voice acting for these shorts is being done by the original actresses, save for Carrie Fisher (replaced by Shelby Young) and Natalie Portman (replaced by Catherine Taber, who voiced Padme on The Clone Wars). Felicity Jones, Daisy Ridley and Tiya Sircar are all back on board for Jyn Erso, Rey and Sabine Wren. Ashley Eckstein’s Ahsoka is coming eventually, too, but she and Padme were left out of the first run. The others all make the cut though, with the most popular heroes Leia and Rey getting two each.
The base figures, which retail for $19.99, don’t come with as many bells and whistles, leaving the likes of Jyn, Sabine and Scavenger Rey with the clothes on their backs and a few weapon accessories. The second variation are the adventure sets, which retail for $24.99, and include figures as well as an additional smaller character like R2-D2. Leia and Rey both get one of these each, but Leia also gets a more deluxe adventure set with her Endor pack. The $34.99 Endor-themed set (based on “Ewok Escape”) includes Leia in her Rebel poncho, an additional dress from later in Return of the Jedi, and Wickett.
We opted for the $24.99 adventure sets, mostly because the Leia and Rey included in those packages were among our favorite iterations of either character. Leia’s set is based on “Beasts of Echo Base”, which is a Hoth-themed story about Wampas run rampant through the Rebel hideout. Rey’s set doesn't come from an actual episode that’s been released yet, but does feature her in her Acht-To Resistance gear. To this point, the Rey-centric episodes have all taken place on Jakku, but they've also all featured BB-8. While we likely won't see this Acht-To episode until closer to The Last Jedi’s release, including BB-8 in the package is a nice touch, even if he doesn’t travel with Rey to the distant water planet.
Since Leia comes with R2-D2, having a second R2 would have been a bummer for anyone collecting these toys. Besides, BB-8 is fairly synonymous with Rey at this point, despite technically being Poe Dameron’s droid. It just fits, and that’s the bottom line. How they’re going to explain that duo in an animated episode doesn’t really matter, as that’s not our problem to solve, and nobody is going to be complaining about getting a BB-8 toy. Not with the way he’s been made one of the key characters of promoting the new trilogy. Kids (and adults) love that little dude.
The droids just happen to be nifty add-ons for these more deluxe packages, and a way to get more Leia and Rey dolls out in the wild with some reason to make them worth an additional purchase beyond different clothes. The parts both droids have played in the web show have been minimal, and the toys reflect that. R2-D2 has some articulation in his legs and head, but doesn’t bring much more to the table. He’s also much smaller than he should be for this scale, barely being tall enough to pass Leia’s knees. BB-8 is in scale with R2, but also feels a bit small for the 12” height of Rey. That the droids are appropriately sized together but not with the characters is a strange decision, but they will definitely fit in kids’ hands without feeling too big or too small, so I suppose that’s all that matters.
The real meat is in the poseable dolls themselves, which are both very solid, though they do have some tiny flaws. The entire Forces of Destiny line wasn’t just content to put out articulated, sculpted figures with a splash of soft goods clothing and synthetic hair. Hasbro also gave every doll an actual action move. By squeezing the legs, you can make Leia ready her blaster or have Rey take a chopping swing with the lightsaber. Other characters have applicable movements as well, but it’s certainly not what I would have done with the line. I appreciate the way in which Hasbro was hoping to set the Star Wars figures apart from other competitor lines, but the movements actually hinder posing of the figures just a bit.
Leia’s left arm and Rey's right arm are basically useless as they’re the ones attached to the movement contraption inside the figure. If you move either too much at the shoulder, you risk damaging the moving pieces, thus rendering one of the elements that makes these figures unique basically useless. It’s not so bad with Leia, whose arm does have a slight range of motion, but Rey’s saber arm is stuck out at a 30-degree angle permanently. It just looks awkward, and limits her playability in that you can’t do much with that arm except to swing the weapon.
Beyond that though, these Forces of Destiny figures are actually quite good. The mix of sculpted clothing and fabric clothing is a smart choice for dolls Hasbro and Disney envision as being played with all over the place, and not just in a dream house. There’s a bit of sturdiness there that’s missing with some other similar dolls, and these are much easier to leave standing upright without help because of the solid plastic bodies. Both Leia’s and Rey’s vests are removable if want to shake things up, and both also have removable shoes for reasons. That’s some old doll manufacturing habit, but one that isn’t quite that necessary for the Forces of Destiny line.
Where Hasbro’s figures really emphasize the personalities of its characters though is in the hair styles. Leia has been a hair fashion icon since 1977, and has always had a rather elaborate hair style to keep a bit of the princess part of herself present in the middle of a galactic war. Those styles just happened to also be fairly practical, too. Rey’s triple bun and trendrils look might not have the same battle benefits of Leia’s various tight braids, but it does separate her from any other human in the galaxy. The hair styles are captured wonderfully in toy form, and dare I say that these synthetic versions look even more well maintained than some of the sculpted figures Hasbro also produces.
It’s easy to say that now, with the hair just barely out of the box and still fresh, but we’ve seen other companies struggle with even having straight hair look nice out of the package. There’s a lot of glue no doubt holding all these precarious strands in place, but it works, and most importantly it looks great. Just don’t try to undo either of them, or you’re going to end up with a mess of straggly synthetic hair all over the pace.
Aside from the mechanical arms, the figures are both fairly articulated. They don’t quite reach Star Wars Black levels of poseability, but they don’t have to either. With articulation at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees, there’s still plenty of movement possible. The only challenge anyone playing with these might have is balancing them on bent knees, but they are very playable compared to most of the other toys in their section. Anyone messing with these should be able to recreate the animated escapades or create their own new adventures with ease.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny is the latest line to come from a toy manufacturer eager to capitalize on a typically ignored portion of their fan base. Though the concept may be rooted in giving young girls more heroes from properties they love, Forces of Destiny does enough to stand apart from the likes of Barbie and even the Disney Princess to appeal to a wider demographic. Star Wars is a franchise that appeals to just about everyone, and this particular toy arena is one that’s been sorely lacking in products from this series. Like DC Super Hero Girls, people have been waiting for something like Star Wars: Forces of Destiny for a long time. This first wave of figures only serves to show that patience was worth it.
Hasbro's Star Wars: Forces of Destiny figures are available now at most retailers for $19.99-$34.99. These figures were purchased for review.