"Long ago in a galaxy far away, the Star Wars saga began and Kenner continues the excitement!"
―Kenner toy commercial[src]

Kenner's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back vintage toy line ran from 1980 to 1982, following the success of Kenner's original Star Wars toy line. This line featured a variety of characters and vehicles from the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. It was succeeded by Kenner's vintage Return of the Jedi toy line in 1983.

Development[edit | edit source]

Kenner's The Empire Strikes Back line re-released many toys from the original Star Wars line but with the new film's logo on the packaging.

Although Star Wars author Stephen J. Sansweet noted in his 1999 book Star Wars: The Action Figure Archive that Kenner's The Empire Strikes Back product line lasted from 1980 to 1982, he later stated in his 2012 book Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection that the line lasted until 1983. In fact, The Empire Strikes Back line's final toy releases came in 1982 before Kenner transitioned to its Return of the Jedi line in 1983.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

The toy line erroneously named the 4-LOM action figure "Zuckuss", and the Zuckuss figure "4-LOM." Since neither name was used on film, many considered those names to be accurate for years. Kenner's mistake was not rectified until West End Games' Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back in 1989.[4]

In a cut scene from The Empire Strikes Back, the character Sate Pestage was intended to have an appearance as a hologram warning Darth Vader of the Emperor's imminent transmission. He was referred to as the "Grand Vizier."[5] Hints of this scene can be found on the box for Kenner's "Darth Vader's Star Destroyer" playset, explaining that the image in the red plastic viewing screen is the Grand Vizier.[6] Some toy catalog ads for the toy changed the title to "Grand Emperor."[7]

Though most of the line featured toys based on the film, a few original items were produced. The Imperial Troop Transporter, re-released in this line as the "Imperial Cruiser", had already appeared in fiction as early as the Star Wars Marvel Comics series. To avoid the high cost of creating large vehicles for the line, small Mini-Rig vehicles that did not originate in the films were created. Many of these went on to appear in the fiction of both the Legends and later canon continuities.[8]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

By type 
Characters Creatures Droid models Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea



Droid models


Organizations and titles

Sentient species

Vehicles and vessels

Cloud Car toy

Weapons and technology


Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
Full adaptations
Novel · Junior novelization (Updated Edition) · So You Want to Be a Jedi? · A Storybook · Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure · Golden Book · Illustrated Screenplay · Mighty Chronicles · A Pop-Up Book · Classic Star Wars · Read-Along · Shakespeare · Step-Up Movie Adventures · Script fascimile · Storybook · Golden Book · The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight · Star Wars in Pictures: The Original Trilogy · The Original Trilogy Stories · Star Wars Treasury: The Original Trilogy · The Power of the Dark Side · Studio Fun
Partial adaptations:
The Hoth Adventure · I Want to Be a Jedi · Meltdown on Hoth · Use the Force! · AT-AT Attack! · 5-Minute Star Wars Stories · 5-Minute Star Wars Stories Strike Back · The Chewbacca Story · A Leader Named Leia · From a Certain Point of View
Legends Comics:
Marvel: 39 · 40 · 41 · 42 · 43 · 44 · Marvel Illustrated Version
Marvel Special Edition 2 · Marvel Super Special 16 · Annual 1980
Classic: 1 · 2 · (TPB) · The Special Edition
Infinities: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · (TPB) · Manga: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · PhotoComic
Canon Comics:
Cinestory · Graphic Novel Adaptation · The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel · Screen Comix
Video games
Arcade game · 1982 video game · 1991 video game
Mobile · Super
Activity books
Book-and-record · Classic Star Wars book-and-tape · Read-Along Storybook and CD · 1980 Coloring Book · 1982 Coloring Book · Mix or Match Storybook · Ultimate Sticker Book · Activity Book
Behind the scenes
Annotated Screenplays · The Art of · The Making of · Notebook
A Journal of the Making of
· Portfolio · Sketchbook · Behind the Magic · Official Collector's Edition · Empire Building: The Remarkable Real Life Story of Star Wars · Chronicles · Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy
Guide and reference books
The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook · Trilogy Sourcebook, Special Edition · Who's Who
The Visual Dictionary (Complete · (Updated Edition)) · Incredible Cross-Sections (Complete
The Complete Saga · Star Wars in 100 Scenes· Complete Vehicles) · 20th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine
100 Defining Moments · The Best of · Galaxy Guide 3 (Second Edition) · Super Official Game Secrets
Other material and merchandise
Funfax · Official Collectors Edition · Panorama Book · Radio drama (NPR Dramatization)
Soundtrack · LEGO · Toy line · Trading card game · Illustrated · Widevision · Who's Who
Customizable Card Game: Hoth Revised Unlimited · Hoth Limited · Dagobah Limited
Cloud City Limited · Special Edition Limited · Dagobah Revised Unlimited · Enhanced Cloud City · Introductory Game

Official Poster Monthly: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5
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