Kenner's Star Wars: The Power of the Force vintage toy line debuted in 1985, two years after the 1983 theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. This line followed Kenner's enormously successful Star Wars trilogy line but failed to generate renewed commercial interest at a time when the Star Wars brand was fading in popularity. Kenner did not produce another line based on the original Star Wars characters until 1995's The Power of the Force collection under the ownership of Hasbro.
Following the 1983 theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and the conclusion of the Star Wars original trilogy, Kenner was faced with the challenge of a Star Wars brand that was fading in popularity with no new films forthcoming. To try and resurrect fan interest in Star Wars toys, Kenner introduced a new overall brand concept in its 1985 The Power of the Force line, which featured aluminum character coins packaged with each action figure. The line re-released, with a new packaging logo, several figures previously available through Kenner's first three original trilogy product lines, including many released near the end of the Return of the Jedi line. 
Although Star Wars author Stephen J. Sansweet notes in his 1999 book Star Wars: The Action Figure Archive that Kenner's The Power of the Force line began in 1985, he later stated in his 2012 book Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection that the line began in 1984. In fact, the first five figures of The Power of the Force line were date-stamped in 1984 but were not officially released until 1985. The toys were sold at the same time as the Droids and Ewoks toy lines based on two animated series that started airing in the same year.
As with Kenner's previous toy lines, many action figures based on background characters from Return of the Jedi did not have proper names, leading Kenner to use nicknames used during the film's production. Many of them would later receive proper names in the works of the Expanded Universe, including "Yak Face" (Saelt-Marae) and "Imperial Dignitary" (Sim Aloo). The Yak Face figure was never released in the United States and is considered to be rare.
Though most of the line featured toys based on the films, a few original items were produced. 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 for previous toy lines. The Power of the Force introduced even smaller Body-Rig vehicles. Vehicles based on two of these—the Imperial Sniper and the One-Man Sand Skimmer—appeared in the Star Wars: Droids animated series. The toys debuted the same year as the series, though the cartoon had its own separate concurrent toy line.
The Power of the Force failed to recapture the popularity of Kenner's original Star Wars line and was not renewed for a second series. Kenner presented a plan for a proposed continuation of the line, known as The Epic Continues, but it was rejected by Lucasfilm. From 1977 to 1985, Kenner's vintage Star Wars toy lines sold more than 250 million action figures, but with Star Wars fan interest descending to an all-time low by the end of the 1980s, Kenner was ultimately absorbed by Hasbro Inc. in 1991. After a ten-year hiatus, Kenner, under Hasbro ownership, released a new The Power of the Force line in 1995, which helped to rekindle modern-day Star Wars popularity.
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