I imagine when people heard about Jaina Solo being released, there were two major camps. The first group (of which I am planted firmly) were a hive mind of “YASSSS!!!!” and the second group was like, “Who?”
If you’re part of that first group, rock on. Second groupers, listen up. I’ll give you a quick rundown.
The year was 1991 and I was just wrapping up high school. I was 17 and my hair was glorious. We were five years away from The Phantom Senate Session and even further away from Episode II: Limbs-a-Flyin’. We had no reason to believe there would ever be another Star Wars film, cartoon or any other media, except for books. There had been Star Wars novels for decades prior, but Heir to the Empire by Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn was different.
According to George Lucas, it was an actual direct sequel to Return of the Jedi, and as such, was the official launch of the Expanded Universe (henceforth referred to as “EU”). Us nerds didn’t make those books matter, George Lucas, the guy who gave us Star Wars to begin with, said these books matter. In other words, Uncle George officially said, “This is what happened to my characters after ROTJ.”
Had that been all that trilogy of novels was, a large story arc that introduced us to mainstays like Thrawn and reintroduced us to the Star Wars galaxy post Jedi, that would have been enough for me. Yet, that wasn’t all it did. We began getting stories that built off of that story. From the New Jedi Order, to X-Wing Squadron, to the Invasion of the Vong, we saw real growth in all of the characters we grew to love. It was weird how back in those days, you didn’t need to kill off a beloved character right out of the gate in order for people to pay attention. It was in this EU that Zahn gave us the Solo kids. Anakin, Jacen and the eldest of the group, Jaina Solo.
That is the bare minimum information I can give you as this isn’t a review of the Expanded Universe. I will say though if you love Star Wars, pick up Heir to the Empire and just give it a read. Maybe you’ll like it. Most of us did.
It is because of the popularity of these novels that it was no surprise when Jaina Solo won the fan pick for a Black Series figure last year. Revan won it the year prior, with the second runner-up being Sabine, both of whom have excellent Black Series figures (if you can find them).
However, Jaina is a human figure with no real helmet or mask that dominates most of her appearances. Combine that with the fact that I usually avoid BS figures with human face sculpts like the plague. It’s nice to see them adopting digital face printing, but they aren’t even caught up to Hasbro’s other 1:12 line, Legends, let alone the excellent import work we see come through Japan over the years. Regardless, that’s a moot point, as there is no actress to base her appearance on, only decades worth of novels. How did they do?
Let’s find out.
What’s in the Black Series Jaina Solo box?
In the standard Black Series box, we get more accessories than I normally see in a Black Series figure. The only thing missing are alternative hands, but I didn’t expect them at this price point. We get the figure, an excellent Rebel helmet and flight harness, a blaster that fits nicely in the holster as well as her patented (before Mace Windu) purple lightsaber. Side note: Most Jedi’s with a purple lightsaber have them because their saber style is more aggressive, and constantly brushes up against, but does not use, the dark side of the force. The purple Kyber crystal seems to lend itself well to that aggressiveness. The lightsaber hangs nicely on her belt.
Wanna see some pics?
You’re in luck. I took a couple.
Out of the box, that is what she looks like. If this was all she was, I’d be happy as I like the character. However, I feel as if Hasbro really stepped it up on this figure by giving us multiple display options.
The stock figure looks good, but what about the accessories?
What doesn’t work with The Black Series Jaina Solo?
There is not a whole lot that they missed the mark on. Unfortunately, the thing I feel like they missed the mark on is what everyone notices. Her face.
I know what they were trying to do, and at the right angle, it works. They wanted to give her a little bit of that Solo sass. In the early production pictures for Jaina Solo, they managed to do that x10. Because I picked mine up off of Amazon or eBay, I couldn’t really be picky about the face paint apps (for some reason we rarely get new Black Series figures where I live). I am sure some of them look better. As it stands now, I can’t tell if she should be killing her brother (seriously, read the books) or giving pressers for the White House.
It’s not horrible and ultimately didn’t detract from my enjoyment, but it is off-putting at first glance. The trick is finding ways to look at her without seeing it at the bad angles. The helmet and flight harness are removable. I prefer her without the harness. I like the piece, but without it, she just looks spectacular. Her overall appearance could easily have fit into the current trilogy in theaters.
What works with The Black Series Jaina Solo?
Most noteworthy, Hasbro did not have double jointed elbows on Jaina. Instead, there is a McFarlane Toys-esque gear that allows for the same range of motion that a double jointed elbow would give and honestly, it looks better to me. Her abb crunch (especially backward) is ridiculous. If you wanted a Jaina Solo yoga teacher, this is the one for you.
Her flight gear and the outfit underneath it are all spectacular. Most of all, Hasbro gave us exactly the figure we wanted in my opinion. The face issues aside, it is a great figure. Her blaster fits perfectly, she can hold her lightsaber at just about any pose you want.
Should you get The Black Series Jaina Solo?
If you’re a fan of the character or just enjoy killer action figures, yes, you should get her. The biggest concern I have is her availability. Fortunately, you can still get Jaina Solo (for now) at the usual places:
Were you planning on picking her up? Or have you already? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Here are some more pictures for your enjoyment!