Jedi News Review of the Year 2011

It’s time to look back on 2011 and the team here at Jedi News have got together to discuss our favourites.  Join Adam, Graham, James and Mark as we look back at the best of 2011…

Best Event

There’s been lots of events this year including Empire BIG SCREEN, the Blu-ray launch at the BT Tower, Fan Days 4 in Dallas, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Star Wars Weekend in Manchester, the UK and US (New York) Toy Fairs, San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, re-launch of Rancho Obi-Wan and the usual range of UK conventions but what was your favourite?

Adam:  Re-Opening of Rancho Obi-Wan (not that I was there, but based on what I’ve seen, it gets my vote!)

Graham:  This is tricky, as I have only been to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Star Wars weekend. But as Adam says, Rancho Obi-Wan’s re-opening looked awesome.

James: I’ve been to lots of events this year and although I couldn’t make it to the re-opening of Rancho Obi-Wan, I did get to spend a week there in June (to celebrate my 40th birthday) and had an amazing and truly unforgettable time – so the reopening of Rancho Obi-Wan also gets my vote too.  This picture chosen, above, is also my favourite image of 2011 – it needs no explanation.

Mark: Fan Days 4 in Fort Worth, Dallas.  Amazing weekend filled with special moments, great laughs, lots of Ebla Beer and making friends.  Met a lot of Star Wars names for the first time, mingled with the guys from the ForceCast, Rebelscum and The and became a bit of a pool shark.  Roll on Celebration 6!

Best Collectible

With so many collectible products being released in 2011 from Attakus, eFX, Gentle Giant, Hasbro, Her Universe, Kotobukiya, LEGO, Mimoco, Museum Replicas, Sideshow Collectibles and others it’s a difficult choice but what did the team choose?

Adam: Sideshow’s Darth Maul Cyborg Premium Format Figure.

Graham:  I’m going to go with the Wicket Mini Bust, it jumped out at me as having a lot of character and for some reason seemed a little more interesting than other mini-busts of late.

James: This is a hard one… As Mark says below The Blueprints just blew me away but in terms of collectible I’m going to go with the San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Death Star with what I hope contains the first two mini figures (Hasbro we want more!).

Mark: That would be Star Wars: The Blueprints, an amazing book just jam-packed with nuggets of golden information and detail.  J W Rinzler seems to surpass himself every year with his new releases, but not quite sure how he’s going to manage that in 2012.

Best Book

2011 was a bumper year in almost every respect and there were so many books to choose from (including fiction and non-fiction)…

Adam: Ready Player One (not Star Wars I know, but got a lot of exposure due to the connection with Fanboys and also the content).

Graham: Star Wars Art: Comics. An excellent collection, some really beautiful art that I’d completely forgotten I’d seen in there.

James: Well I read Darth Plageuis in 2011 but since it doesn’t come out till 2012 I’m going to go with Star Wars: The Blueprints.  As Mark said above it’s simply amazing and it needs to be seen to be believed!

Mark: Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary edition.  The book that played a vital part in re-launching the franchise deserved some kind of celebration on its 20th, and Del Rey did a great job of reintroducing the book to the market, as well as adding in some illuminating notations and a gorgeous new slipcover.

Best Media Release

What a list… Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray (at last), The Clone Wars Season 3 (DVD and Blu-ray), LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace, Robot Chicken III, LEGO Star Wars III – The Clone Wars game and the long awaited release of the MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic but what did we all think?

Adam: LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace (I’ve tried to be a little different, since the Blu-rays and Season 3 of The Clone Wars are likely to figure elsewhere)

Graham: The Padawan Menace – I’ll go with Adam on this one, very good reasoning.

James: I’m going to go with the Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray, although The Padawan Menace comes in second (it really exceeded expectations). The launch at the BT Tower was a highlight of the year for me especially seeing it turned into a lightsaber (who ever came up with that deserves a pay rise!)

Mark: As James says this year is all about the Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray.  To call it a treasure trove does piracy a disservice, it’s the essential Star Wars set to own, is in crystal clear clarity, cutting edge in every manner and practically grabs you by the lapels and yanks you into the screen.  Absolutely essential!

Best Toy

Yet again there’s SO much to choose from in this area…

Adam: Hasbro’s Republic Attack Shuttle – it’s so much fun!

Graham: The Ultimate FX Lightsaber. I chose this because it blows every previous kid-targeted lightsaber out of the window. I was amazed they managed to release it at that price point.

James: I can’t choose one so I’m going for two!  The LEGO line continues to improve and amaze – the Sith Nightspeeder (set #7957) featuring a new head piece for Savage Oppress illustrates this well as does the extended play value of the vehicle that separates and offers amazing play value.  Are they toys or collectibles?  The box says ‘toys’ so I guess it fits into this category.  The Vintage line of Hasbro figures keeps getting better and this year we got the awesome Gamorrean Guard amongst others as well as Kyle’s own personal fan favourite Ben Quadinaros.

Mark: Again it’s been a brilliant year, with the continuing quality output coming via LEGO among a glut of franchisees, but my personal favourite this year would have to be Hasbro’s VC28, AKA Wedge Antilles from the Vintage Collection.  During the summer there was such a rush to get a hold of the figure, with prices rising to crazy numbers, that he became (alongside VC21 Gamorrean Guard) THE figure to own for the year.  Sure, the Clone Wars Republic Fighter Tank had all the gadgets and gizmos, and the Ultimate FX Lightsabers were pure class, but man…it’s Wedge Freakin’ Antilles!

2011 was an amazing year; I wonder what 2012 will bring?

James is an active member of the Star Wars collecting community, and is the Brand Director for Jedi News. James is also the host of the Star Wars Collectors Cast, and co-host of RADIO 1138 on the Jedi News Network.