Luke senses a dark side vergence in a cave on Dagobah. Yoda advises that the cave is a domain of evil, so naturally he urges Luke to check it out. Furthermore, Yoda tells Luke not to bring his weapons. At this point, you might be thinking that this is like one of those internet reaction videos where a jerk parent films her five year old kid watching a jumpscare video and laughs hysterically while the therapy bills are mounting. It’s not. This is a critical test along the path of the emerging Jedi Knight as well as a valuable moral lesson. The test is to determine how Luke reacts to fear. Will he lean toward aggression and the dark side? The moral lesson is clear from the first two movies: If you want to be a good Jedi, you’re supposed to let Darth Vader cut you in half. This is also pretty sound military strategy by Yoda. There are only two Sith. Darth Sidious can’t remember where he left his saber and eventually Vader will tucker himself out bisecting Jedi. Yoda perfected the rope-a-dope millennia ahead of Muhammed Ali. As you know, Luke failed the test and lesson. He strikes down the illusion of Darth Vader upon which this figure is based. C’mon, Luke, let the boy cut you in half. He’s a good hard working boy! Let Vader cut you in half. Is it so bad to see someone happy? Huh?1
This is the figure so nice they named it twice. For its first release on the monolingual card, the figure is titled Darth Vader (Dagobah Test). The date stamp is 50231 (January 23rd, 2015). On the subsequent release on the multilingual card, the figure is titled Darth Vader (Dagobah Vision). The date stamp is 50981 (April 8th, 2015). This presents a challenge for classifying the figure, but we’ve decided that the later name is the official name despite preferring “Dagobah Test”. It was probably one of those things where the word “test” takes on an unintended frisky undertone in a foreign language. Probably in French. Cheeky buggers are always on the prowl.
What about the figure? Good question. The figure itself is (give or take) the same Darth Vader figure we’ve been getting since 2005. I wouldn’t call it “dated” since that Evolutions figure was leaps and bounds ahead of basic figures at the time, but we’ve recently seen Vader with ball jointed everything-ness, so it slightly pales in comparison to the Phase I Episode III Darth Vader. But you don’t really need this figure to do much other than stand there and get decapitated. Soft goods are not always the right choice for a figure, but when soft goods are executed correctly, a figure never looks so good. That’s where we find ourselves with Darth Vader figures in this scale (not so much in the 6” scale). Hasbro has perfected soft goods on 3.75” Darth Vader figures. The nicely executed inner robe and cape allow you to achieve a degree of posing dynamism that mitigates the limitations of the older swivel hips and ankles that do not rock. The big negative with the Evolutions-based Darth Vader figures is the blasted right hand. It’s fixed in a wide open “C”. It can’t be used to hold the saber, which is a sin. Still, all in all this figure looks great. If anything, this review made me realize how far from definitive that Vintage Collection Luke Bespin is. Darth Vader (Dagobah Vision) is a solid 8 out of 10.
There is a little bit of a groundswell to have this figure re-released in the Vintage Collection. This figure was readily available in the Black Series. Why do collectors always take a “wait and see” approach with figures? We call this syndrome “BIGJIM-itis”. If something interests you, BUY IT. For the health of our hobby, stop slow-playing your purchases. If you are hoping to see this figure re-released in the Vintage Collection, guess what? You wish this figure would get re-released. You want to put it in your collection. You blew it. I doubt this figure will see the light of day in the Vintage Collection for one simple reason. How would Hasbro identify it on the full photo card? As a decapitated head with Luke staring at you? I don’t think Walmart would be very happy with that. The other option would be Darth Vader in a darkened cave. You might as well put one of the Black Series silhouettes on the card.