Back around Christmas time 2015, Barry a.k.a. @ScoobyDew79 on Twitter offered around a whole bunch of 1980 Topps Empire Strikes Back cards. I wrote to him telling him I wasn't working on the set but if he couldn't find anyone to take them, I surely would. A few days later I was happy to see a huge box of Empire cards arrive at my door and after sitting around in my pile of unsorted cards for far too long, I finally got around to picking my favorites.
We begin with "The Snow Walkers" which are really All Terrain Armored Transports or AT-AT for short. Now I've noticed a generational difference in the way the "AT-AT" is said between fans. I grew up saying "AT-AT" like I was saying the word "at" back-to-back. While my nephew who is hugely into The Clone Wars and Rebels tells me it is said using each letter individually "A-T-A-T" which seems ridiculous it is often written AT-AT. I think Principal Skinner knows the answer.
This is one of the cards that certainly has a new meaning with release of The Force Awakens. Here is Han trying to fix the hyper-drive which malfunctions throughout the film. Rey is of course Ms. Fix-It on the Millennium Falcon in Episode VII, saving the day a few times throughout the film.
Next up are two Chewbacca cards. First we have Chewy with an oxygen mask while the Falcon is stuck inside the space slug, which I had no idea was called an Exogorth. And in the Star Wars universe, sightings of Exogorths are considered myths and are like seeing Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. The other photo is Chewy with windswept snowy fur that would make the hipster with the best beard in Brooklyn jealous.
Certainly this must be considered Billy Dee Williams' rookie card! He will always be Lando Calrissian for many people but he was also Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's first Batman movie (how great would that have been to have Billy Dee turn into Two Face over the course of a Batman film) and Gale Sayers in the legendary TV movie Brian's Song.
General Rieekan only has a few seconds of screen time during the Battle of Hoth but the actor Bruce Boa also appears in the James Bond film Octopussy and Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. For fans of British comedy, however, he will be remembered as the rude American customer Harry Hamilton in Fawlty Towers.
The rest of the cards can be filed under three easy to separate categories. We begin with...
The Bounty Hunters
As a kid, that bounty hunters scene was the most amazing scene in the second movie. We are introduced to bounty hunters Boba Fett, Dengar, IG-88, Bossk, 4-LOM, and Zuckuss. Although we only see the hunters (other than Boba Fett) for only a few seconds, kids across the country imagined countless stories of the other adventures these villains had been on.
As far as figures go, I had Boba Fett and Bossk. Bossk's arms always bugged me as they seemed too long (as if I knew how long a Trandoshan's arms should be). I would love to see an anthology Star Wars film that lets us know what the other bounty hunters (other than Boba Fett) did when they left Vader to find Han Solo.
I always wanted an IG-88 toy figure as I loved the idea of a droid assassin compared to what we get with the Rebel droids with the inept C-P3O and the brave but weak R2-D2.
Next, we have four cards of my one of my favorite Star Wars side characters, Lobot. At the time I wondered was he a man? Was he a cyborg? A combination of both?
Through the Star Wars expanded universe we learned that Lobot was a man who had a computer installed in his brain to become more efficient in his planning work with the Empire.
He became friends with Lando and got involved in his criminal enterprises, one of which included stealing the Emperor's space yacht (yes, this really happened in a Marvel comic book called Lando from 2015).
During the theft, Lobot was injured and experienced brain damage which allowed the computer portion of his brain to take over which created the speechless character we see in the film. There is also a deleted scene from the film that shows Lobot being captured by storm troopers.
The Starcraft Cards
Most of the time in movie sets there is nothing worse than the cards that simply explain the movie's action and story points. I prefer a set that provides standard biographical or informational cards for characters and important items. That's why I love the Starcraft cards from the Empire set which gives individual cards for many of the ships featured in the movie. Here are some facts about each craft that you might not know.
Millennium Falcon fact: the card game that Han Solo won the Falcon with was called Sabacc which is similar to the game 21 but the object is to formulate a hand that adds up to 23.
Imperial Star Destroyer fact: at the peak of the Empire there were 25,000 destroyers floating around a galaxy far far away which were built by a company called Kuat Drive Yards. The capitalistic side of the Star Wars universe has always interested me but please, please, please don't ever mention trade embargoes!
TIE Fighter fact: the inspiration for the TIE fighter was called the Alpha 3 Nimbus which can be briefly seen in Revenge of the Sith during the Battle of Coruscant.
TIE Bomber fact: the first appearance of this Imperial ship was in Empire when the Falcon was trying to escape through the asteroid field that ended inside the Exogorth.
The Twin-Pod Cloud Car was certainly one of the oddest designed ships as it seemed like you had two pilots controlling one pod. That wasn't the case, however, as the pilot was on the left side and the other pod was occupied by a gunner.
Thanks again Barry and I know I still need to get some cards back to you one of these days!