Review: Star Wars Black Series 3.75″ Darth Plagueis

Remember that part in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin and Palpatine were watching some weird bubble-opera show and Palpatine started telling Anakin about some guy called “Darth Plagueis the Wise” who could stop people from dying but then was killed by his student? Well, it turns out Darth Plagueis was Palpatine’s Sith Master. As far as the new Star Wars canon goes, that’s all we know. In the original EU canon, however, Plagueis got a lot of development in James Luceno’s novel Darth Plagueis, or as I like to call it, The Book that Fixes the Prequels. If you’ve never heard of the book, I recommend reading it if you get the chance (or listen to Daniel Davis’s excellent audiobook). In an unexpected turn of events, the obscure Darth Plagueis got his own action figure in Hasbro’s Black Series under the 3.75″ line, joining his fellow non-canon toys Bastila Shan, Darth Malgus, and Starkiller in just barely managing to make release as the last EU characters following Disney’s canon clampdown. Canon or not, Darth Plagueis was a great piece of Star Wars fiction, and I was so happy to get my hands on this now-rare figure. But how does Darth Plagueis stand up as a toy?

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Appearance

Even before the novel’s release, Darth Plagueis was established to be a Muun species, which you may (but probably won’t) recall as the tall, skinny, bald alien San Hill that was part of the Separatists in Attack of the Clones. There aren’t enough non-human Sith in Star Wars, so the alien-but-not-too-alien Plagueis is a welcome addition. Plagueis’s choice of clothing was rarely described in the novel, so I can only assume the figure’s appearance is based largely on this image and the designer’s imagination. It’s appropriately dark and Sith-y, though I do find the short vest to be a bit odd. Plagueis also comes with the standard soft goods black cloak, and it functions about as well as you’d expect it to (as in, not terribly). The sculpt on his head is particularly lovely, etched with wrinkles and lines that, combined with the well-done paint apps, make him look as ugly as any good Sith should. The eyes are a bit iffy, and I’m not sure why they’re red with black pupils, but it sure does make him look evil!

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Articulation

3.75″ Star Wars figures aren’t known for terribly stellar posability, and mostly follow a simple formula. Plagueis does not break the mold in this regard: ball-jointed head, ball-hinged shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, and swivel hips and wrists. The dreaded T-crotch with its lack of outward movement remains a point of contention, but I’ll concede that Plagueis doesn’t need to do much in the way of acrobatics. He had his fair share of action, but no Yoda-levels of crazy jumping. The lack of a waist swivel is particularly disappointing, given there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have one.

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Accessories

Aside from the aforementioned soft goods cloak, Plagueis comes armed with your standard Sith red-bladed lightsaber that fits in his hand with surprising security given the strange sculpt of his fingers. In addition to that, he comes with the ‘transpirator’ breathing mask that kept him alive (and proved instrumental in his death), which can be removed by simply popping his head off the ball joint. However, the connection on his head is so tight that I fear too many head swaps will result in breakage, especially since the base of the ball already looks to be separating.

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His final accessory is a big staff that seems to be associated with Plagueis in most of his appearances, but I don’t think it was ever mentioned in the book. Plagueis was a Muun noble as Hego Damask, so I guess it works as a high-class staff of some sort. In a bit of a hidden feature, you can peg his lightsaber into the tip of the staff to form a lightsaber pike! He certainly never used this in EU canon, but it’s still a cool easter egg.

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Overall

Darth Plagueis is an obscure character in the Star Wars mythos despite the huge role he played in the story… at least he was, until Disney nuked the EU. Now all we know about Plagueis is the little story Palpatine told Anakin at the opera. His species is even up for debate, which renders the canonicity of this toy entirely questionable. Regardless, Darth Plagueis is still a brilliant Star Wars novel, and, like KOTOR, until anything comes out in the new canon that overrules it, I will continue to treat it as canon. I highly recommend checking out the book and I also recommend this figure. Most of its flaws are simply flaws of Star Wars figures in general, and like most Star Wars toys, you’re buying this more for the character than the toy itself.

Where to Buy

Plagueis is unfortunately one of the most hard-to-find figures of his wave, which is impressive considering his wavemate is a repack of Bastila Shan from KOTOR. Finding him in stores is going to be tricky, and online stores seem to be wiped clean of the Sith. Your best bet would be eBay or checking out forums, but I certainly wouldn’t pay more than $20. (Shout out to LORD MARVEL on TFW2005 for hooking me up with mine!)

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