Star Wars is a franchise percolating with nostalgia. In fact, the only essential problem with the most recent Star Wars film was that it was too nostalgic.
The original definition of nostalgia was as a form of melancholy. Indeed, the word itself is comprised from the Greek roots of “homecoming” and “pain.” Considering the mythological tropes Star Wars has employed, this is worthy of our understanding.
Fortunately for Star Wars fans, nostalgic items lean more toward homecoming than pain, and luckily there are a plethora of books, games, toys, and other items for every Star Wars fan out there to help them think back on good times.
Though some of the following aren’t exactly equivalent to Orson Welles’ Rosebud, they are treasures none the less. As we patiently await the December release of the newest Star Wars flick from Lucasfilm (titled Rogue One), take a moment to think back on some of these items. Below are some nostalgia gift ideas for any Star Wars fan out there:
#1: Kenner’s Toy Millennium Falcon (1978)
Fans of Netflix’s Stranger Things, a show steeped in 80s nostalgia, saw the character Eleven telepathically playing with one of these toys from Kenner. Kenner produced all of the Star Wars action toys since the first film’s release in 1977, selling hundreds of millions of toys, including this one.
The many Generation X Star Wars fans out there most likely saw this 53-centimeter toy as youngsters, and there’s likely a number of them who played with it. The commercial alone is likely to take fans back to their childhood. “Nice landing, Han Solo!” one of the kids shouts. “Come on, Chewbacca,” the other replies. “Stormtroopers are coming!
#2: Princess Leia Action Figure (1984)
Also from Kenner, this action figure features Leia dressed in her Endor Forest outfit, complete with a removable helmet, poncho, and blaster. The action figure was re-released along with many others, in the late 1990s, as the Special Edition films were being released in cinemas.
Leia in the original films ranged from a damsel in distress to a slave in a metal bikini, so she isn’t exactly a feminist icon. But, in Return of the Jedi from 1983, she was a character of grit and leadership. This action figure embodies that.
#3: LEGO Star Destroyer
Everyone loves LEGO. Over the years, LEGO has marketed numerous Star Wars paraphernalia. One of the most collectible, and one that any Star Wars nostalgic would love as a gift, is the LEGO Star Destroyer.
This LEGO masterpiece has over 3,000 pieces. Two feet long, it provides a suitably imposing flagship that Darth Vader would be proud to own.
#4: Vlix Toy (1988)
Are you a fan of getting a whopping $6,000? Are you one of the few people on the planet who have an unopened Vlix toy? Vlix was a character who appeared in the animated series Droids. And this toy, considered to be the Holy Grail of Star Wars memorabilia, was produced by a Brazilian company, so there are very few of them around these days.
That being said, for die-hard fans of the series (and especially the rich ones who have a bit of Indiana Jones in their DNA), tracking down this item might well be worth the time and dime.
#5: Heir to the Empire Novel (1991)
There have been dozens of Star Wars novels since the novelization of the original film, all the way back in 1977, but none are as terrific as Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, the first of his trilogy.
Taking place only a few years after the original trilogy concluded, this series reunites our characters in a fight against the diminishing Galactic Empire, taken control by the malevolent and blue-skinned Grand Admiral Thrawn, who teams up with a Dark Jedi named Joruus Cbaoth to try to resurrect the Empire.
The novel became a bestseller, and can be recommended for fans of most ages.
#6: Shadows of the Empire Soundtrack (1996)
In 1996, Lucasfilm, in anticipation of the release of the Special Edition the following year and then the start of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, released a multimedia project titled Shadows of the Empire, a tale of Luke Skywalker, et al., tracking down the carbonite casing of Han Solo in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The project involved a novel by Steve Perry, comics by John Wagner, a Nintendo 64 and computer game, and a group of new toys. But the element of the project that was the most impressive was the score written by Joel McNeely, to be used for the audio book and games.
An epic and old-fashioned juxtaposition of intense choral arrangements, and even a waltz (a first and only for the franchise), McNeely did a phenomenal job of channeling Star Wars composer John Williams without copying him. This music might be the best piece of Star Wars that most fans have never heard of.
#7: Side Show Collectables Life-Size Statues
If you want something that looks just like a film prop used on one of the Star Wars franchise film sets, then Side Show Collectables has the gift for you. Side Show has released three full-size figures: Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and Hans Solo frozen in Carbonite.
These full-sized statues will dominate any collector’s trophy room. They make the perfect gift, as long as you don’t mind spending several thousand dollars each for the trilogy.
#8: Knights of the Old Republic Game (2003)
Released by LucasArts, the now defunct media publisher of Lucasfilm, Knights of the Old Republic—the role-playing video game for Xbox—is still regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time. As a matter of fact, it ranked in the top 100, according to Time a few years ago.
Taking place several thousand years before the formation of the Galactic Empire, characters can make decisions that will align them with the Dark Side or the Light Side of the Force. The game was followed by several sequels and won a host of awards.
#9: Hasbro’s Millennium Falcon
There are two versions of the Millennium Falcon that made our list. This beast rivals the LEGO Star Destroyer and the Kenner’s versions, in terms of collectability and desirability among Star Wars aficionados. Released in 2008, it comes with very detailed Hans Solo and Chewbacca action figures.
You might just have to consider giving all three versions to the lucky Star Wars nostalgic.
Fortunately for us all, there are at least five more Star Wars films in the making, and who knows how many more games, books, toys, etc. What will the nostalgia items of the future be? The Chewbacca mask made famous by a laughing mom in her car? The Death Star Christmas tree light? Little BB-8s?
Time will surely tell, but the Force is surely strong with many of them.