In 2002, Hasbro introduced the world of Star Wars collector's to the Unleashed series. Each sculpt was essentially a mini statue made out of plastic - Affordable to the majority of collectors, yet with a stature that screamed high quality. They were an immediate success across retail chains.
The series launched during the Saga 3 3/4 line, and produced an initial eleven statues, with one variant.
Collector's swarmed the toy isles to swoop up every last one of them, and the series quickly became a secondary market dealer’s cash crop.
A variant version of Darth Vader was released which depicted him with no mask. At the time of its release, this particular statue was incredibly difficult to find without resorting to the secondary market. A two pack was also released which contained both Jango and Boba Fett.
Equally difficult to find was the Princess Leia statue which depicted her in her slave outfit.
In 2003, the package design was changed drastically from its initial plain/dull look to really pop. Each card now depicted artwork at the top to coincide with the statue inside. It was much more eye catching to the average toy isle visitor, and overall made the series all the more collectible.
The initial launch of the 2003 line contained several repacks.
2004 saw a release of six new statues, and one variant.
2005 was the last series of Unleashed that were released under the "Saga" banner. There were three new figures, and two repacks - one of which was repacked the prior year as well.
When Revenge of the Sith hit theaters, the line continued on with that particular 3 3/4 inch figure line.
A new two pack with Yoda and Sidious was released during this time.
The Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader got a fancier packaging, and was released exclusively at Best Buy to coincide with the DVD release.
Rather than utilizing a card back/bubble package, it was packaged in a cylinder. This would later become the standard packaging style.
While the line continued to coincide with the Revenge of the Sith toys in 2006, the series didn't stick specifically to characters from that particular movie.
Target released four exclusively packaged statues in 2006, and at the same time changed the way that the majority of future ones would be released. These exclusives also utilized the cylinder packaging used for the Best Buy exclusive. However, the statues themselves were simply updated/repainted prior releases.
2007 would mark the last year (to date) that a traditional statue like Unleashed figure would be released. The packaging also changed to resemble the cylinder shaped ones used for the exclusive releases with the exception of two final carded ones.
For the final Unleashed statue, now under the 30th Anniversary giese, the package was changed to white to closer resemble the current 3 3/4 line of figures.
During the Saga Collection (2006), and running through the 2009/2010 Clone Wars collection, Unleashed took a different approach. Rather than stick with the familiar statue style which made the series popular, Hasbro began releasing mini multipacks, now known as Battle Packs.
The once six to eight inch statues now stood approximately 1/4 their original size, and closer resembled upscale roleplaying game tokens.
While it left many original Unleashed fans unimpressed, the series was clearly strong enough to continue through 2010.
There are so many sets available, that while we are going to show them all, we aren't going to list them out by name.
Each package is separated into its respective toy line, but not in any particular order.
Unleashed has come a long way since 2002, and whether you approve of the smaller versions pushing the larger ones from the limelight or not, it's clear that the series found a strong following of fans to press on for eight years.
Join us Monday as we continue our Star Wars 35th anniversary celebration with our look at Power of the Jedi 12" Legacy Collection!
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