Star Wars Ralph McQuarrie Action Figure Set 1Media Release -- A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a young filmmaker named George Lucas embarked on a quest to bring his vision of a science fiction adventure to the big screen. But before young Lucas could begin filming his epic, he sought guidance from a master storyteller, a visual wizard who took the writer's screenplay and fleshed it out in pen & ink and paint. The resulting art from Ralph McQuarrie formed the foundation of one of Hollywood's most enduring film franchises: Star Wars.

McQuarrie's original interpretations of Lucas' ideas have long fascinated Star Wars fans. Portfolios and books showcasing the illustrations are prized possessions of collectors, who remain intrigued by a Star Wars Universe that might have been. Now, Kenner/Hasbro has partnered with Diamond and Toys R Us to offer fans action figure sets based on McQuarrie's concept art.

Shipping this week, the Star Wars: Ralph McQuarrie Concept Action Figure Sets 1 & 2 Assortment (MAR098174, SRP $52.50 per set) presents 3-3/4"-scale versions of the saga's main heroes & villains, inspired by the artist's early illustrations.

Set 1 includes McQuarrie's versions of Han Solo (who bears more than a passing resemblance to a young George Lucas), Chewbacca, Obi Wan Kenobi & Yoda, C-3PO & R2-D2, and Boba Fett.

Star Wars Ralph McQuarrie Action Figure Set 2Set 2 features Concept takes on Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Stormtrooper, Snowtrooper, Rebel Trooper and "The Starkiller Hero," a character that evolved into both Luke Skywalker and his sister, Princess Leia, in the final draft of the first script. Solicited in the August issue of Diamond's PREVIEWS catalog, the assortment includes three each of Sets 1 & 2, both displayed in window box packaging.

"For over 30 years, Star Wars merchandise has been a perennial bestseller in specialty market stores. Without Ralph McQuarrie's original concepts, the first film may not have been as groundbreaking, or as popular. Inspired by McQuarrie's art, this assortment gives retailers some very salable action figures that Star Wars collectors have been asking for, in one form or the other, for over three decades," said Diamond Vice President of Purchasing Bill Schanes. "Separately, the hard-to-find characters in this assortment are some of the hottest toys out there – imagine Star Wars fans' excitement at being able to buy all of McQuarrie's Concept Action Figures in two convenient sets."

Highly sought after by collectors, these figures have been previously available individually – some only at Star Wars and pop culture conventions and through select websites – and many fetch high prices in the collector's aftermarket. Now, this release collects all of the McQuarrie Concept Action Figures in two convenient sets in one assortment, available exclusively through comic shops (and for a limited time through Toys R Us stores).

As Obi Wan Kenobi might say, "These are the droids (and humanoids) you're looking for."

ABOUT DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS—the world's largest distributor of English-language comic books and pop-culture related merchandise, Diamond is based in Baltimore, MD, and services more than 4,000 specialty retailers worldwide. For more information, visit Diamond on the web at