Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hey, kids! Who wants to play droid torture in Jabba's dungeon?

Star Wars is one of the most heavily merchandised film series of all time. Even before the recent mania that’s produced Baby Yoda cereal and board games, every scene from the original trilogy seemed to get its own spin-off book and, no matter how ill-advised, toys meant to allow kids to spend a little more time in George Lucas’s fantastical world of space wizards, strange aliens, and talking robots.

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Take, for example, the Jabba torture dungeon playsets made to coincide with the release of Return Of The Jedi. Back in 1983, toy manufacturer Kenner decided to commemorate every child’s favorite moment in the film—that part where we see a bunch of droids screaming in agony as they’re tortured in the dungeons beneath Jabba’s palace—with a fun playset that let them live out their dreams of working as a sci-fi mob enforcer or CIA agent.

In a video from YouTube channel Mighty Jabba’s Collection, we learn that two versions of “The Jabba The Hutt Dungeon Action Playset” were released. The first, from 1983, included advertising copy that promised buyers the ability to “Use the branding iron on any Droids in Jabba’s Dungeon.” The video points out that this feature was actually revised through a box sticker. The original packaging, in blunt serial killer-training terms: “The branding iron will torture any Droids in Jabba’s Dungeon.”

Apparently the robot torture chamber was created out of a repurposed 1979 “droid factory” set, much in the same way that an ordinary unfinished basement can be turned into a deranged murderer’s nightmare laboratory. In 1984, Kenner took another stab at the idea, swapping out the included action figures and the color of the plastic base while setting their homicidal copywriter free once more to inscribe “You can pretend all Droids are in for a hot time with the branding iron accessory” on the box.

Sadly, these playsets are long out of print and are now available only as expensive collector’s items. Woe to the modern parent who wants to gently guide their children toward a promising career in torture. Without Star Wars toys to help, we suppose they’ll just have to fall back on a steady diet of army recruitment commercials and the Marvel universe.

[via Boing Boing]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.