Monday, May 20, 2013

30 Years of RETURN OF THE JEDI - Part 20

The speeder bike chase was one of the most exciting scenes in Return of the Jedi. After seeing it, what kid wouldn't want their own speeder bike to tear around the neighborhood on? 

For some lucky kids that fantasy became a reality, sort of. As a 1983 promotional sweepstakes, Kenner created a contest/in store display in order to sell more of their Star Wars action figure line. Approximately 200-300 of these speeder bikes were made for Kenner by Huffy and displayed in stores, where lucky kids could win them. These were not for sale, and now fetch some high prices.  

If you didn't win one of the bikes, you still had a shot of having one of your very own to ride back and forth in your back yard. This speeder bike was a speeder bike shaped swing that had the benefit of actually being up off the ground where it seemed to float through the air if you were an imaginative kid. You'd have to be a superbly imaginative kid to envision the mounted tower playhouse above the swing as the AT-ST scout walker it's meant to be. Maybe it's easier to do sitting on the inside of it. In any case this is still pretty cool. 

There is a modern ride on pedal bike manufactured by an Australian toy company called ToyMonster. I'm not sure what Star Wars movie they were working from, but adding a couple of tiny flaps next to the front wheel, an Imperial style logo to the wheel and the Star Wars logo to the seat does not make this thinly disguised Big Wheel/Green Machine a speeder bike. It's probably safer, and faster than the Huffy version, but it's nowhere near as cool. 

Kids and adults still have a chance to ride a speeder bike by visiting the Disney Studios theme park in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This one doesn't move at all, but looks a lot like the movie version, and has a backdrop of the Endor forest with enemy Imperial biker scout. It makes for a great photo opportunity and can be found across from the fantastically upgraded Star Tours attraction. 

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