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R5-P8

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
by yo go re

Can we get a do-over?

R5-P8 is Hondo Ohnaka's most capable astromech and serves as an automated repair mechanic on Hondo's many starships. This sassy droid calls Hondo out on occasion, always keeping the pirate on his toes.

After spending all the time and tech creating their super-advanced Hondo animatronic, the Galaxy's Edge planners needed something simple for him to interact with - if you have him only addressing the audience, they'll start to (subconsciously) wonder why the conversation is so one-sided. The solution? Put a droid in the scene with him, so he's too busy talking with it to have anyone wonder why he's not talking to them.

Going back to the two-part episode that introduced Hondo and his pirate crew, there are a pair of droids of note. They're not named, and they're only on-screen for a few frames, but they make perfect sense for a pirate's hideout: R5 units with blasters mounted on their heads. They're shown doing some light repair work, but seem to function as guards as well, if the gun is any indication.

(Actually, due to the framing of the shot, we can only be sure that one of them has a gun - the other's head is cut off. But let's extrapolate: would the pirates only put a gun on one droid, or would they put guns on both droids so they could have little fights?)

Sadly, by the time of Galaxy's edge, Hondo has apparently chosen to make R5-P8 less dangerous, because the little droid no longer has a gun on its head by the time you see him in the park. And that means this toy doesn't get one, either, making it just a repaint. How dull! The body is already just a re-use of the existing astromech body, with all the attendant strengths and flaws: it has that dumb action feature where you turn the head to extend the extra leg, the doors that open on the front to reveal tiny tool arms, and the panels on the sides of the legs that can be removed so non-existent accessories can be plugged in. This is the third time this head has been used, and they've all been exclusives: once for Toys "Я" Us, once for GameStop, and now for Target.

Hasbro has made an R5-P8 before, in the smaller scale, but it was also an axclusive: part of a four-pack you could only get at Disney parks. That figure was mostly tan, either in an attempt to duplicate the stylization of the episode, or because whoever was designing the paint didn't realize being outside on a dusty desert planet was giving everything in the scene a yellowish tint like that. Subsequent merch made it clear he was supposed to have a (filthy) white body and a tan head, which this toy does.

The head is perhaps too light: it's such a pale color, it almost looks pink. There are a few rust spots painted on, and they're done really well - if they'd covered the entire head with those, it'd look a lot more like it should. At least they remembered the custom paint job Hondo's gang added: a row of white triangle creating a "mouth" for him. But we do still have a question: are those meant to be white fangs sticking up in an underbite, or beige fangs sticking down over an open white mouth? You make the call!

R5-P8 feels like a study in missed opportunities. Even if we accept that the body needed to be the same mold we've been getting for years (and that's a big "if"), the paint is halfassed and he's missing the one accessory that makes him him. Or, again, Pikk and Pilf, the Kowakian monkey-lizards. They would have added a ton of value to this otherwise bottom-tier offering. It's nice that Hondo's got a little friend to pair up with, but this figure feels like an afterthought, not something Hasbro would be proud of.

-- 11/15/20


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