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SWV: Empire Strikes Back
by yo go re

As late as the fifth draft of the ESB script (which was revised once, then became the final shooting script), the bounty hunter we know as Zuckuss was called "Tuckuss" - in other words, "tuchus," the Yiddish word for your behind. He was named Butt the Bounty Hunter. Of course, Star Wars drafts have also given us such "creative" names as Cos Dashit and Elan Sleazebaggano, so at least this one got changed.

A Gand bounty hunter, Zuckuss heeded the Empire's call for mercenaries to locate the Millennium Falcon and bring her fugitive crew to justice, receiving his orders on the bridge of Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer.

As we've mentioned before, poor Zuckuss spent eight years being mis-identified as his best bud 4-LOM, from the time his figure came out in 1981, to the time the The Galaxy Guide 3 came out in 1989. And so there's an entire generation of SW fans who refuse to believe Zuckuss is Zuckuss. It's like Transfans who think Frenzy is red, except more blatantly incorrect.

There might be some merit to the confusion, to be honest: they both have vaguely insectoid heads; 4-LOM because he was designed to deal with insectoid clientele, and Zuckuss because he is insectoid clientele. To achieve the appropriate "compound lens" looks, the eyes on the costume were made from bubble wrap - here they're just sculpted.

This particular figure is part of the Black Series, which would normally mean a highly detailed sculpt, but here, it's hard to tell: Zuckuss covers his buggy body with a modesty smock, and here that is done as a single big softgoods piece. His head is entirely sculpted, as is the harness and armor hanging from his chest, but to see anything else, you'd have to peek under his robes (the dress is non-removable, because it's held on by the belt). What we can see is new, and since Hasbro has access to and direction from the Lucasfilm archives, it's theoretically accurate to the screen-used costume, but the only way to appreciate it is to damage your figure. On the other hand, there are supposed to be two bottles hanging from his face, not just one, so take that as you will. The plates on his shins are the same style as the ones over his groin, and his pants are padded. Gotta be comfy when hunting bounties!

The articulation is good as well. He has swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. The only thing he ever did in the movie was stand in place next to the other five bounty hunters, so really, the PotF2 articulation was enough (Big Five plus waist) - but having more articulation means you can stage your own adventures, and having a cloth skirt means the joints in his legs don't go to waste. The only thing worse than not having articulation is having articulation and not being able to use it. The pegs where the hands meet the forearms are very stiff, and felt like they were going to shear; I rolled up his sleeves and soaked the hands in hot water to get them moving, but even that felt iffy.

Since the harness and robe are not removable, Zuckuss' only accessory ia his GRS-1 snare rifle, a gun that could either fire a paralytic gas or a liquid web that solidified into a net when exposed to air. He can hold it in his left hand, and the right is posed to grip the barrel.

Zuckuss was intended to be a Toys Я Us exclusive, which seems like a rather stupid idea for such a... well, not "major" character, but at least a known and recognizable character. Main characters in variant costumes make sense as exclusives, but this is the only Zuckuss there is. That would have been a poor plan even before TRU was forced out of business so its owners could buy new crashing yachts ("Crashing Yachts: the yachts you crash into one another"). Handily, the Disney Store decided to pick up the distribution in the US; and even more handily, since there are barely any Disney Stores left, he's also on their website.

-- 02/02/19

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