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First Packaging
By Richard Cox

    For many, the cornerstone of vintage Star Wars collecting is the 1977/78-1985 Kenner line of action figures. Acquiring these figures carded, with over 100 different figures produced, can be very daunting and is in and of itself the sole subject of many a collection. In addition, many carded collectors are beginning to look not only for the figure on a blister card, but specifically the card the action figure was introduced on. While for some this may mean getting Lando on an Empire Strikes Back card, to others it means Lando on a 31 back ESB card or even a 31A back ESB card. It is to these latter collectors, or prospective collectors, that this article is directed, as there is no literature, other than the cardbacks themselves, that presents this information. Insofar as determining the specifics of each cardback, Chris Fawcetts article covers the subject very well and will thus not be dealt with here in any detail. So if you need to know what a 45A back is go there. If youre looking to see what figure first appeared on the card youre in the right place.

Star Wars 12 Backs

    Technically, the first carded Star Wars action figures were the four available in the famous Early Bird kit offered in late 1977 and received in the mail in early 1978. These include Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca. However, most collectors simply do not consider this the first set of carded figures, but instead the first appearance of Star Wars action figures on an individual card, namely the 12 backs. Initially, only nine of the first 12 were released, though all of the figures did appear on the back of the card. Death Squad Commander, Jawa and Sandpeople were added soon after. This accounts for their absence on the Star Wars Action Collectors Stand offer.

The 12 back action figures are: 
1) Ben Kenobi 
2) Chewbacca 
3) C-3PO 
4) Darth Vader 
5) Death Squad Commander 
6) Han Solo 
7) Jawa 
8) Luke Skywalker 
9) Princess Leia 
10) R2-D2 
11) Sandpeople 
12) Stormtrooper 

Star Wars 20 Backs

    The second series of action figures released with the Star Wars logo were the 20 backs. It is important to note that the earliest versions of the 20 backs did not have the Boba Fett mail away offer on them. 

13) Death Star Droid 
14) Greedo 
15) Hammerhead 
16) Luke as X-Wing Pilot 
17) Power Droid 
18) R5-D4 
19) Snaggletooth (red) 
20) Walrus Man

Star Wars 21 Backs

The good news is that theres only one 21 back figure to worry about. The bad news is that its Boba Fett, thus a tough and expensive one to come by. Many collectors dont bother distinguishing between 20 and 21 backs. Many others do. The 21 backs are the last figures to appear on a Star Wars card- sort of. 

21) Boba Fett Empire Strikes Back 

31 Backs

The first ESB action figures appeared on 31 back cards, though the logo first appeared on re-released 21 backs. 

These first 10 ESB action figures are:

22) Bespin Sec. Guard (White)
23) Bossk 
24) FX-7 
25) Han Solo (Hoth Battle Gear) 
26) Hoth Stormtrooper 
27) IG-88 
28) Lando Calrissian 
29) Leia (Bespin Gown) 
30) Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) 
31) Rebel Soldier (Hoth Gear)

Empire Strikes Back 32 Backs

The 32A is the sort-of mentioned earlier, and the return of the 12 back card, though with a sticker of the later 20 figures slapped over the bottom third. However, the 32nd figure, Yoda, is of course not available on this card, but the later 32B. In fact, none of the ESB figures were actually available on this 32A card. 

32) Yoda 

Empire Strikes Back 41 Backs

33) AT-AT Driver 
34) Dengar 
35) Han Solo (Bespin Outfit) 
36) Imperial Commander 
37) Leia (Hoth Outfit) 
38) Lobot 
39) Rebel Commander 
40) 2-1B 
41) Ugnaught

Empire Strikes Back 45 Backs

The next set of ESB releases were the 45 backs. Many believe that R2-D2 with Sensorscope and C-3PO with Removable Limbs are 47 back releases, but they are shown on the 45 backs and were, in fact, first released on this cardback, replacing the earlier versions of the characters. 

42) AT-AT Commander 
43) Bespin Sec Guard (Black) 
44)C-3PO (with Rem. Limbs) 
45) Cloud Car Pilot 
46) Luke Skywalker (Hoth Battle Gear) 
47) R2-D2 (with Sensorscope) 

Empire Strikes Back 47 Backs

There are two new additions shown on the 47 backs, Zuckuss and TIE Fighter Pilot. However, only the TIE Pilot was actually released on this cardback. 

48) TIE Fighter Pilot 

Empire Strikes Back 48 Backs

As an interesting aside, some ESB 48 backs have an Admiral Ackbar Revenge of the Jedi offer on them. 

49) 4-LOM 
50) Zuckuss 

Return of the Jedi 65 Backs

Like the ESB 21 back, there exists an ROJ 48 back, though there are no new figures present. The first ROJ cards with new figures were the 65 backs.

51) Admiral Ackbar 
52) Bib Fortuna 
53) Biker Scout 
54) Chief Chirpa 
55) Emperor's Royal Guard 
56) Gamorrean Guard 
57) General Madine 
58) Klaatu 
59) Lando Calrissian (Skiff Guard Disguise) 
60) Leia (Boushh) 
61) Logray 
62) Luke Jedi Knight 
63) Nien Nunb 
64) Rebel Commando 
65) Ree-Yees 
66) Squid Head 
67) Weequay

Return of the Jedi 77 Backs

68) AT-ST Driver 
69) B-Wing Pilot 
70) 8D8 
71) The Emperor 
72) Han Solo (Trench Coat) 
73) Klaatu (Skiff Guard Outfit) 
74) Leia (Combat Poncho) 
75) Nikto 
76) Prune Face 
77) Rancor Keeper 
78) Teebo 
79) Wicket 

Return of the Jedi 79 Backs

The last of the ROJ cardbacks are those with 79 figures pictured on the back. Some collectors maintain that these two figures turn up more frequently on POTF card, but these can be found fairly easily. 

80) Lumat 
81) Paploo 

Power of the Force 92 Backs

The POTF logo appeared on 92 back cards only. Also note that one figure, the 93rd, was not pictured on any cardback, even his own: Yak Face.  Also, R2-D2 with Sensorscope has now been replaced by R2-D2 with Pop- Up Lightsaber.

82) Amanaman 
83) Anakin Skywalker 
84) A-Wing Pilot 
85) Barada 
86) EV-9D9 
87) Han Solo in Carbonite 
88) Imperial Dignitary 
89) Imperial Gunner 
90) Lando General 
91) Luke (Battle Poncho) 
92) Luke as Stormtrooper 
93) Romba 
94) R2-D2 (with Pop-Up Lightsaber) 
95) Warok 
96) Yak Face (Not pictured) 

Droids and Ewoks Series

Kenner also released a series of action figures for both the Droids and Ewoks cartoon series. However, neither series of figures lasted very long and as a result there is only one cardback available for each line. Included for the sake of completeness in the Droids line is Vlix, a character that was only released in Brazil. If you are planning on adding this one to your carded collection, be prepared to spend a goodly amount of money. Also, the Boba Fett and A-Wing pilot are not new sculpts but the SW figures repackaged. All other figures in both lines are new, cartoon likenesses. 

97) A-Wing Pilot 
98) Boba Fett 
99) C-3PO 
100) Jann Tosh 
101) Jord Dusat 
102) Kea Moll 
103) Kez-Iban 
104) R2-D2 
105) Sise Fromm 
106) Thall Joben 
107) Tig Fromm 
108) Uncle Gundy 
109) Vlix 

110) Dulok Scout 
111) Dulok Shaman 
112) King Gorneesh 
113) Logray 
114) Urgah Lady Gorneesh 
115) Wicket W. Warrick 

And Then There's the Rest.

    There are a couple of figures not listed above that do warrant mentioning. The first is Blue Snaggletooth. Blue Snag never appeared on a card per se, but instead came with the earliest version of the Sears Cantina Adventure set. Many consider him carded if he is still in his Kenner baggie. Others dont really care as long as they have the figure. Sy Snootles and the Rebo Band were only sold as a set and were never carded individually. They appear in an ROJ box and include Sy Snootles, Droopy McCool, and Max Rebo. 

Foreign (to U.S.) Packaging

    There were also many foreign types of packaging which have not been mentioned for.