The History of Star Wars Toys Explored in Plastic Galaxy


Brian Stillman’s Plastic Galaxy delves into the origins of Star Wars’ many toys.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Star Wars revolutionized film-making. After watching the film nobody ever looked at special effects in quite the same way again. That being the case, the original movie was just influential in the realm of film. As profitable as it was at the box office, its true earnings came from the expert merchandising efforts of George Lucas and company. To put it succinctly, Star Wars produced a ton of toys that would go on to become prized possessions for legions of fans.

Back in 2010, lifelong collector and Star Wars lover Brian Stillman decided to celebrate and explore the franchise and its toys by creating a documentary detailing their history and development over the years. “I also thought it’d be something nice to give back to the hobby itself,” said Stillman. “The people who I’ve met through collecting have been super nice, and the community as a whole is really inclusive. So I wanted to make something for everyone else to enjoy and hopefully learn something from.”

Completing the film, which he dubbed Plastic Galaxy, involved more than two dozen interviews, four years of work and a successful Kickstarter. Releasing recently to multiple formats the film includes interviews with collectors and even former toy designers from Kenner who were instrumental in the creation of the original Star Wars toys. According to Stillman, it was these interviews in particular that led to some of his favorite moments while making the film. “I also got to hear first-hand what some of the designers thought of their time working on Star Wars toys, and that’s always fascinating. They knew it was something special, but at the same time, it was a job. That balance was something I found fascinating to explore.”

Stillman recently released the final version of Plastic Galaxy to Vimeo on demand. Interested viewers can also find it on Xbox, the PlayStation Network, iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets.

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