Attention Star Wars action figure fans, and fans of unique, exclusive collectibles. Darth Vader himself, or rather his voice, will be appearing at Star Wars Celebration III this April 21 to 24, when Hasbro and Lucasfilm Ltd. unveil the new Darth Vader Celebration III action figure.

Star Wars fans from around the galaxy will gather in Indianapolis, Ind., for Celebration III, the event that will fill the Indiana Convention Center with Star Wars-related exhibits, shows, and entertainment. Presented by the Official Star Wars Fan Club, Celebration III will allow attendees to revel in the richness of the saga as they enjoy appearances by celebrities and behind-the-scenes talent from all the Star Wars movies, a display from the Lucasfilm archives, a Star Wars art show, the 2005 Star Wars Fan Film competition, and more. Additionally, attendees will be able to purchase limited-edition Star Wars Celebration III collectibles such as the Darth Vader action figure.

None other than James Earl Jones, the legendary voice of Darth Vader, recorded new phrases exclusively for this special figure. The figure, a commanding Vader, is mounted on an exclusive base and in exclusive Celebration III packaging, and it . . . speaks!

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Jones' recorded lines for the figure are: "The dark side of the Force is strong with you;" "Your journey to the dark side is now complete;" "Prepare to experience the Revenge of the Sith. It is your destiny;" and the soon-to-be-legendary "Welcome to Star Wars Celebration III. Never will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." There is also a recording of the iconic Darth Vader breathing.

The figure is especially appropriate considering the May 19 premiere of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, in which Anakin Skywalker makes his inexorable transformation into Darth Vader, the villain whose chilling presence has captivated movie fans for decades.

"Darth Vader is the villain everybody loves to hate, and hates to love," says Derek Stothard, Director of Toys at Lucas Licensing. "He's coming back in Episode III and we're telling his story. We are closing the circle, and bringing the saga back to the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope."

Darth Vader comes in a unique Celebration III package, mounted on a stand reminiscent of the interior of Cloud City. The packaging reflects well-thought engineering with collectors in mind. The voice mechanism can be operated without opening the carded figure. But even more important, the batteries that power the speaking voice can be changed from the back of the stand without disturbing the packaging. This is a Vader for the ages!

While he's pleased with the special battery feature, Star Wars collecting authority Steve Sansweet is reminded that there is far more to this Vader than just a great presentation.

"This figure takes one of the best lines of the movie and makes it into a virtual souvenir of Celebration III," says Sansweet, head of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm. "It will remind people of the wonderful time they had at the show, and of the sense of community that permeates Star Wars."

Considering the "hive of scum and villainy" remark Sansweet adds "And fans can laugh at themselves, too."

In response to the "feeding frenzy" over the "Jorg Sacul" figure at Celebration II (Star Wars creator George Lucas dressed as a Rebel pilot), Lucasfilm, Hasbro, and Gen Con LLC, which runs the show, have devised plans to make the new Vader figure easier to purchase and more evenly distributed.

The Lowdown on the Star Wars Celebration III Darth Vader Action Figure:

* Sold at the Celebration III Store, planned for Exhibit Hall F in the Indiana Convention Center, April 21-24.

* Quantities divided among all four days of the show; some will be sold each day while supplies last.

* Price: $15, including tax

* Quantities are limited per person and badge type. Individuals with 4-day badges may purchase a total of 4 action figures, while supplies last. Those with 1-day badges may purchase 1 action figure, while supplies last.

* The Celebration III Store staff will punch badges for each purchase, one punch per figure. For example, a 4-day badge holder who purchases 2 figures may go back to the store and purchase 2 more at a different time. There will be specific areas marked on the badges for the punches.

Celebration III will be open to the public Thursday, April 21 through Sunday, April 24. The convention will take place at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Attendees must purchase badges to gain entrance to the show.

Dont't forget to also check out: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.