Action Figure Overview: Star Wars - Nikto (Kenner, 1984)


Star Wars Nikto Action Figure Kenner 1984
Star Wars Nikto action figure (Kenner, 1984)

Just like most of the boys I knew in the early 80s, I was a huge Star Wars fan!  Kenner's action figures from Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were easily my favorite toys during the late 70s and early 80s.  There for a while, I'm pretty sure I had every Star Wars figure that Kenner released!  I spent hours creating adventures for these amazing action figures!  In 1982, the GI Joe "Real American Hero" line started showing up in toy stores and my interest became divided between GI Joe and Star Wars with GI Joe probably getting more of my attention because they were new and therefore more exciting at the time.

Kikto action figure ROTJ Kenner 1984
My childhood Nikto action figure

Still, when the first figures for Return of the Jedi started showing up in 1983, before I had even seen the movie, that got my attention and Star Wars was on my mind again.  Seeing the new figures and the photographs on the packages made me speculate about the upcoming movie and thinking about the upcoming movie made me more interested in the new Return of the Jedi figures, so I was more excited about the 1983 figures.  Even though the I really enjoyed the movie when it finally arrived in theaters, it wasn't long before I was back to thinking about GI Joe.

Nikto action figure with cardback
My original Nikto figure and his cardback

There were more Return of the Jedi figures released in 1984; a wave of 12 figures earlier in the year and two additional Ewok figures that came out later in the year.  Nikto was part of the earlier 1984 wave of 12 figures.  By this time, I was far more excited about GI Joe, which was now in it's thrid year.  I was reading the GI Joe comic books and close to the height of my excitement about GI Joe figures.  Still, I'll always love star wars so I did pick up a few more Star Wars figures as this wave arrived in my local toy stores.  Nikto was one of the last Star Wars figures that I got as a kid.  I don't remember playing with him very much and from looking at these photos, you can see that he doesn't have much wear at all.  I think that the few paint chips that he has on his back may be more the result of lying on his back in my action figure case for decades in a humid basement than from play wear on the figure.

Nikto Star Wars action figure 360 view
A view of the Nikto action figure from all sides

Like most Star Wars figures, Nikto came with one accessory which was a staff of some sort.  The design of the figure itself was excellent, capturing the likeness of the character from the movie very well.  From the details of the face to his outfit of helmet, shoulder and chest armor, light blue vest over a white, long-sleeve shirt, belt, and gray pants, the figure was a good representation of what we saw in the movie.  Kenner didn't include the yellow stripes on the sides of his pants, which is an understandable, cost cutting choice that honestly didn't really matter to me at all.  In fact, I never noticed it until researching the character for this blog.  Also, Kenner left off one of the pouches on his back for some reason, but again, that's something that I never noticed before.

Nikto figure vs movie
Nikto figure with an extra pouch

Although I think of Nikto as being a figure from 1984, he was actually first release in 1983 along with two other figures, Klaatu and 8D8, which were all included with the Jabba the Hutt Dungeon Action Playset.  Starting in 1984, Nikto was released as a regular carded figure.  Over the years, he was available  with several different cards.  One of the releases came with a coin, but the version that came with my figure was, I believe, the first version of the Nikto carded figure which shows 77 figures on the back along with four different toy sets at the bottom.

Nikto Star Wars figure with his accessory
Nikto action figure with his accessory

I keep calling this figure Nikto and I guess technically, that was the name of the figure.  At the time that I was playing with Star Wars figures, all of us kids just knew this character as Nikto because that was the name printed on his cardback.  However, as more Star Wars information came out over the years, it turned out that the character's species is Kajain'sa'Nikto, or "Nikto" for short.  This particular Nikto's name is "Lathe."  In Return of the Jedi, we first see Jabba's palace on Luke's home planet, Tatooine.  In the movie, Lathe was one of Jabba's guards.  While Luke, Han, and Chewbacca waited on the first skiff to be thrown into the sarlacc pit, Lathe was on the 2nd Skiff which was flying around the area; presumably to provide extra security.  Despite knowing all of this now, he'll always be Nikto to me.

Kenner Nikto Return of the Jedi action figure
Nikto standing guard

As an interesting side note about the filming, the scenes with Jabba's sail barge and the sarlacc pit were filmed in Buttercup Valley, Arizona which is located just West of Yuma, AZ.  Temperatures regularly reached 110 degrees while filming and the actors were in costumes that completely covered their bodies and heads.  Because it took the actors so long to get into their costumes, they couldn't easily take off the masks, so to cool the actors down, crew members would open the mouths of the masks and use little fans to blow air into them.  The actors would also need to stay hydrated by drinking water through straws.

1984 vintage Nikto action figure Kenner
Nikto doesn't seem to be on Tatooine!

Did you have the Nikto figure or any of the other figures from Return of the Jedi as a kid?  If so, who was your favorite figure?  Tell me in the comments below!

Also, if you're a fan of toys, you should know about Toylanta, the best toy show in the Southeastern United States held annually in Georgia.  Visit for more information.


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