If Russ Meyer, legendary proprietor of low-budget ’60s sexploitation flicks, had directed the Star Wars films, it would have been a completely different franchise. That’s an understatement, huh? For starters, it probably wouldn’t have been an epic, sprawling space opera. In Meyer’s world the story would have likely been cast as a low-budget, action-packed crime movie, full of busty young ladies in low-cut shirts.
A Russ Meyer Star Wars very well may have looked something like this line of action figures, commissioned by comedian/actor/professional nerd Patton Oswalt. In this alternate reality, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Obi Wan Kenobi, and more have all been recast as females—Lucy, Hanna, Darla Vade, Bonita Flores, and Ole Betty Kentworthy, respectively. While Princess Leia remains the token of the group, her gender has also been flipped. This time she’s the lone big manly man, Leo. And of course the Millennium Falcon is reimagined as a badass muscle car, a tricked-out golden GTO. She may not look like much, but she can certainly burn rubber.
These figures come from artist Jamie Follis, who titled the line “Faster, Empire! Kill! Kill!” in homage to Meyer’s iconic 1965 film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Follis has also cast the Star Wars crew in noir, steampunk, Samurai, and World War II settings, and has also crafted figures based on films such as Brazil, Hellboy, and Dune.
Oswalt is a longtime fan of Follis’ work, and ordered the custom-built figurines. Sorry, kids, this set is one-of-a-kind, and they’re not available for public consumption. The Ratatouille star even introduced late, great film critic Roger Ebert to Follis’, and though he passed away before seeing these action figures, Oswalt dedicated the line to Ebert. He writes on his blog:
So this set’s for you, Roger. More evidence, from just one of probably a hundred thousand bored suburban kids you led out of the bland cineplexes and into rep theatres and obscure video stores and adventurous film festivals. There was a network of parallels, connections and coincidences in that movie universe you kept in your head. I’d like to think this interpretation of a tiny sliver of it would make you smile. Or at least grip your heart, like a velvet glove cast in iron.