Royal Mail has surprised the philatelic world by announcing that it will issue a second commemorative set devoted to the Star Wars film series.

Following the set of 12 stamps and a six-stamp miniature sheet heralding the release of The Force Awakens in 2015, a new issue on sale from October 12 will comprise eight stamps heralding The Last Jedi, which will be released in December.

It illustrates four droid and four alien characters, most of them well-known but one of them introduced in the latest film.


Illustrated by Malcolm Tween, who also designed the 2015 set, each stamp also features inset scenes created especially for the stamps. As before, the font used for the denomination is the same one used for the film logo.

Once again, Royal Mail is emphasising that the issue celebrates the major British contribution to the Star Wars series, in terms of cast, crew, special effects and film studios, although the franchise is American-owned.

Designed by Interabang and printed in litho by International Security Printers, the stamps are available in se-tenant strips of four. The droid designs are printed with fluorescent ink to emphasise part of the design, visible only under ultra-violet light.

1st class Maz Kanata

Over 1,000 years old and an ex-pirate herself, Maz Kanata presides over a castle hideaway where she holds court with smugglers, bounty hunters and thieves. Also depicted are the exterior of the castle, the HURID-32 droid, Kylo Ren's command shuttle and TIE fighters

1st class Chewbacca

Faithful co-pilot and companion to Han Solo for many years, Chewbacca was brought back into the Resistance after many years of freelance adventuring, now sharing the Millennium Falcon with a new companion, Rey. Also depicted are the Starkiller Base and the Millennium Falcon.

1st class Supreme Leader Snoke

A shadowy figure who leads the First Order, Snoke trained Kylo Ren in the dark side of the Force, and ordered the creation of a planet-sized superweapon called Starkiller to destroy the New Republic government. Also depicted are a Praetorian Guard, the Star Destroyer and TIE fighters.

1st class Porg

Small, flightless, peaceful birds native to the remote planet Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker is living in exile, porgs live in the ruins of the first Jedi temple. They are ill-prepared for the arrival of strangers when Rey and Chewbacca land in the Millennium Falcon. Also depicted are the landscape of Ahch-To and the Millennium Falcon.

1st class BB-8

The plucky droid BB-8 is a loyal companion to Resistance fighter Poe Dameron, but is separated from his master in a deadly battle with Kylo Ren. Forced to seek new allies, it runs into Rey and Finn. Also depicted are the desert planet Jakku, a Luggabeast and TIE fighters.

1st class R2-D2

This trusty droid R2-D2 stood alongside Anakin Skywalker in the Clone Wars and Luke Skywalker in the fight against the Empire. Now in a state of semi-retirement, it secretly harbours the only map that pinpoints Luke’s whereabouts. Also depicted are the interior of General Grievous' flagship and Jedi starfighters.

1st class C-3PO

A protocol droid built to help Anakin Skywalker’s mother, the reticent C-3PO became an expert in diplomacy but was not equipped for a life of adventure during the Clone Wars and the Rebellion against the Empire. Also depicted are Jabba the Hutt, Jabba's Palace and the moon-sized battle station Death Star II.

1st class K-2SO

A reprogrammed Imperial security droid with a bluntly honest way of talking, K-2SO works the Rebel Alliance, capable of piloting many types of spaceship and accessing Imperial communications systems. Also depicted are the tropical plant Scarif, the commando Pao and U-Wing and X-Wing spaceships.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

Besides the usual presentation pack, first day cover and stamp cards, myriad associated products are being offered by Royal Mail, including medal covers, Smilers sheets and a composite sheet with the stamps of 2015 (see page 22).

 

PRICES

Set of 8 stamps   £5.20

Presentation pack   £6.50

Stamp cards   £3.60

First day cover   £6.66

Medal cover   £19.99

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   1/5

2015 brought more than enough Star Wars stamps. This is overkill for commercial profit

QUALITY OF DESIGN   3/5

The designs are as slick as you would expect from a multi-million-dollar franchise

WOW FACTOR   2/5

Love them or hate them, they will disappear into fans’ collections rather than be used in the mail