The Kenner company sold its Star Wars Power of the Force (POTF) toy line between 1995 and 2000. The POTF line proves that the individuals behind the Star Wars franchise learned their lessons well. The original movies--"Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "The Return of the Jedi"--grossed about $870 million in theaters sales, an incredible sum for the time; the toys and ancillary products of the Star Wars franchise, however, raked in another $2 billion dollars for George Lucas and his corporate partners. By the time Kenner released the POTF toy line in 1995, Star Wars toys had been missing from toys stores for about 12 years. The release of the Star Wars Special Edition, a repackaging of the three movies first released in 1977, 1980, and 1983, fueled kids' desire for the Power of the Force line.
When they first appeared in 1978, the 3 ??-inch Star Wars figures transformed the action-figure industry. Before the Star Wars figures, American boys played with 12-inch G. I. Joe figures and their 8-inch to 12-inch imitators. (Hasbro itself was forced to reduce the size of its G. I. Joes in the 1970s because a worldwide oil embargo made scarce a key ingredient in the manufacture of plastic action figures.) The smaller Star Wars figures used less plastic, cut costs, and fit better in the hands of the kids who collected them. For decades after the arrival of the smaller action figures, toy makers issued their own imitations of Star Wars figures (even G. I. Joe), each with a line of accessories, play sets, and vehicles, supported by an intricate back story of good versus evil, and explained in detail in supporting movies, TV shows, comic books, and other media.