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The History of CommTech

In 1999, Hasbro released the CommTech chips, which were included with 3-3/4" Star Wars action figures. Doubling up as an action figure stand, these chips contained phrases and sounds from the Star Wars movies. These chips were available in a number of different languages including: English, French, German & Italian. A device called a CommTech reader was used to play the sounds from the chips and it had some built-in sound effects on its own. When a CommTech chip is swiped past the face of the reader, the information on the chip is transferred to the reader using a technology called RFID. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification . The technology was impressive in its day, however the sound quality was considered somewhat primitive. A company called Innovision developed the technology for Hasbro.



In the early stages of development, this line was referred to as DataTalk and there were some conceptual models made to pitch the idea. The line later changed to CommTech which was used in most countries. In other countries, it was referred to as CommTalk due to some trademark issues. Early chips were developed to test the functionality of the technology. These chips were hand-made and contained a large circuit board within the chip. As development progressed, the circuits were reduced in size. Prototype first shot housings were created to hold the electronics. The production chips included a photo of the character that it belonged to. There were multiple variations of the first generation CommTech chips, click here to learn more.


As Hasbro began the transition of the "Power of the Force 2" and "Episode I" lines to "Power of the Jedi", a second wave of CommTech chips and reader were planned for release. These chips included more storage capability for "Twice the Speech". The second generation CommTech chips were redesigned to an oval shape. Prototype chips and sample carded figures were deviloped for advertising purposes. The second generation reader was developed to include removable sound cartridges for additional sound effects. Unfortunately the CommTech technology was cancelled and the second generation chips and reader never made it to toy shelves. Many of the prototypes and samples were destroyed, however some survived! Figures from this line were later released with a more cost-effective accessory known as a "Force File".

Below is a comprehensive list of CommTech chips that were planned. Some of these action figures and many of these chips never released.

Legend:

indicates there was a first generation chip released for sale.
indicates there was a second generation chip planned. Some of these chips were developed in various quantities, but never released for production. The most common of second generation chips is the Chewbacca Dejarik and it is estimated there were hundreds developed, prior to cancellation. The rarest second generation chip is the Boss Nass and there is only one known to exist. Click on red links to see more information including speech lines and/or photos.

Character: # Gen.
Qui-Gon Jinn (Jedi Duel) with Lightsaber 1
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Jedi Duel) with Lightsaber 2
Anakin Skywalker (Tatooine) with Backpack & Grease Gun 3
Padme Naberrie with Pod Race View Screen 4
Jar Jar Binks with Gungan Battle Staff 5
Queen Amidala (Naboo) with Blaster Pistols 6
R2-D2 with Booster Rockets 7
C-3PO 8
CommTech Reader Chip 9
Captain Panaka with Blaster Rifle & Pistol 10
Ric Olie with Helmet & Naboo Blaster 11
Queen Amidala (Coruscant) 12
Anakin Skywalker (Naboo) with Commlink 13
Qui-Gon Jinn (Naboo) with Lightsaber 14
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Naboo) with Lightsaber & Handle 15
Naboo Royal Security with Blaster Pistol & Rifle 16
Qui-Gon Jinn (Jedi Master) with Lightsaber & Commlink 17
Senator Palpatine with Senate Cam Droid 18
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Jedi Knight) with Lightsaber & Commlink 19
Mace Windu with Lightsaber & Jedi Cloak 20
Yoda with Jedi Council Chair 21
Gasgano with Pit Droid 22
Ody Mandrell with Otoga 222 Pit Droid 23
Boss Nass with Gungan Staff 25
Captain Tarpals with Electropole 26
Darth Sidious (Hologram) 27
Ki-Adi-Mundi with Lightsaber 28
Adi Gallia with Lightsaber 29
Naboo Royal Guard with Blaster Pistol & Helmet 30
Darth Sidious 31
Darth Maul (Jedi Duel) with Double-Bladed Lightsaber 32
Nute Gunray 33
Rune Haako 34
Battle Droid with Blaster Rifle 35
Watto with Datapad 36
OOM-9 with Blaster & Binoculars 37
Destroyer Droid (Battle Damage) 38
Gungan Warrior 39
Lott Dodd 40
Chancellor Valorum with Ceremonial Staff 41
Darth Maul (Tatooine) with Cloak & Lightsaber 43
R2-B1 44
Darth Maul (Soft Goods) 45
Destroyer Droid 46
Tusken Raider (with Hunting Blaster) 47
Battle Droid Security 48
Daultay Dofine (Neimoidian) Unproduced 49
Sio Bibble 50
Pit Droid (2-Pack) 51
Nute Gunray (Hologram) 52
Coruscant Guard 53
Mas Amedda 54
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Jedi Cloak) 55
Jar Jar Binks (Swimming) 56
R2-D2 (Battle Damaged) 57
General Ceel (Unproduced) 58
Padme Org. 59
Sabé 60
Jar Jar Binks (Tatooine) 61
Wald with Droid (Unproduced) 62
Ketwol 63
Qui-Gon Jinn (Farmer Poncho) 64
C-3PO (Take Apart) 65
Anakin Skywalker (Mechanic) 66
Shmi Skywalker 67
Sebulba (Boonta Eve) 68
Kitster with Droid (Unproduced) 69
Quarrens (Squid Face) 70
Queen Amidala Battle (Soft Good) 71
Anakin Skywalker (Naboo Pilot) 72
Darth Sidious (Hologram) 73
TC-14 Protocol Droid 74
Boss Nass 75
Fode & Beed 76
Darth Maul (Final Duel) 78
Plo Koon 79
Ben Quadineros (Unproduced, but later released in 2012 Vintage Collection) 80
Tatooine Showdown (Cinema Scene) 113
Watto's Box (Cinema Scene) 114
Mos Espa Encounter (Cinema Scene) 115
Pit Droid (Unproduced Cinema Scene, figures were later released as bonus figures) 116
UK Promotional Mail-Away Exclusive (Unnumbered) with Star Wars Burst Logo on Both SIdes of Chip UK
Dagobah Spirit Darth Vader ? ?
Luke Bacta Tank ? ?
Jawa & Gonk Droid C1
R2-D2 with Holographic Princess Leia C2
Luke Skywalker with T-16 Skyhopper C3
Greedo with Blaster C4
Han Solo with Blaster Pistol C5
Darth Vader with Imperial Interrogation Droid C6
Stormtrooper with Battle Damage & Blaster Rifle Rack C7
Princess Leia Organa C8
Admiral Motti C9
Chewbacca (Dejarik) C10
Wuher C11
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Jedi Knight) C12
Jek Porkins C13