Star Trek has never been the most, ugh, toyetic of franchises. Cool ships, weird aliens, big teams of characters to collect, sure, but it’s a franchise about exploration and science more than it really is about action.
That hasn’t stopped Star Trek toy lines though, leading to some very weird merch… such as this exciting figure of an alien monk.
I never had any of Playmate’s Star Trek figures when I was growing up in the ‘90s — I was a bit older than the target audience by the time I really discovered the franchise (you may be surprised to hear that I was a Star Wars kid growing up!), so the company’s range of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager figures passed me by.
This is why, when I was looking up pictures for an essay about Deep Space Nine’s use of the Bajorans as the template for a Star Trek show from a non-Federation perspective (specifically, pictures of some of the Bajoran Vedeks’ silly pope hats), I was amazed to find this:
The toy at the very top of the Christmas list for every kid (aged four and up) in 1994: A Vedek Bareil action figure.
DS9 fans will know Bareil as the milquetoast, yet well-meaning, popular foil among the spiritual leaders of Bajor’s unnamed faith to Vedek (eventually Kai) Winn, who was more of a sinister sneaky political opponent that would go on to be a villainous figure in the show’s wider philosophical storylines.
Bareil was just… a nice, dull guy in a robe who Kira eventually developed a brief and equally dull relationship with before he was killed off. Presumably because he was a bit dull!
Not really the first character you’d leap at the chance to get an action figure of, is it? I mean, when you’re listing a goddamn candleholder as one of his hot accessories, you know you’re getting desperate.
But like I said, the characters of any Star Trek show aren’t really what you’d consider prime action figure candidates in the first place — they aren’t really soldiers, they’re scientists and engineers, captains and pilots, characters prized for their ability to talk their way out of situations and only very occasionally phaser their way out of them, too.
It’s hard to convey those traits in a playable action figure, because let’s be real, most kids playing with action figures wanna smush them together in a grand battle, rather than recreating the finer details of Federation treaties or what have you.
Still, there have to be a zillion other Star Trek characters worthy of an action figure before poor Vedek Bareil ever was. I’d make a joke about a Morn action figure, but hey — they apparently did one of those too, so what do I know?