To celebrate the long and storied history of Star Wars and its inclusion in the world of comics, Mattel will be releasing a special Darth Vader Character Car as an exclusive for [email protected] 2021. The car features a green color scheme to mimic the color of Vader’s helmet as seen on the cover of Marvel’s first Star Wars comic issue from back in the day. Check out all the details at StarWars.com including words from product designer Bryan Benedict and be sure to click the two images provided below for a closer look at this new Vader car.
Bryan Benedict has always had only one dream: to design cars. And it’s all thanks to his love of an iconic toy.
“Growing up, Hot Wheels was everything to me,” he tells StarWars.com. “We didn’t have a whole lot of toys. We grew up with not a lot of money. Hot Wheels were a buck then and they’re a buck now, and so it was the one thing I could kind of get my hands on. I collected as many as I could and I still have all of those Hot Wheels I had from way back when.”
He would achieve his dream and then some. Benedict attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and landed a job at Honda straight away. He would work there for five years before moving onto a few different OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). But then something unexpected happened.
“Ultimately, Hot Wheels called me up out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to join the team here. It sounded like a great opportunity. In the back of my mind, it was always like, Hot Wheels would be the ultimate car-design job because you just do wild, crazy stuff. So I decided to jump at the opportunity and haven’t regretted it for a second,” he says. “It’s been an awesome ride.”
Seventeen years later, Benedict is the design director of Matchbox and Hot Wheels at Mattel, and surely then envy of his past self. Yet he probably couldn’t have predicted that this dream job would take him somewhere else entirely: the galaxy far, far away.
Honoring the first Star Wars comic for [email protected]
Since Mattel became a Star Wars licensee in 2014, Benedict has been able to combine two of his favorite fandoms. “I love Star Wars,” he says. “Now, I kind of got into it later in the game. I never got a chance to see the movies as a kid. So in my adult life I became an obsessed fan. Now I have five kids myself, and we watch the movies religiously. We’re definitely a Star Wars family.”
With the Hot Wheels Carships and Hot Wheels Character Cars line, Benedict takes characters, vehicles, and other iconography from the saga and turns them into, essentially, the dream cars of any Star Wars fan. So far, Mattel has done everything from X-wings that look like drag racers to a Grogu-inspired buggy, complete with aerodynamic ears. They run the line from the coolest cars you’ve ever seen to the most adorable, perfect for both display and play. And for Mattel’s [email protected] 2021 exclusive, Benedict and his team wanted to do something different that would speak to the event specifically; a special Hot Wheels Character Cars release that pays tribute to both the history of Star Wars and comics.