Hello There – Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan Kenobi
Review by Ian Delaney: The Obi-Wan Kenobi mini-series premiered in 2022 on Disney+ to mixed reviews. The return of Ewan McGregor was definitely the high point, with the muddled plot being the problem for many viewers. Senator Organa sends Obi-Wan to rescue a young Princess Leia, who has been kidnapped. Young Leia owns what is possibly the smallest droid to appear in the Star Wars universe, the tiny LO-LA 59 or “Lola”. Lola is a six-inch, red and white disk, with one large camera eye. She can fly, hover, and has two retractable legs for landing and walking around. In the series, Lola appears to be Leia’s best friend and is important to the plot on a number of occasions. Lola is to Leia what R2-D2 ends up being to Luke, but because the mini-series was not so well-received, Lola is far less well-known. Still, she is available in a toy version from Hasbro.
The “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi L0-LA59 (Lola) Animatronic Edition” (Phew!) was originally on sale for $89.99 US, but is now down to half-price or lower at online retailers. Shop around for the best price.
The toy Lola uses 4 AA batteries (which are included) and comes with two stands. They made one stand of clear plastic to simulate Lola flying, and the other a pair of legs to imitate the walking feature of the droid. The legs are a solid piece instead of being jointed, so you can’t pose Lola in different walking positions, which is a pity.
Tapping a pair of metal strips on the top activates Lola. This is actually a very nice solution for an “On” switch, since plastic switches often break on toys.
The droid has three modes: “Companion”, “Hover”, and “On The Go”. Snap the droid onto the leg stand for Companion Mode. Attach it to the clear stand for Hover mode, or just hold it in your hand for “On The Go”. Each mode has a different set of sounds, light patterns, and motions.
Lola bobs around animatedly on either of the stands. The upper and lower segments separate and collapse, simulating a mouth, and the rear flaps open and close. A sharp noise, like a hand clap, will trigger another cycle. Although the stands have different notches in them (which I assume are used to set different behaviors) I have a hard time finding a difference between the two modes. Both modes have enough complex cycles in them that the behavior appears random, though. It’s quite entertaining.
In the separated, “On The Go” mode, the animations are absent so that the droid doesn’t jump out of your hand, and they added a hovering noise to the sound effects.
I wish this little droid did a bit more, like having a motion detector for a “Sentry” mode, perhaps. Still, at current prices ($19.93 US from Amazon.com as of this writing) the “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi L0-LA59 (Lola) Animatronic Edition” is a great “animatronic” toy.
Iain Delaney was born in the UK but moved to Canada at an early age. The UK heritage explains his fascination with British TV SciFi, including Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO, and, of course, Dr. Who. After fumbling through high school, he fumbled through university, emerging with a degree in physics. With no desire to pursue graduate studies he discovered that a bachelor’s degree had little to no job prospects, so he took up a career in computer programming. In his off time he reads, watches TV and movies, collects toys, and makes attempts at writing. To that end he has a small number of articles published in role-playing game magazines and won two honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest. He is working on an urban fantasy YA trilogy and entertains delusions of selling it to movies or TV.