Chopper from Ahsoka is a dickhead, and I love him. Besides being an unrepentant little terror who loves to do crime, he's got more personality than most Star Wars droids put together. He's the only bot in the franchise who can get away with full-on swears, for example (because his 'voice' is a modulated version of director and producer Dave Filoni speaking, you can absolutely hear him say delightful little lines like "what the f*** is this?" in the Rebels animated series).
Naturally, the droid's appearance in live-action has resulted in merch like Chatter Back Chopper - an animatronic toy that can move and talk thanks to the power of a few AA batteries. And although you might assume that it's a fun but forgettable addition to lists of the best Star Wars gifts designed to clean up at Christmas, you'd be wrong. Honestly, I'd say it might be the best thing to come out of Ahsoka. Yes, the latest episode with Anakin (and those Clone Wars flashbacks) was the Star Wars equivalent of a chef's kiss. But this is one of the few toys that manages to capture the cantankerous nature of the robotic Rebel war criminal.
Much like the animatronic LOLA from Obi-Wan's solo series, Chatter Back Chopper bops, mumbles, and moves once he's been fitted with some double-As. He can be brought to life either by pressing a button on his front (hidden as a metallic panel), clapping, or calling to him, which is pretty par for the course with toys like this. So far, so expected.
But then you switch the pint-sized bugger on.
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He immediately squawks to life with Dave Filoni's dulcet tones scrambled through a filter, bobs around on his struts, and starts waving his arms just like he does on-screen. And honestly, it's uncanny. This is one of the more expressive animatronics I've seen, and although it's a shame his head doesn't dip from side to side like it does in the shows, everything else about him is pretty spot on. Indeed, fellow fans of Rebels in our office were delighted by him despite being cynical when coming over to investigate the robotic chirps originating from my desk.
Sure, the clapping and voice activation feels a tiny bit delayed. But honestly, that's easy to forgive when everything else is so full of personality. Chatter Back Chopper feels alive in a way these toys often don't. LOLA was great, but this is a step above.
Chatter Back Chopper is distinctly more PG in this iteration. He's sassy, yes, but your young Padawans aren't suddenly going to be effing and blinding
The paintwork is good as well. It doesn't feel cheap or tacky, like some merch does; there's a decent amount of weathering to make the droid feel as beat-up as he should be, and the inclusion of rubber piping (along with wires snaking under the paneling) make Chopper feel more three-dimensional than he otherwise would. A lot has been done with very little here.
I should also point out to any concerned parents that, despite his foul-mouthed nature in the show (which, in all fairness, no child will notice because it's so well hidden), Chatter Back Chopper is distinctly more PG in this iteration. He's sassy, yes, but your young Padawans aren't suddenly going to be effing and blinding upon getting it for Christmas.
In other words? This toy version of Chopper may be my favorite thing from Ahsoka, and it's not even in the show. Keep being a little monster, Chop - it's brightened my day.
For more gear from a galaxy far, far away, be sure to check out the best Lego Star Wars sets and the top Star Wars board games. If you've not caught up on the show, meanwhile, here's where to get cheaper Disney Plus sign-up deals.