Q&A: Cantina Twins, Rebels Toys, and Star Wars Posters

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 15, 2015

1. The new Star Wars movie has its logo slapped on innumerable items, including makeup. But I'm curious why we can't get our hands on authentic posters, like we see in movie theatres. Now we're seeing the final theatrical release poster command upwards of $400. So why doesn't Disney, in its never-ending quest to milk all the dollars out of us fans, make these posters available to us? Surely they're aware of our interest in these posters, and how much more money they'd make by simply selling big sheets of paper.

It's a question I put back to the readers - I don't know the ins and outs of the posters so much. Perhaps they're a lot more limited in the sense they didn't make extras, or theaters are instructed not to hand them out yet. Or perhaps they're actually trying to bring back some real interest to the poster market - I would assume replicas are coming, but I don't have an answer. Do you guys?



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2.Do you know what's going on (if anything!) with Hasbro's Rebels 3 3/4" line?

I know the focus is TFA, but pretty much all we've had since Force Friday is a bunch of repacks, the 'off camera' Y-Wing bomber, and 2 new figures (Vader & Ahsoka) ... I'm confused - Disney go to all the expense and cost of producing a new Star Wars show, but don't produce new merchandise to support it.

I was sad to see the Rebels 'Stormtrooper' line look retired, but understand why any future Rebels stuff needs to come in TFA uniform branding.

I'm surprised to see that OT characters like Lando and Tarkin were not immediately put into the line (the first new in-continuity outfit Lando in years!), and the Mission Series set up seemed perfect for minor retooling characters (non helmet Sabine, non helmet Kallus, training cadet Zare etc.). Season 2 has given us Clone Wars favourites Rex and Hondo - where are they? Surely they would be good sellers?

Just wondering if you had any Intel on the future of Rebels? .... (These awesome new A-Wings and B-Wings would be welcome in my collection too)

There will be more Rebels stuff but, like last year, Hasbro is keeping it quiet and tight. As you noticed, it will be integrated in the main assortments (so expect to see more new figures and/or reruns in The Force Awakens-style packaging). Hasbro likes to change up its line look regularly, and the Rebels look carried us close to a year. It's not a stupendously long time, but 6-18 months is about the norm for a Hasbro line look these days. Movies typically have shorter lifespans.

Also keep in mind Hasbro's resources are vast, but not unlimited - the smart money is on the new movie, especially if you look at Rebels' ratings. Some of the comic books are giving it serious competition in terms of sales vs. eyeballs thanks to it being on deep cable. I guess you see what you want to see with these things - I'm more than a little surprised that Hasbro put in R2-D2 and C-3PO with new molds after only one appearance, but if you look at the line as a whole it does make a lot of sense. The first year of product was largely drawn from the pilot movie and first couple of episodes - Hasbro made toys based on the resources we had at hand, so we got the likes of Vizago and the Wookiees before fans had time to realize they wanted figures of them. I'd love to see Azmorigan, Lando, Chopper in Imperial disguise, Stormtrooper Kanan, Tarkin, Tua, and others - but I'm not exactly holding my breath. I'd settle for a really good new Sabine with season 2 deco... that' just low-hanging fruit. (Show character + Mandalorian + Not a dude = $$$ for Hasbro.)

As for if I have any intel on the future of the toys? I am in no position to make those kinds of announcements - that's up to Hasbro and whoever decides to swipe samples and put them on eBay or Weibo.




3. Any update on the whole epic Tonnika Sisters controversy? From what I heard both of the actresses are now deceased which I take it means the heirs of their estate now have all the negotiating power and considering the whole Siegel/Shuster legal battle over the character of Superboy, I expect this to drag on till everyone reading this is six feet under. I also have 90's Action Fleet microfigures of the Sisters but there was no problem getting those made. Is that due to the total lack of facial likeness on them? I'd really like to see them in either 3 3/4 (or 6 inch format) before I die since they are only a handful of characters missing from the cantina scene.

I've had very little contact with Hasbro's design teams since the final waves of The Black Series 3 3/4-inch were in early development, and this topic has honestly not come up (as far as I know) in any official capacity for years. They appeared in a cameo on The Clone Wars so one could argue they were making cartoon versions of the seemingly ageless characters, plus there are issues of who (if anyone) owns various likeness rights and would pursue a payout for them. This is why the TV option may work - they don't own rights to the costumes, just their faces. However, I don't know how far those facial rights go - if you look at Universal Monsters, there are Universal Monsters Dracula products that look like Bela Lugosi in all but face. And others go the extra mile and secured his face rights. Similar things have happened with other toy characters over the years (Snake Plisskin) so I guess the best short answer is there are lots of behind-the-scenes things we're not privy to. If we're being honest, let's look at the market right now.

1. Hasbro isn't making any collector classic original trilogy 3 3/4-inch figures right now. Zero. None. Even during The Black Series we got precious few new aliens and characters, so even if Hasbro had no hypothetical hurdles the line, in its current direction, is not conducive to this sort of thing. Or other awesome low-hanging fruit like Obi-Wan in Mandalorian armor, or more astromechs from the TV shows, or - as you can see - more Rebels in the wake of the movie.

2. Is it worth Hasbro's potential legal problems to release an obscure character or two that probably won't sell all that well in the first place? ...I'd argue this is a maybe. But I do hear from more and more older (than me) fans saying they're basically out - they just want the last few classic guys and they're not going to buy any new movie stuff other than (insert name of 1-2 characters here) and/or (insert character specialization here). We're less valuable as individuals, but very valuable as gatekeepers - keeping collectors (with kids) on the hook means kids may get involved and help snowball the next generations of fans and collectors. This isn't just important to you getting more aliens, but it's important to me staying employable.

3. Those 1990s Action Fleet figures? Those were phased out in a package variant - the Galoob pack actually removed the Tonnika sister (and a few others) as the run went on. Supposedly there's a story there, of which I have heard semi-official whispers but no full solid details. I don't know if the cutting of her from the packs was 100% cost-related or if it just happened to be around the same time as the likeness cops started knocking at Lucas' door... or if there is more to this story we don't know yet. Like you say, there's no real likeness here - but I don't know precisely what the law permits in these situations.

4. Supposedly in around 2005 one or both actresses gave Hasbro a semi-official blessing to do a toy. This is good. But in the wake of the (again, unconfirmed) Slave Leia incident it's entirely possible that girl-in-spandex is not where Disney will want to go. Personally I hope they do it for the collector market just to tick off the box for these characters and we can get closer to completing our set - but we've still got a ton of other great aliens to do before our sets are complete. My main reason for wanting the Tonnika figures is that I feel anything done as a toy in any scale should also be done as a 3 3/4-inch figure, as the 3 3/4-inch toy line is the toy line of record.

I'd suggest making a stink to Hasbro when you get a chance - post on forums, write letters, say hello at conventions. There's not a lot of chatter for any specific character these days, so I'm less than optimistic any campaign for any single entity will be successful given the size and splintering of the market.  Just keep talking, noise resembles interest.




A new Xmas Disney Droid! Well, I didn't see that coming. I wonder what we'll get next year, and if they'll keep this program going. R2-H15 (or Holiday 15) is probably just the first of many in what I assume will be an ongoing tradition - this probably means we'll get more combinations of red, white, and green until they go for blue and white or something else. The Santa hat is amusing enough, and I don't really have a problem with new robots with various hats. If they can get me a fez next year I'm all set.

I also found the Walmart (I think) exclusive X-Wing with Poe - interestingly, the figure's pilot helmet is part of the head, just like the individually carded Pilot's figure. So this is pilot jacket Poe, with integrated helmet. It's not bad - I actually like the blue and white X-Wing more than the orange and black one. The black one just looks too waxy. It's about $50 when you can find it.

So, I'd say things are going well. Everybody seems to have a decent chunk of exclusives which come and go quickly, which is probably for the best - but I wouldn't be sad to see more shipments of some of these things. If you miss out on something, don't panic! Just remember what happened to many exclusives from the last few big launches - usually vehicles tend to go up in price, while the figures go up and come back down. You can get yourself a Holographic General Grievous for about ten bucks, while the Dagger Squadron B-Wing is pushing $60 - cheaper than it was, but more than it cost originally. (And depending on what Hasbro does with Rebels, interest in B-Wings and A-Wings might start going up again.)

The wait for new stuff continues and the mystery on many issues - like if we'll see Luke, Leia, or Han as new figures this year - remains. (Seriously, I don't know.) --Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.