Q&A: New Troopers, Star Wars Ships Getting Bigger, and The Mystery Box of Life

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 29, 2015

1. What do you think of a possibility that we collectors get an updated Millennium Falcon of our own again? The BMF is hovering around 500 plus bucks on the secondary market, and the older OTC and POTF2 versions go for about half that or slightly less than half, and I wouldn't mind a SW TFA version with updated radar dish that doesn't shoot Nerf darts. Even the 2004 OTC mold would be great as a base mold to start, but with TFA updates.

In the words of the great ones, "Don't get your hopes up, cheese." If what you mean is "so when are we getting that vehicle again," keep in mind that Hasbro's costs have gone up a bunch in the last few years - the Vintage Collection-era rerelease was $250! The smaller, new Falcon is over $100 despite being the same size as the old one we bought for $50 in 1995 and again in 2004. If and when Hasbro does a new big Falcon, I expect it to be $300 or more. Granted, it's cheaper than the current going rate, but it is in Hasbro's best interests to do what they're doing - redesign the ship to make something more conducive to sales for a wider audience. The collector audience of the 1990s may be, frankly, dying or dead - new blood is needed, and maybe Hasbro can cultivate a new group of collectors. (Given the size of the line, I think most people will never, ever try to collect them all again.)

At this point I'd say your best bet would be to hope for a third-party upgrade set via Shapeways or some other means - someone could probably put out a sticker set and a radar dish that are compatible with the toy while not outright infringing on copyrights. "Space Ship Upgrade Kit" doesn't really invoke trademarks, but I am not a lawyer, all I know is that those Transformers unlicensed copies are getting away with murder.

Colletor-specific vehicles are probably going to be much less common - unless there's a distinctive and obvious difference. Take the TIE Fighters - collectors get a version that's as big as a sizable dog, for 6-inch figures. That's clearly a different product. It's possible we'll see another Falcon for the next movies - I'd almost guarantee it - but what form it will take will depend on the marketplace. If Hasbro feels a squeeze, it's possible they may do another 3 3/4-inch collector-focused version but don't forget that the 2008 version wasn't aimed squarely at collectors. It just happened that we really liked it. (And don't poo-poo the Nerf cannon - it's pretty nicely covered and the damn thing really packs a wallop.)


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2. Adam, why isn't Hasbro showing their full line of figures BEFORE the movie comes out? I am reminded of both Star Trek 2009 and Tron: Legacy which withheld figures that were wanted in earlier waves, like basic Dr. McCoy for Pete's sake! It seems like an arrogant assumption on their part that the hunger new figures will remain long after the film has come out and studios begin eagerly trying to turn consumers attention to the next big tent pole film(s) of 2016.
P.S. If you were a gambling man, what would you set the odds at for collectors of 3.75" getting TFA versions of Poe, Rey, Finn, Leia, Han, Phasma, Kylo, and Luke in super articulated format? (I know some are already out on the market).

Between Disney and Mr. Abrams, secrecy is sort of the secret sauce of this particular strain of entertainment. Cloverfield and Super 8 had no views of the monster and no merchandise for a very long time after the movie - and obviously, a lot of big movies like to keep some stuff secret. Even Return of the Jedi blacked out Logray and Chief Chirpa figures as well as plush Ewoks in early product catalogs to preserve the surprise - what we're seeing really isn't all that new, it's just a little different than how the prequels were treated.

I'm not one to freak out about spoilers, because after the whole "Death of Qui-Gon" track on the Phantom Menace soundtrack I'd say all bets are off. I mean, Attack of the Clones gave us a decapitated Jango Fett before the movie came out. That's the world we live in.

I find the lack of transparency somewhat frustrating, but I'd really like to know who all is in the next wave of figures. The fact that they're keeping repacks in Titanium secret is, well, baffling - so what if I know there's a B-Wing reissue? I think it's just laziness - or extreme caution - but I'd bank on laziness. Hasbro doesn't need to sing for its supper, so they're not going to. I don't blame them - if you told me I'd sell precisely as much product by working hard as I would by doing nothing, I would probably follow this exact pattern.

As a gambling man... we're getting a lot of those guys. I don't know how much legs the format has, for precisely the reasons we're discussing. Did Hasbro show us all the 3 3/4-inch figures, or just what Lucasfilm/Disney would allow them to show? The smart money is on, some day, eventually, us getting old man Han and Luke and Leia as super-articulated figures. Some day, of course, meaning not necessarily for this movie or in these costumes. I've got no insider info here so if you're fishing, this is the wrong place to look.




3. Adam, can you give me a quick/brief back story for Lieutenant Oxio and the crimson trooper in the EE exclusive TBS 6" Pack. The only figure in this set I'm familiar with is the white pauldren stormtrooper, which is probably why I haven't bought it yet.

For those of you who don't know - and in the interests of continued transparency - I work at Entertainment Earth and specifically have a lot to do with many of their exclusives. As such, if you're thinking of buying one of their exclusives, remember that it makes me look good when these things sell out.

So! The Crimson Stormtrooper has one origin on the box but another in reality. The reason it is in this set was because of an article in Star Wars Galaxy Magazine in 1995 called "Lumiya: Dark Star of the Empire." It showed her attacking a ship with a squad of red Stormtroopers - who seem to actually be Royal Guards in red Stormtrooper armor. I thought that was awesome and have been nudging people for an exclusive of it for years. The back of the box says that it's a trooper for extreme environments, fundamentally a magma trooper. But because you read this column, you know the truth - it's one of Lumiya's boys, otherwise it wouldn't probably have been requested.

Lt. Oxixo also has conflicting origins - including my own faulty memory! I thought he was in Decipher's Customizable Card Game from the 1990s. Apparently, he is not. The 6-inch box says he was shot down by the Falcon as they escaped the first Death Star. Hasbro's 3 3/4-inch version said he was at the Battle of Endor. I just thought he had a few cool (minor) changes to his helmet and suit, so the bio reality is something I need to research - I genuinely don't know where he appears as the helmets can be hard to distinguish in the movie.




Hey - new stuff is showing up! Sort of. We don't know when the third wave will actually hit, but right now you may be getting the Kohl's The Force Awakens multi-pack (all repacks with new guns, apparently) or Entertainment Earth's Imperial Forces 4-pack (6-inch figures including R2-Q5 and a Crimson Stormtrooper) in the mail. Toys R Us has a mix of semi-interesting and repacked items on the way, but they don't seem to be showing up just yet, so keep your eyes open for more new stuff. Hasbro (and Disney) have been poor about actually announcing new items, even if they're "classic" items that have nothing to do with the new movie - so you may still stumble on stuff before anyone else and you could very well be the first to find a new item now. It may not be the most exciting item, granted, but things like Toys R Us' 3 3/4-inch 6-pack repacks for each original trilogy show there's a lot of opportunity in selling more of the same.

Also if you're in to Transformers the various elements of Bruticus are starting to ship - if you pre-ordered online like I did you might have the main 5 on your desk right now. (Shockwave hasn't made the rounds yet as his optional but seemingly necessary blaster.) And of course they just went and announced a G2 version for next year, so perhaps you'll want to wait on that. Last week, there was a one-day fan poll to pick the next Titan - Omega Supreme, Trypticon, or Scorponok. I'm pulling for Scorponok but some informal fan polling had Trypticon as a winner, despite being reissued just this month and on Amazon. Go figure. We'll see the winner soon.

Power Lords, Battle Beasts, Outer Space Men, Beast Saga, Diamond's Battle Beasts, and Mordles are all napping - or dead - at the moment, so if you followed those recent import, small, or indie-ish toys, well, you're not doing much. Jakks Pacific is starting to expand its Nintendo offerings with exclusives, including a "ComicConBox" metallic Samus Aran with a metallic finish shipping out this week and non-exclusive pixel figures of Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, and Link showing up at retail stores. (And at this point I'd expect Hasbro to wait for the Battle Beasts name to become available and take it back.) (And also Hasbro announced they're bringing back Micronauts as part of Transformers, so there's that.) Oh, and G.I. Joe is not quite dead - there was a Fan's Choice poll last month.

We're in an era of Star Wars excess that, if history is any indication, is going to go through a "correction" over the next two years. The mechanism for merchandising means that Rogue One stuff is being made as I type this, so any lessons learned in the post-The Force Awakens timeframe probably can't/won't be applied until Episode VIII. It's entirely possible we'll see a healthy glut for 2016 and not too much in 2017, or perhaps since those two movies will be released only six months apart (really!) we'll see something entirely new. With Marvel and Transformers, Hasbro frequently trips over their own feet by having a movie followed by another movie within a few weeks - we get some fantastic items, but the lines are also kept brief by the fact that Hasbro now owns big movie male action toys and are their own biggest competition. This sort of thing used to rarely be a problem, thanks to multiple manufacturers and that Kenner did a lot of one-wave wonders in the 1990s with the likes of Congo and Waterworld.

So, expect to see more than a few companies not trot out stuff for the next film. Expect a fair amount of clearance. And take note of what you aren't seeing too - many stores are low on Hasbro action figures with healthy LEGO sales, while plenty of everything else is still in the aisles. This is one category that's probably going to stick around for a while longer.

--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.