Q&A: No Swappers, Yes 3D, And What The Heck Season 3 The Clone Wars?

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 24, 2010
Will 3D change everything as far as Star Wars the toy line is concerned? What's going on with Baron Papanoida's backstory? And how long does a mail-in figure take to ship anyway? All this and more await you in this week's Q&A!

1. Just wondering if you might know the turn around time on Hasbro's mail away Boba Fett? They cashed my check on August 30th, but Mr. Fett has yet to arrive. Since cashing my check, all the reports have come in about crushed packaging, destroyed cards/bubbles, etc. So do you think my shipment was delayed because they improved how these figures (fingers crossed) are being shipped?

Usually it's 60-90 days from when you send it but that's entirely dependent on how much inventory they have-- if they ran out, you have to wait for the next boat from China to get here with more figures, and that could be weeks or months. If you order earlier, it's usually assumed you'll get it inside 90 days from when you sent it, but that's if you act immediately. You can never account for what happens if the stock sells out.

2. So Chi Eekway is Baron Papanoida's daughter [in the Clone Wars episode Sphere of Influence]. Did anybody notice the Chi Eekway action figure is twi-lek?

Dude, don't get me started. Their species all changed-- Papanoida was a Wroonian and now he's Pantoran. Total continuity screw-up here. Plus the last names are different... weird (but not unheard of) for family. (And of course, this is going in the column.) This character severely jumbled up continuity as the backstory and toys go, but doesn't change much as far as the fiction is concerned. Generally, what you see on screen is what the backstory is, but this is just getting goofy.

Personally I think it's a bad idea to throw out stuff established this recently, but eh, they did a little of that with Mandalore and as far as I can tell it hasn't hurt the franchise, maybe because in the Mandalorian case, it didn't mess up the toys.

This season of The Clone Wars has had its moments, but some of the worst stuff also popped up. Continuity gaffes and/or retcons happen, but we also had three really boring episodes about Mandalore, one of which focused on its school lunch program, and this past week's episode regarding Ahsoka's premonitions and Ziro the Hutt's incarceration left me scratching my head but that might be more due to these episodes airing in essentially random order. By this time last season, we had the crazy Geonosian brain zombie episodes and some pretty gnarly stuff-- this year, it's been a lot of Senate this and corruption that. I have to assume it's going to get better because if it doesn't, well, what the heck are we all here for?

3. I see that from [Entertainment Earth] we are getting Jarael and Rohlan from [the Knights of the Old Republic comic book]. Do you know if we will ever see Zayne and Gryph (Either in the comic line or single carded figures)? It seems odd to get secondary characters from the comics before we see the main characters.

Ultimately, it's up to Hasbro who gets made and when-- and they developed those characters first. (Personally, I'd have preferred Zayne and Rohlan, but I'll take Jarael over nothing.) Future figures from this line are pretty unlikely in the near-term unless Hasbro views the current batch of Entertainment Earth Comic Pack Exclusives (shipping soon, I hear) as something worth bringing back next year. As someone who has pretty much total insider information as to what's going on at EE, I can tell you that there's nothing else on deck yet that anyone told us about. (Full disclosure: EE is my day job.)

This sort of release schedule isn't entirely unusual, especially for something this obscure. We get all kinds of weird stuff before other stuff-- I mean, look at the movie line. Commander Cody came out a full year after Revenge of the Sith hit theaters, and Tarkin took 20 years to make it out. Sometimes it makes sense to put the cart before the horse, as this release could increase demand for more characters-- assuming people buy it and it's a hit, that is. If not? Well, I wouldn't hold out too much hope for more comic packs.

4. I am super excited about the new ARC Troopers battle pack, which I have yet to hunt down. This pack brings up a lot of question for me. The first question...the [Phase II] ARC trooper in the red, Is he supposed to be Commander Colt? He is the ARC we see in "Clone Cadets" or is he supposed to be a generic ARC Trooper and will we see Colt with the skull on his helmet later on a single card? I would like to see that yellow one to complete the set too. The second is that I really I'm glad they put Fordo in that pack but a side from that i noticed that background of the box is made to look like the attack on Muunilinst. Do you think Dave and the folks doing the clone wars show would ever recreate any of the events that took place in the micro series, man i sure hope so, Love that series and anything they do with it!

The red Phase 2 ARC Trooper is not Colt according to the packaging, the card, or the figure's design. Colt has a different helmet and probably some other minor differences which, I'll be honest, I haven't noticed yet. Given Colt's helmet is different, I think Hasbro will take advantage and put out a legit Colt later-- after all, it's easy money to repaint it and do a carded release in 2011 or 2012. According to the packaging, the Phase II ARC Troopers are non-specific characters-- just generic ARC Troopers.

I doubt the CG series will revisit much from the original 2003 Clone Wars series as to avoid bringing up some of the continuity conflicts, like the length of time or Asajj's history and characterization, so I'd wager that series has been effectively swept under the same rug as Chi Eekway's lekku. (But there's no reason Hasbro can't out out Clones that look similar to those in the show, and I hope we see more ARC Troopers and Gunners based on those episodes.)

5. Just read your Q&A... I understand where you are coming from regarding Star Wars 3-D. However, I am one of the fans greatly looking forward to it. My question is two-fold. The SW 3-D event is going to re-energize SW media momentum. Would this not be the perfect time for Lucas to have the sequels (7-9)? I believe in this guy and I do believe he hs the creativity to do it right and restore some of the original feel of SW that I grew up on, to new fans.. My second part is, I can see Hasbro having no trouble producing toys as the 3-D ep-1-3 are released, there is still plenty to dig into. However, what on earth could they make for the originals that has not already been made?

Why do you think it definitely is going to-reenergize SW momentum? It might just be a thing that comes out, does $100 or so million a picture, and then goes away. Odds are there will be new scenes which might get a lot of butts in the seats, but then again, what if 3D really is just a fad? It's not necessarily enough to get people in the theater, but the surrounding marketing campaign could do a lot for licensed products and continued interest in the TV show. (Some parents won't let their kids see the movies just yet, but they can watch the cartoon.)

Toy Story 1 and 2 got 3D reissued to barely a whimper. I know Toy Story isn't Star Wars, but if the Blu-Ray comes out in 2011 and 3D is the only thing new 3D Star Wars has to offer (no new scenes) it's possible grumbly fans may actually not see it. Or is your point that we all will anyway? I've still got the bitter box office take of Clone Wars to think about-- a lot of you guys didn't go see that, and that was new Star Wars fiction too! (Anyway.)

There will probably never be any 7-9. To be honest, I think most of the fan buzz for those movies comes from a desire to complain than actual interest in new movies. I figure we'll see another Star Wars film, eventually, but probably not based on Luke and friends. (I don't know if I'd be too keen on seeing a movie open with a crawl saying "Here's Luke but Lando, Chewie, Leia, and Han are all dead or shopping on some mall planet you'll never see." Which is my guess as to what it would be.) Star Wars as a thing seems to be something best experienced young, I have serious doubts that as adults we can sit through another one of these films with the wonder and awe that we may have seen for whatever our first experience was with the saga. For anyone old enough to read this column, new movies would likely be complained about until I got bored listening and then closed the window.

As to the toys, like I alluded to in the column, I figure this 3D push is going to be used more to push what's already out there-- a big mainstream push (if successful) won't get the collectors any more excited, because we're already here. It might help push the 20- and 30-somethings to buy some figures, for kids to buy more lightsabers, and for Hasbro to have a real movie-based year again. While it may not sound exciting, by 2012 the notion of having an X-Wing (last seen in 2009) or even the Landspeeder (off shelves since 2002) could be a pretty exciting prospect for people who haven't been collecting for a decade yet.

There are still plenty of items for Hasbro to do-- or redo, as the case may be. Maybe we'll get an all-new Y-Wing, or the ESB Slave I... or it'll be like 2004, when the DVDs came out, and Hasbro had to scramble to come up with a series of repaints and reissues that became the original Original Trilogy Collection. We really have no reason to assume that a theatrical push will do anything to help the deep collector market-- seeing the movie on the big screen isn't going to make more people want Rebel Transports and Swilla Coreys.

As far as the original films go, we're currently doing a victory lap. Hasbro made pretty much all the important stuff years ago, and now it's time to remake things and scrape a few minor characters here and there as it makes sense. To put things in perspective, look at the past few years-- since the 2010 Vintage refresh, we've gotten exactly one completely new character in the basic Vintage assortment. ONE. All the rest are new costumes or new sculpts of existing figures. So 37 carded figures, and the only new character in the modern line is Wooof. (Two if you count the Rebel Commando, which I'm not sure I do yet.) Things haven't been going well for the collector line at all as far as new characters go, the mains sell and sadly, it looks like this might be how things go for a while.


I bumped the Target exclusive editorial until next week, because something much bigger happened: Steve Sansweet announced that he's leaving Lucasfilm for some other thing. (The other thing is unspecified.)

This was surprising for a ton of reasons, I think the most obvious (and unspoken) one is that a lot of us always wanted to get a job in the industry, be it toys or Star Wars in some meaningful way. Steve transitioned from the Real World (specifically the Wall Street Journal and not the MTV show) into what many of us would consider to be the apex of fan jobs. I first met the man just after I started writing about Star Wars online and I was more or less stunned that he knew who I was. (This, of course, gave me a fat head for about three years. To my readers, and those who knew me, I apologize.) He was nice enough to let me hang around him at a couple of conventions in Arizona and I got to overhear just what kind of relations fans wanted to have with him. It's really quite amazing to hear the tales that can be thrown about at a show, but Steve always listened with a smile and I think most fans having met him had a largely positive experience. It's rare that a genuine fan gets to grow into something of a celebrity in their own field, and I know that the right guy got picked for the job.

Working with in your hobby has got to be a surreal experience, but a lot of good came out of it and I've always been glad that one of our own-- the fans-- managed to really make a dent in Star Wars, even if a lot of the stuff may have been behind the scenes. The man was someone I thought the world of as a kid, and hearing that some guy could-- after years of hard work, mind you-- get a job at Lucasfilm as the number one fan always reminded me that fans don't necessarily have to admire their interests from afar, but could get involved and run things. Did you know that Derryl DePriest literally wrote the book on G.I. Joe a few years before coming on board at Hasbro? It's true! If ever there was a reason to stay in school or do whatever it is that gets you to write more gooder, these stories should hopefully inspire the next generation of fans of anything to stick to it, to learn all they can, and then to enjoy where life takes you. It may blossom into something wonderful, it may mutate into something you didn't expect, but at least you'll have a shot at something truly different.

So Steve, if you're out there, I hope this didn't come off too much as a rambling obituary. I read that you have six months left at Lucasfilm and I hope they're all awesome-- and I hope your next gig is even more awesome. Thanks for being there for us, for giving us all something to work toward, and for being an all-around nice guy. (Also, thanks for not seeming to mind that certain online toy writers may have shamelessly adapted your Q&A letter columns in various magazines for online collecting sites.) We salute you, good sir.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.