Q&A: Old Star Wars Cuts, Big Star Wars Ships, and Figures You Can't Find Again

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 24, 2016

1. Now that Disney owns the Star Wars franchise, will we ever see a Blu-ray version of Episodes 4-6 as they were originally released to theatres? I know Disney is all about making money, so this would be a no-brainer for them. Maybe add to that, The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Probably not, unless a lot of parties conspire to make this work. Unless, of course, you're willing to fudge "originally" a bit. Since 20th Century Fox still owns Star Wars, they would have to be involved in some way. Since Disney now owns The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, at the very least, we'd have to see them license or somehow agree to the use of the opening fanfare - unlikely - or we'd just have to see another form of edit before these movies.

We also don't know for sure what kind of surprised were buried in the Lucasfilm sale to Disney. George Lucas may still have 100% say over how his movies get released - as the director of four and producer of six, his wishes may still hold a lot of weight. He's the author. Of course, on the other side of the coin, it's also possible Fox could just release the original were it so inclined. It's also possible Disney may be required to be involved with any Star Wars home video release, even that first one where Fox still holds the cards. These are things we probably won't know until people leave one or both companies and start talking to the press, or a major release happens.

A rumor floated around in the last couple of years that the original trilogy is in talks to be released, but "when?" is a big question. Disney is positively the biggest fan of the whole "vault" concept, so after it squeezes a few years out of digital it is possible they will find a way to make a home video cut of the original trilogy as a timed promotion which we'll all go nuts for, until we realize the Fox fanfare is gone, and then we're going to make petitions for them to reinstate that for another 20 years.

I'd personally love to see all of the 1980s Star Wars projects put out again - the Star Tours video, the original cuts of the Ewoks and Droids cartoons, and perhaps even better prints of the Ewoks movies. How (or if) they fit in the new plans remain to be seen, I'm guessing they're going to go under the same rug as Star Wars: Detours. Disney's the new stepdad, and the kids from the old marriage are probably not going to be treated very well.



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2. The Black Series 6" First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter, originally $170, has been spotted on clearance for as little as $49. Will this deep discount hurt our chances of seeing any more large-scaled vehicles, like a Skiff or X-wing, or a big playset, like a Death Star? Hasbro might say, "You asked for a large vehicle, we gave you a TIE, you didn't buy them at that price, so they had to be clearanced out. There's no money in large vehicles for us. People want more little vehicles."

Question, meet answer. It's hard to guess what Hasbro will do - they have plenty of evidence that the team can read as they see fit.

Given development time for new products (12-18 months), in order for Hasbro to release something new between September and December for the Rogue One party, Hasbro would have to have been working on the next big ship since before the TIE Fighter was released to stores. I don't know that the big TIE Fighter delivered a good value proposition, though.

Big ship clearance isn't all that unusual, especially with impatient stores and a massive footprint. Jakks Pacific makes it work though, so clearly there's a market for big stuff. Target has zero patience for letting product get stale, as I've seen many new toy lines go from debut to red tags in under six weeks. I wouldn't necessarily say their attitude is enough to sink big vehicles, mostly because whatever the plans were for 2016, they're probably close to set in stone at this point.

Given 2017 is the 40th Anniversary, I hope/assume Hasbro is really looking at what to do to make it exciting - perhaps a visit by Vintage packaging, perhaps a big ship or two, and so on - but they may also sweep it under the rug to just focus on new stuff. Playsets? I doubt it. I don't think the original trilogy is going to be a place Hasbro will play in much as big vehicles go unless that vehicle is in some way tied to the new movies, or one of the supremely important vehicles. The Skiff is pretty minor stuff, sadly, even though I'd rather see it redone before almost any other vehicle.

I hope Hasbro keeps the vehicles coming but hopefully keeps them smaller. The TIE Fighter is a space hog, and the number of people with a collection who can store a piece that large in the context of an existing collection isn't a big one. Given how many of the products Hasbro released were slam dunks, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see them focus on the winners in 2016 and 2017 because if you're chasing demand for months, why make something that might not turn over as quickly? (And, of course, none of us will probably know the answer until July or September. Unless it leaks.)




3. I am wondering if there have been any announced figures for the upcoming waves (4 and 5) of the Walmart 3.75 force awakens black series? I can say that I have not had an overly hard time finding figures. I scored Kylo and Stormtrooper on consecutive days at 2 different walmarts and scored Poe Saturday. Rey and Finn will show up soon I'm sure. Thanks

I still haven't seen Leia and the Stormtrooper myself, but I've seen a few of everybody else. And Poe and Finn are poison over here.

If there are more waves, I've not seen them discussed. At this point I expect them to magically show up at retail without an announcement if they are indeed coming. I have no insight here, but we're less than a month out from Toy Fair in New York City - and of course, I'll be there.




One thing we don't talk about much is the future of the Expanded Universe. You may say "But Adam! All the Marvel and novel and game stuff is canon now." Well, go ahead and stick a pin in that, and let's see how much of it is contradicted or ignored 2-3 movies down the road.

The reason I bring this up is because we've got a new team of characters who, were this 1977, would be starring in monthly adventures around the galaxy. One thing that The Force Awakens did was kind of paint the publishing program into a bit of a corner. We last saw Rey meeting Luke Skywalker on a mostly deserted planet - so we can't follow her on adventures planet-hopping. Kylo Ren had his butt handed to him and he got cut up pretty good, so it's possible he could recover and go menace somebody somewhere, but it's also possible he'll come back with a cybernetic part or two. Finn, we last saw dumped off at the Resistance base so he, along with Poe, might actually be in the best condition to support some sort of new between-movie fiction. This is pretty notable, mostly because when we first met Luke, Leia, and Han we got to follow them around (were we so inclined) in a book and some of the comics, although not always together as a group.

This is sort of a mixed blessing - on one hand, putting Rey off on another planet and taking characters out of circulation means that we won't get a lot of contradictory stories. Unfortunately it also probably means we can expect prequels or nothing for some of the fiction. But hey, Poe's got a comic, let's hope it won't be a prequel! It's an interesting choice given the nature of the Star Wars publishing program - we saw a similar effect in the 1980s when Han Solo got frozen after The Empire Strikes Back, because it's not like there was a heck of a lot he could do while he was on ice.

So, we've got some room for some interesting stories - I look forward to seeing what they decide to pursue, or ignore. Me, I'll probably be taking a break from the fiction publishing program because I've got Rebels and lots of other stuff to do, but if anything really big happens I look forward to hearing about it on the Tumblrs.

Oh - and if you care for such things, I am still on Twitter and I've been going off on random bursts about the toy business and other crap. You may find some of it enjoyable and the rest of it inane.

--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.