Q&A: Star Wars Barges, Figures, Infinity Wars

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 29, 2018

1. Were any TV ads shown of the Haslab Sail Barge project? (I am not aware of any, but then again, I'm in Australia)

There were not. Crowdfunding is a thing Hasbro hasn't done before - they experimented with subscription boxes, but they allowed that to shrivel on the vine and the "coming soon in Early 2018" notice shows that when an initiative stumbles, it can be abandoned pretty quickly. This didn't stumble - but it could have.

TV advertising is expensive, and reaching tens of millions of people when you're trying to sell 5,000 of something isn't in their best interests. This sort of project is the very definition of Narrowcasting - success is easier to get reaching out to fan forums and specific collectors, because you aren't going to sell 20,000 of it with a wider marketing net. (There are rumors that some of Hasbro's 1980s giant toys were made in similar quantities but I've never seen proof.)

TV advertising for toys is exceedingly rare outside of kidvid in the USA - and even then, it's not usually surrounding collector stuff. There are ads that appear online now and again, but it's not something you're likely to see during Family Guy.



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2.Another Sailbarge question if you don't mind... Any idea how the edition size of (6,500 ish) for the Khetanna compares to another Hasbro 'Holy Grail,' the USS Flagg? My parents didn't love me enough, so I never got closer to a Flagg than the big hanging banner ad in TRU. Now being (mostly) a grown-up, I bought my own Holy Grail. Just curious if the barge will end up as hard to find down the road. Even with inflation, the barge is much more expensive, but it seems much more detailed & elaborate than the Flagg.

Due to its massive size, it could be assumed the run size could be similar - but to my knowledge Hasbro has not shared this information with the general public. Back in the 1980s the toy world was very different with more regional stores like Children's Palace, Lionel PlayWorld, Kay-Bee Toys, Toys by Roy, Walmart, Target, Kay-Bee Toys, and many others that were eventually trampled under the boots of Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us.

Why am I going on this tangent? Of those stores, only so many were capable of actually having shelf space to stock the item, with the likes of Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J.C. Penny effectively being "the internet" of that era. (Unlimited shelf space via mail order catalog.) Given there were maybe a couple thousand really big toy stores and a lot of Searses, 6,000 or even higher numbers aren't too unrealistic. I heard it was meant to be more of a marketing strategy than a viable product, a sort of a "look at this insane thing - this is how much we at Hasbro support Joe. Buy one, and you'll sell thousands of figures while kids pine for it." Considering that the brand ran pretty nicely for another six years, I would say it worked.

If anyone has access to this information, please share. I was in a room at HasCon with someone who would likely know but didn't think to talk about it because another bomb was dropped on me at the time which turned out to be the Mattel/Hasbro thing that was in the works but didn't pan out. (It's amazing what people will say to you when you wear a press badge!)

As to your pricing comment, keep in mind the 2008 big Millennium Falcon was about $129. The reissue around 2010 was $249. That big new AT-ST started life at about $30. The Walmart reissue in 2016/2017 was $59.99. Vehicles in the last decade got really expensive, and rumblings adjacent to Hasbro people speculated a Flagg reissue might cost close to $1,000 nowadays. Fancy deco or no, that's a lot of room in a shipping container from China that could go to other products that would generate even more money.




3. Do you think there are more Jabba goons in the pipeline or should we settle our hopes for more Jabba love?

Hasbro alluded to there being more Jabba aliens likely in The Vintage Collection as a tie-in to a successful Sail Barge - and so far, we've seen two. They didn't specify how many we might be getting, but we know there are molds for reissues of Kithaba (Barada), Wooof (Klaatu), the Gamorrean Guard, Weequay Skiff Master, Salacious Crumb, Nikto Skiff Guard, Vizam, Ree-Yees, "Jabba's Skiff Guard," and probably others I'm forgetting. It would not surprise me to see them finally update EV-9D9 or Amanaman again, either.

This is the point in my answer where I remind you that some existing figures are still pretty cheap, and any reissue would cost you at least $13.



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Avengers: Infinity War was about as good as a Marvel movie can be. They're fascinating works of film, often colorful thrillrides that are an absolute joy to watch. And then 72 hours later, any residual "Oh I should see that again" is gone, in part because I know I'll be spending time with those characters again in the neat future. No spoilers, but there's a real cliffhanger of an ending that would make The Empire Strikes Back proud. Thanks to the widely-circulated plan for sequels we have a pretty good idea how some story threads will ultimately wrap up next year. I never leave a Marvel movie unhappy that I saw it, but I also rarely feel I'd just had a life-changing experience with a new addition to the pop culture lexicon, excepting probably Black Panther. It wouldn't surprise me if Killmonger got more and more popular over the years, which could provide a challenge to filmmakers.

I'm generally pleased to see that there's interest in this corner of popular culture still, especially as it seemed genre stuff was dead in the water from the mid 1980s until the end of the 1990s, with few precious exceptions. Now, we've got two Star Trek movies in the works, a new Star Wars show just announced this week, a Star Trek show, a few Marvel shows, at least five Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, a Lord of the Rings prequel series, and a seemingly eternal run of Supernatural, which nobody you know actually watches. Why is it on? I have no idea. Someone must watch it.

I assume this peak nostalgia-based pop culture is going to end soon, but it might not. Even if people tire of Jurassic stories and Marvel like they may have for Alien, Warner Bros. could probably reboot DC into something huge in the next few years. Mad Max has plenty of gas. There's still an opportunity for Ninja Turtles to break out beyond the kidvid set and make something for everybody. Transformers may similarly undergo a metamorphosis and become something quite different soon - so if you don't like your franchises, you'll see more coming. And if you like what you have, be smug and joyful that you probably got more comic book and sci-fi movies since the last Presidential election than I saw released during my years in elementary school.

In 3 weeks? Deadpool 2. Solo is in 4. Incredibles 2 is in 7 weeks, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 8. And it just keeps going - it'll end soon. We'll probably get an era of really awesome, low-budget, very personal features that will inspire people for years to come if studios don't start allowing for more creative freedoms in their franchises. But for now you will be, at the very least, entertained.

--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.