Q&A: Star Wars Boxes, Dookus, and HasLabs

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 14, 2020

1. Last year, on Triple Force Friday, a regular black box Mandalorian was released at the same time as the white box "first edition" version. Both boxes had the exact same figure. What was the purpose of this boxing variation if both versions were available in stores at the exact same time? I can see a "first edition" version released a month or more before the regular one, but why have two different ones?

A few years ago Hasbro started changing up its products a bit for the new retail world. For example, some items are created for "Fan Channel." Some are shared with Amazon, and some aren't. Some are for anyone that wants to order them. In the case of the "White Series" figures, these were meant to be a physical-retail-only offering (Disney Store, Target, Walmart, Entertainment Earth booth at NYCC, etc.) to drive interest in the launch during Triple Force Friday. As there were very few exclusives and a limited offering of items in general, after a slow start, it went kind of nuts.

The "First Edition" wave had all 8 figures in white boxes, and this is kind of marketing speak - we've seen "first day of production" foil-stamped trading cards, and back in The Legacy Collection we saw "First Edition" package variants of 3 3/4-inch figures spread across multiple assortment revisions. Is it really "first edition" or "first day?" Does it matter?

Things like this - and some other items, like Hot Wheels Treasure Hunts - are to stoke the fires of FOMO, to kick you in your complacency, indeed to get you to get excited about getting out to the stores for a big collector event (especially when the event wasn't all that big.) Did it work?



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2. If you had one loose 3.75 Dooku for display, which one would you choose?

If there was a TVC, I'd go with that, but that's a ways away.

I am looking to make myself a little Episode II shelf of loose figures. I wonder who you'd get to with the Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Yoda I already have.

There are two I like, and they're both old.

2005 Revenge of the Sith Count Dooku (yes that is an affiliate link) started creeping up and while he doesn't have articulated ankles, he's my favorite as far as the sculpt goes. The cape is good, the face is amazing, and he has no problems standing or swinging his lightsaber. This would probably be my go-to, and it was rereleased in 2006 with slightly different packaging.

If you need more figures, the Evolutions Sith Lords 3-pack (another affiliate link) is good for other reasons - the cape is great, there's more articulation, but I don't like the face as much. This one seems exceedingly "evil," while the prior one is more "Christopher Lee." Either could benefit from the new hyperreal face paint at this point.

I would steer you to whatever is cheaper. If/when you have access to comic book shops or collectible toy stores, you can probably find some decent deals. Right now I don't think you'll be able to get a Dooku for a fair price, but highlighting this may result in fans campaigning for a reissue. He could sure use one!




3. HasLab did a great job with the Khetanna and exceeded their support goal.

Can you venture a guess as to what, if any, Star Wars idea they come up with next?

A giant Sandcrawler?

A modular Death Star, updated with Emperor's throne room, conference room, prisoner block, etc?

Black Series X-Wing? AT-AT?

Larger-sized Creature Cantina?

This comes up a lot. My question to you is "What do you want?"

I would bet money that Hasbro won't release or rerelease an AT-AT any time soon, and I don't get the feeling there's a lot missing in our collections as big giant things go. We've got a Disney Sandcrawler that scratches the itch, I've had enough X-Wings, and there's not much that just hasn't ever been done that might make a good toy.

I'd love to see big playsets, but Hasbro could issue more of those in small, connectable pieces at a more digestible price point - perhaps with more carded figures like Jabba's Palace.

If I were King and Ruling Tyrant, I would nudge any of these:
The Mandalorian's Razor Crest. Throw in an exclusive or first-out on a new pose Baby Yoda and you're golden.
Imperial Star Destroyer/Death Star mash-up. Throw in a throne room, trash compactor, meditation chamber, and some hallways, and I'm in.
Blockade Runner. Almost made by Kenner in the 1980s, the very first vehicle in the entire series has yet to get an action figure-scale vehicle - and I think the biggest toy was that Collector Fleet vehicle from Kenner that you forgot existed. Leia's ship would be a great choice, and it could be easily repainted to the prequel version in blue.

Big Ol' Cantina. If and only if Hasbro also did some appropriate reissues and new figures to go with it.

That's if we went big. If we went small, I'd push for HasLab to make a "put your money where your mouth is" collection of 3 3/4-inch figures. Remakes of the not-updated and unreleased 1980s figures would be marvelous, as would things from the 1990s we never got again - like EV-9D9. Smaller dollars, more engagement, and happier fans could be had quite easily by picking a few themed sets - maybe $50 for 4 regular figures and a smaller bonus item? - with fan-demanded tooling. I mean, you'd buy a "Finish the 91 92 96 Whatever" pack, right?

Now the most ridiculous thing I would like to see them do is the original Kenner line from the 1980s with appropriate updates (as needed) in chunks of $300 or so per. That'd be awesome - maybe 3-4 big batches of 30 movie figures, 6 Ewoks cartoon figures, and 20ish Droids cartoon figures. In some cases you can use existing tooling (5 POA Boba Fett, Toys R Us Kneesaa for the unproduced cartoon figure) while repaints would be acceptable for a few (Kennerian Power Droid, Telescoping Lightsaber Luke from the 2005 Early Bird mail-in) and in some you'd want new molds (Cantina aliens to match Kenner's, Vlix, Mustache Bespin Guard, Sim Aloo.) I don't think any fan could drop $1200 on a big trunk of carded figures all at once, but I bet Hasbro could easily - easily - make a multi-part collection of "ultimate vintage updates" just so all of us could indeed create the real original Kenner line, as well as the few unproduced figures of which we've seen prototypes, to finally shut us up and put that aspect of the collecting fandom to bed. Why not finally sell a "Definitive Update Collection," complete with cardbacks with massive group shots of dozens of figures?

Hey, Mattel managed to do it for Super Powers (as its DCUC line) in just a few years. What's taking Hasbro so long? Side not - I would also accept the entire original Vintage Kenner line recreated in 6-inch Black Series format. But I'd prefer 3 3/4-inch.



It's been slow but keep your ears to the ground for new announcements soon. Tis the season for more exclusives, too. But what? And when? And indeed where? Over the weekend Transformers fans were treated with the roll-out of Earthrise Skywarp & Thundercracker - so make sure to look if you're in a Target as it's their exclusive in the USA - and of course, Hasbro quietly announced the reissues of a few older items like the Vintage Death Trooper & Skiff Guards as well as Black Series Porgs and IG-11. If you missed these, pre-order at your favorite store online as they are not anticipated to show up at regular brick and mortar big box stores.

At this point some of the big questions fans are left asking is "what's next?" We've seen a lot of interest in the slow-drop Kenner Retro Collection, with 6 reissues and 1 new figure per years for a couple of years. GameStop's The Force Unleashed 6-inch Stormtrooper Commander just shipped, and it's stunning. Walmart's Boba Fett Kenner reissue has been a gem for those lucky enough to find one in the wild.

There's not a lot that I personally would demand left - maybe a few places to store my Cantina alien, Jabba's Palace goons, Stormtrooper army. The unreleased updates to the old Kenner figures, as well as updated versions of any character prototyped-but-unproduced from the 1980s like Vlix or Latara or Chewie's family. And anything from old Marvel, like Jaxxon or Lumiya or Kiro would be cool.

It has been and continues to be a great run, but things slowed up a bit. No other action figure line has lasted quite this long, and it seems the only things slowing it down are screens and the fact that Star Wars collectors have too many options these days - even from within Hasbro, you can get 4 different Bespin Luke figures this year. That's a lot - and it certainly stokes the fires of competition.

At least it's still fun. Hopefully by this time next year we'll all be able to go on crazy toy runs, visit conventions, and see each other while sizing each other up for who's going to take our toys from under our noses - but from now, be safe and see you next week!

--Adam Pawlus

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