Q&A: Star Wars Cardbacks, DIY Droids, and Old Brands

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 7, 2021

1. How do you feel about Hasbro marking the new Marvel Legends Retro figures with the Kenner brand?

Do you think Hasbro could be positioning the Kenner brand to be their go-to "retro" label?

It's a curious choice, but not unprecedented. Hasbro slapped the Galoob brand name and logo on its Titanium Series offerings from 2006-2012ish, including things like metal 3 3/4-inch figures which Galoob never made. Similarly, it makes sense for Hasbro to keep its Kenner trademark alive but this is a curious way to it, given Kenner never made Spider-Man or X-Men figures.

Their offerings seem too nice for a "retro" figure, but I'm not opposed to seeing what they may do with the brand and seeing how it evolves. For example, there's no kiddie 3 3/4-inch figure lines from Hasbro anymore - but for some reason, Hasbro priced these new guys at about ten bucks a whack. That's kid-friendly pricing - a kid might see a "Kenner" Spider-Man, Mandalorian, Wolverine, or other figure on the shelf and buy it because it's a toy. It looks like a toy. Mom and dad will recognize the Kenner name from their childhoods and go "oh, this is a toy." It's unlikely, but this segment could be revived as an older-child/pre-tween toy brand name. (In my dreams.) Collectors love it, but so far the 5-jointed Kenner-style figures have been in heartbreakingly short supply as exclusives, not appearing in stores.

If Hasbro were so inclined I bet they could really turn a jokey fake-retro line into something for the whole family - assuming it doesn't go above ten bucks. It's difficult to find a good, plain regular Spider-Man toy in a store. It's impossible to find The Mandalorian. I guess I'm more curious about how fans react to it, and which ones pounce, than anything. It seems preposterous but if it accidentally activates a new audience - underserved kids and fans wanting core characters in a collectible format - this could be a game-changer. Or Hasbro could just shrug and not make more, which would be a mistake.



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2. I’m a huge collector of droid factory from Disney, do you see the days of building our own droids 3 3/4 in the parks are gone with post Covid? Any rumors of any new astromech droids?

They've been pretty quiet, other than to say some existing theme park product will be making the move online. I haven't heard a peep about the bin parts in ages, and my hope is they never, ever put new parts in the bins again. (Parts from existing exclusive droids are fine with me, though.) It's a huge hassle for collecting and in the era of COVID, who the heck wants to paw through diseased kid-snot-covered domes and legs? Not me.

I think they're going to keep that kind of thing going - eventually - but for all I know it'll be an app activity where you select the parts you want and some grunt assembles it in the back, pushing it out on a conveyor belt. Hm. Typing that out, it sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?




3. I really like the thickness of the cardbacks for the Carbonized Mandalorian figures. Of all the ones I saw on the pegs, there wasn't a bent or damaged one to be found.

Why can't Hasbro use this same card thickness for its regular TVC figures? Would it really cost them that much? Is the extra thickness needed for the metallic-looking effect of the card?

Some of the reflective foil cardbacks are thicker, but generally speaking there's not much reason to change these things without significant complaints about ensuring the product makes it to stores in good shape and sells. Most of the foil figures have had extra-thick cardbacks, or sandwiched ones, but I am unclear if that is necessary or just how they decided to do it because it's cheaper/safer/more effective.

If the cardbacks are getting out in good shape - which they are - there's probably no reason to incur the extra costs related to more packaging that could go into paint, accessories, or profits.



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Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in. We had some trickle in at the last minute this week.

Just after we went live last week, Comic-Con announced that WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con International were going to go online again. Also there may be a November SDCC for 3 days which seems like kind of a bad idea, given Emerald City Comic Con and C2E2 are set for December. Assuming everyone, everywhere is safe again, the amount of obligations to make up are intense. The holidays, the make-good for the missed family get-togethers of 2020, and what I assume will be a completely shattered and scrambling entertainment industry probably has its eye on the movies, TV, games, and toys of 2022 rather than trying to scramble to put on one - er, two - er, maybe three last events for 2021. But we'll see. I'm dying to go somewhere and see my friends again after losing my pal Zac last year, mostly because you generally assume you have all the time in the world to do stuff when you're not yet at retirement age. (Also, D-Con.)

Right now, I'm itching to go on some toy runs. And by that I mean the aimless-with-a-purpose affairs lasting several hours with any retailer carrying Hasbro products, old video games, and records in my path. I've probably gone to as many toy stores in the past year as I used to go in an average month - or possibly, a very good week.

--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.



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