Q&A: Star Wars Dignitaries, Captains, and Starships

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 18, 2021

1. Adam, while I'm thrilled to see a new [The Bad Batch The Vintage Collection Captain] Rex figure, I'm vexed by the presence of the helmet's sliding [Bly-like] viewing attachment. If the card back doesn't have the helmet, and if many fans are wanting this figure because they are Clone Wars fans, then what's the point is the attachment? Personally, I believe it's a deliberate unwarranted attachment in order to force fans to eventually buy this figure again when they re-release it without the attachment. What do you think,

I think you might be overreacting. But the key words here are "think" and "might," because as of my writing this, the series hasn't ended. It's entirely possible Rex was based on preproduction concepts and the animators opted to not use it on the show. It may have been easier to change the packaging than the tooling. Or maybe there's an episode to air later after Rex upgrades his bucket. We really don't know.

There is a surprisingly short list of figures from over the years that are wrong due to preproduction reference not matching the final film, and this could be another entry into that canon. Time will tell! But it doesn't matter, because Rex anything will sell at this point.



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2. What are the odds that we'll see an Imperial Dignitary in the Vintage Collection some day? I have fond memories of owning that figure 35 years ago, but I'd imagine it's a little niche for today's fan.

I would bet on the 1984 Imperial Dignitary - Sim Aloo, to those who aren't Kenner fans - will appear in the 6-inch line before the modern-era 3 3/4-inch action figure line. Hasbro has almost completely ignored The Power of the Force-style packaging for some reason, but if they ever did the final waves of figures, I would expect the 6-inch to see that love since it's been completely ignored in the 3 3/4-inch size.

I have not asked The Powers that Be lately, but those who have mentioned the answer they often got was "Oh, we did him already" and not realizing/not caring that the 2003 Dingitaries were other guys. The team has changed over a few times since then so it's probably just the luck of getting someone on the brand who's the right age to remember those Kenner figures or is a collector, but there aren't a lot of people in the Brand Manager age group who are old enough to be old-school fans, or who were weird kids who collected the stuff when the old-school fans were discovering girls/boys/anything else.

It would be great to see Hasbro revisit the original Dignitary in some form, but the current line is something of a slog of repaints, reruns, and a few token new guys each year. You can count the number of 100% new mold Original Trilogy-specific guys since Disney took over on one hand, so at this point I wouldn't expect Hasbro to do anything exciting for The Vintage Collection that doesn't incorporate existing tooling from 2010-present.

Seeing what we're getting in The Black Series, I don't think obscurity or niche matters to most fans. If they'll buy Jaxxon, they'll buy anything. (I say this with love, Jaxxon was my #2 on the alist of things that I want and assumed Hasbro will never, ever make. Anyone who has been reading for a while knows who #1 is.)




3. Say it ain't so!

Disney is continuing to whitewash the Original Trilogy by renaming the Slave 1 as "Boba Fett's [Starship]."

We knew that "Slave Leia" is now "Jabba's Prisoner," but how deep into the rabbit hole will Disney go in renaming parts of our childhood?

Do you know of any other name changes Disney has in store for us?

Given how rarely the ship is called out by name on screen, this particular name change is sort of like when they called The Executor (not "The Executioner") "Darth Vader's Star Destroyer." If anything it's probably going to be better for sales since it actually explains what the thing is. Jokes about the appropriateness of the name have been circulating for years (including Robot Chicken), but what I'm itching to see is if it will be on all products, or just kid-driven ones. My guess is everything, but we'll see.

"Slave Leia" was actually "Jabba's Prisoner" on the Kenner The Power of the Force cardbacks for her action figure debut in 1997. In The Vintage Collection around 2011 it was "Slave Outfit," just like in 2013 for The Black Series, which was probably not the best move. For the 2008 The Legacy Collection release, she was just "Princess Leia." Things change - and the more collector-driven releases used the "slave" nomenclature. None of this matters, though, as both of the "slave" releases were inferior. The Vintage Collection figure lacked the "sitting" legs and the droid part (and cost $2 more!), while The Black Series figure was an epic pegwarmer with a face that would greatly benefit from a Photoreal reissue.

Hyperbole is fun, but you know and I know your childhood has been over for years and there's a pretty good chance you didn't say "slave girl" when you were a kid either. I seem to remember a lot of pop culture referencing the Leia costume as a "dancing girl" or just "the metal bikini." Similarly, Boba Fett's ship was never named in the original trilogy (nor was Boba Fett until Return of the Jedi) so I don't have a heck of a lot of giving-a-crap if they want to change a name on a box, as long as the toy can still be obtained. Even if Hasbro said they'll never make another Slave Leia or Slave I product again - you've still got hundreds of thousands out there to buy or sell.

Name changes are something that will creep up as products hit stores. Pre-release names change. For example, there's a Transformers Studio Series toy coming out this year named Slug. The 1980s character name and toy name was Slag, as was the pre-release name. But the final packaging says Slug. (Ask your British friends.) A more recent example may be Carnor Jax/Kir Kanos - the product and art is of the latter, all copy and early info indicated the former. It happens. Changing standards and the desire to appeal to an audience beyond boys in America ages 4-11 mean that we will see things alter our product in ways that matter, and some ways that don't. (Me, I hate the multi-lingual packaging and how it costs us co-sells and character descriptions.)

A few years ago, I was asked if a copy change on a package was going to drive up demand with the addition of the Disney logo. "Would pre-Disney stuff be worth a lot more?" I said it wouldn't be the driving force - good product is good product, and people will buy it regardless of the logo. It appears this has largely held true, and the Slave I will undoubtedly be a term fans continue to use for years to come. (Particularly if Boba Fett's ship gets blowed up on the show and he gets a new one. It pays to be specific. Then he can add a bumper sticker reading "My Other Spaceship was the Slave I" on it.)



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I hope your summer has been going well! Here in Arizona it's incredibly hot and in terms of temperature, we're probably about halfway through the "it's too hot to go out for more than ten minutes" season. I've started actually tracking my toy runs since it's slowed down a lot compared to a few years ago, in part because there's less to hunt and fewer places to go hunting. Some places just plain stopped stocking the kinds of stuff I like, so it certainly makes it a lot less fun to go bumming around amidst rising infection rates and sky-high temperatures.

So, the Rancor Monster is the next HasLab item for The Black Series. Meanwhile, Galactus launched on Friday and is probably going to be funded by the time you read this. I feel like a party pooper by saying I'm not super excited - the Rancor was never one of my favorite monsters, in part because the toys since 1983 tend to be tough to get balancing or standing right a lot of the time. I've also got at least 4 or more of the buggers for the modern era as it is, two of which I still need to open. If Hasbro's going to do one for The Black Series, this is the right way to sell it - but given how few figures have been released for Jabba's Palace so far, it's not something I feel I need yet.

Unless, of course, it's a spoiler and between the Obi-Wan show and the Boba Fett show, maybe Hasbro will give us some more Return of the Jedi Jabba's Palace aliens. As of right now, the only Jabba's Palace-specific 6-inch figures that exist are Jabba, Salacious Crumb, Han in Carbonite (block only), Jedi Luke, Slave Leia, Boushh Leia, the Gamorrean Guard, and... shoot, is that really it? You can probably sub in a C-3PO and R2-D2, as well as a Chewbacca, but it feels a little empty without a plastic throne or Bib Fortuna at the very least. Hopefully this Rancor set will include Oola or even a "Photoreal" Slave Leia in its stretch goals... and a display stand or something to support the creature under its weight would be most welcome.

Hasbro has been pretty good about making sure its main line releases tie in to its HasLab releases. The Barge was joined by a Skiff, some Guards, a reissue of the Gamorrean, and a Jabba's Palace playset to name a few. Unicron shipped a few months ago, joining the launch of its Transformers Studio Series companions from the 1986 movie. I'm hoping this means we'll get a Return of the Jedi wave with things like an unfrozen Han Solo, Bib Fortuna, and maybe even EV-9D9 or Amanaman while we're making a wish list. Are these realistic hopes and dreams? No.

If that's not enough, a third HasLab item is being teased from Transformers Victory and it is largely assumed to be the series' star. I've never actually seen the series - or any of Japan's first generation of cartoons post-Headmasters - but I do have the ca. 2003 Robot Masters Star Saber toy and have been quite happy with it. I hope they do Dezaras/Deathsaurus too!

That's a pretty big summer for Hasbro Pulse's HasLab program if all three roll out over the next few months, which may start putting some fans in a position to be increasingly choosy. I have to admit, my interest in the Rancor isn't necessarily automatic anymore unless it's a good item for the price and maybe even has some display options in the box. Given that the Rancor usually costs as much as 4-6 regular figures in the 3 3/4-inch line, and given HasLab generally marks up items from that because they clearly can, I would wager this has got to be at least $150-$200. Hopefully they throw in something cool to sweeten the deal, because a giant brown potato monster doesn't strike me as easy to display as a Bantha or a Cantina playset. I assume it'll fully fund in about four days.

--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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