Q&A: Star Wars Episode Non and Han Solo's New Old Clothes

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 9, 2019

1. any changes to Han and Ree Yees beyond the magnet on the carbonite block? (Ie does Han have Kodak moment face paint?)

Han's Carbonite block has been remolded to include a magnet in back of it, so you can stick it to the playset or the fridge - this is probably reason enough to pick it up for me. Han's head oddly did not get the new deco treatment, which is a shame - that'd be a selling point.

Ree-Yees does not appear to have any substantial changes.



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2. I was wondering what your prediction is for the extent of Hasbro's Episode 9 3 3/4" line upon release in October?

My understanding is that they're also releasing toys from the Fallen Order game and Mandalorian show on the same day so do you believe this will result in a more limited line of figures and vehicles or will it be similar to Episode 8's line (even though it wasn't really successful sales-wise)?

I myself am hoping they'll go all out since this is the last Skywalker saga movie but realize at this stage that modest expectations are probably wise...

This may be news to you, but I'm in the toy business. As such I am not in a position to make predictions as I actually have some of the answers to these things which I can't share or allude to at this time.

Since it was announced, I can say that Triple Force Friday - arguably quadruple, as there's other stuff coming out on that day - will indeed include product from Fallen Order, The Mandalorian, and The Rise of Skywalker. Because Hasbro is Hasbro or Lucasfilm is Lucasfilm, to my knowledge, the only specific product I can discuss for it is the Black Series X-Wing Luke helmet replica which is indeed pretty spiffy. With any luck we'll see more at Comic-Con.

If history is any indication, it's pretty unlikely that there will be a lot of new movie product in early 2020 and it'll probably be put to bed by early Spring when whatever DVD/Download/Blu-Ray-adjacent item(s) come out. Probably. Solo had nice long legs thanks to no other new branded experience conflicting with it, while pretty much everything else was meant to have some other competitor line within a few months.

For whatever reason the powers that be have done a good job keeping all this under wraps so I can't say what you will or won't expect, other than the line has been rather unpredictable. We've seen high-high end priced items increase after the previous high-end item tanked. We got a big playset. We got a big (unsatisfying) vehicle. We've seen retailers pull the plug on an item's full retail price within weeks. And you'll get to see all of it in October, when retailers put it out whenever they feel like it and probably ignore Midnight Madness. I am guessing. (Online stores will be holding to the date, as is the way of their people.)





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Q&A is down to 2 questions per week until we get more non-filler questions with regularity. As always, feel free to send in your questions!

It's my assumption that the decrease in advance information on things like the next movie, the last movie, and the next TV show are probably leaving some fans kind of cold. Waiting so long to share the title of the movie all but guarantees it won't be on the merchandising, so it wouldn't stun me if The Rise of Skywalker is colloquially known as Episode IX for quite some time - much like The Phantom Menace was (and still is) Episode I to a lot of fans.

I have no doubt these things will be worth seeing, but it's increasingly difficult to muster the bananas enthusiasm we had a few years ago. I think the era of fans caring about midnight launches is over - "launch day" stuff tends to be worth less than later releases, quickly selling for below retail cost and in a bunch of cases, below wholesale price. That ain't right. The consumer clusterfudge (this is a family column) is a fun once-in-a-decade thing, and one I bet fans would like to enjoy. We left The Force Awakens with cool characters in short supply and the new versions of legacy characters 100% absent. The low-hanging fruit wasn't even there - and I doubt fans want to just buy any old blaster or lightsaber or figure and hope it's significant to the plot anymore.

Of course, most of us are also getting older. 20 years ago we were all sitting around looking at each other sizing up what The Phantom Menace meant - Hasbro quickly decided to shift gears to more classic product, and fans spent the summer of 1999 and some of 2000 chasing down those new characters as time went on. The launch stuff didn't matter much beyond the big Midnight Madness party, and the price increase drove off a lot of potential would-be collectors as long-term fans. Sound familiar?

I'm very excited to see The Mandalorian - even if it's terrible, the talent involved is too exciting for me to not care - and there's no sign to it being overmerchandised yet. If recent history is any indication, any non-movie property will be under-merchandised and fans will demand more later. (Rebels, The Clone Wars, and Resistance come to mind.) There are other things I would like to say... but I can't yet.

The one thing on the horizon that does have me worried more than anything is the new series of movies. It might be good, but I don't think the people that made The Force Awakens into a billion-dollar movie will show up for an era where it's Star Wars like you've never seen it before. Maybe they'll find a way to do a show that carves its own path like The Next Generation to The Original Series of Star Trek, but I would be surprised. The sequel series didn't seem to lean on familiar alien races and cameos as the prequels, and the idea of an unrecognizable galaxy with all-new droids and aliens and planets and architecture doesn't sound quite as exciting. I'm still hoping to someday have a Death Star for all my Stormtroopers - I can't imagine a new era of Jedi or Sith or whatever will scratch the itch of awesome designs, awesome toys, and bringing a wide and receptive audience to a galaxy far, far away. "All-new Star Wars with no familiar characters!" sounds like the kind of thing to make me not want to collect anymore.

Granted, my dream is of a show on Disney+ or ABC doing fine, bringing in a weekly audience, having new and interesting toys on the regular, and spinning that show off into new shows every few years. I have my doubts it would happen in 2019, but I can't imagine The Mandalorian going without giving us one or two compelling "but what about that guy?" moments. Here's hoping.

Also, I'm working on a fun thing for San Diego Comic-Con this year. If you're going, please keep reading here (and on the front page) for news of the thing which may be of interest to some of you, if you're there, and if you've got some time.

--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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