Q&A: Star Wars Force Link, Jedi Projection Luke, and the Sandcrawler

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 4, 2018

1. Saw the Force [Link Band] Reader quotes in your reviews and uh how do you get it to work as in unlocking the other sayings? I can get maybe 1-2 quotes max from each character before losing my patience with the thing. Not sure mine if mine is defective or I am using it wrong.

Whip it good! It works due to a lot of patience. Usually one sound is played on activation, and you can get two more pretty easily by hitting the arm part of the reader - not the dish - while still holding the figure. I'm not kidding. It's a great idea but a terrible interface. Other quotes come up when you shake the toy violently, or hit it repeatedly - and sometimes as a surprise by accident. Hasbro came up with the most brilliant idea to outsource electronics to a single device to reduce waste, cost, and batteries but the device itself could benefit from buttons.



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2. Now that The Last Jedi has come and gone, what are the odds that Hasbro will produce a “Jedi Projection” Luke. I’m sure with them gearing up for Solo product the odds are slim, but for an old-school Luke Skywalker fan, having a version of him in this costume, even for the limited amount of time that it was on screen would be pretty awesome.

As luck would have it, Funko finally announced theirs! For those keeping track, during the Disney-era films Funko has consistently brought out a lot of the figures Hasbro collectors have requested, faster, and in more flavors. (I know Hasbro sometimes reads this, so just throwing that out there. Some cool The Force Awakens droids already got Pop!s.)

I wouldn't get your hopes up for one today, but I'm an old Star Wars fan that remembers it took 20 years for Grand Moff Tarkin and 21 years for a Bantha. If Hasbro and Lucasfilm and Disney decide to make it, it can happen - fans need to make a fuss and demand more Crait characters because there's a lot of potential there. That Luke is unique, even with the distracting beard dye. Also remember it took two years for Hasbro to give us Disney-era Luke products.

If fans keep making a fuss it should happen eventually, but Lucasfilm can be slow when it comes to spoilery toys. Not always - Jango Fett's decapitation was a figure before we saw the movie, but they didn't want to reveal what was in Darth Vader's helmet in 1996 when Kenner originally had the figure on deck. They had to wait until 1998. Luke's younger look could be seen as a spoiler, although it could just be an oversight. Hasbro did eventually give us Bala-Tik and a Rathtarr, so it's definitely not hopeless.




3. what's up with the promised Disney Sandcrawler? Haven't bought a 3.75" scale sandcrawler since the 2004 Diamond Comics Exclusive version with 2 Jawas + Death Star Droid. I am ready for an update.

I complain about Hasbro marketing to fans, but they've got nothing on Disney. Disney rarely announces anything to collectors since there's no real infrastructure other than its Disney Parks blogs - which sometimes share news of new items - or panels at D23 or Star Wars Celebration. This means, right now, we don't know - we've never seen anything other than a silhouette, so unless a Disney insider is out there we won't know what's happening until it shows up, or if they decide to talk about it at a convention appearance.

Hasbro talks to us at Toy Fair, San Diego Comic-Con, and usually New York Comic Con at the very least. Plus HasCon when that happens.



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The Sail Barge trudges along, adding Canada to the countries where HasLab can ship. At Toy Fair, Hasbro representatives confirmed other brands - not Star Wars - would be next on the drawing board of the Barge is a success. As of my writing this it's almost halfway there - and the future could just as easily mean giant Marvel Legends before we see some weird classic figures or a Death Star out of it. Hasbro's decision to support this kind of product is a seismic shift from its usual way of doing things, which is to not sell direct to consumer. Why, I remember Walmart throwing a fit in the 1990s when HasbroCollectors.com imported a few toys and had a few exclusives. Now Walmart shrinks its toy aisles every few months and its Hasbro selection leaves me wanting, regularly. But let's talk about something ending soon - much more soon.

Star Wars Rebels ends its run this week. With some of George Lucas' fingerprints from The Clone Wars-era alongside what seems to be more Johnston and McQuarrie concepts, the show seems to have made a minimal impact on the saga at large. Hasbro and merchandising partners (well, other than LEGO) did a poor job promoting it. It was on a cable channel that a lot of people don't necessarily have, with pretty poor ratings. I love that they brought back Ahsoka and Rex and now the Mortis Force Gods to the mix, plus it's nice to see them bringing in Ruhk and Thrawn and the like too. I watched, but never quite loved the show. I caught up over the weekend, and the last two episodes did a decent job aping Indiana Jones much like the first few seasons made the most out of copying music, vehicles, and general themes from the original trilogy. We got to see some new mystical elements of the Force like a new dimension and what may well be the first proper time travel in the televised/filmed franchise, but 75 episodes with the same basic core cast has proven to be rather exhausting. The Clone Wars beat us over the head with turning nearly every episode into a 3+ parter by the show's end, but it did mix up who would get the focus and gave spotlight episodes to characters we rarely see. I mean, we got to see R2-D2 and C-3PO do things, we got to see Walter Matthau Frog lead D-Squad, and we even got to see Grievous' inner sanctum. With Rebels, I don't necessarily know that I walk away from it feeling any more enriched as a fan - if anything, I feel short-changed from the toys we didn't get and how much time we spent not really feeling that the Inquisitors amounted to anything. Or that Thrawn really had much of a grand purpose. Or really, why even introduce Darth Vader other than for Ahsoka?

As the show concludes I've heard from a few people about how the show was pitched, versus what it ended up providing. Characters meant to appeal to kids and be hugely popular got little screen time and even fewer toys. Major characters got significant redesigns with no toys or licensed products of any kind. Major characters went left unmade as toys. Now that there are going to be 5 Star Wars movies in 5 years, plus at least four seasons of a TV show, it seems Lucasfilm and its licenses (that aren't LEGO) are having a hard time keeping up with absolutely everything. We oscillate from too much Star Wars and then not nearly enough, with months going by with nothing to buy. We should be in the most glorious era of Star Wars synergy, and it seems like we're not. We got more interesting stuff more frequently from 2006-2012, but it was admittedly losing some steam after the final salvo of The Vintage Collection.

If you've never seen Rebels, I'd be hesitant to strongly recommend you watch it. (Conversely I'd insist, no demand that you watch The Clone Wars and even the two Ewok telefilms.) They did a pretty good job throwing in references to other parts of the franchise that fans love, but that was kind of the problem - the main cast rarely had moments to shine beyond archetypes, we saw hints at fun weirdness and nuance in those characters that never really came to be. Maybe we'll see it in the finale, but it never reached The Clone Wars' dizzying heights and bizarre lows. It's an even-keel show with serialized storytelling that never really reached beyond the generalities of "good guys vs. bad guys." The mystery of Ezra's parents appears like it may be up for resolution based on the coming episode title names, but everything else felt pretty neat and tidy. I'm glad they gave us another appearance by Lando, but I can't say that I would recommend plopping down and watching all of Rebels over, say, Star Trek Discovery. What is up with these prequels these days, anyway?

--Adam Pawlus

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