Q&A: Star Wars Ghost Crew and International Dates

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 10, 2022

1. Recently I have been having good luck buying Vintage Collection figures, some of which are retailer exclusives here, from overseas retailers before they hit the shelves here in the states. It costs a little more due to the exchange rate but I don't have the hassle of dealing with pre orders selling out or product exclusive retailers canceling my orders months after I ordered the item. Do you know why these overseas retailers are getting these exclusives before the retailers here in the states or why this seems to be a much simpler ordering process?


Right now, it's entirely possible it could be faster to get your stuff from an overseas seller delivered to you in the USA depending on the whims of the cargo gods (no relation to cargo cults.) Delays to the USA are much more common as transit across the ocean has gone from being about 4-6 weeks to about 90 days, plus any other delays at customs. And truck shortages. And other logistics issues. It varies from item to item, but in the modern toy collecting history - that is to say, when people on the Internet write about this stuff - it's usually the USA that gets most sightings first. Once in a blue moon it's Canada or the UK, but Asia gets some early stuff too thanks to their being close to the factories. Or, you know, exactly near the factories. If you're a store in Hong Kong and all the product leaves the factory at the same time, odds are you're going to get your stuff first.

There are other possible reasons for this too, but there are more than a few items that are running late - some of which were meant to be on-shelf at a certain time, and some of those deadlines were missed. When you're dealing with boats the sizes of neighborhoods, COVID, customs, and goodness knows what kind of manpower issues, the "delays" we used to complain about are a walk in the park.



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2. While watching some random Rebels clips on YouTube, I came to wonder why to this day, we never saw any of the Rebels characters get the TVC treatment. Kanan is more or less a canon characger now, what with his voice being in ep9, so isn’t it at least a bit of an oversight to not have any of the characters in the line?


At the time, Rebels stuff was aimed squarely at kids and it was largely swept under the rug when the new movies hit. We got very few waves - those lines were in short supply, especially things like the Jedi Temple Guard - and there was no The Vintage Collection on the market while the show was new and fresh. Also, Hasbro largely ignored it by the third season. Disney and Lucasfilm were shifting to promote other things by then, and they never put a ton of weight behind the show as a toy thing. I'm not really surprised it hasn't been revisited, but I am still a little surprised we got the crew in The Black Series.

If the 3 3/4-inch line continues, I assume we'll get super-articulated figures for it eventually. The show's 10th anniversary is in 2014, and I wouldn't be stunned to eventually see a HasLab Ghost put on the crowdfunding block - at which time we'd also need some new figures to put in it.

I don't think it's an oversight at all - the show ended before TVC returned, so nobody at the House of Mouse has pushed for new product since there's no new media to coincide with it. There's so much non-movie Star Wars that hasn't been fully exploited yet. We haven't had The Vintage Collection Darth Revan yet, for example. I still hear from Shadows of the Empire-era kids who were left wanting more, and we haven't gotten a dang thing from it in ages. There still hasn't been a Guri figure. The hugely popular - and influential - Dark Forces left a lot on the table, too. Everybody has a favorite that's been left underexplored. For example, did you know that Hasbro has largely ignored the Fromm Gang from the Droids cartoon? I don't know if I ever mentioned it before.

It's also worth noting that Rebels fans may not necessarily be 3 3/4-inch figure fans - the show mostly appealed to Clone Wars kids who got older, and generally speaking many of the 3 3/4-inch hardcore crowd didn't always watch all of the TV shows. (Or any, other than recent live-action efforts.) The Black Series tended to appeal more toward a "fan" audience - which tends to be a lot younger than the "collector" audience. It doesn't mean there's no room for Rebels in The Vintage Collection, but if you look at an average year, there's not a lot of room for newness. Using one checklist's release dates for 2021, we got about 8 figures that I consider to be never-before-made as a 3 3/4-inch release out of about 30ish shipped single-carded figures. Statistically speaking, 30 single carded figures with 8 figures that don't already exist in your toy box in another costume is a pretty disappointing ratio and the vast majority of fans wanting a non-reissue, non-repaint figure will be disappointed with the results. That's no knock on Hasbro - with 30ish slots and a desire to keep issuing old tooling that still has demand, this sort of thing is going to be normal for a while.

Right now the focus seems to be reissues and The Mandalorian, with (I would argue) the latter getting depressingly few releases and barely enough to keep things interesting despite being a hugely popular show. Why we don't have an all-Mando line, I don't know, but I digress. The moral of the story is just because someone was in The Rise of Skywalker means nothing, because pretty much everybody has decided that movie doesn't exist.





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Another week, another drop - and the price increases are here. Hasbro's increasing prices across the board - that's not just Star Wars, but everything - and freight is a big part of that. It costs like $18,000ish for a container from China to the USA - it was $2,000 or so pre-pandemic. There's also cost of materials, domestic freight rate increases, and a lot of other ins and outs that have nothing to do with the size of toy, or the articulation, or any of that stuff. I can't speak for all stores but I can say - because you can see it and verify - new orders for new items (and new orders for some older items) have gone up at a few stores in the last week, plus new exclusives have started to creep up to the point where I'm dialing back what I buy. It's not because I can't afford it - I just don't want to spend hundreds of dollars for things that make me shrug.

This isn't to say there's nothing interesting on the horizon - it feels like there's more stuff than ever coming up, and there's a lot of awesome stuff coming in the future that you know about. And a lot you don't. I'm incredibly excited to get Boba Fett's Throne Room next year, and as the collection increases in size I'd much rather have that occupying space in my home than another shelf of 6-inch guys. (And I like the 6-inch guys... I just find they don't do much other than hang out for photos.) Seeing some new The Vintage Collection figures like the Mandalorian Super Commando and Airborne guys make me think that maybe, just maybe, there's hope for the smaller future. (Still no red Imperial Stormtroopers, though.) It's great that Hasbro found a way to deliver a bigger (and for some, more satisfying) action figure that can bring in the bucks, and I really hope those 6-inch guys eventually make it to 3 3/4-inch. (Kreel? C'mon, that's neat.) But I've also got a swell 3 3/4-inch Saw Gerrera that does't get a lot of attention, and while his 4-pack is now $37.99 on Amazon as I write this, it's still almost the same price as the 6-inch Saw figure coming next year. (No elbows on the little guys, but you get 3 other figures in the box.)

There's so much out there that I assume those who specialize are much happier, because now that I've actually started skipping stuff I don't want, there's a lot more stuff I don't feel an urge to buy. Walgreens' 212th Battalion Clone Trooper is finally starting to hit stores - but do I need to upgrade my Entertainment Earth exclusive model from a few years ago, or should I just be happy with the one I got? I'm contemplating the latter, which feels very out of character for me.

I just want a lot more newness. I assumed the TV shows and new movies would mean we'd be getting new stuff all the time, but that seemed to end around late 2017... but at least we have stuff we can watch.

--Adam Pawlus

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