Q&A: Star Wars Jedi Returns 40 Next Year, Prototypes

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 12, 2022

1. Just saw the announcement yesterday [May 27, 2022] at SWCA about a new Retro line from the new Obi-wan series.

Will we ever get to the Jedi line before Hasbro switches over to the bubble-free figure cards?

We've had a delay in the Jedi release so Hasbro could make two waves of Mando Retro figures.

Do you think they're waiting for the 40th anniversary of Jedi to finally make these?


That would be my guess. We don't know, but given Kenobi is due out later this year I doubt they'd consider putting out Return of the Jedi (unless it's an exclusive) before the 40th anniversary. So far we've seen Hasbro change the bulk of its Transformers collector product to plastic-free packaging, and we've seen a lot - but not all - of Marvel Legends switch over. The only Star Wars collector stuff that seems to have changed over are the "deluxe" figures, and I assume that was probably done for cost/obfuscation of how much air is in there/because it's a new price point and there's not much precedent.

It may not seem like it, it's been a couple of years since we got the 2020 The Empire Strikes Back Retro wave at Walmart. Star Wars was kind of an out-of-left-field thing outside of an anniversary year. (As is its reissue, which is surprisingly still in stock.) I get no money from that link, but if I were me I'd want to know I could still get it (and I hope they reissue ESB too.)

Hasbro has yet to announce any Return of the Jedi retro figures. While I would assume they'd be a fine 2023 product, no announcement has been made. I would hope they drag their feet on Retro and make that the very last sub-line that changes over to the plastic-free packaging format, but Hasbro has yet to make its internal switchover mandates public and we don't even know if they're going to bother with a wave for Return of the Jedi. Or The Power of the Force, or Ewoks, or Droids. But I would assume they would and should, because a Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker seems necessary for hanging out with Mando and Grogu.

So far Hasbro seems to be sticking to about 15 (or fewer) figures per year for this range, give or take. This year we're looking at two 6-figure waves, 1 Amazon 2-pack, and 2 Target "prototypes" (with variants) that I know of. It would be my hope they buck the trend and shoot for slightly more, but in the old days we got about 96 carded figures over 8 years - about 12 per year. As much as I'd love to see at least 20 per year, at least I'm not feeling burned out or exhausted by the current clip.

The Mandalorian figures in The Retro Collection have been my absolutely favorite figures released in quite some time. While late 2021/early 2022 The Vintage Collection are the most technically proficient, only the Kenner-style guys are getting me to haul out my old Mini-Rigs and play around, which is a powerful thing to experience at my age.



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2. Saw another reveal of yet another multi-colored prototype [The Retro Collection exclusive] figure.

The first one was kinda novel in theory, but now shoveling out another type of figure every year we didn't ask for is irritating.

When Hasbro does Q&As, does anyone ever ask them to stop? Whenever I see an announcement for these, collecting forums emit a collective groan.


Collector forums reflect that community - or really, those who choose to speak in that community - and not necessarily the greater fabric of who buys this stuff. All that BB-8 stuff wasn't bought by old guys who've collected for decades. People complain about more kid lightsabers, and those things sell well. All you can keep doing is not buying things you don't like, and given all the variants baked in to these prototype figures you don't really need to be concerned if they're not your cup of tea - completists are going to buy multiples just to get one of everything, anyway. Hasbro produces enough stuff to keep fans spending thousands of dollars each year if they're all-in. There's a lot of pressure to reuse tooling and keep costs down, so if you see something you don't like, keep not buying it, and be glad you aren't stuck with something you don't want. When it comes to toys I'm very pro-free-markets, and if something sells that I hate, I (occasionally begrudgingly) applaud them for their successes. I really hope most people still buying this stuff love - or at least like - their purchases. With current gas prices and everything else, if a collectible or figure isn't to your liking, express your disdain with your dollars.

It's not up to collectors what Hasbro makes, so they don't really ask for anything. Target's exclusive program largely goes pretty well, even as the line ramps up to more metallic figures, repaints, and otherwise not-too-different releases. (I admit, I bowed out of the prototypes after Boba/Stormtrooper. Maybe I'll pick up Chewie if I see one in the wild!)   I like them a lot more than 3 3/4-inch Carbonized figures, but those sold out too, so who am I to judge?

"Don't buy it, then" is pretty much all I can say at this point. Hasbro made a $500 Lightsaber - I'm glad 1,030 people love it so far. I just don't think I want to spend $500 on a thing that isn't a giant action figure dollhouse. But I also don't want to pay $120 for 3 more Paz Vizla repaints, and your not wanting to spend $16-$100ish for prototype repaints is fine too - leave 'em there, someone else may want them. And if they don't, they go on clearance, and they stop getting made eventually, and bottom feeders like me may buy them at that point.

I know some people who hate the Kenner-style Mando guys, and they're welcome to their opinions. I mightily disagree as they're my absolute favorite thing. I get to drag out the MTV-7 and have myself a great time on my desk while working, while I find a lot of the super-articulated reissues from old molds to be something of a chore to play with thanks to the awkward hip joints and (by modern standards) iffy sculpts. But some people really love them - so I hope they keep getting the ones they want.  Time, money, and your frustration are important things to weigh against your personal frustration.  And there's no shame in quitting if the line makes you angry.





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I'm on a retro kick. (Do you have any old Fisher-Price Adventure People stuff for sale? Solicitations welcome.) I picked up some cheap weird baggie Marvel Hasbro stuff on eBay - reviews to follow. I have been playing around with a lot of Kenner original toys and what some of the kids derisively refer to as the 5POA era vehicles - which are really neat. I never really counted just how many "mini-rigs" they made during The Clone Wars line - Hasbro could probably recolor those and sell them as new The Retro Collection vehicles in Mini-Rigs boxes. (With new colors I'd buy. That mini Y-Wing remains awesome.) There's a whole lot of really cool stuff out there, but some of it got expensive - but thankfully, not all of it.

In conversations with fans, I regularly hear people say "they should finish releasing the original 12 Kenner figures" followed with "and then the entire line." In theory I agree - I'd love to see a "remastered" Kenner line much like what Mattel has done for Masters of the Universe Origins, giving dads a kid line to buy with their children. Straight-up reissues of the originals seems a little less necessary in some cases. Sure, there are some that are worth an arm and a leg and reissues would be lovely for the new fans, but if you want old 1970s and 1980s figures now you can get some for roughly what Hasbro might charge for a reissue.

Collecting old toys doesn't have to be expensive. Just a cursory glance on eBay show The Emperor for a buck plus shipping (no cane), Hammerhead for $10-$20, the previously worthless 8D8 (as seen in Book of Boba Fett!) for $10-$15, and you can score cloth cape Jawas (no gun) for under $20. Considering that new deluxe The Vintage Collection figures are pushing $30, you could also help yourself to some awesome pieces of leftover toy history for roughly the price of a pizza. You can get a 1983 General Madine delivered to your door (no pointer) for around $10. Considering that shipping an action figure with a tracking number via USPS is $3.50-$4, and gas to the post office is $1-$2 for most people, and tape isn't free, I'm kind of surprised people aren't picking up these cheaper Kenner vintage figures left and right. After all, they're legit - nobody is bootlegging General Madine. There's no money in it. Nor is there in Salacious Crumb, because Kenner made more of him than Jabba sets and huge storage units of thousands of units showed up a few years ago - after showing up in the late 1980s. He's around $15-$20, but for the real deal, that's not bad.

The entire collection would be very expensive, but if you just want those delightfully weird off-model Cantina Hammerhead, red Snaggletooth, Greedo, and Walrus Man figures, you can probably get a set of them for $40-$50. If Hasbro made new ones tomorrow, they would be $12 each. Now when I was a kid they were worth $1-$2 because nobody cared in the late 1980s and early 1990s... and in the mid 1990s, for a lot of the cheaper guys, but the super-common weird figures remain quite affordable.

I assume that anyone who is still reading my stuff has probably been doing so for a while and is in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, but for any younger fan who didn't pick these guys up back in the day - it's not too late. There are also some pretty decent 1990s Power of the Force guys that won't set you back too much if you like their levels of charm. A lot of fans have written off the hundreds of figures from the late 1990s due to their proportions, but I wouldn't write them off so quickly - the aliens look great, and some of the armored figures are pretty excellent. You can do better for Leia, Han, and Luke... but that first Tarkin figure is surprisingly decent, and it's the only Return of the Jedi Mon Mothma figure we've ever received. Having said that, I'd still direct you to the original Kenner stuff, but people dump their 1990s collections for cheap all the time so if you're willing to buy a bunch of stuff at once you can get quite a bargain and some perfectly nice Star Wars toys for a fraction of what Hasbro sells new ones for today. A quick search shows a lot of closed auctions with lots/collections averaging $4-$5 for a packaged figure. For a fun diversion, or perhaps a replacement for that $30-$40 carbonized figure, you can pick up some surprisingly entertaining (but, obviously, not valuable) toys right now without a 12-18-month wait on that pre-order.

Obviously I'm not saying give up the new stuff - Hasbro's newest The Vintage Collection molds are the very best we've ever seen, and I don't think it's possible to talk me out of new The Retro Collection characters - but if you want something to play with while you're waiting for those pre-orders, don't forget that the recent Y-Wing Scout Bomber (with Kanan figure!) is only about $20-$30, delivered to your door (via eBay.) I love that goofy ship. If you want two unrelated recommendations from me, I'd say get yourself a 1979 Hammerhead and that Y-Wing Scout vehicle. You're welcome.

--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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