Q&A: Star Wars Movies, Vintage Exclusives, and Future Findings

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 21, 2021

1. Preorders have been terrible with the vintage collection at big box stores. In particular the Incinerator Trooper and Mando two-pack. It seems that a lot of people had similar issues. Is this something where Entertainment Earth or another company could get them as another exclusive? I’ve never had a problem with EE and I would gladly give them all my money for preorders if they were available there.

Exclusives are exclusive - until, sometimes, they're not. Every store has their own way of doing things and they're really the only ones who can change how they do business - if they want to. I've had some issues with some recent exclusives at some stores, and I don't really have much I can say other than they're the ones you'll want to talk to about how they do their business.

The system is an imperfect one - sometimes there's enough supply, and sometimes there isn't. Sometimes they'll make more, and sometimes they won't. Exclusives and regular product have been in short supply pretty consistently for 25+ years, mostly because there's a really fine line between "too much" and "just barely enough" before things hang around and go on clearance. If you've read this feature on various sites for the last 20+ years, you know that the difference between "pegwarmer" and "rare" is if you got yours yet. People are cranky when the figures on shelf aren't what they want.

If it makes you feel better, a lot of toys from a lot of lines are in tight supply. When I peek in Walmart, I tend to see few (or usually zero) Transformers, Masters of the Universe tends to be almost exclusively Skeletor and He-Man in that order, and Star Wars tends to also be in incredibly short supply. This sounds like it is happening in lots of lines beyond just Star Wars, and it can take months and months between when a store says "I need more of this toy" to delivery if the manufacturer wasn't sitting on unsold supply. I would argue one of the big problems is that manufacturers' shorten product lifespan these days - a good item sold for 2 years in the 1980s, and sells for 2-6 months at a big box store since the early 2000s - so by the time you know you want more, it may be discontinued. That's not a dig at Hasbro, that tends to be an industry trend.



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2. Adam, now that Hasbro has announced its latest plans for TVC, I’m curious: does your job allow you to know stuff like this in advance? How much of the announcements are you privy to in advance, and does that include knowing what Haslab has planned before they announce it?

I can't say what I do and don't know a lot, but I can say Hasbro does offer a lot of surprises. Because I work at a store that launches items in conjunction with Hasbro, we have to know what's going up before it goes up just to do our jobs - how far in advance, well, that varies.

None of the HasLab items were officially revealed to me in advance. When it came to the Razor Crest, if you read old Q&As, I was speculating a lot that it would make a lot more sense to do than classic trilogy ships right now - and I was right! That was a lucky guess. The show was having a moment, and it's the kind of thing that is a great instant-collection-starter. Also, after the AT-ACT and BB-8 playsets, we've seen that Hasbro's $200 vehicles are too expensive to succeed at mass retail. Also more importantly, if I did know about a thing, I probably wouldn't be speculating about it here.

The same thing happened in the 1990s when I did my unofficial newsletter - some things were speculation, some things were leaks, some things were printed on documents someone left around that I or someone I knew happened to see. Eyes of Ganon are everywhere.




3. So, there's one new Star Wars movie promised without any details as to what it will be yet. Keeping in mind that whatever it is will impact what all of us will be collecting that year, what do YOU hope that untitled Star Wars film is about?

On an unrelated note, which version of Boba Fett from The Mandalorian do you think we'll get first in Black Series and/or TVC? If I remember correctly, there's the all-robes and no armor version, the sarlacc-pit-damaged armor version, and then the repainted armor version. I'd love either of the armored versions and it seems like those would be a sure bet for figures in both scales. What do you think? Or do you think Hasbro will wait to make a Boba modeled after whatever he's going to look like in The Book of Boba Fett?

The Rogue Squadron movie we do know about seems like a good place to start - Rebel pilots, X-Wings - so that's good. I'm not really feeling great about movies at this point, because the sequel films were ultimately able to leave a bad taste in the mouth of every single fan for different reasons. Rogue One was fine, and Solo felt like a pilot for a TV show I wanted to see. I'd rather have a streaming show because it offers more time spent in a story over weeks or months, rather than 2 weeks and down the memory hole.

It's hard to find a good or compelling story at this point. The re-taking of Mandalore would be good (provided it isn't on the small screen instead), and I think franchise filmmaking struggles with making a good movie that works as a stand-alone, not teasing something and not winking at you for the next thing. I'd be thrilled to see something involving the Hutts and/or the Fromm Gang but I'd struggle to give you a pitch of exactly what the story may entail. What made the original trilogy neat was a diverse set of environments - sleepy desert town & futuristic chrome space station, snowy wasteland & orange hellscape, decaying palace & forest - while playing an intergalactic game of cat and mouse while trying to overthrow a government.

If there was a story with Darth Vader and the Emperor pitting Jabba the Hutt and Sise Fromm against each other for some sort of intel to use against the Rebels, sure, I'd be up for that. But would that be good enough for a 2-hour movie? Probably not. It's way more exciting to see someone like Mando brush with fame and not know or not care what any of these significant, exciting things are. Or you could just make a quasi-comedy where Tig Fromm is the worst Steve Jobs in space.

I'm sure you know why I want the Fromm Gang involved.

Meanwhile, I would bank on the first Hasbro post-ROTJ Boba Fett being the final version we saw at the end of the season. But in all sincerity, I don't know what they're going to do for that new version of the character, but I assume the "when" is around the fall.

I hope they do them all - shared tooling and all - because they'll all sell.



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Be sure you send in your questions for the week after next. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in. We had some trickle in at the last minute this week, and we're good for the Patreon preview, but after that? Empty mailbag.

So what's new? Not a lot. You're continuing to order a lot of Star Wars figures, and the last in-person toy industry event was one year ago this past weekend. That's right - New York Toy Fair 2020 was one whole year ago. Hasbro did a surprisingly good job delivering pretty much everything of import they displayed, more or less on time, and are continuing to deliver more of some of the more popular items. The toy industry proved remarkably durable in the event of a horrible crisis that resulted in so much global tragedy, with people hungry for action figures, board games, art & creativity toys, cars, dolls, and lots of other stuff. (But I just read a thing about Playmobil's sales declining, which is disappointing but not entirely unexpected in the wake of Toys R Us' absence.)

Things aren't going on clearance - even the things I skipped because I thought I would wait for a sale (or just live without) sold out quite nicely, which is a wonderful thing for the industry. Higher-high-end-items are selling well, with the ThunderTanks and Snake Mountains and Razor Crests all seemingly doing good business. People want to buy stuff - they're not able to go on as many trips, or to the conventions, or to the theaters, but crowdfunding or pre-ordering cool toys are a thing you can still do.

Are more interesting things being announced this week? Yup! Can I say what any of it is? Nope! Stay tuned.

--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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