Q&A: Star Wars Pricing and Floors and Acolyte Ramblings

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 9, 2024

1. Was the Haslab cantina not having a floor mat was an oversight or a careless omission?

I had another question scheduled but this seemed important. The short answer: I don't know why Hasbro opted to not include a floor but I have a guess.

Since the playset has modular components, not all fans will have the same configuration, and it's possible a generic floor may not be something they wanted to do - or even thought about, given that their track record on floors in The Vintage Collection are mixed. If they want to give fans the option to display it more "open" or spread out, there may not be a specific correct configuration and as such, they don't want to force you into a specific build. But a lot of us want a specific build.

Boba's Palace, the Cloud City Freeze Chamber, and the Tantive IV all have floors. And Boba's palace is lacking the most famous part of the floor, with the Rancor Pit grate. The Nevarro Bar, Endor Bunker, Jabba's trophy room don't have floors. Not knowing who sketched it out or what budget priorities there were, they decided 100 tiny glasses for a couple dozen figures tops was more important. I disagree - most likely you could use the cups you already got from existing figures, or capped it out at around 20-30. But that's where the budget likely went.

That doesn't mean Hasbro can't do one. We've seen backdrops made out of packaging cardboard inserts before - Hasbro could make a sandy cardboard pattern that unfolds and you can put under the playset without changing up the budget too much since they're going to do a box regardless. They could make a Cantina floormat. And if they don't, someone else will.



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2. Do you believe the new Star Wars Figure line (Hero Series) already being marked down from $9.99 to $7.99 is any indication that people just don't want this line of figures? They seems plentiful at every Walmart & Target I go to; alas the Vintage are nowhere to be found at times.

We've seen this sort of thing happen in pre-pandemic times - prices go up, sometimes prices go down, and I see this a lot with their kid product. All of a sudden a Nerf blaster is $5 cheaper - and it's still a good seller. Hasbro would probably be in a better position to tell you why, I'm not being coy here, I really don't know.

I am not all-seeing, but it seems to be turning over and Hasbro seems to have wiggle-room in the pricing of a lot of its products. Mattel makes Hot Wheels that are $1.25, some are $4.99, some are $79.99... you'd have to ask them the whys. $7.99 seems more in line with what other players are doing these days (heck, even Hasbro has 12-inch figures for about the same price) so I would say it's probably a more appropriate course correction. They can test and learn, but what they might find out is that the product offering is too small to gain momentum. I think they're neat figures, but when it comes to Vintage I still see stores with 8 or more Lando figures from 2021.

If anything it makes a case for a Retro price drop, which we probably aren't getting - but then again, The Phantom Menace set debuted at a cheaper-than-expected $59.99 and supposedly is being marked down if you scan it. (I haven't seen one to scan in weeks.)

Vintage has problems - a lot of the waves hitting stores around here are second or third or fourth or fifth versions of characters fans may have, so there's no urgency to buy Yet Another Grogu or yet Another Generic Blue Mando Warrior or Hey Didn't I See Axe Woves for 75% Off at Target Recently? That's probably another topic, but I'm not seeing bare pegs here - there's unsold product around town.





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In case you missed it, I have some ramblings on that new HasLab Cantina.

If you haven't seen it, it's worth noting The Acolyte aired this week and is set about 132 years before the original film, Star Wars. The discourse is as you've come to expect - but as a wiser judge than I has stated, people like what they like. And honestly, we do have an issue of accepting things that weren't part of our growing-up. I think it was "Weird Al" Yankovic who, when asked what his best album was, said "the one that came out when you were 13." Star Wars may be somewhat similar in that it's really going to be difficult for people to lock in with something new after they're 25. Not impossible - The Mandalorian really made a lot of adults happy, but my goodness that's hard to do and by all accounts The Acolyte hasn't (yet?) done it.

You've no doubt seen the reviews and it's a weird place to be as a fan. Right now, we've seen 2 episodes. Critics have seen 4. None of us have seen all 8, so we're all reviewing a story that's barely halfway over at best. The decompressed storytelling we used to get in comics - one story becomes six, because of the trade paperbacks - has been eating away at television so no matter what you're not going to get your money's worth. Sometimes a show will give you some episodes that stand alone well - Strange New Worlds or the first couple of The Mandalorian seasons in particular. Watching what should be a movie play out over eight weeks gives fans way, way too much time to think. Imaginations will run wild mid-exposition and we'll have six whole days to think about what we just watched, which isn't how TV had gone for most of our lives and rarely was how movies went. You got a story, it ended, then you get to think about it. And now you are in a position for the entire world to check in every 12.5% of the way, which is just a dreadful way to entertain the masses. I assume the whole will be pretty good - but right now, I'm not exactly on board. I also don't hate it. But I'm not having fun.

The show itself has a murderer's row of talent, with many faces from beloved and/or excellent streaming series. That's good! The costumes all look like stuff that fell out of the prequels... which isn't necessarily bad, but it's unfortunate to have someone really cool like Charlie Barnett show up, and his figure would basically be Obi-Wan with a new head. That's more or less a Selfie Series proposition. Heck, I wonder if that's why the new Jedi have gloves! (OK that's a bit ridiculous but only slightly ridiculous to think show costumes could be determined by future tooling reuse in a now-defunct consumer product program. But I digress.)

Much like Solo: A Star Wars Story, I would say this is entertaining and no worse than a pretty good Star Wars comic book. If you're not already on-board with the whole Jedi thing I don't think this is going to win over a ton of new fans, at least not until citizens of the future can binge the whole thing and see it as a whole rather than trying to judge a painting by seeing a corner of it.

But what's really important, is the merchandising. There's not much from Hasbro yet, I am unaware of anything from Mattel, and I'm unaware of LEGO doing anything as of my writing this. Every few years fans tell me they're drawing a line in the sand - maybe "no prequels!" or "no Disney!" or whatever, but a new era of characters could be something that inspires another "skip" for fans. Seeing how most shows give us incomplete casts in any scale, I assume people are going to drop off pretty quickly unless there's a follow-up show or a program to really keep this era going. But in 2024, that's entertainment - 8 episodes of anything where it starts and ends in under 2 months struggle to sustain a thriving merchandise program.

But if you're grumpy, we've got a new game trailer, we've got a new Cantina crowdfund, it's not like we're short on things to potentially (eventually) enjoy. I can live with delayed gratification but I'd also like some instant gratification once in a while - it's hard to be pleasantly surprised these days.

--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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