Q&A: Star Wars Shopping Holiday Edition

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, May 1, 2016

1. This is not a toy question but a movie question. My son told me the other night that he read on a web site that John Wayne provided the voice of Garindan in A New Hope. I told him I called BS on that and that I would need to see the article. I also told him that people get things wrong or misinterpreted all the time and to take it with a grain of salt. I said that in all my years of all things Star Wars I have never, ever heard that John Wayne had provided the voice. Of course he became incensed that I questioned his statement. He went to find a second source. He found one on Wookiepedia. Woookiepedia says that it was John Wayne's voice from stock audio and was processed greatly. Here is the link John Wayne

Like I said in the almost 40 years of Star Wars material and trivia I have never read or come across this tidbit. I would have thought at some point someone would have said at some point in the many specials and behind the scenes bits that are out they would have said "Hey, fun fact. John Wayne was the voice of Garindan.

Have you ever heard this? And is it true?

Since Wookieepedia sourced Star Wars Insider I basically have to say "Well, if they say it's true, it's true." (The Insider. Not Wookieepedia. They're great but this is a fan-run wiki which has the ability to make fast corrections and never-checked mistakes, such as at one point citing that a Juggaloo was something on the Droids cartoon.) Numerous audio easter eggs were peppered in these movies, as were visual things like dice or a clandestine shoe. As much as I'd love to hear the unprocessed clip, I've got no reason to deny it.



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2. My toys r us had the rancor set on clearance for $80. Is it worth it? What's updated in there?

In addition to production variations - like maybe one Rancor looks different from the next - I noticed mostly very minor variations. Jabba the Hutt seems to be a smaller toy made from the same files as the 6-inch one (that nobody bought), and is the reason most long-time collectors will want to buy this set. Reason #2 is most likely the aforementioned Rancor, which not only has some minor deco tweaks here but also had two flavors in the Legacy box. Odds are this isn't enough. The Gamorrean Guard's face has a slightly pinker pink, which may be worthwhile to you. Luke has slightly more dirt on his boots. He still has the wrong cloak. He'll always have the wrong cloak. Leia's eyes look a little bit better, but she lacks many key accessories from a previous release - so if you can squint at her in the stores, perhaps she would be a worthwhile improvement. C-3PO may look slightly dirtier from sample to sample, but that's most likely a figure-to-figure variation and not something you can count on.

If you can get it for $80 and don't have the figures in the box? It's a bargain. If you need the creatures, I'd say it's worthwhile. For Luke, C-3PO, and Leia? I wouldn't.

At this stage in the game I would advise anyone still collecting as a "completist" to rethink the value of this. With repacks and variants, you might be spending hundreds of dollars just to collect barely-changed versions of toys you already own. After thousands of figures, it's unlikely you can build a good display to show all your packaged or unpackaged figures anyway. (And if you do have a great system to show off the complete line of thousands of loose figures, please send me links to pictures, I want to see them.)




3a. I was just reading your April 24th Q&A, and I wanted to add a suggestion to the man looking for ideas on what to do with the 160 carded figures he got: donate them! When I pare down my collection, I sell off anything of significant value and donate the remaining unopened items to Toys for Tots or Goodwill. He’d get no cash for the donation (though he may be able to claim something on his taxes), but there is the knowledge that his toys will be going to kids who really need them!

3b. For unwanted Star Wars toys still in the package, I'd advocate saving them and donating to Toys for Tots. That puts them straight in the hands of kids who may not otherwise get plastic goodness over the holidays. Additionally, for those with the means, clear out some pegwarmers and donate those too. My wife and I shop all year long (mostly looking for items on clearance to stretch our giving), and then deliver a pile of toys in Dec. Especially since this week's question revolved around free toys falling into their lap, passing them on to kids is karmically awesome.

While I'm all for giving away things to those who need them, I'd still suggest trying to sell things off first. Not because of greed, but because I'd say you're better off donating modern toys that kids might want than near-worthless 20-year-old action figures from the last generation (or two generations ago) of fans who outgrew them. Raising capital to actually get kids the things they might want - which may not be Star Wars - is also a good thing. Safety requirements change over time - magnets in particular were a huge issue over the last decade - and there's really no way of knowing how long these toys will hold up. It's our game to preserve our collections for as long as possible, but it is absolutely worth remembering that plastics can break down with time. Things break and decay. If you want to give away new-ish figures to a holiday gift drive program, that's great, but it's easy to lose track of time with some of the older toys. The first prequel is 17 years old, the special editions were 19 years ago, and the first red-carded "modern" Kenner figures are 21 years old in two months. Are those stickers still sticky? Are those batteries still not leaking? And if something is broken, I'd bet money that Hasbro would laugh at someone calling for replacement parts.

Well, maybe not laugh - they're not monsters. Let's say an impish giggle could be offered up.

There's no harm in donating to Goodwill - I shop there from time to time to pick up weird old toys, records, and furniture and have seen Star Wars collections dumped there - but I'll always vouch for selling your collection to hardcore fans for $1 a figure before giving them away to an organization less concerned about finding them a good home. Just because giving your toys to a charity gives you all the feels doesn't necessarily mean it's the option that's going to do you - or them - the most good. But if you just want that crap out of your house, thrift stores are generally a decent option, in particular if the organization can sell it to fund the supplies or activities it needs that you presumably also support.




The "May the Fourth Be With You" thing (I hesitate to call it an event or a holiday) is this week, which is fascinating in that a lousy pun I heard a few years ago bounced around and became a corporate event to sell you more crap. Some companies have really nailed how to use it well, with gifts-with-purchase that are exclusive to that date. Others aren't so good about making sure there's a thing. And most retailers, they just flat-out don't care about street dates or launches all that much. Last week, we had the first Alien Day for April 26 - based on the planet LV-426. Now if you think that's kinda dopey, but not the Star Wars one, I assume you are someone with a fantastic sense of self-awareness. This particular catchphrase is brought up as a pillar of Star Wars marketing, which is kind of upsetting because there has been usually very little interesting new and exclusive and exciting to go with it.

The whole gambit is doubly interesting in how little is probably actually going to happen here. It would be a cute day to launch your new movie toy line, or some big thing. Or a trailer. Instead, it's just a little shopper's holiday not unlike Black Friday that you can see people chasing down trying to squeeze for meaning, but what are you really going to get out of it? LEGO might have a nifty bonus figure for you. Maybe Walmart will coincidentally put out the new exclusives you haven't found yet. When you get right down to it, it's another amazing little waste of time. Other companies (which shall remain nameless because I'm a nice guy) have had similar promotions - sometimes a day, sometimes an entire month - which face-planted because of a lack of an organized fandom parroting a joke to promote it. If the Star Wars catchphrase didn't beget the pun, this would have probably fizzled out during year two.

I'm betting that we'll probably see a new figure reveal in The USA Today this week, maybe a new trailer for Rebels or Rogue One, and possibly more pictures not unlike the leaked TMZ Episode 8 shots of the Millennium Falcon on Luke's planet from the end of the last movie. It's something. I wouldn't say it's exciting. Really, if they just held off on releasing the Blu-Ray until May 4, I think they'd have been on to something significant. I guess if nothing else, I'm going to be checking out Walmarts for whatever new thing they may or may not have out there.

--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.