Q&A: Star Wars Solo, Toy Business, Casting, and Late Exclusives

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 29, 2018

1. Hi Adam, I just wanted to get your thoughts about an idea I had:

Solo Evolutions: a repackaging of the VOTC Han from ANH, the TVC ESB Bespin and VOTC ROTJ Endor Hans, and an all new TVC-style Solo young Han figure.

This pattern could be followed for Luke and Leia, and even if they are repack heavy, they’d be getting figures out to collectors for the first time in several years in some cases.

I love the idea in theory (not the specific example), but fans haven't really called out for more 3-packs like this - the "Evolution" concept was a sound one but some sort of thematic progression in the sets was dropped pretty swiftly - eventually it was just "three barely-related characters." Darth Vader got his due, and I guess you could argue Sith Lords through the ages, but we got things that were effectively just three random Rebel pilots. I can't imagine it would be worth Hasbro's while to do these in an era of $13 The Vintage Collection figures, neat as it would be.

I'm always a little dismayed when people write in calling for more repacks - in a few cases, I'd agree with you. Troopers. Darth Revan. But otherwise, the last thing I want is more of something I already have in the marketplace, and the notion of paying $40 for 3 figures - 1 of which is new - is the kind of thing that makes me question my life choices with regards to this hobby. Hasbro has mostly gotten away from that in recent years outside the odd exclusive boxed set, and for that I am grateful.

Things like this usually happen for business reasons, like someone at Hasbro going "OK so we're selling a lot of these $10 figures with extra articulation. How can we make a $20-$25 product appeal to this kind of customer?" Or "The $8 figure is good, what can we sell as a $15-$25 Birthday Present kind of a gift?" This is why you got the $40 Black Series Speederbike/Wampa/Tauntaun, the $50 Centerpiece, and the $60 Speeders/Dewbacks. It could just as easily have been a multipack - Hasbro wants to sell you a lot of different price points, and sometimes the multipack is the way they do it. Having said that, I'd flip my lid for a really cool "Then and Now" kind of a set. If they want to do something truly weird - say, 1970s-style Alden Han next to mega-articulated The Force Awakens Han - I'm in. I just don't want more of the same ever again.



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2. Has there been much conversation in the toy industry regarding the looming trade war with China?

I had to change this answer - things change in a hurry! Just this week Hasbro announced that they plan on moving production out of China. Hasbro has been experimenting with other regions for years, with most Transformers coming from Vietnam since 2014 or earlier, some Nerf and Pony going to India, some Play-Doh going to Mexico... Hasbro has been playing the field.

Given the mercurial nature of the current administration, any company would probably be wise to diversify its supply chain. A tariff could happen at any time for almost any reason, and things can change. With 2-6 years on the current president to go, it might not make sense to pull from China completely as the next administration may have a completely different relationship with the world's biggest population center.

As China's people excel in business, their taste for cars, homes, and consumer goods require higher wages - trade war or no, production costs in China have been rapidly increasing and regardless of who is in charge or what's going on, moving to other places is probably good business under any circumstances now. There's more money in electronics manufacturing in China for employers and employees, so finding another home for toys would be good for everybody's bottom line.




3. Hey! Any idea whats up with the Target exclusive Gammorean Guard? The rumor was he was supposed to be on sale Jun 15,but that date came and went without any retail sightings despite Target online putting up a page for him. Numerous people overseas have been finding him at EB Games,but so far nothing stateside-should we be worried?
-- Joseph

I wouldn't worry - rumors like this happen a lot, and quite often Hasbro (or a partner) just move the date. He's hitting more widely this week, so check a Target near you. Some figures show up overseas first, the reasons for which usually have to do with logistics that I doubt I should post about here - I've seen exclusives show up overseas before their intended American destination more than once for various reasons that aren't ideal. I can't imagine this item won't be around everywhere soon, recent history shows a lot of Target exclusives not only hit, but hit hard if you wait long enough. Just don't wait for clearance. This may be the first non-Greedo alien in the original trilogy segment of the line, and we want that to continue.



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Hey, Episode IX has a plan for a movie featuring its star, from outer space, being brought back to life using previously existing footage. Carrie Fisher being the new Bela Lugosi is somewhat weirdly fitting, and regardless of if it succeeds or not it's such an audacious idea I can't wait to see how it turns out. It also means they'll probably be using existing costumes, which means maybe we can get that 3 3/4-inch Resistance Vest Leia we still don't have. (Yes, everything is always about the toys.)

Now we know Luke and Leia and Lando are in on the movie thanks to casting news, and I don't consider casting news to be spoilers, so we should have something interesting to look forward to. Recorded messages from Leia smuggled in by Lando from the outer rim? Force Ghost Luke? I wish I could say the possibilities are endless, but thanks to characters being killed off and actors no longer being with us, there are limits to what we can expect as we see what may be a final showdown between Rey and Kylo Ren. I can't imagine they're really going to end the Skywalker Saga, as the family seems likely to be cursed to be the core of bloody civil wars spanning the galaxy. Even if Episode IX ends this part of the saga, I can't imagine we won't get Episode X in 10-20 years.

I hope it's a raging success and everybody loves it. And if not, well, at least we'll be able to make comparisons to Plan 9 during a hypothetical post-flop Star Wars refractory period. There's so much in development now that I would almost be tempted to start placing bets on which movies and television shows just don't make the cut.

--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.