Q&A: Star Wars Stretch Goals, and Exclusive Things

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 22, 2020

This week in Q&A - Stretch goals! Hasbro gave us a lot - but you want more! Elusive exclusives - that's the way it is. Surge overkill - are there just too many exclusives to hunt all at once, too? (Yes.)

Be sure you send in your questions for next time. Read on!

1. The backing of the Razor Crest wildly exceeded anyone's expectations, getting nearly 29,000 backers instead of the target 6,000 from Hasbro.

No doubt Hasbro had been watching the increasing tallies, but at 7,000 they stopped offering us extra features.

Wouldn't it have been better if they said, "You fans reached 7,000...if you hit 10,000 you'll get something awesome!" and then keep doing it until the deadline?

Given that the escape pod was visible from the very first renderings - just not called out - I assume the ship itself was always locked from the word go. It would probably be more trouble to redesign it to remove that element - all subsequent unlocks were really add-ons. The Child, a stand, Carbonite blocks, and the Jawa were all sorts of "but wait - there's more!"

I think they didn't expect 29,000 - the Marvel X-Men Sentinel didn't get that high, and neither did the Barge. There's a lot of talk about how fans have extra money now that they're no longer going to the movies, or going on vacation, or going to fan conventions. $350 isn't a big ask in light of that, provided that you're still employed. Given the relative scarcity of The Mandalorian 3 3/4-inch figures and that this is the first realistic 3 3/4-inch The Child figure, this is a pretty compelling product. It's like getting a Falcon with Han Solo and Chewbacca - it's just a good gift set with lots of extra goodies inside.

I hope Hasbro builds on it. My biggest complaint over the last few years (when it comes to the new stuff) is that lines start and just fizzle - this ship won't be as much fun without more figures and creatures and vehicles to go with it. I really do hope they put out more toys to use with it as we go - or a HasLab expansion pack, if they're squeamish.



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2. Any idea on what's going on with the Walmart exclusive Star Wars Black Series Ashoka Tano wave? I've seen reports that they were coming as an assorted Star Wars floor displayer. I've been visiting my area Walmarts religiously but to no avail. What gives?

At press time, pre-orders are shipping - I've received both Mandalorians, and one Clone Trooper. Ahsoka Tano hasn't shipped as of my writing this. I have heard of floor displays but haven't seen any yet - it would not surprise me if they were only coming to retail in store displays due to the fact the packaging seems to indicate they are solid cartons, not assortments like regular figures. (Most exclusives come this way - but rarely does a store get four at once.)

I would probably sit back and wait for a couple more sightings, or bookmark (and repeatedly check) the Walmart.com pre-order pages - a lot of those items from July haven't shipped yet, but come in stock and ship for non-pre-orders to. I have no idea why this is, other than they must have weird software.

For the curious: both the Mandalorian Super Commando and Mandalorian Loyalist are excellent figures based on the Jango Fett buck - there are a few new parts, and these are slightly more ornate than the animation models in that they have those tubes on the gauntlets. I hope Hasbro mines The Clone Wars and Rebels for every Mandalorian variation they can do, because there are tons and my guess is they'll all sell. The Clone Trooper is the new 2020 mold - same as the grey-marked Kamino trooper from a couple of waves back.




3. I 100% understand the necessity of exclusives for retailers but is it safe to say that it may be "out of control" for Hasbro 6" Product line?

This is a link to the "official" check list for Hasbro https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0169/6995/7440/files/SW-Checklist-9_25_20_FINAL.pdf

There is a FULL PAGE for 6" exclusives; not to mention other products listed in other categories. I agree the idea of a "completionist" is a long-dead thing, for the most part. Is this the future for Star Wars toys....50% at retail and 50% exclusive to drive people to certain retailers?

What you offer (and when, and at what price) can change completionists real quick. With some of the rumors and not-so-rumored things, and my aversion to repaints that exist solely to be collectible, it's a lot easier to say "nevermind" when there are hundreds of dollars worth of things that will not make me happy. But they're making others happy - and maybe they'll go on clearance. And maybe not.

If you're a manufacturer, exclusives are a dream. Retailers clamor for them, and generally take 100% of the run of an item - no risk, no fuss. If you had a customer that says "I will buy literally every unit you make of this" you'd probably want to take them up on it. (Granted, sometimes after a while those items get opened up elsewhere - but that's good, too.)

Since the mid-00s, exclusive products for Hasbro Star Wars have often been easier to find than regular assorted figures. Target has unique DPCIs for exclusives so you can pinpoint what you want, and where, as opposed to merely knowing a thing is in stock or not. It would be disappointing for your Wedge quest to result in a Jannah, or vice-versa.

I don't know that it's too much stuff, but it's more of a kind of stuff that I don't want. Given the weird market, with some manufacturers shutting down, and some retailers closing their doors, there's a lot of uncertainty. Exclusives are the kind of thing you can count on a bit more as a manufacturer, and as a retailer. You're getting that entire run to sell at your store, and/or you're selling that entire run to one guy. If it's a good item, it'll sell.

Having said that I do think it's goofy to make really good stuff anybody's exclusive. The Walmart The Clone Wars wave is impossibly good, with new tooling and army builders that I hope will be offered for months (or years) to come. Meanwhile, the Credit Collection, Holiday Editions, and Carbonized figures are sort of good exclusives - easy to do, no new tooling, shockingly popular, and if a fan misses them they may not be terribly upset.

I'm also happy to see Target getting the Disney theme park exclusives without having to buy the boxed sets - the $70+ boxed sets, which I bought at full price, with duplicate figures I didn't want or need. Not every release is going to delight every last fan, but a lot of people are really happy with some of the things rolling our right now. It's a lot - but I can't fault it. (But it's certainly too much of the same thing at once for my wallet, especially with the Razor Crest being a far more interesting piece.)



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Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in.

When it comes to the future of collectible toys, you need original ideas. Failing that, you need to rip off your legacy. Mattel's done a pretty great job cashing in on its legacy with $14.99 Masters of the Universe Origins figures, which postulates "Will people buy retro figures if they add knees and elbows but also cost three times as much as the originals?" The answer so far seems maybe - they're showing up and starting to hang a bit, but they're still new too.

I assume they won't, but I'd love to see Hasbro take this direction. 1980s-style figures with knees and elbows - be they 3 3/4-inch, or upsized to 6-inch with the old-school sculpting - could be a fun weird diversion, and a way to remake the entire vintage line in a digestible, collectible format. It might be odd to have 1978 Han Solo with a right arm that can be straight - but hey, it'd be fun! Those old figures are iconic - well, most of them are - with a built-in audience who would buy and re-buy them in new formats and new cardbacks.

Right now the future for kids seems to be Mission Fleet, which I haven't picked up yet and have heard mixed reviews as figure/vehicle compatibility goes. I still think the way to go is to start a format with the original vintage characters on some sort of vintage-style packaging with the intent of remaking the entire original line - possibly with variant cardbacks - to get people interested in (and capable of) completing a set of something. The 40th Anniversary lines are too far spread out, and with The Empire Strikes Back, inconsistent as to their intent having switched from the original 12 to bouncing around and making up new figures. It would be great to see a showcase for that original line being reproduced in some format - bigger, smaller, more articulated - so people could just buy into it and get a set some day. We've come close a few times, but Gentle Giant's 12-inch upscaled figures were too expensive and too space-intensive to consume in their entirety. (But cool. Very cool.)

The success of any figure format is likely tied to character selection - pick the right thing, and it sells. Have you seen a lot of Boba Fetts or Darth Vaders or Mandalorians hanging around lately? Not as such.

--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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