Q&A: Star Wars Variations, Rogue One, and Hoarding

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 5, 2017

1. Do you think Hasbro missed an opportunity to not pack a carded Ep IV Leia with their latest wave instead of reissuing animated Rebels Leia? Yes it would have been a repack anyway (but carded this time) and a probable spoiler given how early it would have been announced, or might they be holding her back to re-release in conjunction with 40th anniversary plans?

What does Hasbro know and when did they know it?

In the era of reshoots and secrets - and boy howdy, did they keep this secret - it wouldn't surprise me if Hasbro didn't necessarily know that Leia would appear for sure, or how she would look. Lucas/Disney do keep some things secret, and I do believe some of the entries for Vader (Rogue One) identified him as an Episode IV version of the character specifically - either because it was close enough, or because they didn't want to spoil the cameo, or perhaps they read the same rumor sites we do for some of this stuff. From having been in the business part of this stuff, I don't think it's a huge secret that for some of these movie launches, even the licensees don't know the actual names of certain characters - they can guess, sure, but sometimes they have placeholders and not everybody knows who or what that chrome Stormtrooper dude was.

I don't assume Hasbro knew Leia was, for sure, going to be in the movie. Rumors were going around since the premise of the movie was revealed, so they could have placed that bet.

Disney also could have said "No, you can't make anything" because unlike Vader appearing in the movie trailers, you didn't see Leia until you saw the movie. (And if you didn't see the movie yet, you've had a month and a half so stop reading this and go tomorrow.)

Hasbro did release a classic white Leia in 2015 in a 2-pack with Han Solo. They also had a 6-inch one out around the movie. It ain't perfect, it is what is, and we'll know a lot more about this year's plans in about two weeks. As you no doubt recall, Hasbro and Kenner haven't generally been very generous with Leia figures.



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2. Do you hear much about hoarding Star Wars fans? There are so many collectibles across the spectrum. Are there support groups for these fans? Thanks,

Considering what some of us do, I'm a little surprised that it generally doesn't get wrapped up in hoarding. On an episode of Judge John Hodgman, he made a distinction on collecting versus hoarding as follows.

Collecting is when you have a large number of items, curated, and displayed in a pleasing way - often to show others.

Hoarding is when you have piles of crap everywhere and it's not properly maintained. (The incoming vs. displayed items have put me more in this column as of late.

Considering the reality of collecting - basically, as you age it's not uncommon for stuff to be crammed in a paid storage unit or an attic - I guess that's up for debate. I've never heard from a collector who really "had a problem," but I have heard people amass a huge collection, sell it off, and start over again for one reason or another. This strikes me as odd, although this particular pattern seems to come up when someone needs money for some other thing - bills, cars, school, and so on.

From most toy collectors, it seems there are often self-correcting mechanisms. For example, items get really valuable so people sell off stuff to fund new purchases. Also, better versions of a toy get made so people sell off their older versions to which they have no emotional connection. This may be why you keep the ripped-up and worn-down Darth Vader from 1978 but don't think twice about selling anything from 1995-2006.

With Disney, Hasbro, and Lucasfilm colluding to keep toys coming for the indefinite future it's certainly a concern I have. I'm in this 9 years longer than I expected, and when I started collecting the modern line in 1995 I assumed that, with one whole new trilogy of movies, it might get to 200 or even as high as 300 figures since the 1978-1985 offering was just barely over 100. I'm not good at prognostication.




3. I was happy that Hasbro decided to re-release the Ahsoka Tano and Emperor's Royal Guard in the 3 3/4 inch Black Series Walmart exclusives.

My questions is:

Are there any differences from TVC counterparts? Also would you have any news of more TVC action figures being re-release in the Black series 3 3/4 inch Black series?

Yes - but your mileage may vary if you notice them or if it matters.

The cut of the fabric, and its texture, on the Emperor's Royal Guard were enough for me to shell out again for this figure. Without a side-by-side comparison, you probably wouldn't even be aware they were different. The 2016 Walmart The Black Series boxed version isn't as fuzzy/fluffy as the 2012 The Vintage Collection carded counterpart. You'll also notice differences in the face under the helmet, but they're generally minor and can probably be at least partially rolled up under batch variations.

Ahsoka's deco is similar, but I am unsure if it's all of the faces being a smidgen different or a case-by-case basis. I'd say if you're happy with your existing Ahsoka, you should feel zero nagging completism peer pressure to get the new one. Her colors are slightly different, but it could just be variations in mixing up the plastic batch on a given day, or the older version fading with exposure to light, the universe, and everything.



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Oof! What a week! The 6-inch Baze and Chirrut figures are making the rounds, and they're good. Real good. I'd argue some of the best humans Hasbro has done in The Black Series 6-inch line. Nobody's saying "perfect," but what Hasbro can deliver on a good day remains amazing. Chirrut has a lightbow with 3 points of articulation, while Baze has a weird thing to plug on his belt, a backpack, and a great blaster. If you only get two more 6-inch figures this year, these would be good choices. Reviews a-coming. Later. (I've had to bank a lot of stuff for Toy Fair - as you may have noticed, we're a one-man operation now and preparation is everything.)

Yesterday was one of the biggest events of the year as television goes, which is always a treat for me. The streets empty. Restaurants empty. Wait times decrease. Really, it's about as good as life gets - I love that people who enjoy sports get an event that provides entertainment for much of the country. I also appreciate that everyone clears out for a day. Everybody wins here - I hope this happens with other sporting events some day, if and when NBA, NFL, and MLB decide to whittle down their series to a single game. Just think of the ratings! Just think of the advertising opportunities! Just think of how quickly I'll get a table somewhere!

Toy Fair is under two weeks away and boy howdy do I (have to claim to) not know what to expect. There are loads of opportunities for first-reveals, but given the increasingly and bizarrely street date-driven toy lines, who knows? We're seeing dates applied to decades-old toy updates that have nothing to do with current entertainment projects, so meh. Who knows. At least Super7 is cranking out new M.U.S.C.L.E. mini-figures. I just got ALIEN and am enjoying those - Street Fighter II are on order, and I'm kind of hoping they get the license to bring over BanDai's new Kinnikuman sculpts coming out in Japan. I don't assume we'll see Star Wars in this format, but I'm hoping. Right now "tiny" and "cheap" are requirements for any and all new toy lines I collect - I don't have the space to do a new action figure line thanks to the seeming immortality of Star Wars in multiple sizes. Also Transformers seems bent on getting larger. Thank goodness someone's keeping it small.

Indie fans, The Outer Space Men put out glow-in-the-dark Gemini over the weekend - so get that. Astrodite is coming, but no date has been announced yet. (Yes I'm keeping up on these. Someone help me.)

Oh, and speaking of messaging people who don't read this column - new Damaged Bug and Pissed Jeans albums are due over the next month and change!

--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.