Q&A: Star Wars Vehicles and Retro Could Be Marvelous

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 18, 2024

1. Well, that was more of a shock than a surprise. Hasbro released a new (non-mold-reuse) vintage collection ship. And, it was an E-Wing of all wings. Being a fan of ships, I voted yes with my hard earned dollars. Do you think Hasbro is testing the waters for more of the less common ships? (cough) Tie Defender by Grand Admiral Thrawn. (cough) Or, a sinister (exaggeration) plot to keep the fan base guessing? As always, none-of-the above is still an option.

What surprised me was how it's being sold - as a one-month pre-order with an ETA of December. That's how Super7 did its Ulitmates! figures (admittedly not always hitting the target dates) and also how Hasbro handled Boba Fett's Throne Room playset. It's not a bad way to do things - sadly it cuts out all the other retailers, but it does eliminate much of the risk. If you deliver quickly, people won't cancel the pre-orders (or their credit cards won't expire) and fans will likely be very happy to have their item. If you make customers wait a year or more without a prepay option, there's tremendous risk of getting stuck with the goods as credit cards expire.

I wonder if this was something they had mocked up earlier, or maybe a push from the new guard at Hasbro, or what. We get so few all-new vehicles (Hasbro gets credit for the Mando N-1, but not the Speeder Bikes, and the Ghost is sort of its own thing) that I assume if they discover a new $100 vehicle sells enough units to justify production, they'll do more. After all, Hasbro won't have to sell it at a wholesale price to a store to mark up. In theory they're going to do very well with this - but probably not at the theme parks, I can't understand why they might want to sell it there.

It would be super cool for Hasbro to do a TIE Defender - as that was one of the final three original trilogy vehicles for Galoob's Action Fleet line (before Episode I/Hasbro, the other two being the E-Wing and Jabba's Sail Barge.) It's worth taking note that the E-Wing appeared on a TV show and comes with a really cool figure. I assume the TIE Defender would come with a TIE Fighter Pilot, and sadly it can't rely on existing TIE tooling to keep costs down either. But I'd buy it. And if Hasbro did make a TIE Defender I'd probably take a serious look at selling off my Action Fleet collection.

Should this program prove to be a success, I wouldn't get your hopes up for a lot of these. Fan wallets can probably absorb a couple of really big vehicles per year, especially if there's a HasLab eating up wallet share. I guess what I'm saying is this: it would not stun me to see one or two $80 or under vehicles at retail this year, but I wouldn't expect a second $100 new mold vehicle for a little while, if ever. (Prove me wrong, Hasbro, and I will be so happy that you did.)

Also if Hasbro decided to do an E-Wing repaint in 1990s Galoob colors (red stripes) I'd buy one. I ran to Target to get the 2002 A-Wing done in the green Galoob colors, I'm pretty easy to convince with this kind of thing.



Ad: Get New Star Wars and More at Entertainment Earth!
Get Free USA Shipping on Orders $79+ with code FALLFREE79
Star Wars The Vintage Collection Luke Skywalker (Jedi Academy) 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Vintage Collection Moff Jerjerrod 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure X-Men 97 Marvel Legends 6-inch Action Figures Wave 2 Case of 6 Star Wars Epic Hero Series 4-Inch Action Figures Wave 1 Case of 6 Star Wars The Black Series Droideka Destroyer Droid Deluxe 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Vintage Collection Captain Rex (Bracca Mission) 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Boba Fett (Prototype Armor) Premium Electronic Helmet Replica - Exclusive Masters of the Universe Origins Wave 16 Action Figure Case of 4 Masters of the Universe Origins Turtles of Grayskull Donatello Action Figure Transformers Super Shogun Megatron Jumbo Action Figure DC Super Powers Wave 7 Brainiac 4 1/2-Inch Scale Action Figure



2. Like you, I have developed such a liking for the Retro Collection that I am very tempted to sell-off everything from '95-now and just go strictly Retro. (I probably WON'T, but it sure is tempting). Anyways, aside from the Original Trilogy, the Star Wars of my time was the original 107-issue run of the Marvel Comic. What do YOU think the chances are of seeing a wave or two of Retro figures based on the comic series? Since the waves seem to be between 6-8 figures, here would be my wish list for 2 waves in no particular order...

Kiro (preferably in his bubble helmet suit)
Rik Duel
Fenn Shysa
Shira Brie (X-Wing Pilot or Rebel Fatigues)
Princess Leia (Pilot)
Lando Calrissian (Captain Drebble disguise)
Domina Tagge
Luke Skywalker (recolor of his Jedi robes?)
Luke Skywalker with Plif

Any thoughts?

I'd hire you to do it.

I assume someone at Disney is putting their thumb on the scale for the Retro Collection format who doesn't "get it," because this year's twelve Prequel figures are kind of antithetical to what the format's all about. And that's pandering to the last gasp of Generation X. (The people, not the band, but I'm pretty ready, steady, go about your ideas.)

The audience who will buy these figures - for themselves, their children, or grandchildren - will buy up original trilogy stuff, or anything that reminds them of their own childhoods. (I would extend the bubble to The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett... and so far, Ahsoka too.) I think it would be amazing to see Hasbro bring back Comic Packs with 2-3 figures and a full-size comic reprint for $30-$35, mixing up new sculpts and repaints of existing releases. It would be an exciting proposition for synergy or whatever it is those people think makes them look smart in a board meeting. Make 'em newsprint if it keeps costs down and even more "retro." If there's one thing he kids love, it's verisimilitude.

I love those old Marvel comics and would buy them all - even recolors of existing figures in Marvel color schemes. Hasbro will never do them.

It's not because they're not fun, but anyone old enough to have read those old Marvel monthlies as brand-new comics is pushing 50 and they don't buy a lot of toys. Also Hasbro just plain doesn't make a lot of low-cost figures, so I'd probably say they have a better chance of coming out in 6-inch The Black Series packaging than The Retro Collection. (Granted, I saw comic Krrsantan at Ross for six bucks, so maybe even that door is closing.)

I'd love to see multi-packs with those figures, especially Plif, Luke, Lumiya, Kiro, the Rik Duel gang, the Nagai, the Tofs, and anybody who was still around at the end. But I honestly think the only way you will ever see these is if Lucasfilm carves off Retro to another company who has fewer employees to feed. And I would like to suggest AdamCo Toys, where you'll always have a picky dork delaying everything until it's perfect.

Hasbro not doing these figures is unlikely to be out of a lack of ideas, but rather limited resources and corporate c-suite interests demanding higher revenues and higher-dollar products with a different definition of "value." It is extremely likely that first-gen fans are in a decision making role in this toy line, as people age out of these roles and move on to other things.

Having said that, 1990s kids aren't coming back to collect quite like previous generations, 2000s kids may not have much to come back to. I would say there's hope that someone will get a light bulb over their heads and pitch Kenner-style toys - maybe with elbows and knees, and vehicles, and comic repaints - to the readers of AARP Magazine (Facebook) as things to buy their grandkids to play with when they come over. Positioning these products as being not just for you (the adult buyer) but also your children or grandchildren would probably crack open the door in a big way because it can make both you happy as well as visiting children who will hopefully not put the blasters in their noses or eat Yoda's cane. In short, toy companies can probably sell old toys again, positioning them as new toys for modern children to play with, but not necessarily own. If I were watching the news on my antenna TV and the box said "you can get Kenner figures again at your local store," I would get in my car and drive to every last store.





Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: JT, Jared, Bobb, Christopher, Daniel, Dan, Tim, Jayson, Matthew, Michael, RJ, Robert, Stephen, Todd DrReiCow, Eddie, Jeremy, Mario, and Todd! Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



It's a holiday weekend, and we're about 10% of the way through the year. Supposedly we're going to get a Fantastic Four movie next year, and The Mandalorian and Grogu - a feature-length movie - in 2026. Both have me a little incredulous, but two and a half years (or more) for a Star Wars movie where the casting and a lot of costumes are probably at least partially nailed down sure seems doable.

It's my unrealistic hope they actually let their partners do a big toy launch for this one, with stuff on-shelf before the movie comes out. Of course, for all I know this and other announcements were just to boost a stock price while Hasbro did not have the best earnings with a 19% in consumer product revenue decline. And honestly, given how much inventory still continues to be dumped at closeout shops, that doesn't sound too bad for a year with two Marvel movies that didn't do much business on the toy aisle, and a pretty blah year for Star Wars, and a sale of a major film and TV business.

The big question I have is "where is the excitement?" Hasbro hasn't done anything wrong as such, but they haven't changed course in ages. The Black Series, The Vintage Collection, Marvel Legends, G.I. Joe Classified Series, Transformers Studio Series, and Transformers Legacy are all still doing basically what they were doing four or five years ago. Prices are higher, quality is similar, character selection... well... there's not a lot of freshness for the lifer collectors. There also hasn't been much in the way of new things that I assume could poke kids to pay attention and come back as collectors later, but that's less on Hasbro than the constant stream of new things to watch and not get obsessed with. I watched Star Wars a zillion times because it was one of a handful of movies I had on VHS - today a kid can watch a dozen feature-length Star Wars adventures plus hundreds of episodes of cartoons and live-action installments. In that sense it's a much tougher job to try to build a program than 45 years ago when you had one movie and one holiday special and you said "make the weird armor guy with the t-helmet and the dumb name, I guess."

But that isn't to say there isn't anything making me excited in the world of Star Wars toys.

I got my hands on those new Epic Hero Series action figures this week, and they're good. So far I've opened up Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren, both of which feel like - get read for this! - sturdy action figures for kids. If Hasbro kills Retro (and I pray they don't) I would still be a happy camper as long as this line continued, preferably with vehicles. Sabine and the armored figures seem a little light on texture, but Ahsoka feels like a collector-level figure with fewer joints. She holds her lightsabers well, the face sculpt is perfect, the deco is exactly what it needs to be. She can stand, she can sit. She's gun. Sabine has wearable armor bits like a shield, a slide-out blade, and even a jetpack. And a lightsaber. She's a tiny bit more cartoony, but still a nicely executed figure. I'm not sure she's worth a $5 upcharge over a basic figure, but I can't deny the quality is pretty satisfying.

So far I've only seen these at online shops, and Walmart is getting assortments of deluxe Sabine and Paz, plus solids of Darth Vader and Mando. I haven't seen the rest in stores yet, and while I'm cranky about the same characters again I can't deny the executions are good. If Hasbro has the guts to support this line, and make it interesting, I'd be thrilled to throw my support as a fan who should have stopped writing about toys years ago behind it. They're action figures - you don't have to spend 3 minutes posing the legs just right, they just do what you want them to do. It's a good time. I'd love to see them on Vintage-style cardbacks, but odds are people would be even more confused with similar/identical Retro/Vintage products on-shelf than they are now. I'd recommend checking them out, they won't be for everybody but if you're more "toy" than "collector" they may be for you.

--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.



I'm on Instagram! All Pictures from a GameBoy Camera.