Galactic Hunter: Republic Gunship Gunner Pods— why not?
Hasbro: It's a pretty good idea for a future accessory. We don't think it makes a compelling stand-alone item, though. We'd probably do it as an update to the Gunship rather than the pods themselves…although the scale of the 3 ¾" Gunship does make it tough to do a large pod and look good. Defintely a much further-off kind of thing.
Galactic Hunter: When a toy is canceled, what happens to it? Is the concept (assuming that it was developed enough) mothballed for future consideration?
Hasbro: It depends on the state of the concept. Ideas rarely get mothballed completely. For instance, nearly all basic figures that have been put aside for one reason or another have gotten back into the line - these are pretty safe products. But the more complicated and expensive ones... there's less likelihood that they'll ever get made simply because the business situation behind their original creation probably hasn't gone away. One exception: The Ultimate Lightsaber. This product had been at Hasbro - nearly complete - since 2002 when it was revived for Revenge of the Sith and became our key holiday driver and a big hit for us. It needed the right timing - a big influx provided by interest in EpIII was the right market we needed to launch it. We couldn't have done it in a typical non-movie year.
Galactic Hunter: How does the team go about pitching and developing Battle Pack concepts? How do they decide which figure gets a re-deco, which pieces can be "repurposed" or repainted to form a new piece, and what ties it all together?
Hasbro: Battle Packs start out by establishing the target: kid (mainline) or collector (exclusive), then we go from there. Sometimes we have ideas we've been saving. This is especially true for the collector ones where there are a lot of "wouldn't it be cool if..." discussions. For the kid targeted ones, we may look to a scene we can complete with existing figures (like the Arrest of Palpatine) or a compelling collection of figures with enough combat between them that it seems like a solid pack. During the ideation, the design team often has ideas on updgrades or new deco that could be done to existing figures to make them fresh...often ideas they had been saving for the right opportunity. The better battlepacks are the ones that are either grounded in a specific scene and have a nice group of strong characters, or where the theme (such as Mace Windu's Squadron) binds together the whole set in a very strong way.