OK everyone, sit up and get ready for the last Hasbro Star Wars Q&A session for 2009 (and start humming "Thus Spake Zarathrustra" they used it in both movies). Today we learn the fate of Legacy/Droid Factory, the $69.99 Deluxe Vehicle Assortment, and a glimpse into the future via the Fans' Choice Poll.
First we have a letter from Derryl Depriest from Hasbro:
On behalf of the Star Wars team, we want to thank all of the Star Wars collector-fan media, and all of the fans, who have shown tremendous support for Hasbro’s Star Wars lineup this year. We hope that you have found delight in playing with your toys, just like we have in working to bring them to you this past year. In addition, the tremendous work that all of the fans and sites have done to deliver another great Fans’ Choice Poll will result in not one, but many great inspiration for years to come. We have a lot of excitement in store for next year, and we think 2010 is going to shape up to be one of the most exciting years ever for fans of Hasbro Star Wars. With the 30th Anniversary of Empire Strikes Back to celebrate, we think it’s going to be a big year as well. Happy Holidays to everyone!
1. This is your last chance before the end of 2009 to dispel any Star Wars toy rumors — start dispelling! [As voiced by Stewie Griffin.]
Sure. One that we have heard is that Legacy and Saga Legends will be combined together into one SKU. The answer is no, and yes. It's true that the red/white Legacy Droid Factory line will end after Spring of 2010, and will be replaced in the Fall by a new SKU. This SKU will concentrate on the movies (no EU for a while) and will have a good quotient of "greatest hits" type figures to balance out the collector-targeted small release batch figures. Saga Legends will still continue on as its own SKU, though.
Another rumor is that the ARC-170 Shadow Fighter has doomed the $69.99 Deluxe Vehicle Assortment. This is true to an extent, since the slow rate of sale of the ARC-170 Shadow Fighter has not given the Y-Wing a lot of daylight to shine. Still, when the Y-Wing has gotten out there, it has not done as well as the Turbo Tank. We don't think it's because the Y-Wing isn't a great vehicle, but more to do with there currently being less discretionary purchases above $50 in '09 than we saw in '08 when both the Millenium Falcon and AT-TE were successful.
2. Is the Build-A-Droid system a goner after Toy Fair? If so, what's next?
The Droid Factory pack-in mechanic will be gone in basic figures after the red/white Legacy line look runs its course in Spring. In Fall '10, we'll have a new line look and will announce what the basic figures will look like at Toy Fair. The last wave of red/white Legacy will be the EU wave, shown at Comic Con and expected to be on shelves in a month or so.
3. What was the most surprising information gleaned from the now-completed Fans' Choice Poll? (Ackmena all the way, you know it.)
The most surprising information was two-fold. First, how the majority of the top 30 were figures from the films. This is contrary to the first Fans' Choice Poll in '06, where we had done very little EU but the top 25 was populated with many figures we have since released or will be coming. Collectors seem to be saying that they want to see a strong focus on unmade characters from the films vs. too many EU characters. Second, it was interesting that most of the EU figures in the recent poll landed in the top choices, meaning that for fans overall there is a demand for certain high-visibilty EU figures. This is an important finding as we go forward, meaning that a widebreadth of EU is not necessarily a good thing, but a focus on core high-demand characters is welcome. Both of these learnings are really interesting and solid information we'll use to guide us in the coming years.