Q&A: Announcements, Jabbas, Evolutions

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 3, 2010
Why does Hasbro hold back on toy announcements? Is it because you won't clean your room? Are people really finding that Jabba the Hutt set in stores? (Yes.) And why did Evolutions come to an end? All this and more in this week's Q&A!

1. What is the deal with the Walmart Jabba set? I believe at C5 they said it would be out this fall. I know people were finding them around the time of C5. All the stores I have checked have empty shelf space for "Jabba's Thrown" (not throne). I have yet go see it, but know some who have around here. Are these still shipping? Or not supposed to be shipping yet and a few accidently slipped through? Or am I just out of luck?

I found one just before Celebration V in August and haven't seen another since-- which is, well, unusual. Hasbro and Wal-Mart usually have a good supply of this item, and it was available on their web site briefly. After last year it is possible more are coming, as we saw multiple very small shipments of these items. If you don't find it, let me give you some advice: keep your eyes on places that get closeout toys. I wouldn't be at all stunned to see it at Ross after the holidays if Wal-Mart doesn't take them all. The store has had it in stock on their web site twice, so next time it shows up there you'd probably better order it.

2. Since Hasbro has repacked the TAC Battle Pack version of Commander Bacara (Battle on Mygeeto) on TLC single card, I wanted to ask you if Hasbro plans to sell the Heavy Trooper version of the Battlefront II multipack (TAC,TLC) with the mold of the Commander Bacara figure and with the portable anti-tank rocket launcher, but without the "quick-draw" feature? It would be also very profitable to re-release the Clone Engineer on Basic Card (SL,TVC), wouldn’t it?

Hasbro has been saying they have no real plans to revisit the video games any time soon. Seeing how few new individually carded Clone Troopers we've had as of late, I'm inclined to believe them and not expect any new versions (or new figures) from the Battlefront line. If more companies were taking more exclusives, maybe, but it seems Hasbro is focusing more on repaints and repacks from other avenues of the saga since the Clones are getting a lot of attention in the Clone Wars range.

3. I just recently listened to the Forcecast Hasbro interview with Derryl DePriest, while interesting I was just wondering, when it comes to making these star wars action figures why are they so secretive with what they are bringing out each year. Who is the surprise for more, us (older collectors) or kids. For that matter, do kids follow things like toy fair and toy panels at comic con? I thought it was just the hard core collectors who mostly are in the know when it comes to leaked photos on the Internet or first hand information, I guess I could be wrong on that. It's a little frustrating when we see an image of something (Quinlan Vos, Bane in Clone armor) then they pull an Wizard of OZ on us and say "oh nothing to see behind that curtain". Why cant they just say, something special is coming for that one, and move on? Does the surprise of what is coming matter and why?

Hasbro (Kenner) used to give out the entire list of characters for the coming year before a "collector toy media" was a big thing. I had a newsletter with a few thousand readers, I had a mole in New York, and I'd send out the list to anybody who wanted it-- and that's how we liked it. Since then, Hasbro realized that we really do pay attention and we take this stuff as fact. If something changes for one reason or another, we get angry. This whole "let's reveal things later" is at least in part due to Hasbro covering their butts. A great example is the Yuuzhan Vong figure which was originally planned for (and leaked as) an individually carded release. Shuffling in the line caused it to be delayed and its move to the Comic Packs line. What was leaked was true, but some fans get angry-- and Hasbro can reduce the amount of angry fan mail they get by simply not revealing all of their cards too early.

The "reveals" are also intended to build media hype (2008, Big Millennium Falcon) that you wouldn't always get from showing the item to a bunch of us at Toy Fair. Other times, it's because a character is a secret-- Quinlan Vos isn't something you're supposed to know about as to the show yet. That was a surprise, and the toy photos leaking spoiled it. A lot of these items are still in development until late in the game, too-- Cad Bane in Denal's armor is a fine example. That was supposed to be someone's exclusive at one point, so it got pulled, and then it was supposed to be something else, and that didn't materialize, and now it's (supposedly) coming out in the next year or two. Things change, there are secrets held for the media (or for the TV shows), and fans complain-- that's why we don't get to know everything in advance.

4. I have just received my second Fambaa with Shield Generator and Gungan Warrior from eBay. I liked my first one. I want to know if a way exists to attach the Gungan Assault Cannon from the set with Jar Jar Binks. Is it possible? Does it attach firmly.

I heard it was designed to fit but never got it to fit quite right. If you'd like to see a photo of it attached, though, Rebelscum did get it to work and it's visible in their galleries.

5. I have a question about the Star Wars Evolution Packs. Has Hasbro decided to pass the three figure concept for this line? Since the first wave of the "Evolutions of the Dark Side" hits the stores now, I was asking myself if Hasbro would also announce further 3-Packs as in TLC?

The Evolutions 3-pack format died in the USA. The 2008 line was very samey, and the final ones were released as (failed) Wal-Mart exlcusives-- or they seem failed from where I sat. (Any time you can get it at Ross for half price, it wasn't a hit.) The 2-packs at Toys "R" Us are their "legacy" (hah hah) but it is very unlikely, if not outright impossible, to expect Hasbro to do more like they did from 2005-2009. Go get the old ones while you can!


My mail bag is basically empty. (Next week's column uses the last 5 on-deck questions and I got a couple of last-minute additions.) So yeah, we're moving ahead and I guess any new questions you have would be great.

So! This week's big news was Star Wars 3D, which I shrugged at in 2005 and now I still don't care. I'll be curious if they make any new creatures or vehicles for the proposed rereleases, but while I'm quite interested in owning the movies in hi-def I'm not remotely interested in seeing them with a third dimension. Disney rereleased the first two Toy Story movies to some degree of success, but it was also done to promote the new movie coming out-- and it pulled in a lot of money for not too much effort. Hopefully the new Star Wars releases will be a stepping stone to something new. I know I'm in a minority here but I really do like seeing new things like The Clone Wars because, really, how much can you squeeze out of those six films that's really going to be worth having around? (And I mean the toy line here.) As to the movies... well, I guess this is something we can expect every 15-20 years. The Special Editions of 2007 came out at the perfect time-- Star Wars fandom was still a largely underground thing-- but now it's everywhere. I don't know if a $15 ticket is going to be the thing that gets people to pay to see these movies again, particularly if they just bought Blu-Rays a few months earlier which, undoubtedly, will contain other new or altered footage.

...but yeah, there will still be toys. Even if it's just Hasbro repackaging existing items to tie in to the films, there will be something because they still have the license for a few more years. Big pushes like this are great for things like Saga Legends and roleplay. And probably Galactic Heroes.

The other thing? I whipped out the abacus and by my count, there are 164 (roughly) major different figures from The Clone Wars, not including most minor variations. (Scarred face trooper = different, unscarred Anakin = not. It's looser than FOTD.) Of those 160, I'm counting about 63 different flavors and ranks of Clones. So what does that mean to you? In about 26 months, this new animated line has more significant and different figures than the original Vintage line made in seven years (112 roughly depending on how you count). How times have changed!

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.

There must be more Jabbas

There must be more Jabbas coming because the price went up to $38.88, both online and at the store where I got mine (despite the shelf being empty).

more Jabba's please

I hope so.... have yet to find another in a long time...they even removed the sticker for the Jabba from the shelf...getting worried that I missed out on the one chance to own one...

was surprised to see that Walmart restocked the AT-ST from last year and it's still at full price...plus all of the AT-ST's are falling apart.