Q&A time, people! Let's talk Clone Wars - you know you want to! And how about Expanded Universe toys - are they truly dead? Let's also talk Sith Lord figures - that's a nice cash cow. Al this and a hunt for the ages! Read on!
1. Is it correct to assume that "The Clone Wars" episodes that are on Netflix now will eventually be released on DVD? I don't have Netflix streaming, but would definitely pick up the episodes on DVD to complete my collection. Is there any reason these wouldn't be released for sale at some point?
As we don't know the terms of the license agreement between Lucasfilm and Netflix, it's tough to say. For all I know these episodes will end up in syndication first, as we don't know what the long-term plans are. Shows like House of Cards - a Netflix original - have made it to DVD. On the other hand, Arrested Development's fourth season hasn't made it to DVD after coming out on Netflix last May - but a DVD release is expected in June.
With that in mind, I'd suggest going over to a friend's, or using those free Netflix trials to see them sooner rather than later. You've probably got a year ahead of you, assuming it doesn't get buried in the Disney transition. Remember, most episodes of Ewoks and about five episodes of Droids have never made it to DVD or seemingly home video in quite some time.
2. With LFL and Disney directing Hasbro away from the [Expanded Universe of comics, novels, and video games] and asking them to scale way back on prequel related figures, do you think that this may permanently close the door to Hasbro producing anything else based on the various Star Wars TV shows of the past? Would the EU restriction apply to these or just to comics and books? As someone who has worked with exclusives before, do you think an online shop or convention exclusive could still be a way to get maybe a new Kea Moll, Pong Krell or other TV character out there, or do exclusives not work that way and exclusive distributors can't really request particular characters but can only choose from what Hasbro is offering them? I understand why LFL wants Hasbro to start turning their focus mainly toward Rebels and the new movies, but hopefully they still toss out a few offerings for us weirdos who still crave some of those old characters from the past.
I don't know for a fact that Hasbro has been asked to steer clear of these things - I think we're just seeing a shift to the original trilogy, as is normal whenever the line hits a roadbump. (See: 2000 Power of the Jedi.) The last I remember Hasbro telling us they were asked to stay away from anything, it was the 2003-2004 animated Clone Wars show during the time the new series started around 2008-2010 - and they went ahead and did two takes on Fordo anyway, after an entire Legacy wave based on that original series.
I think it boils down to this - Hasbro will do what they feel like, regardless of what armchair quarterback fans (which may or may not include people like me) think/feel and it seems the direction from executive management and/or Lucasfilm changes like the wind. Right now, what they want to do is main characters and the new TV show. In a year, this could change - I would never put it past Hasbro to revisit obscure Sith, with Jedi a little less likely and (sadly) Kea Moll even less likely. Still, look at the last few years. I've got Teek! Who ever thought that would happen? I've got Boba Fett's protocol droid BL-17 from "A Race to the Finish." I've friggin' got Kneesaa. Hasbro can and will do what they feel like, and trying to second-guess a lot of it is a fool's game. I'd call you a liar if you told me we'd still be getting revised Revenge of the Sith figures in 2014, or that we'd see almost as many Ewoks in 2012-2013 as we got in the entire Vintage line.
3. I got my Darth Plagueis figure finally. Now I have a question about customization: hasbro is never gonna make a Darth Tenebrous figure. So, I figure I am gonna have to make a custome one. What figures and accesories(and figures to get these accesories from) should I use in making this particular figure.
As there aren't many Bith figures, well, you don't have too much to worry about - grab any Cantina Band figure, or Barquin D'an, and start from there.
Next, you'll probably want some SCUBA gear for the breathing stuff. I'd suggest hitting up Toys R Us' Animal Planet aisle - they have numerous 3 3/4-inch scale figures and toys in there, many of which are on the happy side of cheap and come with cool fish, whales, and dinosaurs. Failing that, maybe you could check out their military section - they're all made by a company called Chap Mei Toys out of China, and the toys are packaged under different brand names depending on where in the world you buy them. In the USA, I've usually only seen them at Toys R Us and CVS (on occasion).
Since I don't know if you want an exact match or not, I'd suggest plundering Goodwill and comic shops for older, worthless toys to cannibalize. Also, you may want to try to find some 2007-2013 G.I. Joe as the body so you can get a little more in the way of articulation. A Snake Eyes may not be a bad place to start. eBay often has cheap auctions for piles of loose Star Wars figures - believe it or not, most of these things are pretty worthless. Custom fodder is pretty cheap these days.
I'd also say that you may as well consider holding back - it wouldn't stun me to see Hasbro make this guy down the road if people start becoming aware of him, or asking. Sith lords tend to sell well, regardless of how well-known they are. He's just a novel or a comic away from being in demand, so start hitting up Lucas Publishing to get on the Darth Tenebrous stories.
After posting in this column for something like 15 years, I figured hey - let's exploit it! It won't last forever and I'm sure I'll lose a bunch of readers as the new movie brings my replacement, who will probably push many of us old farts into obscurity at the age of like 16 or something. (You've got a lot more time for this stuff when you're in high school!) Anyway - exploitation! My new best friend Reader Jared saw my repeated pleas for something I've wanted for quite some time - a Life Force arcade cabinet! (It's like Gradius, but with 2 players, and a more forgiving power-up system in its US port.) He let me know one showed up in San Diego, and just last weekend I made my longest ever trek as a collector to go get something and come back home. Sure, I've done conventions - but that's not to get one specific object. This was about 12 hours of driving and a cargo van rental just to get a video game, but we've all got one or two pieces on our shopping lists which would cause us to go all-out to bring it in to our homes. If all went according to plan - I wrote this before the trip - it's here, and it's spectacular.
As always, not much to report on Star Wars as toys go. Like 2013, Hasbro basically underserved the first half of the year and the lack of exclusives is both liberating and nerve-wracking. I'm used to there being something to get, last year we had Fighter Pods at Target with a tin and this year... nothing. It's strange, since 1995 I spent nearly every day working on some sort of news platform. I had an email newsletter, worked at Rebelscum, Yak Face, this site, and others - and now, especially since ending Figure of the Day as a fixture last year, I've been able to on occasion go 24 hours without dealing with Star Wars for once. I figure this means the return of it in a big way could kill me, but for now I'm enjoying what has come to pass over the last 19 years - and older stuff. Distribution is what it is - the trickle of new product is almost painfully slow - but at least, it's not going to break the bank. It might bore you into another hobby, but at least you won't have too much catching up to do on your way back. I'm just glad to be able to have the time to do some other stuff for a change.
In a fascinating look at what can happen to a 1980s toy franchise that lost steam, Community took up G.I. Joe last week with a fantastic homeage/parody/God-willing-backdoor-Adult-Swim-pilot featuring a few original voice actors and lots of custom toys. It's interesting to think this is also where Star Wars could be were it not for the 1990s revival and subsequent bonkers movie reinvention - and it's also nice to see the Joes elevated to a point of higher pop cultural notoriety. I don't believe I've heard of any figures yet, but it would be great to see some convention exclusives based on this set - San Diego, Joe Con, whatever. I'd jump on that. It also sadly means we're much older - I have to assume the nostalgia seen everywhere for the 1950s for quite some time (which glossed over various human rights violations and what have you) will be applied to the 1980s for some time. People cashing in on this stuff means that those of us who grew up during it are being asked to throw down some money on things, which is sort of good and sort of bad. There's something amazing that a 30-minute toy commercial from 1984 is being parodied to sell toothpaste and cars to adults in 2014.
I'm a little surprised we haven't seen more of that sort of thing with He-Man and ThunderCats yet, but it seems now that Hasbro has played in the Hollywood toy box, they're more willing to let others have fun with the property - I mean, I personally haven't seen the movies, but I love seeing stuff about the early 1980s class of Joes and Cobra. Kudos Hasbro/Dan Harmon/etc. on making Joe a little more relevant! (Also: more please.)
Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.