Fan's Choice Metrics - The First Five Polls
One of the things fans have always requested from Hasbro was a chance to participate in the decision-making process of our favorite toy line, Star Wars. During the fan-friendliest period of the toy line, under the fan-friendliest product development and marketing teams, Hasbro decided that it was time for us to have a little say the next alien figure to be released back in the year 2000. While it wasn't a flawless process, it went off well enough to have spawned a grand total of five Fan's Choice polls ran by Hasbro and two more by the now discontinued ToyFare Magazine. This feature will be focusing on those first Internet polls. Interestingly, between the last update in 2006 and this 2011 update, only 2 new figures were produced from these polls.
So far, there have been 22 unique choices in the contests, as some figures have been in the running more than once. Also, a lot of figures were eventually made anyway, 19 have been produced with one more said to be on the way.
There have been a lot of questions written in to Q&A over the past year, asking "How many were aliens?" and "How many were never before made as an action figure?" Well, this column hopes to answer pretty much every question you could have had, by the numbers. Prepare yourself for some great iPad toilet time reading.
Last updated July 25, 2011.
The biographical information for the Fan's Choice characters are in our Fan's Choice Supplement, which I haven't updated in a while and probably won't any time soon.
Fan's Choice Poll #1 Summer, 2000
Winner Ellorrs Madak (Duro) released Summer, 2001
Left to right: Duro, Amanaman, Bom Vimdim, Eeth Koth, Teemto Pagalies
The winner was "Duro," and the figure made was Ellorrs Madak. The other Duro, Baniss Keeg, has not been made as a figure nor have any hints that he ever will be made been dropped. This figure is still widely available at many large toy stores in many towns due to an overestimation of demand, but was extremely popular when he was released and is one of Hasbro's most exquisite aliens.
At the time of the poll, there was quite a controversy that the Duro won over the perceived favorite Amanaman. It was assumed this happened due to fans deciding that Amanaman had a chance at production again, while this may be the one and only shot the Duro would have. Hasbro later said that each poll could be the figure's only chance at production, but with over 50% of the candidates eventually seeing plastic it seems unlikely.
Shortly before the winner was announced, but after the poll was cut off, someone hacked in and voted repeatedly for Amanaman, which more or less guaranteed his appearance in a poll later on.
Released in the Summer of 2001, the Duro was followed by Fan's Choice #2 winner, Amanaman in the holiday season of 2001 with Eeth Koth coming at the end of the year. Teemto Pagalies was inserted into the Attack of the Clones waves in Summer of 2002, and Bom Vimdim has been respelled as "Bom Vimdin" and released in June of 2011.
Fan's Choice Poll #2 Fall, 2000?
Winner Amanaman released late 2001
Left to right: Amanaman, Yarael Poof, Major Bren Derlin, Admiral Ozzel, Ben Quadinaros
While there was quite a showing for Admiral Ozzel and Major Derlin, Amanaman was a clear winner here delighting many fans who couldn't afford the vintage one. Released as a $10 figure in a deluxe package with Salacious Crumb and a beheaded skeleton, he offered a lot of value in a small package but, like the first Fan's Choice winner, eventually became a pegwarmer and still sits unsold in some stores for several years.
Yarael Poof was released in 2003 in the second Jedi High Council screen scene pack. Admiral Ozzel was part of the pentultimate wave of Saga figures in 2004. Major Derlin (Cliff from Cheers) is strikingly similar to the vintage Rebel Commander figure, and in 2006, Hasbro finally released him as part of the second wave of The Saga Collection. Ben Quadinaros has recently been confirmed for 2012.
Fan's Choice Poll #3 Winter, 2001
Winner Ephant Mon released Fall 2002
Left to right: Ephant Mon, General Carlist Rieekan, R1-G4, Twi'lek Masseuse, Even Piell
This was another exciting race out the gates, with a surprising-- and supposedly hacked-- lead for the blue Twi'lek masseuses of Sebulba leading the pack. After Hasbro pulled the realtime voting data for all to see, the numbers got cleaned up and Ephant Mon won and was eventually released in a vastly oversized basic figure package for a mere $4.99, were you lucky enough to see it. Taking a cue from earlier Fan's Choice figures that didn't sell as well, this figure was produced in smaller numbers. Its oversized bubble helped it not get in future assortments, as they had to change the shape of the case to ship him, and as such he was an inconvinience. There are no plans to make more of him at this time.
General Rieekan was released, surprisingly, as a deluxe figure with a massive viewscreen in late 2003/early 2004. Even more surprising, he received a basic carded release in early 2006. R1-G4 was released in a small set of Galoob Droids figures a few years ago that was scaled a little larger than Action Fleet figures, and was finally made as an action figure in early 2004. Even Piell was released with Yarael Poof and Yaddle as part of the second Jedi High Council screen scene in 2003, and was sold on a basic card as a 2-pack with Yaddle in 2008, and an animated version of the character is coming out in Fall of 2011. The Twi'lek masseuse is not currently planned for release.
Fan's Choice Poll #4 Summer 2002
Winner McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper release Fall 2003
Left to right: Concept Stormtrooper, Imperial Dignitary, General Carlist Rieekan, Nym, Rebel in Scout Trooper Disguise
Several popular figures duked it out for total supremacy this time, with the top three winners receiving 85% of the total vote. The Stormtrooper got a whopping 34%, with General Rieekan and Imperial Dignitary just a point away from one another, but ten behind the Stormtrooper. This poll proves what fans have known for years, which is that we love new Imperial figures.
The winner, the McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper, hit stores in late 2003. Thankfully, Hasbro's careful eye saw what fans wanted, and this resulted in a few more releases. Two Imperial Dignitaries were released at the end of 2003, Blen-Krista Vanee and Janus Greejatus. General Rieekan hit stores in 2004.
The Rebel disguised as a Scout Trooper was to have been a bearded Rebel with a flipped-up non-removable helmet, so the figure was deemed undesirable by many fans and as a result got the lowest vote this time around. Back in 2002, Hasbro said that a removable helmet on a bearded figure would be difficult if not impossible to properly engineer, but they gave us that figure in 2008 in the Shield Generator Assault Battle Pack.
Nym, as featured in Dark Horse Comics Starfighter series and the Star Wars: Tales comics, has not been announced as an upcoming figure and it's unlikely that he would be released unless Hasbro basically made it out of spite, just to cross him off the list.
Fan's Choice Poll #5 2003
Top two vote recipients Captain Antilles and General Dodonna released in February of 2004
Left to right: Captain Antilles, General Dodonna, Rabe, Yarua, Ben Quadinaros
While it is interesting to note that both winners received a close enough vote to justify making both figures, it's more interesting to note that the character Captain Antilles is never identified on film. Aside from a mention of C-3PO having been owned by a man of that name, there's nothing. Fans assumed that the man being strangled (designated in the shooting script as "Rebel Officer") was the owner of the ship and the captain, and it would make sense that the droids were his. In the Radio Drama released several years later, it was later revealed that he was the Captain Antilles C-3PO was talking about. In the novelization, his name is Captain Colton. The figure has a ball-jointed neck and can be "choked," and a review may be found here.
General Dodonna, on the other hand, is mentioned in the script and was one of two figures released in 2004 that bears a strong resemblance to Jim Henson. The other being, of course, Jim Henson. We have also written a General Dodonna review.
The poll was rounded out with three other excellent choices. Rabe was to be the first and possibly only 4-inch version of a handmaiden in the orange and red robes that were so prominent in the first prequel. As this is one of the few figures that technically exists as a 12-inch figure and not as a 4-inch figure, it's nice to see Hasbro realize that we wanted it when they released it in early 2005. For those looking to see more on this figure, we wrote a review.
Senator Yarua was originally rumored in a very widespread and false rumor that he was to be a Candian exclusive for the Zellers chain of stores around 1999. Yarua eventually saw wide release in 2005 and helped to kickstart the new range of Wookiees. A review may be found here.
Lastly, Ben Quadinaros, a fan favorite, was given a second chance and did not make the votes. As most figures that have been voted on twice have been announced for production regardless of voting, it's assumed he will be released soon, but we're in 2011 and Hasbro is only just now talking seriously about getting him out.
Fan's Choice Poll OTC Edition 2004
5 figures up for vote as to who gets repackaged for the final entry in the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection. Top vote recipient Death Star Trooper released as Imperial Trooper in February of 2004
Left to right: R2-D2 with Holographic Princess Leia (1999), Admiral Motti (2000), Ree-Yees (1998), Death Star [Scanning] Trooper (1998), Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise (2003).
For this particular poll, which Hasbro doesn't seem to consider part of the "Fan's Choice" series, 5 figures were selectable as reissues for the end of the year. We do not consider these in our Fan's Choice tallies, although we felt it necessary to include them here so you know about the various times Hasbro allows fans to vote on figures.
Of the choices, the former three were all very difficult to find when initially released, while the latter two were cool, but part of more expensive gift sets. As such, they were more or less good choices, although some are a little less exciting than others.
The winner, dubbed the Imperial Trooper, sported a new black wash, blonde hair, and an overall better paint job when released in 2004. At press time, none of the other figures have been whispered for a rerelease.
Since the poll ended, most of the runners-up got new figures in one form or another. R2-D2 with Holographic Leia was redesigned and placed in the Resurgence of the Jedi Battle Pack in 2009. Ree-Yees was repackaged with a camera accessory in a Star Tours Boarding Party gift set in 2010. Admiral Motti was repackaged and repainted in a Death Star Briefing exclusive gift set for Diamond Distribution/Previews in late 2006. Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise got a release as a comic pack (in Marvel colors) in 2007, and he also received his first-ever individually packaged carded release in 2008.
Who's left? The remaining unmade candidates as of August 2011
Left to right: Twi'Lek Masseuses, Nym, Ben Quadinaros
After the first poll of fans in 2000, it may shock fans that some characters have yet to see production still. While some, like the other Imperial Dignitary Sim Aloo, are technicalities and likely a matter of time, what about the others?
Twin blue Twi'Lek Masseuses have been requested for some time, but do not appear on the radar, nor does Nym of comic book and video game fame. Ben Quadinaros is expected in 2012.
And that wraps it up for Hasbro's own polls-- from here on out, all polls were outsourced to other arenas, often involving inputs from fan sites in addition to Wizard/ToyFare magazine. Now that the mighty publishing house of Wizard is pretty much done publishing in print, who knows if Hasbro will run another poll? We're all hoping they will. But hey, we've got some time-- let's look at the Wizard-run polls, too!
Be sure to check out Part 2 next week!