Welcome to Q&A with me, some guy who used to be relevant to toy journalism back in the 1990s! This week: Let's talk Jawas, figures and vehicles. And let's also talk about Chewbacca Black Series toys. What a Wookiee! And while we're at it, how about Star Wars Rebels Vehicles which are likely to be the single greatest new thing since the 1980s? And maybe we'll speculate wildly with no real information about Episode VII, because everyone else is. Sounds good to me - read on!
1. I was wodering,since Hasbro is hitting O.T. Star Wars figures hard this year(2014) and next year. Will we ever see a Jawa with soft-good cloak? I know a lot of people, including myself, want this figure made in the 3 3/4 scale. Plus waht about The Jawa Sandcrwaler? Again, a lot of people want this as well. Thanks for your time.
I wouldn't get your hopes up - the Sandcrawler is a non-combat vehicle appearing in a meaningful role in only one movie (I don't count cameos), plus the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection release was on deep clearance in 2005 and 2006 in some stores. This has since caused the price to go up a bit, so the question is really "will Hasbro make a new Sandcrawler or rerelease the old one?" I'd say neither option makes a lot of sense for them - the old mold didn't do crazy business, or we'd have seen it again. A new mold is something fans would demand needs to be bigger and better, and in this toy economy it's very unlikely. I'd love to see a cheesey Starfighter-sized Sandcrawler that splits open in the middle and doubles as a carry case (like the C-3PO and Darth Vader cases), but with rolling wheels. That would probably actually work... but I bet it'd still tank, and Hasbro wouldn't want to do it.
The 2004 OTC vehicle was about $60 back then, and today it sells for $75-$120 on eBay. With inflation for reissues, odds are a straight-up reissue from Hasbro would be $90 or higher - so I'd suggest just biting the bullet to get that release and call it a day. Or just be patient, as we never know what's on deck for Episode VII.
The Jawa depends on Hasbro's interest in doing more Jawas and/or its genuine interest in updating all the original vintage figures. We're close, but still not quite there - also, it has been 19 years. We got a Jawa with soft goods on his pants, basically, so that's my current stand-in for vintage. (The 2008 one has a quasi-vinyl cape, so that's my other stand-in.) Hasbro hasn't put out a new Jawa in 5 years, so we're probably about due - but looking at the line lately, I'm not overly optimistic. I'd expect something in Saga Legends before a cloth-caped Black Series figure.
2. I may have missed it and I have not seen a pic of the new Black Series Chewbacca next to other figs. Is he to scale or close to it?
I didn't see any group shots, but Hasbro did explicitly tell us they enlarged the 6-inch figure packaging to fit the larger figures like Chewbacca and Darth Vader. I can't say if it's scale or not until we see a side-by-side photo released, but it looks like they're trying their hardest to make it work - I'd say be positive here.
3. The new Rebels vehicles seem very stylized while the CW vehicles fit right in with the realistic line. Is that a sign Hasbro doesn't plan on investing much in the series you think? Or are these closer to the cheap crap we got with the revamped Jedi Starfighters, the tank thing and Slave -1? (Or will Rebels get steamrolled next year?)
I anticipate steamrolling - I could be wrong, but looking at Transformers in particular it seems Hasbro will always throw out products in favor of the new movie - we lost a whole mess of Transformers: Animated toys that were fully tooled and some even had packaged samples. This didn't used to happen much, but lately it feels like there's an increase in toys just not making it out due to the transition to Movie Time, which could result in some very interesting times ahead for all of us. The key difference being that as a fandom, we're a much larger pain in the neck when it comes to demanding stuff that we were shown, told we can't have, and still want. That and Hasbro is better about giving us those figures, even if the line gets changed up.
It would stun me if the cartoon premiering in 2014, by the time the movie sees release in 2015 (or let's be honest, it'll probably get delayed to May 2016 here), has enough steam to carry a line at that point. Hasbro isn't shy about rebooting a series every 12-18 months, so New Movie probably means a shift in Rebels' toy focus, or it'd be a great time to just suck it up into the "collector" line if they don't just sweep it under the rug.
The vehicles look like they were going for a look not unlike Ralph McQuarrie's paintings and/or vintage Kenner. That is to say, squeaky clean with sharp, generally streamlined designs. I actually like Hasbro's cheaper vehicles, so I'm not sure what to tell you.
First up: Clone Wars episode reviews will kick off again later on Monday. Why? I have no idea. You people read reviews, don't you?
Someone also asked about Episode VII street dates - it's too premature, and like I said I also believe the movie will be delayed. (It's J.J. Abrams. Also, The Phantom Menace was a target 1998 for years - and it didn't make it.) This isn't based on anything but my gut, but my gut just doesn't believe in December Star Wars release dates.
But what does that mean for toys?
Episode I toys had a May street date - stupid any way you slice it. Episode II had April. Episode III also had April, and the latter two prequels had numerous leaks around March. (As in, I saw them in Walmarts in March.) The Clone Wars was the last significant street date - there were other, ignored dates in there - and that was a late July release for an August movie and an October TV show. History says Star Wars likes a few weeks to a couple of months, whereas Marvel can be up to six months early. I remember getting a Spider-Man 2 figure around New Year's Day in 2004.
If Lucasfilm and Disney keep to December 2015, the smart money has it that toys should be out in September or October. If they're thinking ahead, possibly even earlier - they could kick off the movie program months in advance with a suite of classic items, phase that out in time for the movie, and be sure to keep the momentum going.
The new movie including old movie characters could be a boon to us all - we could see returning vehicles, or a solid excuse to rerelease some items (like the Sandcrawler) if the promotional opportunity exists. If I were in charge - I'm not, obviously - I'd probably do 2015 like this.
January 2015: Rerelease Star Wars in theaters, with a wave (like 12) of figures and 3 vehicles.
April 2015: Rerelease ESB in theaters, with a wave (like 8) of figures and 2 vehicles.
July 2015: Rerelease ROTJ in theaters, with a wave (like 6) of figures and 2 vehicles. Also, 2-3 "sneak peek" figures.
October 2015: New movie sneak preview begins. 6 figures in wave 1, 12 more in wave 2, no more than 5 vehicles with a smattering of roleplay lightsabers and masks.
I want to see a more measured approach - I'm tired of 100 figures in the first year for a new movie. Let's try 15-25.
Still looking for a Life Force arcade cabinet... or conversion kit. Got one? Let me give you money.
Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.