Today we look at vintage cardback logos, continue with your obvious disdain toward the lack of vehicles shown at Toy Fair, and we look at new villain figures... that we aren't getting yet. Oh, and we look at the amazing changes to Teebo's hat and how things don't seem to necessarily line up between the movie, the toys, and the photography from Lucasfilm. What an exciting mix! Read on for more and send in your questions for next week's mailbag!
1. Wonder why Big H didn't put the new Lando on a reproduced 1985 POTF-style card. Perhaps they would consider a variation along those lines.
I don't have a good answer but I do have an answer. The only official line I have heard out of Hasbro was essentially (not a direct quote) "We decided we didn't want to go in that direction." I think that's Hasbro diplomacy for "We did coins a few years ago, and we're going to keep costs down and not add a chunk of metal in these."
Admittedly, Power of the Force is an odd catch-all theme when we're dealing with the rest of the line being specific to a movie or Expanded Universe as the case may be. I half expect some uninformed media outlet to be confused by "Expanded Universe" and report it somewhere as a title for an upcoming movie or a TV show, much like "Power of the Force" could have been. (Maybe I'm crazy for assuming fans would be so oblivious, but I do read the fan forums out there and I'd say there's one in every thousand or so posts that reminds you that even among the self-selecting informed fanbase, people sometimes just don't get it.)
2. So, with the lack of OT vehicles @ Toy Fair, and the Attack Shuttle being the big toy for the year, do you think there is a second something out there for San Diego? Even with the Marvel garbage and another big year for Transformers looming, do you think there could be something else? Or something in the middle? Along the line of the AT-ST or Slave-1 like an OT B-Wing or Y-Wing? But really, as for Mid size OT vehicles other than repaints, at this point what is there? Maybe a New A-Wing?
I don't think Hasbro is done with the old A-Wing mold just yet-- while the 1984/1985 version is too large, it's still "good." We'll probably see Hasbro try to get at least one more use out of it, and I'm crossing my fingers that if they DO rerelease it, it'll be in the blue McQuarrie-inspired paint job. Star Wars seems to be having a year more aimed at collectors than kids, so there's a whole mess of figures coming and not a lot in the midsize vehicles department. (Just think, most other toy lines would take a year off in the wake of other major media competing with it. Not Star Wars.)
I don't expect much in the way of newly-molded Original Trilogy stuff, except maybe a Speeder Bike at some point. Hasbro has made comments that a new Y-Wing (or newish, at least) is in the works, and we all know to expect a Slave I redeco at some point. At this stage if there's anything new to be shown, though, I'm expecting it to be Clone Wars or Phantom Menace.
3. Any theories on Darth Maul and Savage Oppress? Maybe introduced this for the live action show? I mean you don't just reveal Darth Maul is back for no good reason. Mother Talsin said Savage has a bigger destiny or something along that line. Of course, it could still be for the Clone Wars but it seems like we might be running out of time to really include them in any significant way in this show. I just hope whatever role it is or whichever show we get a real Sith Infiltrator out of it.
I'm pretty sure that Darth Maul was never explicitly named on-screen in the Clone Wars episode "Witches of the Mist," which we all know is a trap-door to whatever rewrites someone wants to make. It's possible that they're going to stick with the existing story-- that Darth Maul is running around after Obi-Wan with cybernetic legs, eager for revenge-- or that that the Nightsisters are a bunch of liars, sending off their Frankenstein's Monster far, far away from them so he won't take his rage out on them. Also likely: this could be a loose end that doesn't get tied up, and was included as more or less just a wink at fans.
As to the Sith Infiltrator? Well, LEGO is doing yet another version of the toy this year, and it's possible there will be a new version in 2012... but I'm not hopeful. After all, it's not like there are a lot of Darth Maul figures with the capacity for sitting down just yet.
4. I know you've got a crystal ball and know what Hasbro will produce in the next five years. Any chance we'll see some love for the Shadows of the Empire media event in the form of 3 3/4 action figures (Snoova -- please! Dash Rendar anyone? Guri? Leebo?)? Even Luke in his Jedi-vest would be an easy score considering they can use the current Endor Capture figure with some slight modifications. Would love to see them on the VC cards!
While I loved the look and designs of many Shadows of the Empire items, I wouldn't expect anything without a mandate from fans in a future poll or a huge upswell in requests online. I think yours is the first Shadows-specific query I've had in ages, and while I think Snoova is incredibly awesome and goofy, and there were some rumblings that Hasbro had Dash and Guri up for consideration in the comic packs line, that's all over now. The 15th anniversary of Shadows is this year, and it looks like the marketing plan is not going to shine a light on the property. Before anyone gets too upset, though, don't forget Dark Empire and Heir to the Empire didn't get any special treatment either.
So what can you do? Make some noise. Go on to forums, participate in fan polls, and cross your fingers. I would love to see Luke in the vest (I've still got my Galoob figure) but I sincerely doubt Hasbro will be giving on to you in the next two years. Heck, maybe what you should be doing is pestering LucasArts to rerelease the game with high-def graphics, perhaps giving Hasbro an excuse to make new stuff. Without media support, I'd say that anything more than 2 figures over the next 5 years based on Shadows would be highly unlikely.
...unless they're also The Clone Wars characters.
5. I was recently customizing some of my Ewoks and had a question about Teebo's headdress
I know that it is not film accurate but I was curious, where did the full headdress design come from? Was it Hasbro's decision to make a full head dress including
card art design for the POTJ or was the Lucusfilm character originally designed that way?
If they were to make an update for him down the road do you think they would do just the Hat style headdress that goes all the way back to the vintage original
Since both headdresses can be found in the movies, it's tough to say why Hasbro makes Ewoks some way and others a different way. Looking back at the old Kenner line, and the movie, and the merchandise, it seems that things like names, roles, and costumes may not have been finalized back in the day. In the case of Teebo here, the character in the movie looks like the 1984 action figure, but the 1984 and 2001 action figure photography look a little bit different. What happened? That's tough to say, but were I to speculate I'd say that the 2001 figure is based on early costume or on-set photography while the 1984 figure was based on what Kenner designers saw and sketched when they visited the film set during the production of the original film. Hasbro of the modern day seems to be working from Lucasfilm reference, not necessarily the movie, so we're treated to a new, weird, arguably deleted scene figure.
Most likely what happened was this.
Hasbro: "Hey Lucasfilm, got any photos of Teebo we can work from?"
Lucasfilm: "Yup, here you go. We've got the full Teebo costume, here's the full hat, the spear, the works."
Hasbro: *shrugs* "Well, this doesn't look like the 1984 figure, but it's clearly the same character and this is great photography from all angles. Well, this must be the way they meant for him to look!"
...so yeah, it looks like the full headdress was either the original design, or the guy who took the picture back in the 1980s got it wrong and that screwed things up for years to come. The full headdress was not only used on the 1984 figure packaging, but also on the Decipher Customizable Card Game and elsewhere. I'd say that this is a figure that's set to be revised some day, because the 2001 version is huge compared to the other Ewoks. It would also give Hasbro a chance to recreate his iconic axe, which he used in the scene in Bright Tree Village to cut Artoo free. Oh, and the Mighty Muggs figure looks to be based more on the movie design-- two bandoliers and the smaller hat.
Also fun: it seems the Teebo costume was reused as an Ewok drummer, too, so there's another chance to reuse a new mold if Hasbro were so inclined. After the 2010 Wicket I thought I'd balk at paying $8 for a single Ewok but if Hasbro wants to redo Teebo with his spear, his axe, and both headdresses? I'd buy it.
A semi-often asked question is "so what is it that you want Hasbro to make?" Rather than waste a slot in the column, I need some filler in the end part so I'll just put it in here.
As for figures, Hasbro generally anticipates what I want and gives it to me. At this point, the things I'd like to see the most would come from The Clone Wars TV series, the Droids animated series, or Return of the Jedi. (In short: alien gangsters, Ewoks, and junk from Jabba's Palace.) I'd very much like to see Ziro the Hutt with some droids in an exclusive Battle Pack, and, as you no doubt know, I'd punch an old lady in the face if it assured us getting Vlix some day. And when it comes to Return of the Jedi, Hasbro has done a good job picking out new and neat weird stuff that it's getting tougher to ask for things that aren't just resculpts. More Skiff Guards would be nice, but as far as revisiting existing figures go, well, I'm at a point in my collecting hobby where I'm not going to be actively asking them to replace the figures I already own.
Vehicles, on the other hand, I think that's an area where I'm going to continue to be a little disappointed. Some of the new releases based on The Clone Wars have been pretty great, although the Swamp Speeder rocket launchers don't seem to hold the rocket in well and fire if you look at 'em funny. As time goes on I feel less of a need to own most as-of-yet unmade movie vehicles, with one exception. The Blockade Runner from the original film, I think, would be an incredibly exciting release for collectors because it gives us something to put all those Stormtroopers we bought inside. It's the first-ever Star Wars vehicle to be on the big screen, there's a few fun action features, and it's recognizable. It's just that I don't expect we'll ever get it without TV support. And speaking of TV, I still want to see Anakin's Twilight spice freighter due to its nifty design and ample room to store figures or gear or something. Unfortunately, it seems to have been written out of the show at the top of season 2. A shame, as it had a lot of promise and a Millennium Falcon-esque feel as a rickety center-of-adventure that could have been used on the show nearly every week. (And in case Hasbro is reading, I would shell out $70 for it. I'd shell out $100 for it. $150, maybe not. But $70-$100, absolutely.)
I've completely given up on playsets and carry cases, although it would be fun to see Hasbro revisit more cardboard environments as low-cost exclusives-with-figures before the line ends.
Oh, and I've also been asked "Why don't you talk about LEGO here more?" Two reasons: One, LEGO is a pretty straightforward aspect of toy collecting where sets are numbered, where items are announced months before their release, and rare items and variations are lacking. (Old items, well, that's another issue.) Items are largely sold in solid cases, not assortments, so people basically know the drill when it comes to LEGO. And the second reason? Nobody asks.
See you next week!
Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.