Q&A: Mandalorians and More Star Wars Mandalorians

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 27, 2019

1. I've been a follower of yours since the earliest days of this online Q&A and I've seen more than a few of your comments (whether they were suggestions, predictions, past knowledge, or just speculation) that have come to be my truth in collecting, but I'm troubled.

First of all, we all know there are ups and downs with anything, but Star Wars has so much negativity lately. I've grown tired of 'fake news' and just downright nasty news cycles on social media (which could refer to anything, but this is about Star Wars of course). You seemed recently to at least be optimistic for our non movie years coming up... I want to be excited about more Star Wars, but man is it tough... and even tougher collecting lately. Buying online isn't as fun.

Secondly, Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, ... seems like The Mandalorian has a great shot at being popular. What is your take on Star Wars/Disney's move to the Small Screen (even with Marvel it appears they are going all out on TV... Netflix has done pretty well).

Star Wars as a "modern" toy line has been on shelves in some form or another pretty much constantly since about 1993. With Dakin, Bend-Ems, MicroMachines, and eventually Kenner toys, there was only the briefest gap - it's died and come back, and it almost died before getting a hard reset a couple of times too. A toy line lasting this long, at the same company (mostly), and at the same scale (again, mostly) is kind of unprecedented. What you're seeing isn't normal - Star Wars' success is a massive fluke.

I am hopeful that Disney and Lucasfilm will let Hasbro be Hasbro in non-movie years. I have no reason to believe this is going to be what happens, but when left to their own devices Hasbro makes really good stuff. We got more vehicles starting 2006 and 2007, and 2008 and 2009 too. Character selection got weirder between (and after) prequels. Hasbro tried more experimental formats - arguably, a mixed bag - but some stuck around and worked. The Black Series came because Hasbro had no new movies and was pretty much out of other ways to reinvigorate the brand, as no new movies were known when those were developed.

It's possible the small screen can transform the brand as toys, but very few streaming shows cultivate a cultlike toy fervor until near the ends of their run. Star Wars probably won't be able to get that "peak TV" buzz seen by a Dexter or Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, in part because I have my doubts they can really give you a heart-stopping "I can't wait to see what happens next" kind of story. I hope I'm wrong - small-screen Star Wars has been mostly good, but meandering. I haven't started the new season of Resistance yet, but I have not found it to be compelling yet.

I am hopeful that like The Clone Wars, the Disney+ shows will cultivate new fans and new demand for product that will hopefully be filled some day. I assume we will eventually see demand for a proper The Mandalorian helmet, or figures of Carl Weathers and Werner Herzog. Given we've seen jack and squat from The Clone Wars product line I have minimal hopes that Disney+ is going to be a transformative experience for the world of toys, but if it gets more people watching the old stuff so Hasbro has an excuse to bring out red meat for classic fans? That would be nice.



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2. We are seeing a fairly diverse offering of Star Wars characters from various media b I go produced for the six inch black series figure.

Will we get those figure in 3.75 scale? I am especially thinking of the mandalorian. But other media too. Looks like some great figure options if the make it to 3.75.

Don't get your hopes up, cheese. (But of course, we're getting a few - just not a lot.)

The current regimes of the powers-that-be do not hold the 3 3/4-inch size as the gold standard. A lot of people think 6-inch is what all fans want - but no single format covers all the bases. You want a new The Rise of Skywalker Finn? He's only in the 5-inch line. (Possibly so far, possibly at all.) The only Poe Dameron I've seen for the new movie so far is 3 3/4-inch. There's no 3 3/4-inch D-O yet. It's kind of a mess, and there's no sure "home" for collectors. (And yes, this has been raised loudly at meetings but you should also be adding your voice to this topic if you agree.)

There's a short list of characters in other Hasbro scales that never got made as a 3 3/4-inch figure. If you extend it to include RPG miniatures, Sideshow releases, and other manufacturers... it gets pretty painful. Nobody seems to care there are Galactic Heroes-only Clones and Chewbacca variations, I think people have given up on the Tonnika sisters (Action Fleet), and I may be the only booster for the red Imperial Stormtrooper, which exists in 6-inch because dozens of 3 3/4-inch proposals were rejected.

At this stage I would recommend picking your battles - if there's a character you want in a specific size, make it an issue. Campaign for it, ask about it, ask your friends to ask about it, and make a big fuss. It's what I'm doing, and if enough Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm people hear it and compare notes, your odds improve. But if you're hoping for a 3 3/4-inch line to launch with Disney+, that ain't happening - start campaigning for Season 1 toys to tie in to Season 2's release. Without having seen the show that can be a tough call, but I assume everybody over there as of today knows that this is probably what the older fans are just losing their minds over more than any other new thing in recent memory.

It can always get worse. Have you seen the Star Wars Battle Bobblers? They're not for me, I'll just be happy with the hundreds if not thousands of other items to circulate at retail over the next year. I'm glad we live in an era where we have lots of choices, because there was a time when Bend-Em's were a genuinely exciting sight to behold on toy store shelves. Now, we have the luxury of being picky.





I'm months behind on Star Wars Resistance. I'm trying to catch up but it's not quite as endearing as DuckTales, a plucky reboot with similar voice talent but oddly feels like it's not talking down to me as an aging man who is too old to be caring what Webby and her friends do on a sleepover. The show is vibrant, fun, lively, surprising, and funny at times - that's a tall order for a show aimed mostly at kids. Conversely, Resistance is a tougher watch, the plots feel like they could have been written from the central formula of dozens of existing children series, and somehow just lacks magic. How is an update of an incredibly old comic book about the 1% squabbles a joy to watch, while a galaxy far, far away becomes slower and less intense?

But here's the thing... it's slowly turning into something resembling Star Wars. After over a dozen episodes that feel like they were taken from a set of Doug Mad Libs (apologies to Jim Jinkins, I did watch and enjoy the show) it did eventually get to a place where vaguely Rebel people start doing missions to stop vaguely Imperial people. It fleshes out a little bit of backstory hinted at in the newer films, but it's something you could probably skip almost every episode and not miss a lot. And of course, the one wave of toys is on clearance, and to my knowledge nothing got far enough along to be close to release. (Things can and do change, though. There were unannounced products there.)

While Ahsoka went from being a fan punching bag to a unique phenomenon in her own right, it seems unlikely that Resistance has the momentum or growth to get somewhere culturally significant. But hey, there's a lot of culture to choke down right now, and you are probably going to see some unpleasantness in the coming weeks as more toy tax issues start to appear - and there's a lot of stuff coming next year that is getting mucked up as a result of all of that, but well, on to other topics for now.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit, and we're down to 2 questions per week until we get overloaded with questions to re-expand back to 3 or more.



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Duck tales and resistance

Had to comment. I was actually watching duck tales as I read this !
Love that show and so disappointed that Disney stores here don’t carry he figures but resistance? Tried it. Couldn’t get on with it. Loved rebels.