Q&A: Mandalorians, Star Wars' Changing Faces, and Boba Fetts

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 10, 2021

1. As a long time 3.75" figure collector, it seemed like Kenner and Hasbro used to focus on the Cantina and Jabba's Palace. Again with TVC the focus was there again. So, now I collect the Black Series and I'm shocked that there are so few BS figures from either scene. Feels like now is the time that Hasbro will focus on The Mandalorian and the other series, but I'm still hoping for a few figures the Cantina and Jabba's Palace. What do you think the odds of getting some of the main figures from either like Ponda Baba, Dr Evazen, Bib Fortuna, Oola, Max Rebo, etc any time soon? Not necessarily any of them in particular, but for scenes that used to get such a focus, Hasbro has ignored these scenes (for the most part) in the 6" scale and I would have assumed we would get 1-2 per scene a year. Your thoughts?

In the 1990s, Star Wars was 3 movies (and some odds and ends that were largely ignored at the time.) Back then, we got a good smattering of Jabba goons, Cantina drunks, and of course main characters - but we didn't get many Ewoks, or Rebel pilots.

By the mid-2000s, we got a lot of everything thanks to Hasbro milking what seemed like a dying franchise for all it's worth (and then some) when it got to be 6 big movies, tons of comics, some video games, and other odds and ends - with the added bonus of a mandate from Hasbro in late 1999/early 2000 to shift the focus hard and fast to the original trilogy.

By the mid-2010s, numbers on 3 3/4-inch were in decline so we got 6-inch - and Hasbro (and Disney, and Lucasfilm) have very little focus there beyond a smattering of legacy items and chasing whatever the new thing is. Other than new movies, we never get themed waves here - and as such we haven't had a lot of love for the traditional classic categories of Jabba thugs, Cantina patrons, Rebel pilots (can you believe there's no Biggs after 7 years?), and so on and so forth. I don't know of any other Jabba the Hutt guys in the near future, but after the season finale of The Mandalorian I assume someone over there is getting to work on that.

I haven't seen any real evidence that there's a lot of thought given to building out "scenes," until a reissue theme comes up for some reason (see: Rebels in 2020. Also I guess Walmart's drop of The Clone Wars guys constitutes a theme wave had it been shipped in an assortment rather than as solids.)

I doubt you're going to see Oola again in the next few years. But the others? I have no idea. If Disney+ pushes the story in those directions, you should see more figures - but we still don't have a lot of neat aliens in that scale. I remain surprised that it took 7 years to get to Ewoks in the 6-inch scale, and that the Cantina is largely ignored, and that literally every last Mandalorian has not been made in that size. (Also, that Mando isn't in every wave, but that's another matter.)



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2. Given the lead time before next year's Mandalorian Season 3, and the new series Book of Boba Fett, is it possible we'll get several Fetts, like Nomad, Battle-worn armor, and repainted armor, to go with the Slave 1?

Inside baseball time: while the Slave I relaunch was announced on Mando Mondays, it wasn't part of the initial program - it's just a rerun, like so many others, that happened to get added later in the game. As such I would not anticipate any new figures, especially not new mold Boba Fett figures, to go with the 3 3/4-inch reissue of the Slave I due to ship in May of 2021. The story is that assets for Boba were kept tightly under wraps until they aired, as such Hasbro didn't have enough lead time to design a figure, get it approved, get tooling done, etc. - this is most likely why we're instead getting new versions of Return of the Jedi Boba Fett in 3 3/4-inch and 6-inch lines. Hopefully all parties involved are working on the new costumes-as-toys as we speak, but a lot of the inner workings which have been relayed to me (often outside of Hasbro) make me think that there are too many things going on at once for any one toy maker to deliver on the goods we would expect in a more relaxed release schedule.

With 2-3 TV shows per year, it might be good to look at a line like 1990s Star Trek - you get a lot of the main guys, you get some memorable guest stars, but you don't get things in time for the launch and you never get everything. At some point they move on from Deep Space Nine and on to Voyager, and you don't get your 4 1/2-inch General Martok figure, but do you get bitter? Yes. Yes you do.




3. So...it looks like we're all all in on The Mandalorian...fans, Disney, Lucasfilm...so what's the likelihood of getting a real honest-to-god toyline going? I know we're getting drips and drabs here in both the Vintage Collection and Black Series...but what about a standard retail friendly line, like we got for TFA, TLJ, Rogue One, etc.?

I'm thinking retail scale Slave 1, Razor Crest, maybe even an X-Wing or two? Mando, Cara, Hermit Boba Fett, red-eyed Jawa, The Armorer, Blue Puffy-face Gil guy, frog lady, Imperial Officers, Night Owls (is it true Hasbro can't do an unmasked Koska Reeves since Mattel owns the likeness to Sasha Banks?)...5 points of articulation, decent distribution...give kids an opportunity to play, give collectors a chance to flesh out dioramas with background characters that may not ever find a slot in the more limited collectors lines...

Feels like it'd be fun to get out there for a wave or three...

This is something I've been clamoring for - specifically in 3 3/4-inch - but I am not getting a lot of back-up from you people. Where are the petitions? Where are the forums? It's so much easier when talking to Hasbro to go "hey, look at what the fans are demanding" but from where I sit there doesn't seem to be a ton of hubbub making these kinds of demands. I remain surprised Hasbro hasn't turned Mando into the new Batman with "wonderful toys" (thanks Tim Burton) and tons of action villain figures - but action figures aren't quite the kid toy they used to be when we were growing up.

Right now there is no plan to do any The Mandalorian-specific line (or wave) in any size except for the one 3 3/4-inch retro line - which may serve as a litmus test for what the market wants/needs. Demand for the title character in any size of figure remains very high, and if they started tossing out action feature-figures, or perhaps specialized accessory figures, or the classic "Lava Armor" or "Action Winch" accessories? It could potentially be a hit. I have no idea if Hasbro would ever consider that direction for action figures again, as whimsy seems less desired by licensors, but I bet it would've been a hit for the holidays had it existed.

If you guys really, truly, want a 3 3/4-inch line I need you to start making a fuss with specific demands. What scale? What style? What vehicles? And don't email me - make it public. Post on forums. Do TikToks, post Instas, #demandalorian the line you want and hopefully Disney, Lucasfilm, and Hasbro see it and agree with you. I think there's a lost generation of opportunity here - sort of like how Hasbro never really truly caught up with demand for Ahsoka products after the first year - and I hope they glom on to it for season three. Or better yet, The Book of Boba Fett would be a good place to start.

Having said all of that, Hasbro's doing a really good job casting a wide net for The Black Series characters and... well, The Vintage Collection needs some work to catch up, but it's by no means bad. Now that we're in an era of 11 theatrical live-action movies, 2 TV movies, 6 cable/broadcast series with hundreds of episodes between them, comics, novels, and everything else - full franchise representation is a near-impossibility. I wish we could see nothin' but Mando stuff for a year or so and see what happens, but fans tend to complain when The New Thing falls short of our collective imagination and/or demands, so what we're seeing right now is a pretty good safety net/placeholder of a line that tries to cover a lot of bases. I would not pout if Hasbro and Lucasfilm decide to do some sort of all-Mando or all-streaming TV episodes assortment of figures, though, in whatever scale or fashion they see fit.



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Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in.

The future of Star Wars publishing - itself a licensed product - is The High Republic. The basic idea is that 200 years before the movies, Jedi were running around doing things and now it's going to be a big series of young adult novels, some comics, and one of the new Disney+ shows. Fan reaction to some of it has been positive but the whole angle of "a whole new era of stuff" in a world with no toys would leave me skipping this for now. (I also "noped" out of the novels before when they killed off Chewbacca.) It could be really and truly great - and if any animated or live-action stuff references it, I'll be sure to check it out. (The Jedi tend to be pretty boring in a lot of printed material.) I have not heard of any confirmations (or rumors) of toys from these at this time.

Another thing I didn't post on the front page - but is worth noting - is that New York Toy Fair 2021 was postponed from February to May, and now the May event has been postponed until 2022 - so in theory, it's February, and we'll just miss a year. The chatter about the hypothetical May 2021 Toy Fair has largely been people asking if they knew anyone going - the buzz was that the Javits Center would only be partially occupied for Toy Fair-related things, and I hadn't yet discovered a manufacturer planning to have a booth there, but admittedly not everybody shares everything they're planning with the likes of me. (I mean, would you?) There may be some announcements on the horizon, but it sounds like the 2020 style of info-dumps from various manufacturers are likely to continue with your Marvel Mondays (in a few hours) and Fans First Fridays and whatever other authorized launches the houses of mouses may bestow unto you.

Right now, I'm generally excited about the state of Star Wars for 2021 and beyond - the Boba Fett show may have been filming for a while, if you believe the rumors, the animated stuff will probably make it out on time, as will the print stuff. The toy rumors are certainly juicy, and the reality is pretty juicy too. Granted I don't know what the heck I'm supposed to be looking forward to on the Switch, but improbably there's still a slate of new NES games on the horizon and that's also just fine by me. I could also rewatch some things, but that seems less and less likely as I get older.

--Adam Pawlus

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