Q&A: More Star Wars Solo, Wampas, and Disney License Fun

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 15, 2018

1. What is going on with the 3 3/4 inch action figure line for Solo: A Star Wars Story? What came out , is that it? I know a new vehicle will come out and maybe a Tie fighter, but is the rumor fact? Will we have more droids and aliens from Solo or not? What you think Adam?

Despite Hasbro's talk of globalizing its SKUs, things are much as they were - tail-enders can be dumped overseas, or not released at all. Some items may have been shown in other markets but not here - and for all I know, that means Europe might get a shiny new TIE Fighter and the USA might not. We've seen a lot more items shown-but-not-released in recent years, many of which flew under the radar because fans don't care if it isn't an action figure-specific item.

While there are/were/are plans for more Solo product, things can get dumped at any time as Hasbro very rarely will announce something they're not doing, particularly if it was never officially announced in the first place. Given the changing needs of the market I would hope they keep things coming just so fans don't get bored and quit, but that's probably not reason enough to pump out waves of figures and vehicles. It's a small line, and it was never meant to be huge.



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2. Was the recently released Wampa (with exclusive Vietnamese air) that came packed with Hoth Luke originally intended to be a Black Series release in some way? It’s quite articulated for the range and I feel it hits all the vintage notes an articulated update to the Wampa might have received were it issued in the Black Series line. Hasbro could have easily created a 4 or 5 POA version of this character, and made it really hard to find given the figure’s vintage aesthetic, and more closely aligned the release to the limited articulation format of the main line.

If it was, we never got wind of it - it's pretty unlikely but not impossible. It's not Black Series-levels of articulated, but it's better than most basic figures - given the size and sound chip, it would strike me as being priced about right for 2018. By comparison, the first modern Wampa/Luke set was in 1999 for about $14.99, and inflation calculators say that's $23.34 in today's dollars - this would make the new Beast Assortment not only a better value, but a better product too.

Sculpting has been all over the map in recent years, with the better sculpting generally appearing in the 5-jointed line rather than the super articulated lines. The deco is rarely superior, but the craftsmanship in terms of creation seems to be significantly better overall. I'd love to hear if Hasbro said it was indeed meant for another line, but given the direction of these series lately I doubt it.




3. I've been reading here and there (your writings, Rebelscum, ToyArk, etc) that there's talk about Hasbro potentially not getting a renewal for the Star Wars license from Lucasfilm after the current license ends (2020?).

Whatever the year may be, it's a ways off and a change may never happen. Speculation is fun though (if for no other reason than to mentally adjust far in advance to the potential reality of someone else getting the rights in a few years) so...what other companies do you think could handle the Star Wars master toy license?

[snip - AP] Myself, I think Mattel could do a good job. They often utilize the sculpting talents of the Four Horsemen (who do absolutely outstanding work, no matter the license and I'm sure those guys would go ape-poopy for SW), are the only other non-Lego megaplayer in the biz that has the resources needed for a master license holder to have (sorry Moose and Spin Master) and already have a good track record with LFL due to their own SW product in the Hot Wheels and non-HW die-cast ranges. So...talent, resources, a financially and historically significant company, proven performance with the brand, what's not to like? Plus, if LFL wants to reboot Forces of Destiny in the future, who else could do better with mass market dolls than Mattel? Barbie, DC Superhero Girls, and beyond (including their Disney products from way back) are testament to their abilities in that range. They also have ample experience in the action figure arena across varying scales.

Do you think Disney may be looking to make SW toys in general (under a new toy division) and the Disney Store product is them testing their skills for that and upon the Hasbro license expiring, they would completely jump into the toy world at large? It'd pretty much be a pure profit scenario, right? They own the brand, nobody to haggle licensing details, earnings and expectations with, etc.

Funko could be a player too. They have resources but are more geared to adult collectibles for the most part. us Exclusive.. Sadly now the company is no more, do you know what will happen to that now.. ? Is it likely be given to target, or Walmart etc.. instead..

Disney is not picky - they will carve up their brands and hand them to whoever makes the most sense. BanDai has had Big Hero 6 for years, and has the new Wreck-It Ralph. Jakks Pacific has the new Incredibles 2 line. Disney could give the brand to literally anybody because as long as they can meet deadlines (and make royalty payments) odds are the product you'd get from Playmates or Funko would be about as good as what we got from Hasbro. Particularly if Disney continues to call the shots, offers digital sculpts for them to use, and keeps new classic releases to a minimum.

As discussed previously, there's one thing Disney lacks - distribution. A new Disney toy company would be wise to set up business early because you have to initiate relationships with stores and distributors - it might take a few weeks or months to get lines of communication (and credit) established so you can ship your goods, and also establish freight partners and all that fun stuff.

Some companies - like Hasbro, Funko, and Mattel - keep some stock on hand in the USA to order. Other companies might not - it's "pick it up in China yourself, bub." This could be an issue for a new Disney Toy Company that sells to actual stores. (As far as I know, Disney ships to Disney Parks, Disney Stores, and some of their stuff goes to JC Penny. Is there more going to other stores? I have no idea.)

I would say it's unthinkable to expect a shift, but it's happened before. Kenner had Batman since the 1989 movie's second year through Mattel getting it in the 00s - that was only one uninterrupted decade. Hasbro has only had Marvel since about 2006. The 25 year partnership between BanDai and Power Rangers is ending, as has Kenner's (later Hasbro's) 25 years of Jurassic Park. Star Wars being in the same place for 41 years is nothing short of bizarre.

There are so many pros and cons to other companies getting the brand. Playmates would deliver God's Gift to Kid Lines, but their collector distribution isn't always superb. Mattel has done a pretty good job with Jurassic World. Playmobil or Imaginext Star Wars would be a gift from above. Funko has done some amazing stuff, but they don't have a good track record with toys-for-kids. I assume whoever has the license would have to deliver a lot of roleplay options, or would have to ramp up fast. Mattel, Hasbro, BanDai, and Playmates would probably be your best overall picks, and I can't assume Lucasfilm wouldn't want to keep the continuity here.

Could someone do a different - maybe even better job? Possibly - but to meet the requirements for both kids and for collectors? I doubt it.



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The mailbag is empty! If you have questions, please send them in. If we missed your question, and it's not "Will Hasbro make X," please do send it our way. Otherwise I get to take a week off, and nobody wants that.

Comic-Con is this week, which probably means we'll hear something new - about next year's toy line. Hasbro has been pretty awesome at previewing toys from The Black Series far in advance when it comes to "classic" characters, meaning we could be looking at something like a Bodhi or another prequel Anakin or maybe even a second Cantina alien. (I know, I'm thinking big!)

We might also see the future of Resistance and some other goodies - I hope to have a seat at the show previewing whatever the heck is next, and you can come back here, well, eventually and I'll post my notes. I hope it's exciting. (I'm not expecting much for Q4, though.)

This would also be a great time to announce a license renewal, but for maximum dramatic effect I could see them holding out until Toy Fair. In 2020.

Anyway, if you've been reading you know we've made a few changes to our programming. Galactic Hunter will continue to post Q&A overnight Sundays. The increasingly inaccurately named Figure of the Day will be updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays both here and at 16bit.com. Other news will be posted as it appears to be interesting, with Comic-Con updates between travel and meetings and announcements all week long.

--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.