Q&A: Piett, DVDs, and Let's Sweat the Small Stuff

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 22, 2013


1. There are a handful of adequately updated characters missing from my collection of 3.75" OT toys, not the least of which is my second-favorite tragically ambitious Imperial Navy officer – Firmus Piett. Based on your insight into Hasbro's way, what are the chances of a single carded Admiral–and/or–Captain Piett in ANY of the 3.75" lines in the near future? Articulation be damned. 5 points would be fine by me. I just want a reasonably believable likeness and the proper costume/colors.

For right now, Hasbro is doing the 5-jointed figures for mass audiences and hasn't yet decided to make them for collector characters - I think they should. A good figure is a good figure, if Hasbro does a 5-jointed Jaxxon I'll buy it.

As we're now in the era of remakes with few exceptions, it's possible. But it's not highly requested - and unless you decide to make this your pet project, it probably won't happen. I liked the 1998 model enough for what (and when) it was, and as ridiculous as this is to type out I would assume that the best bet for this character to get remade may well be the 6-inch The Black Series assortment several years down the road. And I mean like after the new movies start.




2. As long as my children love playing with 3.75 Star Wars action figures I will continue to buy them. Hasbro should not put them to bed but slow down and catch up with new stuff. Do you think the new stuff could be, not only from the TV show or the upcoming movies, but from completing most of the cantina and Jabba Palace’s aliens?(Also shown in the Clone Wars that my kids watched) My children love aliens. With those aliens put a OT or PT main character in the line as usual. What do you think?

Whatever the corporate mentality is over there, it's letting them slip as a company - not just Star Wars, but Hasbro is behind LEGO now in toy sales and that's pretty telling. Hasbro has numerous strong brands and doesn't seem interested in maximizing them, while at the same time we see them slightly distracted as a would-be media company as well. Hopefully they can return their focus to toys first, but until then I expect a few more years of growing pains as the massive character selection will always mean fans will be left wanting for sub-categories. People had to wait a few years between Pod Race aliens, most good years net us 1 or 2 Cantina aliens, maybe 3 if we're good, and Jabba's Palace aliens rarely go beyond what you can count on one hand. (Well, maybe except for 1998.)

Things have slowly shifted away from aliens - as a kid, what I wanted most of all were the Cantina aliens but those were tough as all get out to find and before Return of the Jedi ran its course, you were already having to look at garage sales in some markets. Recent Jabba's Palace aliens have done adequately, but Hasbro seems to be a lot more mercurial lately and seems to be focusing on heavy-hitters or low-hanging fruit, which you can see by looking at both scales of The Black Series. 6-inch gets famous faces, 3 3/4-inch gets leftovers, a few fan requests, and of course whatever can be easily parts-swapped or re-re-re-released.

Whatever it is you love about Star Wars, remember we're now a diverse fanbase - it's not just about 3 movies. It's about 6 movies, comic books, novels, video games, TV shows, whatever Hasbro feels like inventing, concept art, and more meaning that it's unlikely that every sub-category can be represented adequately every year. There's simply to much variety from which to choose, and by trying to make everybody happy it seems right now everybody is pretty unsatisfied. I would suggest the solution to be to kill 3 3/4-inch for a year to see what shakes out, because it's hard to make the line look exciting with 2-3 year old unsold dusty figures still hanging in some stores. Even then, I think the chance of there being a solid Jabba's Palace year - that is to say, more than 3 or 4 Jabba's Palace aliens - are never going to happen again in the current Hasbro environment.




3. I noticed a listing on Amazon that the blu-rays of both trilogies are being released again, along with their corresponding DVD's, on October 8th. Do you know if the DVD's will be the versions from the blu-rays or if they will just be the previous DVD versions? I would really like to get the better Episode I Yoda, etc. on DVD, if possible.

I don't actually have the answer to your question just yet - I'm gonna need one of you guys to tell me what's on there. I would assume DVD versions of the new edits, but it's possible they'll just throw on the existing cuts to save a few bucks on mastering the product. I would suggest waiting for the reviews to come in, after all we didn't know how the Blu-Rays would look until prints started to leak online with the usual denials or non-confirmations of the changes made.




And that's it! You wrote in fewer questions, so I get to write a shorter column. That's our social contract. I won't write about Cookie Clicker, but I will say that I think this is the most boringest year for Star Wars since the early 1990s - there's never been a better time to collect something else. Mattel's Adam West Batman line is in stores now (but not many stores), so you can go get that. Onell Design's Glyos figures have new releases with more removable and switchable parts, now with fully-removable "dome" pieces on some of the new guys. The Four Horsemen are doing new Power Lords that look like the best custom fodder for 3 3/4-inch fans in quite some time. But if you love Star Wars? Well, there's not a whole lot to track down right now, so count your blessings there.

With any luck we'll have a relaunch in about a year with more Black Series 6-inch figures and - I hope - a "realistic" 3 3/4-inch $6 line based on Star Wars Rebels. And if you're all about LEGO, well, life is good for you - I think the lesson here is that there are huge advantages to a modular toy line, plus LEGO has been routinely showing the advantages available in new and varied offerings of never-before-toy products which Hasbro has been quite miserly about doling out as of late. As a collector it's hugely important to me that I look at a new toy and know that it's new - I should never have to ask "Is this new?" and as a consumer, neither should you. Hopefully 2013 will up the game in newness, otherwise it's going to be a lot harder to keep the column running.

--Adam Pawlus

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