1. Saw your post about the retro figures and had to chime in. I have been wondering when Hasbro would do this for years, and even asked your opinion about it on the Q and A at one time. (I think you said "why would anyone want old looking figures?")
Anyway, if Hasbro were to do this, they should aim at long term collectors. I don't need 20 or 30 new retro figs...I need a Sandtrooper! If they started this by making 4-6 unmade figs from ANH, I think the market would go nuts.
Sandtrooper, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Tarkin, Luke Ceremony, Cantina Band Member and maybe a wild card likeCaptain Antiles. People would be thrilled.
If that went over, then I think they could step into the PT, and get a Slave Leia out there. I think most collectors enjoy adding to a collection, not starting over.
As always, I enjoy reading your column every monday. I really hope these vintage/retro figures take off. The fad might get me one step closer to my greatest toy collecting dream ever: 3 3/4 inch Planet of the Apes figures!
I stand by what I said - for Star Wars, unless Hasbro sub-licenses the brand out, it's not going to work as retro figures. You have a very specific market for this kind of figure, and Funko has been great at making runs that aren't, well, Hasbro-sized. It's a huge difference in each company's perspective. For Hasbro, you've got an enormous machine to feed with the #3 toy company slipping behind its chief competitor and another company that really shouldn't be ahead of it. A retro, collector-only action figure line is probably geared toward a limited number of people - probably aged between 25 and 45 - that hasn't given up on collecting yet. That's not a huge crowd and it's not getting any larger. Heck, back in 1993 I was hoping Kenner would just continue the original line - that didn't happen, because that wasn't what their market (kids) wanted.
With ALIEN, you have real, legit, famous, and rare Kenner product getting a chance to be made as a limited edition collectible. Hasbro wouldn't want to do this - NECA didn't do it - nobody did it. Some dude named Frank saw an opportunity and went for it, at a small company known for its collector-only, high-dollar, low-run designer figures. For them, this would be a big product, and now Funko is going to be running the show.
Hasbro probably could do a handful of "old" figures and do acceptably with them before quietly ending the line within a year. Another company could probably sell the same amount of figures and see it as a huge hit. That's the disconnect here - it has everything to do with expectations. I want classic figures from the Planet of the Apes movies and TV show too, but that group is probably 10-15 years older than I am - and even more likely to be beyond their collecting years. (Having said that, I will buy them, anyone who gets that license.)
I've never said Hasbro couldn't do it - they could! - they just don't want to. Otherwise, they'd have done it. It's a tricky proposition, and certainly one geared toward a smaller audience. Like everyone who reads this column, which number too small for Hasbro to care. (Tell Hasbro to let me make 'em. I'll do a good job. Darth Mauls, Tarkins, Vlixes, and Wedges for everybody!)
2. Do you know of a good place (that you work form, use, or could recommend) that sells stands -- foot pegs on a plastic circle -- for 6" figures? I want some for my Sandtrooper, Luke X-Wing, R2, and any future tall figures, because I am opening all Black Series I ever happen to buy.
My suggestion: small doll stands from craft stores. Why? Because the foot peg size is inconsistent - Boba Fett and the Sandtrooper share a peg size with vintage 1980s figures. Luke and Darth Maul have larger holes, sized similarly to Marvel Legends. Due to weight distribution issues (as most 6-inch collectors will tell you) figures may topple over even if plugged into a stand - the added articulation make them prone to toppling over. A doll stand is a great way to hold them up and prevent off-shelf nosedives.
3. As far as you know (or can tell) will the typical Star Case #1s fit the Alien ReAction figures blister cards?
I don't have a final sample to check, but it's my understanding the aim was to make them similar to the original 6-inch by 9-inch cardbacks of old. They may fit, but we don't know if there's any weirdness on the bubble dimensions that will prevent them from fitting. As much as I hate to say it, we're going to have to wait and see. (But don't worry, I pre-ordered a set so we should know... well, soonish.)
4. I have a patchy memory from 2005 of seeing the box art/mock-up online of the Hasbro BMF Millennium Falcon in Revenge of the Sith box, with the Falcon painted in its 'blue stripe' look based on its cameo from that movie.... Is this a false memory, did I see a fan made image or was this real? I know this never made it to shelves, but was it ever planed to be released?
To my knowledge Hasbro never discussed any release of a full-size 3 3/4-inch scale blue Episode III Millennium Falcon. In 2005, Hasbro did rerelease the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection version of the ship in a red and black Revenge of the Sith box as a Toys R Us exclusive with no significant changes. (The quality was reportedly garbage.)
Hasbro did produce a Falcon in these colors as part of its Titanium Series offerings. The big Millennium Falcon didn't make its debut until 2008, and the lava-style packaging of the final prequel was long gone by then. Reissues of this toy kept the same, original packaging and there are no known deco changes.
5. "Golden ages never last forever."
Hear ya loud and clear on this one...and it's been expected by most (reasonable) collectors. I don't see why there's even an effort to keep limping along right now. Put the 3.75" collector line to bed - at least until the machine starts back up with Episode VII. Is this a reasonable thought, or would doing so kill the line for...well, forever?
If you look at the line since 2010, Hasbro has really not done a lot of new stuff in the 3 3/4-inch line. There are some - and many in the exclusive sets - but precious few releases are genuinely new, never-before-made things. So while it's great that fans want more of this kind of thing, Hasbro seems to be struggling with how and what and all of that.
I do expect a slowdown unless the new TV show really brings stuff back a lot of fans, or there's a tremendous re-branding push wherein everything on the market is flushed out and they can start fresh. I'm still seeing 2010 and 2012 figures rotting at Kmarts, Walmarts, Toys R Us, and even Target.
So word on the street has it the one-off Star Wars movies are origin stories, meaning Han Solo and Yoda will be given more screen time and probably make a ton of money in the process of destroying their mystique. Yoda's a fascinating character and one Lucasfilm has actively prevented the Expanded Universe from clearly defining - we've seen few of his species, and we don't even know what that species is, or what planet he's from, and there's even some minor debate about how many toes he has. Even before the prequels, Yoda was far more mysterious than Boba Fett and much like Boba Fett, I'm not sure seeing the character's backstory will make him better.
With very few exceptions like Darth Maul, the on-screen Star Wars mythos has allowed dead characters to stay dead. As such, it's unlikely that another round of prequely stories would carry the weight of the original trilogy - not just because of quality reasons, but because we can look at the poster and pick out which characters will absolutely not die during the film's runtime. Not that a movie can be enjoyable without someone in the case being in danger, but well, this is Star Wars after all.
I'm less than keen on entering another narrative black hole - the prequels were what they were, and they sadly did not advance the story of Star Wars as we knew it and from the look of things, these might not either. Thank goodness there's a new trilogy coming up on the other end of the spectrum so we can finally have a future instead of retreading the same time forever. The original trilogy did a great job of stimulating the imagination - what happens next is the most exciting thing. With the prequels, we basically knew what was happening next - "anything" couldn't happen, we knew where we were going and while most of you felt otherwise, the notion of "spoilers" started feeling less and less like something I was actually concerned about and more like a rallying cry for annoying people who freaked out when they heard that a character would be named "Darth Maul."
On the bright side, Original Trilogy-adjacent films could mean wonderful things for toys if Hasbro decides to stay in the action figure business. New ships surrounding Han Solo's pre-Rebellion days are almost the very definition of things that could be around the classic film universe, but just off-camera. It could also mean more troopers and astromechs, which could be good for us to a point.
It's a peculiar and exciting time, and I feel kind of like I did before Episode I. Say what you will about the film itself, but the merchandising in the years before it was fantastic. The behind-the-scenes making-of shots were exciting, and the film was populated by wonderful designs and creations - except for a few, which they held back until later. I'm very much looking forward to more blurry images of weird aliens and background players that we'll never see on the big screen or in reference books.
Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.