Q&A: Rebels, 3 3/4-inch Star Wars Figures, and Dumping Old Stuff

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, August 7, 2016

1. Are the rumors true that Hasbro is phasing out 3.75 Star Wars altogether with perhaps exceptions for a few "Rebels" characters?

Since the older collector focus appears to be 6 inch Black Series, is it fair to say that 3.75 is only for the kiddies, and thus we may not see new characters from TFA, or classic and prequel trilogies again? Are our hopes for an Imperial Dignitary, classic Bespin Guard, Old Luke, and Old General Leia in 3.75 scale now mere wish fulfillment fantasy?

No. The scale is still continuing. I hear that there's a very nice exclusive coming that you should buy. We went from 1995 to 2003 - the end of 2003 - before we got the first super-articulated figure in the line, and they didn't become a regular thing until 2007 and 2008. (There were steady complaints about the lack of them the entire time.)

This doesn't necessarily mean you'll get exactly what you want from the movie/comic/game you want with the articulation you prefer - the format is still very essential for vehicle play. You can't do most vehicles as 6-inch, and Micro is Micro.

I don't believe it's likely that you'll see a permanent return to super-articulated figures until something changes in manufacturing in a big way - and I don't even mean print-on-demand toys, as I figure that would be a new articulation format we're not even considering. Hasbro has said they're working on Old Man Luke - but when, who knows?

I do expect new classic characters in 3 3/4-inch, just not tomorrow. And maybe with a movie. Right now they're trying to balance kids and adults, classic and new, TV and movie, all in this format. With 50-60 figures per year, and likely one of them will be filled by a new Darth Vader and a new Rey for a while, and given the fact we're bouncing around in the continuity it's not impossible to think we might see cameos. I mean, Lucasfilm gave Hasbro a couple of golden opportunities to do Kenner Cantina dudes - Blue Snaggetooth and Walrus Man both cameoed in The Clone Wars, although word on the street for today is that Lucasfilm doesn't want animated characters other than Rebels in circulation as product. (This seems consistent with, well, pretty much everything. LEGO being an exception because it's generating its own fiction now.) Old stuff didn't come back in a big way until Hasbro's infatuation with Revenge of the Sith waned, and boy howdy did they milk that for nearly a decade!

If you're sitting there hoping for a Bespin Guard, Power Droid, and Sim Aloo (the original POTF 1980s Imperial Dignitary) as 3 3/4-inch figures it's not impossible - keep the conversation going, remind Hasbro they forgot to do them, post it on forums, etc. Maybe it'll happen some day - I mean, we got the Clone Wars Jedi Temple Guards as a "realistic" figure, I'm still amazed by that. Stop people at conventions and say things like "Hello Mr. Hasbro representative, did you know that there are three figures from the original 1980s line that nobody remade since the line restarted in the 1990s, and also there's only one 3 3/4-inch figure that was released in Brazil but nowhere else in the world?" Very important, that.

We're seeing Rebels previews early now because Disney doesn't have that locked down - Hasbro can talk about it. So we're seeing them, and we've seen quite a few dating back to (for crying out loud) Toy Fair of this year. Perhaps there's a future in classic, but it's going to have to be requested by fans - a lot of you - and not just me. If the collector base is out there, they better start buying any new classic guys that pop up and complain loudly that what they want isn't being delivered. (Again, not to me. I'll just get annoyed because I do not make these kinds of decisions in the world.)

So in short - the format has a future. Is it the future most people who write in to this column want? No. But there are still going to be 3 3/4-inch figures, and fans completely missed that Hasbro showed another new-sculpt 5-jointed Stormtrooper at Comic-Con this year. (To Hasbro. Not to me. I don't work for Hasbro.) There are opportunities. Things will happen. We've waited this long, we just need to be vocal and keep asking for the things in life that matter. Otherwise, you've got nobody to blame but yourself.



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2. What is the release date for the Rebels wave?

Does it contain the following five figures?
Darth Maul
Kanan Jarus (Stormtrooper Disguise)
Princess Leia
Sabine Wren
Seventh Sister (Imperial Inquisitor)

Will it be easy to find?

Nobody knows officially yet. The contents of the new waves (read: the Rogue One waves) are unknown to the public. There are lots of figures in development and they will most likely be part of the (let's say) assumed September launch. There won't be (as far as I know) any 3 3/4-inch product short of a surprise unknown exclusive (again, if it's happening, I don't know about any beyond the Droids) before the new movie season, and Rebels is part of that. Will all the figures make the cut? No idea. And will also have a Jyn and a Rey in it for two of the slots. It's all a guess at this point, as Hasbro and Lucasfilm and probably Disney decided it's better to not give fans a specific reason to get excited. Maybe it's working, but I know that if you said to me "New wave of figures is out" I'd be like well, whatever. But if you named someone I wanted, I'd be out hunting (as needed).

Generally speaking things in wave 1 are easy to get, wave 2 isn't bad, and around wave 3-5 you'll probably start getting jumpy.




3. Totally different subject, and probably not really a question that would generate a very interesting response for most people. Which is to say, feel free to not answer. Ever. Have you ever sold off part of your collection? Or more specifically, sold off unique figures in your collection? I communicate with people who talk about clearing out old versions of figures, and it just strikes me as totally foreign on an emotional level. Rationally, it does make sense to get rid of an old version of, say, Hammerhead when you just got a better one, with more detail and joints. But to me, that would feel like kicking a three-legged dog. Sure, it's a little handicapped with respect to its peers, but it can still do most of the things that one of its kind is supposed to do. My figures are part of a family, and old Hammerhead and really old Hammerhead just had to find jobs in the Mos Espa race crowd and streets of Mos Eisley when new Hammerhead took over in the cantina.

Once something is part of "the collection," it's not for sale - but I have bought some things that I've sold off over the years because I didn't much like it (a few video games). Once I open a toy, I rarely let it go - I'd go as far as to say "never" as Star Wars is concerned. But if something is unopened in a box somewhere in a closet, and I've already got one, I don't feel obligated to keep it forever. I have some board games I need to unload one of these days, like my original 1980s The Legend of Zelda - I'm never going to do anything with it and I think I played it all of three times.

Because I like them, because there's history, and because I may need them for reference, I plan to keep a complete library of Hasbro and Kenner Star Wars. If I ever get a gap in the collection I might stop buying new stuff, but for the time being I've got no real reason to stop. Especially if Hasbro is (shockingly) seemingly slowing down the clip of new guys with new movies. I can handle 100 or fewer a year! The years of 300 or more, that needs to never, ever happen again. I love the variety, but it's not like we don't have more years to fill.

I dig my old original Kenner Hammherhead. And I remember the trials of the orange and green cards in 1996 when we got Momaw Nadon. And also the Walmart Cantina one. And also The Saga Collection one. And, I hope, another retro Kenner one some day down the road. I'm a little sick of the Anakins, but I think - I hope - that the era of "let's keep redoing Revenge of the Sith" has come to an end, too.

I might make an exception if an item I don't particularly love is valuable to the point where it could fund a lot of mischief for a year - I have sold a grand total of three video games in my life, one because I was young and needed the money (rebought it), the other because I found it slow (rebought it when better versions came out), and the last one because I got it on clearance and the secondary market went ka-ching. It funded most of my wacky purchases for over a year. But for a $5 toy, I've got no reason to unload it.




A few years ago, a friend was at an industry party sitting next to Sigourney Weaver. (Lucky so-and-so.) Anyway, he was at this party for the release of the Avatar video game, and he was relaying bits and pieces of the story - one of which really stuck with me. I'm paraphrasing, because it was a while ago, but he said that she said something to the effect of "So why do they always have to solve everything by shooting everybody?" Which at the time I saw as silly, also amusing and charming - I mean, it's a video game from an action property. That's how those things end, unless it involves a plumber stomping on a bridge axe or a dog in a hat dropping his mix tape or something. What else would you do, engage in some sort of six legged horse animal husbandry until someone caught you?

The thing is, as far as games go? That's the thing, someone's gonna get blasted. But movies? As I write this (in advance) I just got back from seeing Star Trek Beyond for the second time, a largely enjoyable movie with some neat character moments for much of the crew. It ends in an anti-gravity fist fight. The Force Awakens? Sword fight. Ghostbusters? A video-game style melee straight out of a classic arcade 4-player brawler. A new Transformers: Combiner Wars cartoon just debuted and it's about 5 minutes, the first 60 seconds of which are two robots punching one another as they fall from the heavens.

It is painfully rare to see stories in sci-fi or fantasy not end in some sort of epic duel, and it's been getting to me. Star Trek IV ends with everybody in the ocean waving at the whales, which you may see as hippy-dippy or as a sign of just how crazy go-nuts out of the box that movie truly was - and people loved it! It made a ton of movie and revitalized a then-languishing franchise. That's not the kind of thing you'd ever see in a Marvel movie, or a DC movie, or a Star Wars movie, or even the episode of The Clone Wars about school lunches. That ended in shootings, too.

I've got no real problems with violence in movies, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't benefits from exploring the alternative. I don't know if any of you read IDW's Transformers More Than Meets the Eye comic book, but it manages to engage in some of the most gruesome acts of violence along with some surprisingly engaging tales of things like a robot shooting a documentary or robots getting drunk. The original Star Trek - I assume largely for budgetary reasons - had episodes where Captain Kirk could talk a computer to death. Sometimes subsequent shows would result in characters being stranded by faulty hardware or - downright shockingly in today's genre climate - actually teaming up with the bad guy to serve the common good and/or save both of them. They even did that in He-Man cartoons. But today? Not really.

I don't expect (or want) Star Wars to deny me either of the two words in the title. I expect stars, I expect wars. But I am sitting here thinking how great it would be if there was some random ghost voiced by Bill Hader who just kinda was stuck bumming around New York and maybe not necessarily getting busted. Or a Star Trek movie that had to wrestle more with the mundane nature of space travel. Or a Marvel flick that was more of the Avengers getting drunk and playing ping pong. It might not be good for the "action" part of action figures, but Hasbro seemed to have developed an allergy to such things around 2012. Goofy comic books made me more emotionally invested in Brainstorm and Cyclonus than Optimus Prime and Soundwave.

So to someone out there, I issue you a challenge - you managed to pull this off with "A Sunny Day in the Void," an episode of The Clone Wars wherein frog Walter Matthau was driven insane in the desert with five cranky robots. It was really outside-the-box thinking, which is why I want those figures in my toy collection some day. I don't want all of my sci-fi action denying my laser swords and plasma guns, but I've seen some pretty compelling tales that relied on things like jokes or weird space phenomena or a vague understanding of quantum physics to deliver the dramatic tension I need in my movies. Keep the action coming, but let's see what you can do without it once in a while. (Except George Miller, just keep doing what you're doing.)

--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.