Q&A: Retro Star Wars Nods and Old Comic Packs

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, August 20, 2023

1. Hi Adam, I think that they included Yakface in the latest retro assortment as a shout-out to yakface.com. Do you think that you will be next, and we will finally get a Vlix?

I'd say no. I don't know that Yak Face is whacko a pull as Vlix. (I mean, I had one back in 1990. It was expensive, but you could get one for a little more than the price of a new NES game at the time.) Hasbro did make Yak Face available on at least two continents in the 1980s, whereas Vlix was (allegedly) only sold in Brazil in a production number that certainly seems to be incredibly low. It exists, but how many exist, I don't have have a ballpark estimate.

From where I sit, Yak Face in The Retro Collection could be Hasbro's way of saying "we are serious about this, now pay attention to us again." It's an "in case of emergency, break glass" pull - because even at $70-$80 for the set, that's a pretty cheap (licensed) Yak Face. The fan made reproductions are about half that, and it definitely feels like an olive branch to older, lapsed fans who said "I'll never have a complete set" at one point. I don't know if it's Hasbro saying "look, we get it, and this is just the beginning" or if someone said "do you know what would really blow a few peoples' heads right off?"

I first saw Glasslite figures in 1989 with Vlix on the back, which was the first "proof" I saw that he existed. I don't think I saw one up close until 1997. I've been bugging Hasbro (and Kenner) about it for quite a while, since the online fan community was smaller and back when I served a different function. Given conversations I have had with people, I assume at this point, it is unlikely to ever happen. If it does, 2025 would probably be a good last gasp for the 40th anniversary of Droids on TV... but again, I don't know that anyone over there wants to do it. Even if it does present a grand opportunity for mold reuse for other characters... IG-88 was on Droids, yet no cartoon version exists. R2-D2 and C-3PO with the current retro molds would also be very welcome. (I don't need - frankly, or want - a pop-up lightsaber cartoon R2-D2 again.)

Given the unintentional publicity I gave BoShek about 24ish years ago, depending on who you ask, I may have elevated him to enough awareness to wind up as a production figure. I'd love to make Vlix happen, as a 3 3/4-inch figure, through any means necessary. (And I've got some pretty decent means.) I just don't know that anyone sees it and realizes it isn't a jokey request.



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2. I was reorganizing the collection and came across the EE exclusive Legacy Collection comic packs. They're great figures for their time, and I'd argue hold up very well with today's TVC. Any stories on how those came to EE? It wasn't as simple as brick and mortars didn't want them so EE did, was it?

Usually the launch of any exclusive product is the result of some back-and-forth and (at minimum) awareness of the customer that they are getting an exclusive. I found out Entertainment Earth were getting this one at SDCC during the panel - previous exclusives were in some way discussed/presented/assigned, so those comic packs based on Legacy and the Jango Fett and Knights of the Old Republic and Rogue Squadron comics were not something that was nailed down prior to the announcement.  My understanding is that stores weren't taking any more comic packs, so they came Entertainment Earth's way.  It's sensible.

I was told they were so far along in production they wanted to make them, so we were offered them, and the edition size was a logical one. Believe it or not, I don't remember lobbying for the comic packs but I was super happy we were able to offer them. If memory serves they took a long time to sell out (and are now very expensive) so getting that edition size just right makes a huge difference. (Less is more!)





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Ahsoka starts Wednesday! I am hopeful, but so far it looks like there's a blue Elon Musk in it along with a few live-action versions of my favorite cartoon characters. I hope it's good! I also assume that means we'll be getting a new date for Skeleton Crew sooner or later, with the various WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes it's a pretty safe bet studios will be looking at their programming inventory and rethinking what they release and when. I'm always surprised when we see a double-episode premiere like we're getting for Ahsoka, which makes me think that it needs a little help up front. (Andor certainly did not endear itself to me with the first three dreary hours.)

It is not lost on me that I'm complaining about a new Star Wars show we haven't seen yet, that's at least the fifth full season of Star Wars just this year. (I haven't bothered to watch Young Jedi Adventures and still need to finish Visions season 2.) If anything I can get why Disney says they may be spending too much on making all-new "content" for the mill - it's excessive. Other than Clone Wars, I remember we'd only get one or two things a year during the prequel (or pre-prequel) era. It was swiftly followed by nothing for a couple of years. It would be interesting to see what Star Wars could be if it was a genuine Event, the best-possible thing they could muster with toy launches and marketing and hype to match. It's interesting to see what sticks when they throw everything at the wall, but I don't think people are going to give anything a chance when there's always something new just around the Marvel and Star Wars corners anymore. I saw one episode of Secret Invasion and decided I'd had enough - and haven't bothered to check out the new Guardians of the Galaxy yet either. I'm sure it's great. But also, I wanted to watch the new Red Dwarf seasons I'd missed, and re-watch Star Trek: Lower Decks, and check out Only Murders in the Building and What We Do in the Shadows and an increasingly endless bounty of stuff to watch.

I hope Ahsoka delivers the full package. It looks well-cast, nicely-designed, and under-merchandised. I have to wonder if that's part of why things have staying power and other things don't - Grogu is a fixture in stores now. Aside from him, Star Wars seems to be figures from last year, and peg upon peg of unsold Lando toys. Hoping people will pre-order stuff and wait patiently for 1-2 years seems to have built contempt in the toy collector heart, because by the time a figure has arrived people a) forgot they ordered it, and b) moved on to another show. Or 5 shows. Or more. Having fewer shows could probably do wonders to improve the bottom line of merchandise sales. Why make more cheap shows with few toys when you could make one awesome show with a toy line that would actually be satisfying? (Is it shareholders? I bet we have to blame the shareholders.)

--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.



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Less is more.

First off, "Ahsoka" debuts Tuesday so adjust your schedule accordingly. #TanoTuesday

Secondly, yes, blame the shareholders. There was a huge shift in Lucasfilm when it went from being a privately-owned company to being part of a publicly-traded conglomerate. Shareholders expectations must be met and they have little patience.

Hopefully, the writers and actors strikes will slow down production enough that licensees like Hasbro will be forced to mine from existing content. Personally, I'm hoping for more "Andor" and OT stuff but I'm sure they'll continue to play it safe and try to leverage toolings they already have to create new-ish figures and maybe even reissue a vehicle or two.