Q&A: Solo Post-Game, Forces of Destiny, and Star Wars Storage

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 3, 2018

1. Why would Hasbro market Forces of Destiny, a line of girl aimed SW dolls in the boys aisle? Wouldn't this line have done better it it was in a girl aisle?

I don't think there's anybody out there reading this that doesn't have an opinion on Forces of Destiny, which was basically Disney applying its Disney Descendants marketing machine on Star Wars, but without introducing new characters, or a consistent story, or a movie people liked. It was just a new line, in a previously twice-failed format, without the built-in audience or clear marketing, in an era when communicating to toy customers was harder than ever. We saw more or less the same thing happen with Wonder Woman and there are other opportunities for it to happen again in the next year which I'm not at liberty to discuss.

Given the future of toys is probably a combo platter with big box and online stores, the concept of an "aisle" needs some help. Most popular toys do so well customers will track them down and ask for them by name, and it seems Hasbro, Disney, and/or Lucasfilm gave up on this one quickly. It came out in August, and people stopped caring pretty much immediately. Given few of the characters released as toys interacted in the fiction - thanks in no small part due to the lack of women in Star Wars in general - it was a great idea doomed to fail.

Of course, I'd say the same about most categories of Star Wars now - there are multiple, competing formats wth increasingly specialized audiences without a lot of general line-planning to make it better. But that's me - I'd say make one or two great lines with characters that appeal with everybody, and if you want to do a gender-specific branded segment in an era where the very notion of how people identify is coming under scrutiny, at the very least do something to ensure compatibility between segments. Multiple competing scales was considered a failing aspect of the original 1980s Kenner line where we saw 12-inch figures, die-cast metal vehicles, and MicroCollection melt away against the juggernaut of 3 3/4-inch figures. We now live in an era where companies have allowed the cash cow to wither and die rather than bolster it in the biggest and best era for new characters in many of our lifetimes.

So yeah, it could've been better. It's basically dead now - a few remaining products will trickle out online, and there are things the world will never see. It is what it is, and we're all the poorer for both the experimentation, the aftermath, and what it cost us in terms of resources and potentially successful products.



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2. Is the Imperial Patrol Trooper and the Mud Trooper (both produced in 12 inches Hero Series) going to be released in the 3.75 or 6 inch line? I like both but don't collect 12 inch.

New stuff will be announced soon - but what? I can't say. Unfortunately I'm not at liberty to discuss as-of-yet unannounced figures. We've also seen Hasbro change the line (or drop things, or move things into new lines) so I have to wait for them to announce what they intend on doing, or not doing, at this point.




3. I was curious about loose figure storage. What are the best cases to use with this outside of the old school kenner darth vader case or the other kenner cases. I believe you may have answered this a while back but I can’t remember. It’s become an issue for me now as I like to create displays and then switch them out overtime. What do you use? I’m talking a lot of figures here. Also is there no cure to the yellowing or tackiness of older figures. Lots of the phantom menace figures I have are tacky (sticky). Thanks for keeping up the best Star Wars collecting site in the galaxy. Figure of the day is always a highlight to a day.

I know what I've used that mostly works - but there are complications. I've had items kept in cool, dry open-air, dark places and they discolor anyway from other manufacturers. Nothing is perfect, nothing is fool-proof, because in some cases Hasbro (and Funko, and Tyco, and the rest) chose shoddy materials that discolor over time. Nothing is guaranteed to work forever.

I use a lot of Plano 3700 (and 3750) tackle boxes, plus when I can't find those I'll use the Flambeau 5007. They get the job done, and so far have limited problems. One of the complications is sometimes paint that can't breathe may "molt," and it's pretty awful. Even carded figures can discolor if left in a dark place with good temperature control - so whatever you do, just be aware that things can go wrong even if you do everything right.

For cleaning, you can't go wrong with a damp cloth usually. For extreme cases you can use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but sometimes those can take the paint off - so be careful when de-oiling those figures.



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A few weeks ago I commented that Solo: A Star Wars Story had a soft toy launch more befitting, well, any other movie. That it was no big deal, that it was no longer special. The box office take for this entertaining flick was similarly no big deal - it wasn't just bad for Star Wars, but kind of bad for a big summer movie in general. Clearly whoever was planning the toy line and maybe even the marketing knew something the general public didn't, as it seems they either steered into the accident or just gave up early.

It's almost kind of funny - because as these kinds of movies go, this seemed tailor-made to Star Wars fans. It's sort of like a lot of The Clone Wars TV show in the respect that it's not necessarily a great show for kids or for people of all ages, but it's clearly jam-packed with stuff for fans of the series.

The good news - if there is one - is that Solo delivered a ton of awesome droids and creature designs. It's extremely unlikely that Hasbro will even consider making some of the lesser unmade Solo guys for a release prior to the next movie launch, but hopefully they realize that fans that liked what they saw will probably buy. I hope. The movie's rotten box office probably will dash hopes for a sequel and may diminish hope for more movies like it. At this point I'm assuming the Disney/Hasbro/Lucasfilm machine is done giving us "old" movie toys outside the top dozen or so characters, which is kind of enraging given that most of us collect specifically because we want toys from movies we've seen - not movies we haven't.

It's a strange new era - it reminds me of the late 1980s and 1990s. People say they like Star Wars but they're not turning out for the movie - sort of like how collecting and games and whatnot were a little more niche back then. The saga has a way from going between being this overwhelming force to crawling inside itself for the few remaining loyalists, and right now it seems like we're in an area of increasingly specialized love. It's certainly a lot less stressful, but it's bad for business, and any failure to reach out to new and expanded audiences means this can always just go away because the Walmart buyer decides they don't like space toys.

Semi-related, the movie had a rotten weekend - so go see it if you haven't. I think it's great for Star Wars fans but lacks some of the greater themes we've seen in other movies in the series. I'll probably see it a third time if it's still open in a couple of weeks. Yes, I'm that guy. I watch Star Wars for spite.

--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.