Q&A: Star Wars Big Trilogy Toys and New Classic Outfits

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 19, 2023

1. Looking at how nba teams make money repeatedly from fans by selling team jerseys with different color schemes, I wonder why Hasbro doesn’t do the same thing that they already do with arc troopers, clone troopers, and stormtroopers, but core characters?

Give us Luke, Han, Leia in original outfits?

Use the Marvel or Dark Horse comics for ideas.

Depending on how you're asking that question, Hasbro has done this - way back in 2007, we got 3 3/4-inch scale Comic Packs. Hasbro sold us two (TWO!) figures plus a full-size comic for about $9.99, a bargain back than and unthinkable today. In recent years, Hasbro has given us cartoon Ewoks and Droids deco figures as well as Boba Fett in Droids deco, Dark Horse deco, and Marvel deco. Curiously, we haven't seen Hasbro give us Darth Vader in comic deco for over a decade, but Funko has done quite a few nice figures in that style (some of which may be at a Ross, DD's Discounts, or similar store near you right now.)

Hasbro absolutely loves their repaints, but making old characters in new costumes (without precedent) can be a hard sell. But most main characters in stores, as long as you don't ship solid cases to said stores, do sell - there could be something there, but the trick is to price them right (like in 2007-2010) or to make sure you don't ship too many to stores... the latter of which has been a problem every now and again. Also Entertainment Earth has a Marvel costume The Black Series Leia on sale for $12.42 right now. I got one of these and it's still unopened in a box.

Disney seems to have gotten that memo with a few of its new costumes, and if you look at Obi-Wan Kenobi from The Black Series there's a lot of overlap and recoloring for the D+ streaming series' title character. It's probably doable with original trilogy characters, but I don't think "original" new costumes are going to move the units. Hasbro could probably find some interesting ways to recolor classic costumes, although precious few really lend themselves to something cool - Luke Bespin, Leia Hoth, and Han Bespin could, though. I just fear the wrath of the shrug of fandom, as you can get Chewbacca and Force Awakens 6-inch Han figures for five bucks at certain closeout stores this year. It might be something Hasbro can work around by keeping production tight, but we haven't seen much evidence that anyone wants to play it safe lately for Star Wars figures and I don't know if Hasbro can make anything in small numbers anymore.



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2. My kids never really developed an interest in Star Wars despite their exposure to it. Which is fine. A few years ago we purged any toys that weren't from the original trilogy to save space. We didn't back the Ghost for the same reason. It looked cool, but where would we put it? Short of a Death Star playset or cantina, are there any big items with appeal left for the OT crowd?

I would put a Blockade Runner or Star Destroyer 3 3/4-inch scale vehicle/playset pretty high on my wish list, but I expect neither any time soon. My guess is we got a Ghost thanks to the Rebels 10th anniversary next year and also its brief appearance in Ahsoka, and despite there being a pretty cool Star Destroyer in Ahsoka they opted to not do that one. I would blame the storytelling - the prequels really didn't make a meal out of any one specific vehicle or location, nor did the sequels. As cool as it would be to have a preposterously big Hoth Hanger or a Rebel Briefing Room of some sort, I wouldn't plunk down the cash for either without a promise of more figures. Hasbro didn't exactly bring it with new figures for Boba's/Jabba's palace this year, so I wouldn't count on any big ticket environment to be joined with lots of new toys to go inside of it.

Hasbro (and/or Disney and/or Lucasfilm) opted to not lean in to The Mandalorian as an action figure line for kids/everyone - which I find baffling still. Mando has a couple of ships, a bike, tons of gear, an massive amounts of friends and enemies yet no toy line to call his own. If they did, there could arguably be a Forge playset, a couple of the ships or bases, and some other big-ticket things that might, if you squint, fit in with an original trilogy collection.

Hasbro could also expand on some older things - but would an Ewok Village set sell to adults? How about Cloud City, with its hallways, banquets, junk rooms, and landing platforms? These kinds of products might be exciting for some fans (I'd buy an Ewok Village and probably sell off other toy collections for Cloud City) but for others, not so much. The Cantina and Death Star have a lot more opportunities to sell more action figures, if Hasbro wants to take that route.

In Hasbro's shoes I'd be very careful about making anything to appeal to people over 40 (or 50) exclusively. That group fades away with time, although there may be an audience for kids to buy stuff if there wasn't so much competition for their entertainment eyeballs. When Star Wars was 3 (or 6) movies, everybody watched the same movies, knew the scenarios, and so forth. Now Hasbro has to gamble on what fans have seen with 11-14 movies, 11 or so TV series, and more at their fingertips. Plus comics, novels, and video games.

Making something exclusively for the olds is likely a losing proposition, but right now the Death Star features in Andor and Rogue One. It could fit in a new Disney+ show were they so inclined. The Cantina showed up in The Mandalorian - who's to say it might not pop up somewhere else?

We probably really lucked out that we got Boba Fett's Throne Room (that is also Jabba the Hutt's Throne Room) and I can only assume that sort of repurposed set is the only way we'd get most original trilogy stuff anymore. But without an expansive program of figures, it might not be worthwhile to do because fans without 20 years of figures at home can't fill them out anyway, because Hasbro is unlikely to make more than 2 or maybe 3 figures to fill a specific scene or playset in most years.

I'd say "never say never" because we're getting some great and surprising stuff all of a sudden - there's a "Life Day" Chewbacca here, in my office, right now, which was one of my "not until Hell freezes over" picks. But it's here! Right now! Maybe we could get some other big-ticket items from those early movies again, but with Disney wanting to push new product from new content I'm just not super hopeful.





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What an amazing era of television. There are big amazing streaming services with just about anything you could want, and yet I seem to be watching the 1970s Land of the Lost which I saw at some point in reruns in the 1980s. (As I write this, I just saw the one with Holly's jacket, which I distinctly remember being odd as a kid.) Getting to see stuff like this so far removed from its inception is pretty insightful. As someone who basically missed the 1970s, it seems that as a decade it was all about being outside, some sort of motorbikes, camping, and plaid. You know, the non-space parts of Fisher-Price Adventure People.

What's kind of striking to me is that 50 years on, Land of the Lost Classic hasn't had many toys. If ever there was a brand that demanded to be 3 3/4-inch figures (specifically, Adventure People) this is it. Random campers, lizard bugs, ape-descendants, dinosaurs, it's amazing that all we seem to have got were some Sleestak and Cha-ka, mostly from Funko. (I've got a glowing Sleestak I got before Funko really took off, because I dug what I saw of the show as a kid.) I don't know why I'm going on about this so much other than it seems like something you could still sell to the old guard of remaining Kenner kids of Star Wars fandom, and maybe any kids who were forced to watch the show by their parents. (It's a surprisingly entertaining show to watch. Again, I'm only in the first season as I write this, the fact that it has an ongoing story yet you don't seem to miss out if you skipped a week is laudable.)

And it's almost Thanksgiving! Black Friday deals have been popping up and most amazingly, not selling. A couple of weeks ago Walmarts near me put out $15 LOLA droids from Obi-Wan Kenobi - the one that was more expensive - and it just seems to be sitting. This is what happened at the end of Star Wars in the 1980s, where you would get to a point where stores had $1 carded figures, $5 Jabba the Hutts, $12 Imperial Shuttles, and they just sat there. I don't mean to say that it's an end of an era - we're probably just looking at overproduction of a bum item - but the $59.99 Ross Rey FX Lightsabers certainly speak to a need to right-size things, or diversify with more licenses. Perhaps licenses with planets with three moons? (Probably not, but I can hope.)

May you and yours have the happiest of bird days, or tofu days, or none of the above, whatever you go for on your routine expedition. Just be sure to participate in Compulsory Commerce Day on Friday, because toy companies and retailers are counting on you to get this old crap out of here.   And if you have a toy company, get me a retro Sleestak please.

--Adam Pawlus

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