Q&A: Star Wars Books, Droids, and Diorama Death

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 30, 2017

1. I am a big fan of the Black series 6 Inch line, i love the detail of them.

I know they are very popular, do you think it is here to stay, for i think there are so many characters, that can be produced in the 6 inch line, ?

We have had Darth Revan, Ahsoka tano, Sabine Wren, to name a few, non film characters..appear in the 6 inch range. I personally would love to see the Republic Commando's Delta Squad as 6 inch figures, i think they would look awsome.. i know they been done as 3 and a half inch figures.. before..

What characters would you like to see in 6 inch range, that are non film characters..?

For non-movie (or Legends) I'd like to see more striking things. A good friend of mine wants Darth Talon and she seems like a solid choice. I wouldn't mind seeing Kir Kanos because it seems like it would be cool and easy to do, or Dark Empire Luke Skywalker because I dig the costume a lot. Delta Squad would be nice - but I've had quite a fill of Clones so if they want to slow those down to a trickle, I'm OK with that. Lumiya would be awesome, Vlix because of course it would be, and let's also go with Pre Vizsla because you know and I know that'd make one awesome action figure.

Personally I just want more original trilogy stuff - Max Rebo Band, Cantina Band, Cantina and Jabba aliens, these things are exciting. Hasbro has thousands of characters from which to choose, and they seem to be picking popular things that aren't the reason I got into this hobby in the first place. I got a Dewback on the way, which I may have pestered them about several times, so I'm actually pretty happy here so far. I'd love to see them finish up the "original 21" in the next couple of years, but as long as they stick with something Kenner made in the 1980s I'll be chipper.



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2. My question is regarding an inevitable, updated Sansweet action figure book. Do you think it's appropriate to include the first set of 2012 build a droid figures, issued at Disney? These are the ones that not only used the original build a droid mold but also were manufactured by Hasbro. I know that all the later waves utilized a newer, modified build a droid mold, moving away from the bottom-side leg hole and it was manufactured by Disney. In fact, if I am not mistaken, the build a droid R2-MK was in the first book. It's in the same boat as the other 2012 Disney build a droids. What's the difference? What are your thoughts?

I should note, some of the R2-MK figures were unquestionably a Hasbro branded product. Hasbro made a lot of Disney stuff, and some stuff is 100% Disney, while others are less clear.

I'd love to know how you swing something like that now - "volume 2" would be my guess, but then you risk alienating people because most people want to know about the original figures and not the new stuff. On the other hand, you could also do 6-inch Black Series top-to-bottom, and Disney droids, and whatever else Hasbro did. So hey, maybe. The first batch of Droid Factory build-a-droids from a few years ago are clearly Hasbro tooling with Hasbro markings, but I was informed by someone at Hasbro who knows that they weren't Hasbro product and don't come in Hasbro packaging. So... what are they? "Worth including" if you ask me.

The book format has to be a constraint at this point, mostly because that tome is going to get bigger and bigger as time goes on. If you really want to show everything, you're going to need a web site or just specialize. At this point I'm sure someone could make a book focusing on the original 12 characters from Kenner in every single toy format, with packaged shots, and it'd be enormous. I'd love to see them include those droids in a complete book, but would anyone care? I have no idea.




3. A few years back, when I thought Hasbro was at its peek, they displayed an unbelievable Hoth display at one of the conventions. For the display, Hasbro sculptors made set pieces that have never been released in any toy. I specifically remember Torynn Farr's control panel but there might have been a few more little never before released pieces too. I know they had other big dioramas before and after as well. Do you think those unique pieces were ever considered for release in some type of scene pack or something? The window of opportunity for release has obviously passed but so you know of other pieces that were made, possibly just for display or that may never see the light of day? Figures included. Also, who now owns that big display now? I always thought that Hasbro should save and continue to display those wonderful dioramas somewhere in their headquarters, as some sort of museum. Thoughts?

While we did get a tactical Hoth viewscreen with General Rieekan in 2004, that was pretty much it. Little bits and pieces show up from time to time - I'm kind of amazed we're getting the first new Probe Droid in 20 years - so nothing is outside the realm of possibility. I'm still pretty surprised we got a big turret and a radar laser cannon, but packaging has been on the decline and so have pack-ins.

I doubt Hasbro is saving these pieces in any meaningful way, but it's possible - they could have a giant archive or morgue to store rooms of these things. I hope they're in someone's home, somewhere, but most of the times I asked about prototypes or dioramas they seem to end up in an unknown place - destroyed, shredded, stolen, nobody seems to know.

If you want something I'd say ask for it. The thing with diorama pieces is we're seeing 3-D printing squirt out samples of many parts and while I think the technology isn't quite there yet, we're getting closer and closer to great things. I'd say make your voice heard with Hasbro or try to do it yourself somehow, because as the movies come out every year Hasbro has less and less reason to look back and do/redo something that isn't a guaranteed wide hit.




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Force Friday is an exercise in diminishing returns. I know you know that, but when your aim is to keep stuff secret in hopes of impulse buys and free local news coverage, it's easy to forget just how simple it is to undermine a launch. Exhibit A. Some people may never see a leak like this - if you've ever sat in a Hasbro Star Wars panel you know people will applaud for things you've seen before and may already own - but with the Jakks 20-inch figures appearing on store shelves this week you just get the feeling that nobody really cares for the midnight launch thing every year.

I certainly don't.

Other licenses have tried to do similar things - almost every major property has a launch day now. Nobody cares, which is why you don't know about it - but the licensor cares. The manufacturer cares. The stores, could go either way. You're just not going to find any other property subject to the scrutiny of Star Wars, and generally speaking nobody seems to have any real hard evidence of a penalty or anything for stuff getting out there early. Once the stuff departs Hasbro HQ, any regular employee of nearly any toy business has some access to a stockroom filled with these things. Also I think there's real diminishing returns on this kind of event - every three years felt too often for me, and my preference has always been just to start selling. Announcing the products at Comic-Con would give people a chance to desire them, rather than merely buy them without some anticipation or excitement.

An editorial has been floating around asking if people are bored or done with Star Wars, and while it's currently hyperbolic I assume that after Episode IX people will be so, so over Star Wars as a hype machine. It will never stopped being loved, but I am curious how you can keep interest high when there's no time for the energy to truly die down between films. We're still seeing product from The Force Awakens at some stores sitting unsold after nearly two years. In theory you flush out the old stuff with each new movie launch, but that didn't happen - and it still might not happen given how some of the assortments are set up. The Black Series figures could still be sitting around at launch time, and that's no good for Hasbro, the store, or for you.

It's my hope that Hasbro and more importantly Lucasfilm go back to the old ways. Back when stuff just showed up, and everybody lost their minds, told all their friends, and ran to every store in town looking for stuff. Back when the wait between movies was an eternity. It's a different kind of viral marketing, and it might be more appealing to people who may be consumers but don't want to be seen as dancing to the tune of the corporate pied piper toy masters. People probably still have memories of walking to the register with a cart filled with toys that are basically ciphers, hoping they'll grow to love them after seeing the movie, or even hoping they're cool once they get them home. It's a weird way of doing things. I hope it changes, especially as the gatekeepers seem to be asleep at the wheel now.

--Adam Pawlus

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