Q&A: Star Wars Consumer Media, RPG Toys, and Price Increases

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 1, 2020

1. Suddenly I've noticed new 3.75" prices all over the map.

The ROTJ Boba Fett, due out next spring, first had a price of $12.99 on Amazon, a few hours later it was (and still is) $19.99.

Target's price on this has been a steady $19.99.

The new carbonized Mando 3.75" has been found at Walmarts, ranging from $12.99 to over $17.

This is scary, as the price is creeping closer to the Black Series prices.

Do you know if this is Hasbro's way of subtly telling us that we're about to pay more for figures? Or is this just localized pricing differences?

I can remember when the modern line came out in the mid '90s and figures were less than $4. But this is getting scary.

At what point will Hasbro put the brakes on the price increase?

While I can't say what the wholesale price of the Vintage line is, I can say $12.99 is rather low given what it costs.

Carbonized figures are given premium pricing, much like Lava Reflection figures, because Hasbro has decided to charge more for it. It was this way with The Vintage Collection while Saga Legends in 2010 had the same (or more) articulation and more gear with a box of bonus accessories at a lower price. You'll notice the 5-jointed The Real Ghostbusters figures may ring up around $14.96 for a very simple figure - there's a "collector tax" on some of these lines. Yeah, they cost more. But, if you catch my meaning, they cost more.

As I write this, Target is charging $19.99, Amazon is charging $16.99, Hasbro Pulse is $12.99, BBTS is $14.99, and Entertainment Earth is $13.99 while Walmart.com has been behind on posting a lot of its preorders lately. And if you want cases/sets/whatever, those options also exist (and may have better shipping options.) Stores can charge whatever they want - Kay-Bee used to charge suggested retail price in the 1990s, while Target, Walmart, Kmart, and most of the time Toys R Us were considered toy discounters with a lower price as they took less margin.

To my knowledge, as I am someone who orders things from Hasbro, there is no reason for it to be as high as you're seeing it at some stores - but that's where it is now. It's possible some stores are building "free shipping" into their costs (remember, someone is paying for shipping, somehow) or just that their volume/warehouse/sales velocity/whatever has deemed supply and demand to need that particular price. Or it could be an error. The Hasbro buyers for most of the big companies aren't as accessible as I am so I don't know what their process may be, but based on other buyers I've spoken with over the years, those are my guesses.



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2. I am going back to the early 2000s for this question. Wizards of the Coast had a game based on Episode I centering around teenagers at the Royal House of Learning of Theed (or something comparable). A unique Wookie was a part of the role playing/board game. How close was Hasbro to making more of those figures? The artist’s renderings of the characters showed they would have been nice additions to the line.

Wookiee Scout Rorworr [FOTD #160] was an example - like Retro Collection Grand Moff Tarkin - of increasing distribution of figures in an interesting way. I like this. They managed to get an exclusive figure into book stores, and a new channel, without having to make an "exclusive" - but it required fans make a special trek off their rounds at the mall to find this one. I thought it was a great idea, and I hope they do more things like this. I've been bugging Hasbro to do a board game with 4 action figures in it, so everybody could play as a figure... and because we get 4 more figures with a single "slot."

As far as I know, Hasbro had zero plans to do additional Invasion of Theed RPG figures. Maybe it was on a scratch pad somewhere, but it didn't get far enough along that I heard anything. I doubt we'll see more RPG or comic figures going forward, unless there's a new licensing push from Disney to do it. Dr. Aphra was something of a surprise thanks to the fan vote, which is your only hope for getting more of these.

Off the top of my head I can't name many other RPG figures. Jodo Kast has had a couple of releases, the best of which may have been Kmart's exclusive. The other one was my baby - a 6-inch red Stormtrooper based on an RPG supplemental story from Topps' Star Wars Galaxy Magazine, issue #2 if memory serves. I was trying to get it made in a 3 3/4-inch format for years, but every plan was thwarted by either the team's dislike of the idea, or because other key elements for a proposed exclusive figure set (Lumiya) were already coming out and I didn't know it yet. The set with Lumiya, Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, red Stormtroopers, and some other stuff was pitched for the slot that would eventually become the not-as-popular-as-I-would-have-liked but awesome Joker Squad set.




3. Not a toy question, but a comic book question. Do you know if Marvel will ever release the comic adaptation of "The Rise of Skywalker"? It was due to start publishing in June, but due to the pandemic, it was postponed, since comic books weren't printed for a couple months. Comics are being printed again, but this hasn't made it back on the release schedule. I know the movie wasn't well-received, but as an owner of the comic adaptations of every SW movie, I'd like to have this to "complete" my collection. Surely they already had them drawn and written, so it seems like they SHOULD get it printed, but WHEN? Of course, I'm still waiting for "The Mandalorian" Season 1 to come to Blu-ray, as well as "The Clone Wars" Season 7. Any word on those?

Don't get your hopes up, cheese.

I haven't heard a peep on a rescheduled The Rise of Skywalker comic - not knowing lead times, it's entirely possible they snuffed it out and it might not see release. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a company-wide brake-pump on the sequel era this year - Hasbro had an executive decision handed down in 2000 to make Power of the Jedi at least 50% classic ASAP. That's why we got K-3PO, General Leia, and the Mon Calamari Officer - quickie retool filler to meet a corporate mandate from the boss' boss. (Thank you, boss' boss. I like those figures.) There's very little love for The Rise of Skywalker so I imagine it might be a while until you see it. I'd be curious to see how it turns out, but given that the movie felt like a half-baked comic anyway, perhaps it might fit better in that format. (Did I mention I didn't like that movie? I don't.)

To date Disney+ has mentioned zero plans for its content on DVD or Blu-Ray that I know of. We've seen stuff from their cable channels on the format, but not D+ streaming shows yet. (That I know of, maybe I missed one.) The time to release these products would quite literally be now - perhaps someone will get an exclusive for Mando Mondays (as I write this in October I don't know if this is indeed happening or not yet) but I assume it'll happen eventually. It's a good promotional gimmick to make a campaign/endcap in a store during a slow season, and makes a lot more sense than Galaxy's Edge Trading Outpost stuff.



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Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in.

Lucasfilm, Disney, Hasbro, and others are going to continue Mando Mondays through the run of the show. I am not allowed to say what today's is as of press time, but by now you may have seen it. Also don't forget to order your Razor Crest if you want one. Some new stretch goals were added, throwing in a flight stand (not bad) and an Offworld Jawa (kind of infuriating to those who want more than one.)

My best friend since college passed a few months ago. A good friend of mine's dad just died on Friday. My other best friend's husband just tested positive for COVID last week and the kids might also have it. It's been a rough year, and given the holiday season is normally a bad time for diseases, please do what you need to do to take care of your family. This is what we call mood whiplash.

Anyway, 'tis the season of crowds and gatherings. I try to get most of my toy runs in before Thanksgiving - or earlier - unless there's a late-night sale, so hopefully I'll find those Walgreens items or Walmart will ship those exclusives so I can just stay home for the rest of the year. I'm also lazy, if you didn't know.

I would advise you go watch The Mandalorian Season 2 - due to how we work on a slight delay here, it's unlikely you will ever see last Friday's episode commented on in a Monday Q&A installment, but it might come up if something is notable, like a key toy feature or a return of a classic character. Or toy cameo. New episodes go up Fridays at 12:01 AM Pacific, so if you intend on watching it I'd suggest making that your weekend project. The premiere was fun, and future comments will have to wait.

--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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