Q&A: Star Wars Creatures & Vehicles, plus The New Completism

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 23, 2022

1. In general, will your completism of the 3 3/4 line survive the kinda big rush of repaints we've gotten lately? With TVC, it's mostly the Carbonized figures, but I'd be surprised if the Credit Collection and Holiday figures didn't make it into the basic line alongside TBS.

I totally understand their purpose, but it does seem to be a LOT of repaints to go with few new figures. I know that stuff like this is vital to the survival of the line in general, but it seems like it could be overkill to completists and could be just overwhelming to general audiences.


I bowed out for completism on metallic figures - while I've got all the silver ones, I've got maybe half of the gold ones and am unsure that I want to bother with more given they're sticky and the quality is low. I haven't picked up any Carbonized 3 3/4-inch (but I'd trade for them at some point, probably.)

Given the reissues that are barely different and everything else, "completism" means different things to different people. Classic 1978-1985 Kenner fans don't necessarily have every Tusken Raider head variant, or Jawa cape variant, and so on and so forth. Since Hasbro made those wacky multi-color The Retro Collection Kenner figures, completism is difficult - and very expensive - and not rewarding. I'm still buying new characters and most significant repaints. (If I can't tell if it's new, I may not pick it up. Looking at you, insta-sold out Republic Trooper.)

The question of "what's a variant? What's part of a complete set?" is something every fan will have to answer for themselves. Sometimes a bonus accessory means it's a required purchase - and you'll want all flavors. And other times, not. After thousands of figures, I don't need metallic repaints. (Droids, sure.) I just don't need metallic humans at big mark-ups.



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2. This weekend, I was hunting at a lot of Target stores in Massachusetts for new Star Wars Vintage figures. I noticed a very well stocked & diverse section of Jurassic Park toys, including figures & very large dinosaurs for purchase (Shocked how stocked it was). It got me thinking...and I know it is a different license & company BUT why don't we have more "larger" creatures/ships on the shelf when a company like this pushes them out and they seem to sell well? Is it because it is "dinosaurs" and they appeal to everyone or is Star Wars a "figure first" line with the ships/creatures a second though? Plus the price point on these are very reasonable vs the Target X-Wing Merrick at 110.00.


Mattel is largely treating Jurassic World like a kid line - a lot of those exclusives and big dinosaurs are re-re-redos. Sure, there's an Apatasaurus and Brachiosaurus, but there are also many T-Rexes, Indominuses, Raptors, and other redundant creatures filling up the line - and the line is really all about dinosaurs.

I don't think it would hurt Hasbro to recirculate old creatures, but over the last 25 years they gave us a lot. Like, tons. There's very little I was left wanting from the original trilogy. The prequel creatures I want, well, I'm probably alone in wanting a giant colo claw fish or sando aqua monster. But there are rancors, tauntauns, opees, and so much more.

Vehicles, well, look at Mission Fleet prices. I don't know how much if this is Hasbro charging more because Hasbro wants to, but a 3 3/4-inch kid vehicle line may be cost-prohibitive for them to do. Lanard Toys made some decent, if small, cheap Aliens vehicles and I have little doubt Hasbro could do the same - but they don't seem to want to do affordable things when they can do things for collectors at six to ten times the price.

Dinosaurs do have mass appeal beyond the movies - many of the Mattel toys are "expanded universe" offerings, never appearing on screen. I bet Hasbro could get away with original designs of clones, droids, Mandalorians, and a few others, but right now they seem focused on a line that's very shallow and focused on selling the most people the most popular characters. Mattel's line is really diverse with lots of different dinosaurs - many of which don't have any toys at all. People want dinosaur toys for kids, collectors and nostalgists want them, gift-givers want them... Mattel has sort of a perfect thing here. It's theirs to screw up. They don't do a lot of humans and very few vehicles, though. Basically they developed the Hot Wheels (or Barbie) of dinosaurs, and it's theirs to exploit as long as possible.

I don't think carving off a chunk of Hasbro's Star Wars license is possible - they just need to get an idea of doing a line like the 1990s The Power of the Force series that somehow appealed to all possible audiences with a single scale. Then you can do pretty much anything you want. However, I am still kind of surprised Mattel is going all-out with Rexy and pals on shelves everywhere while Hasbro hasn't been able to keep Boba Fett on pegs pretty much ever and you can't find Mando or Darth Vader toys pretty much anywhere. Kudos to them on nailing Grogu at nearly every possible price point, though - they did a pretty excellent job there, and he still keeps selling out despite a dizzying amount of different products. I'd love to see them apply this to Mando and Vader, and Boba Fett, too.





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The Book of Boba Fett hit the halfway mark, and it's ticking all the boxes with the unrequested "Boba Fett dad jokes" as a bonus. It seems like there's a chance we may be beyond the flashbacks, but more importantly, the show is rhyming with the show from which it spun off. You might remember hearing Boba Fett's spurs in The Mandalorian, and this week The Book of Boba Fett they played a not-remotely-subtle musical cue under a line near the end of the episode. Exciting! We also saw the super-long bantha tongues (originally shown in The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide from 1999. I assume the sarlacc's design also borrowed from the book, but heck if I know, we didn't get to see a lot of it.

What's really interesting is that due to Hasbro (or Disney, or Lucasfilm) not rereleasing old toys or new versions of old toys, the secondary market is starting to pick up a lot. Toy collectors in Transformers are intimately familiar with this, because when a comic book starts giving attention to an otherwise obscure or unloved toy as a character all of a sudden, people will want the old toy. We saw 8D8 creep up from being basically worthless, now going for $25-$30, which is kind of amazing for one of the most notoriously poor selling/overproduced figures of Kenner's 1990s line. For those of you who decided to hang on to your old stuff, good on you - I really doubt Hasbro is going to come out with more Max Rebo figures any time soon. There's a leg controversy we'll never get past, because Kenner did legs (as did many comics and some cartoons) while the movie, apparently, did not.

It took a few episodes to really get the point of giving Boba Fett a show, so now we're seeing what may be one heck of a fun excuse to bring back guns for hire galore and the rumors that were floating around may well show up in a week. There were rumors floating around about the Rancor too, and I'd wager they're all about to come true - which is great news if you're a fan of this kind of stuff, or already bought all the old toys. I assume that's basically how a lot of these shows will go - directors playing with the old stuff that fans already accept with some new things that will probably be radically focus-grouped in real-time and anything the slightest bit controversial may up and vanish overnight. (I think they should keep the Mods, even if they are Neutrinos, I think they're neat.)

With three more episodes to go, I assume they're going to put the war - and possibly stars - back into Star Wars very soon. At least it's just fun to see all of this neat stuff up and walking around, even if a lot of us are sitting here unsure if the story is ultimately any good. I wouldn't be at all stunned if all the streaming shows tie in to one another like an Avengers thing, either, which is probably for the best. As long as we get some more toys. 3 3/4-inch scale ones. (Seriously I'm not gonna collect Mission Fleet, it's not robust enough and probably never will be because it can't compete with thousands of existing toys.)

--Adam Pawlus

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