Q&A: Star Wars Delta Squad, Rumors of Old, and Core Characters

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 28, 2021

1. Since Gina Carano has been fired from The Mandalorian, I've already noticed prices for her figures have skyrocketed.

Obviously speculators are hoping to drive prices up, but do you see prices for the figures returning to normal eventually after the hype has died down?

Do you think Hasbro will continue to add her into their regular figure assortments? Will the Retro-style Cara Dune still be released this summer?

This reminds me of the time speculators drove up the price of the Slave Leia and Unleashed Padme figures by claiming they were recalled.

There's not a lot of precedent here, but my hunch is the sky's the limit - with lots of ups and downs. Right now it's on peoples' minds and there's a lot of hype. Also, before all of this, prices were elevated - demand was never met. No more units seem to be available anywhere without secondary market pricing - except the 5-pack of Mission Fleet and the Retro Collection cases. The Black Series figure went from $30ish to $180ish in under a week - the character was long gone from the waves shipping to stores. Her The Black Series wave was late in 2019, and her 3 3/4-inch The Vintage Collection wave was Spring of 2020. Both had some stragglers available for a bit, but the figures were more or less out of regular circulation save for some online. This is why you pre-order things.

Over the years we've seen very few figures have any sort of "we're never doing that one again" statement. She could be recast, or done as a cartoon (and recast), or someone could just say "let's sell more of this figure." (Given the circumstances, I doubt this.) The closest analog we have is Slave Leia - a figure fans hated during her Black Series debut, who didn't sell through, who was the last one on the pegs, who suddenly got very exciting to people a few years after the realization set in that no more may be coming for quite some time if ever. There's also a very good chance we'll never see General Madine again, but for no real reasons beyond nobody's asking for him. The future is wide open and the Star Wars of today - one wary of offering too much variety at once - could just be narrower and narrower because that's what people seem intent on doing.

Of course, there are alternatives. Funko's Pop! figures exist, as does Hasbro's own Cara Dune in the Mission Series 5-pack of figures which has been priced pretty nicely for a while now. This could change by the time you read this, but the one takeaway to consider is this: the most popular Star Wars show in years has given fans the idea that one of its stars will never be seen on-screen again. While I'm sure short-term flippers are going to do good business, these Hasbro figures are probably not going to be below $50 ever again.

As to others? 1995 Princess Leia wasn't the best, but Carrie Fisher did not issue a recall. You don't recall a product for being ugly - it's not a thing. Around the same time, fans had few figures and lots of homespun yarns about things - unfounded things, mind you - like fabricated rumors of lead paint being the reason C-3PO and the first Speeder Bike were tough to get. (Not recalled, mind you, just tough to get.) Unleashed Padme was always a hoot because that figure sat unsold on pegs until someone decided to notice she had ample bosoms and made that one up. There wasn't a lead paint recall, lead paint wasn't a factor, but fans said it was and for a lot of schmucks it stuck. This is what happens without a good PR channel and when fans of a thing don't have much else to dwell on at the moment.



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2. Hasbro has a core group of figures that will always sell, like Vader, Stormtroopers, Luke, Han, Chewie, and Boba Fett. Kids just discovering the Saga want them first. Why doesn't Hasbro release a wave of these core figures, call it something like "Essentials," and have it constantly in production and shipping?

Right now, either Hasbro or stores have decided they don't want additional assortment SKUs of Star Wars action figure product. They also can't keep most toys in stock due to demand from the planet for such things. There are several - the basic Mission Fleet runs alongside The Black Series and The Vintage Collection, and Mission Series very much does include most of the figures you cite designed specifically for kids. The basic 6-inch figures found in grocery and drug (and value) channels for around seven bucks also tick a lot of those boxes - but aren't always easy to find. I still haven't found the Alden Han Solo anywhere, nor the Chewbacca which I believe showed up overseas.

Without a movie planned for 2020 (or 2021) Hasbro shifted its focus to some other products, as it's usually smart to diversify your portfolio - if one thing flops, the other thing might pick up the slack. (G.I. Joe had a good year, and somehow even Black Widow did well despite the movie having not been released.) I don't doubt we'll see Hasbro's focus shift as they try new things that work (Mission Series) and things that don't (the character-themed lightsabers) and some of these things may come back. Also keep in mind you didn't specify a scale or size or format - that's kind of the problem we're having right now. Back in the 1990s, we all knew you mean 3 3/4-inch figures. Today you could mean kid figures, collector figures, 2-inch, 4-inch, 6-inch, 12-inch, or some other new size - creating product designed to compete with their other products is probably smart to keep other manufacturers from slicing up the Star Wars pie, but it also means that no one format can rise above the rest to become the dominant force we used to see. Meanwhile, G.I. Joe is largely one size right now - and it's doing quite well. Marvel also scaled back to basically two "big kid/collector" sizes and two "kid" sizes, which is probably a better thing to do just in terms of the sanity of fans and parents/gift-givers.




3. Republica Commando is getting a remaster release on Nintendo Switch. Do you think this could lead to the figures getting a rerelease?

Given they were made from the older molds - 3 3/4-inch The Saga Collection Scorch was from 2006 and the boys of Delta Squad were all based on his design - no. I don't think we'll ever see those exact figures ever again.

For 6-inch fans, I think it's possible or even likely. If you picked up Hunter or Crosshair from The Bad Batch, numerous elements of their armor and weapons (and backpacks) are eerily close to those Republic Commando designs. I know of no plans to make them, but it looks like it would be an easy repaint or remold situation to put those out somewhere. If I were a betting man, assuming the program continues, these seem like GameStop Gaming Greats in the making.

The parts are clearly there and ready to be used. But will they want to? It's hard to know - Hasbro doesn't always take the easy redeco road these days, with lots of fun troopers, droids, Transformers, Cobra soldiers, and the like as of yet unmade. They also do produce some amazing ones - but how, and when, and how many, it's hard to guess what their plans are.



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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. We had some trickle in at the last minute this week.

E3 was just cancelled, presumably surprising nobody. The show was set for Los Angeles in mid-June, so we're probably looking at a 3-4 month buffer until more conventions will also be not happening. I would probably bet anyone a few bucks that SDCC in July is also not happening - not because I don't think the vaccine won't be rolled out by then, but enough underage-for-the-shot people are still not necessarily protected and also there's probably no way to check someone's vaccination status at the door yet. I'm not saying these things can't be done, but I also don't think we've got it together enough to do something if the plan wasn't already in place for the year. New York Comic Con in October is still anybody's guess, and probably the first event I assume could very well happen.

One of the moving targets for the future of entertainment was Black Widow, presently set for May 7, 2021, but unless there's a home video component I don't see it happening on time. Ghostbusters Afterlife got pushed to June, Snake Eyes is still set for October, and well, it's that kind of year. Thankfully collector and retro toys are still popular, because those aren't being held for any movie dates right now.

This isn't to say there's nothing to look forward to - WandaVision wraps this week. The Bad Batch is in May. Falcon and the Winter Soldier is almost here. They're casting for a new Frogger game show in Australia. And, presumably, Unicrons are about to ship and we're just a few months away from the Razor Crests too. Somehow, there still are new and weird things for the aging 70s and 80s kid (heck, even some of the 90s kids) - even new NES games - despite time and what would seem to be common sense marching ahead. I spent some of the weekend playing the fun From Below, a Tetris-clone with tentacles. It's not necessarily the kind of a year I was expecting to have but at least it's keeping me mostly out of trouble. I hope your year is going well and you're out of trouble, too.

--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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