Q&A: Star Wars Ewoks, Size Issues, and The Really Big Ships

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 28, 2021

1. Adam, do you think you can make an educated guess, based on your line of work and possible inside Hasbro knowledge, if Haslab would ever do the USS Flagg? (Totally unconnected to Star Wars, I know, so I'll never do it again).
P.S. I lied; what did you think of the Hiya Toys Injustice and Aliens 3.75" figures?

I have asked Hasbro about the U.S.S. Flagg right around when the Barge came out and they said it's one of the things that got brought up as soon as the crowdfunding platform came up. That's not a yes or a no or a maybe or even a "we found the tooling," so I don't know anything about how far their internal discussions went. I assume if they had the tooling - or most of it - it would be a slam-dunk of an item to reissue right now. However with the hard shift with 6-inch figures, maybe the interest isn't what it was - also I assume it would cost over $1,000.

Of course, if they were to reissue it - or make a new one - I don't know which line they would use as a basis. The 1980s toys have some of the thickest foot pegs in playsets - the 2000s figures have smaller ones. I assume the smart money would be to replicate the Sail Barge's peg policy - none - and you have to bring your own stands to the table if you want them.

It would seem so far the HasLab line just needs to do more without bleeding its fans dry. They sold 12,000ish Barges, 20,000+ Razor Crests, an unknown but allegedly very high number of Unicrons, and tons and tons of Sentinels. If they started with the Flagg, I might've bought one. Today I doubt I would just because I've got a Barge, and I don't need another big boat.

Hiya Toys does absolutely gorgeous figures and vehicles at prices that, while higher than Hasbro's, make sense given the smaller runs and greater detail. I have yet to buy any - I've been going hard into Lanard space due to their low costs and easy availability. I'd rather pay $10 to scratch the itch than hundreds to collect a perfect line these days. I'd love to see what they do with more licenses and I love that they're going deep on Aliens and Predator without treading the same ground as NECA - which is tough, because NECA does everything.



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2. I'm not trying to teach an economics lesson (although I have a degree in Social Science and have taught Economics classes). However, I continue to fail to see how we keep seeing things like "The 6-inch line sells significantly better than the 3 3/4-inch line. Like, a lot...." when that is literally comparing apples to smaller half-eaten apples.

That's hyperbole, but honestly ... it's a totally unfair comparison. I would bet my salary that were Hasbro to produce the same figures in the same quantities and have them equally available, 3.75" would dominate. So, Hasbro makes more from each 6" figure since they are $19.99 and require similar tooling and slightly more plastic. OK, well yeah, but how many X-wings, Slave I's, Imperial Transports, Playsets, Skiffs, etc. have you sold for use with those figures? Do 6" collectors buy 2 of each like quite often was the norm back when action figures were still in stores? As you know, Star Wars was 'yay high' because they were selling ships. (and the ships don't sell as well because they've priced everyone out)

It's a nightmare scenario for the OG collectors because we have more media than ever before and yet the line barely scratches the surface in either scale. 6" will never get the depth and 3.75" has so much repetition it's killing interest. I don't have a solution, but maybe a new alien or two?

If you have a business and Segment A outperforms Segment B - and your people don't drill down into specific characters - you probably don't argue much with why. I can tell you that the 3 3/4-inch line has been dwindling for years and the numbers aren't as big as they were in a lot of cases, but there are always exceptions. Still, the best-selling 6-inch figure seems to outperform the best-selling 3 3/4-inch figure more or less always. When Hasbro reissued Boba Fett on Vintage and Black Series lines, the Black Series rerunsoutperformed the 3 3/4-inch reruns. And that's across each package variant last year.

I can personally verify that 6-inch demand for Mando and Boba Fett - with identical figures on the market - outstrips demand for 3 3/4-inch. They all sell well, but the bigger guys do way, way better.

I guess we're having different discussions. OG collectors are older and buy less than they used to. There's competition from more manufacturers, and more scales within Hasbro. If Star Wars toys were like in the 1980s - basically one dominant format from one manufacturer - I'm sure they would be #1. They're my favorite - but Hasbro doesn't want to put more effort in there, fans aren't as enthusiastic/noisy about 3 3/4-inch other than our older group.

6-inch interest is far from dead because demand for Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Mando, and so many others aren't remotely close to being filled. People still want this stuff and Hasbro is probably making too many new figures per year without milking the tooling they've already produced to the fullest extent.

There are more "souvenir" collectors than "completist" collectors, so the fair-weather new fans are enjoying buying 6-inch figures of main characters whereas 3 3/4-inch figures want either the very best new takes on existing characters or the obscurest of the obscure. It's a much less enjoyable line - but don't blame Hasbro here. The toy line only got weird and truly great when Kenner (and Hasbro) ran out of main characters to do and had to dig deep to keep the hardcore collectors on board. You'll notice since the Disney takeover, there's zero attention span in the line because every year at least one new movie, TV show, or video game came out and draws the lion's share of the marketing attention. Until Lucasfilm/Disney hire someone to focus the efforts into two pillars - one "classic" and one "new" - they're going to chase things until the "fad" that is Star Wars goes back to the weird background thing that performs well, but isn't a #1 box office draw on a regular basis.

In short: Star Wars is at its most interesting in non-movie years. The only non-movie year we've had since 2015 was 2020 - and they had a lot of Mando stuff. If they run out of new media, it'll probably get back to the weird. But right now, things like "do they buy 2" doesn't matter because it's not consistent. Some do, some don't. We're a dying breed right now, and yes, I think 3 3/4-inch would benefit from a focus on a kid line more in line with Spin Master's Batman or Mattel's Jurassic offerings. But that ain't happening, because that's not what htey want to do.




3. It would be great if Hasbro could do another ewok boxed pack (5 figures) like the TRU exclusive in the past. Maybe even 2 versions with A. movie ewoks and B. animated ewoks given the recent news on the classic cartoon series. Could this be an option for EE to get as an exclusive? (If you are at liberty to say).

I wish, but wouldn't get your hopes up. Anyone who has read anything I've written since 1995 is aware that I am very interested in seeing the unreleased Ewoks and Droids figures released.

The hardcore "I'll buy everything" 3 3/4-inch demographic has been on a steep decline (at least, from the numbers I see) and new tooling for an exclusive means higher runs. (It's also a starved demographic - Hasbro hasn't made anything new and weird for classic 3 3/4-inch fans in a few years.) I don't think anyone is going to do a new 3 3/4-inch scale Ewok boxed set unless it's to tie in to a new piece of media - although with the Ewoks cartoons and TV movie, like you said, who knows? Maybe someone's got one in the works and we just don't know about it. It would run counter to absolutely everything we've seen for the past 8 years.

I would expect reissues in the near term - hopefully Hasbro re-reissues Wicket and goes back to the well with a single-carded Kneesaa. I assume she's going to get real expensive if kids watch the show.

Of course what would be really nice is The Retro Collection. There were a few of the main characters - the stars of the friggin' show - that were never produced or even part of the illusive second wave of figure prototypes.

For those of you who aren't old like me - in 1985, ABC ran an Ewoks TV show, and Kenner released only one very strange wave with Wicket and Logray Ewoks - but four Duloks. A Scout and Shaman (think Starscream) joined King Gorneesh and Urgah Lady Gorneesh - and the entire line sat at Kay-Bee at a dollar per for a couple of years. (So did the Droids figures, but R2-D2, C-3PO and Wicket sold quickly, Boba Fett and the A-Wing Pilot I don't even remember seeing, and Logray I got on a family vacation to San Diego for a buck.)

The 1985 show-only figures were largely worthless for years - I even got my Sise Fromm figure for two bucks and opened it because nobody but me seemed to care - and Ewoks had a reputation as being something fans hated. Which is a half-truth - if you were an older (Generation X) fan, you probably hated the Ewoks. If you were Xennial/Millennial, you were the right age for these and probably loved them if you grew up with them. Today the Duloks are actually in some demand - as is the weirdly off-model cartoon Wicket and the truly wonderful Logray. It's my hope Hasbro looks at their entire Ewoks and Droids catalog and says "my, let's release as many of these as possible" through whatever chump buyer at an online toy store who is an unabashed fan of such things who would actively campaign to get them made as quickly as possible.

But no, I wouldn't say I've given it much thought.

I'd similarly be all for TV movie Ewoks (reissues, remolds, and new ones) as well as the Gorax, Blurrgs (who debuted in The Battle for Endor), and of course the Sanyassan Marauders. The Blurrgs were also in The Clone Wars and Rebels and also The Mandalorian - so it would be a good fit. The Marauders would be right at home in Jabba's Palace or in any Mando-themed display given their designs. C'mon Hasbro. Gimme my King Terak.



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SDCC announced its planned dates for November - Thanksgiving weekend, Black Friday November 26-28.

For those keeping track, D-Con is the weekend of November 13, SDCC is November 26-28, ECCC is December 2-5, C2E2 is December 10-12. Which, I assume, means none of these conventions actually expect anyone to go since a lot of people gave up holiday plans in 2020 and this year, a) people have to make up for it and b) I can't imagine someone like Funko doing 3 or 4 conventions in 5 weeks in a good year. In my industry, this is our busy season - now I have zero idea what plans anybody has at this point but it would seem difficult to shift to a holiday season convention on what is pretty short notice, given how long it takes to plan for exclusive production (and approval) and whatnot.

On one hand I'd love to go to a thing. But in non-COVID years, SDCC and disease is something of a concern - Con Flu is kind of a thing and I've seen people eat shared food without washing their hands. I'm not saying I'm not going - I don't know yet - but I certainly wouldn't say no to not having to travel on Thanksgiving weekend. If there's one year I don't want to get on a plane, it's that one.

--Adam Pawlus

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