Q&A: Star Wars HasLab Figures and HasLab Reissues (Or, Who Wants to Be Sad?)

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 12, 2023

1. The HasLab Khetanna. I'm not at all into Hasbro hate (or any other brand whatsoever), I think it's kind of ridiculous, but I have to say I felt...betrayed? by Hasbro when I didn't get a reasonable chance to buy that ship when it came out [as a resident of Spain, where they did not offer the item for sale at the time]. I think the way they handled it was not considerate for many diehard SW collectors, many of whom do not live in the US or Canada. Since this has been fixed, and now HasLab is available in Spain, do you think a second chance for the barge could be a thing? I don't want Yak Face; I would even be happy with a brown box, but I have to have that ship, and second market prices right now are just insane. Any ideas?

As someone who has held on for over 30 years to get a toy remade that was sold only in another country, let me tell you, you're probably better off just paying the toll and getting it over with - if you can afford it. Also it's not the kind of thing I'd normally suggest - and certainly not advice I might take - but have you considered piracy?

Based on what I have heard about how HasLab treats their products, it seems any sort of additional run will never happen - it destroys the integrity of their whole business model. This is probably due to how the contracts were written and also how the item as pitched - you have one shot at it, and that's it. Making any more units available would break that promise to the early backers - and people who spent $500 on it a year before it shipped have cause to be cranky. I want everybody to get their toys, but also, Hasbro made a promise about how it would be sold, and based on those terms a lot of fans prepaid for this thing with some amount of fear it might not get produced. Squirting out more would probably destroy (or at least hobble) future products sold through these means.

If Hasbro wanted to put it out again, it'd be at least $600 adjusted for inflation. eBay prices are hovering around $1600-$2000, some are a little higher. Unless they plan on dismantling their HasLab program - and it sounds like while some retooling is going on, there's no plans to end it - there's zero benefit to Hasbro bringing in a crowdfunded item for a second helping.

While it is not at all a substitute, Etsy sellers seem interested in giving fans a chance to print their own from very similar to HasLab specifications. If you're like me, you have no 3D printer and no painting skills... or sewing skills. If you have friends with skills in this space, it might be a "good enough" substitution. It also seems much more spacious than the original.

The economic realities of early HasLab were - if I understood correctly - that the item required special contracts with Lucasfilm to get made. Certainly, Hasbro is still struggling with selling things globally, but part of the problem there is that you don't have a huge customer base in Spain. It's a perspective I understand - if I wanted Beast Saga toys or Zoids from TakaraTomy, they're not all coming out in the USA. You have to navigate international sellers or exporters, and when it comes to long-discontinued toys your only hope is the secondary market. And when I say "your," I mean you specifically Pepe - mostly because nobody else is going to be allowed to license the Star Wars property to bring stuff out in Spain. Other brands and licenses always have hope that someone could pick it up for international distribution, but as of late that seems increasingly rare. Once in a while you'll see something like a South Korean company pick up some discontinued Japanese line in new packaging with deco tweaks, but this is also unlikely.

My recommendation would be to monitor your local collector market or eBay sellers willing to ship internationally, give up coffee, skip a few other toy purchases, and - eventually - buy one. It will get more expensive with time and my gut makes me think this may be the "Fortress Maximus" or "U.S.S. Flagg" of this generation - I expect all future Star Wars items to be less impressive.



Ad: Get new Hasbro Star Wars and Super7 ReAction Figures at Entertainment Earth!
Get Free USA Shipping on Orders $39+ with code FREESHIP39
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi Mandalorian Armor Pop! Vinyl Figure #599 - Entertainment Earth Exclusive Star Wars The Vintage Collection Imperial Stormtrooper 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure - Exclusive Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Retro Collection Indiana Jones 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure Vincent Price (Ascot) 3 3/4-Inch ReAction Figure Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Roger Rabbit 3 3/4-Inch ReAction Figure

And don't miss...
Svengoolie (Full Color) 3 3/4-Inch ReAction Figure
Devo Whip It Mark Mothersbaugh 3 3/4-Inch ReAction Figure
G.I. Joe Python Patrol Cobra Commander 3 3/4-Inch ReAction Figure
Transformers Beast Wars Dinobot 3 3/4-Inch ReAction Figure


2. So sales are down for Hasbro...and the increase in prices almost certainly factored into lower sales...

Do you see them moving more towards Haslab projects where they can lock in the sales? The caveat, of course, would be creating Haslabs that people actually covet...

Lately they've had trouble creating Haslabs that excited fans...

but let's say they make a set of Bad Batch series 2 recolors in Vintage scale...throw in Cid or maybe that Hammerhead in blue that loiters around, a retro-ish looking Walrus Man as tiers?

How about a bunch of Coruscant denizens...both human and alien...maybe enough of them that they could amortize costs by reusing certain molds and redeco'ing them so there would be a good variety of background characters you could populate displays with?

Or even just a reissue of retro sets of Droids and Ewoks figures?

Due to the increased size of the fanbase - you got Old Trilogy fans, Prequel kids, Clone Wars fans, Mando people, KOTOR people, etc. - remember each audience thinks theirs is the underserved, special audience now. THere's no surefire category that's sure to work (but I think we can all agree, props based on a brand-new show are probably poison.)

There's a glut at retail and if you've been here long enough, you know that depresses sales too. Back in 1999 and 2000, we saw tons of unsold Power of the Force-era 1990s stuff choking Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Toys R Us, Walmart, and other chains with $2 off stickers on $2.99 figures. It's not that bad today, but a lot of older waves are still showing up in stores and distribution centers, preventing newer waves of stuff from hitting stores. If you can't turn over old product, new product doesn't get to stores. Transformers Legacy is on its fourth wave of deluxes and I haven't seen wave two in any stores yet. It's not just Star Wars, it's the entire business that's suffering after a glut.

I have heard a lot of whispers about HasLab - I think I can safely say the most frequently cited comment was "Hasbro wants to do more of them." For Star Wars specifically it sounds like there's an internal mandate for more The Black Series, which is in conflict with the fact that seemingly only The Vintage Collection campaigns have proven successful as of yet. While not all ideas were my favorites, you can see a lot of work went into them and also that the real problem may have been the numbers. If the bean counters/marketers insist on a certain level of success that's just barely out of reach, it's possible they were just a tad too optimistic/greedy/adjective here. But I don't know their balance sheets, other than to say they want these things to be expensive.

I don't think Hasbro will use HasLab for a Disney+ kid show. Kids don't have the patience to wait 2 years. If Vegas let me bet against it, I'd put in some serious money. Hasbro will likely not use HasLab for figures, unless it's to prove a point or a large quantity. (For example, tomorrow I invest in Hasbro, get a controlling interest, insist heads will roll unless they make Vlix. So they put it on HasLab to say "see, there's no orders" or "well, I guess there sure were.") If they could bundle $300 of figures together, it might make sense - but why do it that way, when they can sell them to stores? While I vastly prefer how things are now, The Retro Collection figures (and vehicles? How about a Blockade Runner?) would probably be a better proposition with a crowdfunding safety net. The Vintage Collection figure releases will probably remain normal product unless it's died to a vehicle.

HasLab seems to be for props, vehicles, playsets, or really really big toys - there's no reason they couldn't do action figures at retail. But bundling together finished-but-not-slotted figures on HasLab would be a fascinating way to get a return on an investment without torpedoing items completely. I don't think you'll ever see a Star Wars HasLab project under $200, though, so if you're just asking "How can I get the figures I want and cut in line in front of the mainline?" you can't. Because if you could, we would have a Vlix by now.

If you want more Bad Batchers, I strongly recommend making a fuss on forums and in social media. Hasbro isn't reading this column for ideas. They've got plenty of ideas internally, and externally from Disney and Lucasfilm. But if you can influence those sources with large demands for this stuff, more power to you - start a petition, push a hashtag, the future is in your hands. The Bad Batch makes far more sense now as a wide release, but most cartoon shows don't make it past a couple of seasons under Disney. So get crackin'.





Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: JT, Jared, Bobb, Christopher, Daniel, Tim, Jayson, Matthew, Michael, Robert, Stephen, and Todd! Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



This week Disney announced a pill of layoffs inside a rolled-up slice of salami with sequels to Zootopia, Toy Story, and Frozen. That may not interest you - but what's particularly interesting is that in the Disney strife, there's still no word of another theatrical Star Wars movie on deck, at all. There are allegedly almost a dozen we've heard about that may or may not be dead in the water, which is such an odd and fascinating thing. The House of Mouse loves to play with its toys until they stop paying off - Pixar has quite a diverse pool of talent and IP, as does Marvel, and those can probably go on for a while. But Lucasfilm is mostly one property with mostly one creative talent behind it, or at least it was, and now... not so much. The Muppets pop up now and again for a contractual obligation of a movie, special, or attempted reboot every few years. With multiple streaming series, at least Star Wars has something going for it. But isn't it weird that, as of last month, we've gone three whole years without a movie and there's nothing going to theaters in sight?

Disney is easy to pick on - they own everything! - but I wouldn't be surprised if we're seeing a lot of people suddenly ready for something new. We got some new Ant-Man Marvel Legends coming, and I'm not sure how excited people are for that movie. There are a lot of cool things in it, but I don't get the feeling there's any big marketing hype and there's certainly no kid push this time around that I can see. I'm hoping we'll see Star Wars trotted out to theaters again at some point, but in terms of really raking in the bucks it might be prudent to have Disney wait at least 10 years before going back to the box office.

Maybe it's coming - heck, maybe it was announced during the Super Bowl when I was busy not watching it, as is the way of my people. Hasbro is working hard trying to make everybody happy and is stretched so thin over so many movies and series that you're lucky to get 2-3 figures per year, and I honestly could not tell you the last time we got a new Cantina alien. (Was it Mosep? I bet it was Mosep.) I don't know why the Star Team has been hesitant to put out any sort of really unified line since - geez, I guess The Last Jedi or Solo - but I was really hoping for an all-out The Mandalorian presence and I'm not seeing any evidence one is coming, either. But look on the bright side - Star Wars has a future with new things to watch. You're not going to like 100% of it but I don't think anyone liked 100% of Star Trek either.

But what warmed my old, creaky heart this week? Super7 is making Svengoolie and Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, plus my retro Ghost Rider with Motorcycle is processing. I'm still on board for weird products, provided someone will give them a shot.

--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.



I'm on Instagram! All Pictures from a GameBoy Camera.