Q&A: Star Wars HasLab, Skiffs, and Exclusive Stuff

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 10, 2019

1. With TF2019 over and no HasLab announcement made do you think there is an announcement coming for Celebration Chicago? After all, the Barges are supposed to be shipping the first week of March so that would put all of them in homes before Celebration and there will be a surge of love for a new project after their successful delivery of their first kickstarter. I know there is no guarantee that there will be another Star Wars project, but I thought I recall it being said that they might do a SW one each year and a concurrent run for another license as well if they were successful. I was also stoked at the announcement of the Jabba's Palace playset which screams add-on sets coming, so that idea of a modular Death Star may not be so far off now. A Trash Compactor add-on set should do well at retail where a hangar bay door/ hallway may not. A pack-in carded mouse droid could fill in the gap for many collectors who didn't score a Death Star SDCC set. Thoughts?

Most of what I've heard about HasLab has been vague - no specific products or announcements. Some recent buzz seems to be in line with some speculation, and now that it's part of another commerce platform I don't know what that means for the future. Molding playsets is expensive, and seeing how few we've had since the Disney buyout I wouldn't hold my breath.

There are lots of variables here. Hasbro claims Lucasfilm had to OK a special deal/license to make and sell the Barge as it was apparently outside the parameters of their existing license, so maybe they're figuring that out. We don't know the future of Hasbro and Lucasfilm as a license, so maybe that has to be finalized before we hear something. (Heck, maybe it was signed and nobody said anything.)

I'd love to see modular playsets sold at lots of places, so if Walmart got a trash compactor, I'd love to see a conference room at Celebration or the Control Room at Entertainment Earth. Scavenger hunt exclusives can be fun, if it means something gets made we may otherwise never see. I wouldn't expect a lot all at once, while some fans are jumping for any new 3 3/4-inch stuff, a lot of people are buying other things in other scales now too. One or two items a year would be great, and I'm kind of surprised they didn't just say "We'll have more to say in May!" or something like that.

I'm interested in hearing more, though. I think it was wise to wait until the Barge is in peoples' hands before asking them to shell out another $500 interest-free loan to Hasbro for another year.



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2. My question is do you any concrete information on the release date of the skiff. Entertainment earth.com says July, Amazon. Com says August, Hasbropulse.com now says September 1st. When I preordered my 2 skiffs on Saturday February 16th, it said October 4th 2019. I just want to know if you have more information on a specific month on when these will ship. Cause 4 different dates in different months is definitely confusing.

The big Toy Fair launch was interesting.

Hasbro different dates depending on who you ask and where you look as a matter of course - so I don't know what the real, actual date is going to be yet. As someone who works at Entertainment Earth I hope it's accurate - but I don't know why Amazon says August. If it changes, I know we'll update our ETA, but I can't do that until I have more information. I will say I'm happy - thrilled, even - that Hasbro decided to make a new bigger Skiff out of nowhere. Given how much of the modern era was reliant on old Kenner molds, it's nice to see a 21st century take on the vehicles.




3. the Skiff Guard 3-pack - it's online-only, so will Amazon have it, or just EE, BBTS, etc.? Are all three figures re-releases/re-paints?

I have a good non-answer for you.

Hasbro recently divided up a lot of its customers (the stores, not the collectors) into channels. So there are things available to a "collector" group, but not everyone in that group may take all things available to said group. It's like how Walmart doesn't carry all the thousands of Hasbro products, but they could if they wanted. If you see a pre-order somewhere, they'll probably have it. I don't know which stores elect to carry which items or not, and well, obviously I'd rather you buy them at Entertainment Earth for selfish reasons.

One of the three is all-new. The other two are either rereleases or repaints, and I won't know for sure until I see more finalized samples. Vizam was in The Black Series, as was the figure which may or may not be Doallyn. Vedain is new.



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Old age is interesting. If you're reading this, I bet you're probably getting older too.

It's a well-known trend that adults tend to re-buy stuff they loved as a kid, or they just buy stuff they missed. I kept up on toys pretty well, at the expense of Sega Genesis games and records. So I've been busy there. As time goes on, there's a new crop of adults who had different childhoods - and this is the reality to which we are adapting. The Phantom Menace turns 20 this year, and unlike Star Wars' 20th there's no big special edition or massive anniversary celebration. There will be exclusive figures at a convention, but they're just package variants - not the kind of thing that will necessarily excite fans of all ages. Like any major cultural force, new chapters don't necessarily excite the entire base - so we're at a point now where it's all sliced up, with a little bit for everybody and nothing seemingly gathering universal acclaim.

I got to see this on the other side of the fence in the 1990s with Star Trek. Back when The Next Generation debuted, a lot of fans hated it. Their opinions have changed - or they died off and young people are louder - so when Playmates Toys did a Trek line for collectors and kids, they focused on what was hot at the time - the then-new shows. Old fans wanted more classic stuff, but the younger audience didn't necessarily jump for joy at the prospect of a Gorn or Mugato. (Those figures did happen eventually.) It was pretty much the same kind of problem we're seeing today - when people said they were fans of Star Trek, it used to mean Kirk and Spock. Then it started to mean Picard, Data, Riker, Janeway, Quark, Odo, and the lot. Similarly Star Wars has grown from being a pretty standard fandom with 3 movies and some telefilms and cartoons most fans ignored - with completely ignored comics - to this sprawling thing with contradicting publishing programs, 10 live-action theatrical movies, hundreds of animated episodes, games, and so on. This makes it harder to sell stuff - the licensors want new things promoted. The original gangsta fans want stuff from the 1970s and 1980s. Kids are all over the map, depending on what they found or what their parents showed them. Expansion isn't necessarily a recipe for success.

Another conversation that keeps cycling in and out of toy circles is the toy economy is drastically different in 2019 than it was in 2005, let alone 1995 or 1978. When Star Wars re-debuted as an action figure line in the 1990s, we still had big players like Toys R Us, Kay-Bee, and Kmart in addition to Target and Walmart, plus countless regional and/or extinct players like FAO, Service Merchandise, Best, ToyCo, and countless others. The smaller regional toy chain doesn't seem to exist anymore, nor does the national chain, so you have fewer outlets with less shelf space for more Star Wars characters while Hasbro and Lucasfilm are tightening up how many faces we get in a year. It's not exactly going to yield 1990s or 2000s level excitement, but part of that reason is you have most of the really exciting figures already. I also wouldn't get your hopes up for vehicles - I was really disappointed to see Hasbro not pushing for lower-cost, kid-friendly $20ish TIE Fighters an X-Wings after we saw those really cool Fighter Tanks, Jedi Starfighters, and mini Slave Is a few years ago. Mini-rigs don't seem to be a concern anymore either, so it looks like we're just going to wait it out and see if Hasbro gets to let their designer freak flag fly once the new movies stop for a while. I'm hoping.

Of course, it's not just toys. There is still a robust publishing program in print, but video games are increasingly temporary in nature too. The seismic impacts of your Knights of the Old Republic or The Force Unleashed or even your Shadows of the Empire is something we haven't really felt in a while, and I really hope Disney+ decides to make a statement with its upcoming shows in terms of merchandise. Give me a reason to get excited. I'll show up.

--Adam Pawlus

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