Q&A: Star Wars HasLebs Beget Even More Star Wars HasLabs

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 31, 2022

1. Hasbro seems to be doing really well with their Haslab campaigns until you get to Star Wars which it looks like their last two entries will fail. Given how successful the Marvel, GI Joe, Transformers and Ghostbusters Haslabs have been, why do you think the last two Star Wars choices have not been what the fans seem to want? Do you think it is poor choices by the Star Wars brand team or do you think maybe Lucasfilm is very controlling on what products get chosen for production? For example Reva's lightsaber may have been chosen to help with the marketing for the Obi Wan show? Thank you.


The snide answer is "because fans don't want it," but a better answer is probably that the suits seem to very much want The Black Series on HasLab - more expensive figures, more marketing for the more expensive figures, and Hasbro makes more money on higher-dollar products. (I am probably one of very few collectors clamoring for lower-dollar stuff.)

Hasbro has asked fans to pre-order more toys than ever before, with nearly 100 active pre-orders right now. That's a lot of tied-up credit with toys on pre-order for over a year with no known ship dates. I don't doubt there's an issue of fiscal uncertainty, having thousands of dollars of toys on order already. But mostly I just think they picked two items that weren't good choices for the current crop of fans.

The current unconfirmed assumption is that Disney and/or Lucasfilm pushed for the Reva FX Lightsaber, but for all we know Hasbro saw it and said "well, we probably can't sell a $500 prop at mass market so let's try this." And it's worth a try - they hadn't done a Star Wars prop on HasLab, but it was probably a mistake to pick something related to a new face rather than something fans already wanted. It works well when the audience was built-in and hungry, hence the huge success of the Ghostbusters Proton Pack. Not all props work and not all new items do either. For whatever reason, fans are much angrier about this lightsaber than they were about the bomb that was the $150 RC D-O droid in 2019.

"Star Wars fans" aren't a monolith - there are lots of old 3 3/4-inch fans, there are tons of younger 6-inch fans, there are probably even more LEGO fans of all ages, but there probably isn't a big enough intersection to get the fans with money (old) and the fans who buy the bigger collector stuff to support a lot of products. The Rancor, while part of a popular beloved old movie, isn't exactly a first-wave toy nor is it the kind of thing that one sees as a centerpiece of a collection, especially when Jabba's Palace has been soundly ignored in the 6-inch line with few exceptions. Were it part of a bigger collection that was more than Jabba, Bib, and a Gamorrean Guard, I bet it would be hot stuff some day.

If Hasbro made Boba Fett's chest armor and jet pack, it'd probably fund. I don't know that any FX Lightsabers would be a safe bet these days given they're just kind of a regular item - it's not a dream project, or something outside the paradigm of normal retail right now. For 6-inch toys, Hasbro probably needs to establish what a good "big item" looks like - so far we've had a history of flops. The giant TIE Fighter for The Force Awakens got blown out, as did the Dewback, Landspeeder, Rey Speeder, and other big vehicles. There was a time period where the excellent-and-cheap Jabba, Speeder Bike, Han/Tauntaun and Luke/Wampa sets were pretty worthless too - and they started off at a bargain $39.99 each. The Snowspeeder was a pretty slow seller too, but I don't recall seeing a lot of markdowns on that one. If anything it shows that any 6-inch scale item, no matter how good or how well it's priced, will meet friction from fans. Maybe they'd have bought a Jedi Starfighter or an A-Wing or other small ship, but it's hard to say.

I'd certainly love to see Hasbro try another vehicle, but it can be tough when there's not something special about it. The Rancor is just another Rancor, and Hasbro made several. There are many FX Lightsabers, and non-FX Inquisitor Lightsabers exist already. But there wasn't a good Proton Pack, the HISS was the first 6-inch Joe vehicle that wasn't a bike or small open-air vehicle, there certainly wasn't a Barge or G1 Unicron (that wasn't a head-swap.) I don't doubt the successes of Galactus and the Sentinel - both the first and really only very big items for Marvel Legends figures to interact with - made the Rancor seem like a perfect fit and an easy win. But it wasn't, so here we are.



Ad: Pre-Order New Hasbro and LEGO Star Wars (and grab some new arrivals) at Entertainment Earth!
Get Free Shipping on Orders $39+ with code SUMFREE2022
Star Wars Mission Fleet Stellar Class Luke Skywalker Grogu X-Wing Jedi Search and Rescue Set Star Wars Mission Fleet Gear Class Vehicles Wave 5 Case of 8 Star Wars Mission Fleet Gear Class Imperial Cannon Assault 2 1/2-Inch Stormtrooper Action Figure Star Wars Mission Fleet Stellar Class Vehicles Wave 4 Case Star Wars The Bounty Collection The Child Series 5 Set of 6 LEGO 75337 Star Wars AT-TE Walker - Entertainment Earth LEGO 75336 Star Wars Inquisitor Transport Scythe LEGO 75332 Star Wars AT-ST - Entertainment Earth LEGO 75333 Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter LEGO 75334 Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader LEGO 75335 Star Wars BD-1 - Entertainment Earth LEGO 75323 Star Wars The Justifier - Entertainment Earth Star Wars The Retro Collection The Mandalorian (Beskar) 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure Star Wars Clone Wars Captain Rex FiGPiN Classic Enamel Pin Star Wars The Black Series Boba Fett (Re-Armored) Premium Electronic Helmet Prop Replica Star Wars The Black Series Figrin D'an 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Bo-Katan Kryze Electronic Helmet Prop Replica


2. In the midst of the roaring success of the Haslab Hiss Tank and, by comparison, colossal failures of the Rancor and Reva saber, why doesn’t Hasbro tell fans (in so many words),

“All right, we’ll give you the Death Star. Start saving though, because you’re getting ONE shot at this white whale. For 1,000 bucks, you’ll get... well, more wealth than you can imagine! Tractor beam control, garbage chute, rope bridge chasm, briefing room, detention cells; the whole megillah!

It seems to me at this point that Hasbro needs a glorious campaign to get fans to believe in crowd funding the line because I dare say it is approaching becoming cool to not fund a Star Wars Haslab just to watch and see how badly it flops.


If we didn't get the Death Star in 2017 for the 40th Anniversary (or late 2016 for Rogue One), I have to assume they're just not going to do a big giant one for 3 3/4-inch figures. If a Cobra HISS - that isn't very big - is $300 (with 4 $25 figures in it), $1000 for a Death Star of your dreams may be an extremely optimistic price point.

Boba Fett's Throne Room was $230 for a set-up that, I assume, most fans would've pegged at $100-$150 given how little bulk is actually there. It looks awesome, but there's no Jabba and only one figure in that box. Unless we're being given the Boba Fett Tax (and/or the accessories and extensive deco added to the price), I would assume that a decent Death Star garbage compactor with a chute, big walls, and maybe some debris would probably set us back $200-$300 these days.

I don't think they're ever going to do it at this stage, unless it becomes a demand from Disney/Lucasfilm as part of the Andor series as time goes on. It still should probably be a MicroCollection-esque thing, done in chunks and unpainted. It would be a lot cheaper to do something simple. I have little doubt fans of Joes are rubbing their hands together hoping for a U.S.S. FLAGG reissue too, but given recent inflation and what appears to be Hasbro overcompensating for that inflation in a few spots, I can't imagine a genuinely amazing bigger-than-an-adult-human playset would be cost-effective in 2022.

For the curious, the original 1970s Kenner Death Star Space Station sold for $17.87 at Sears. Adjusted for inflation, that toy - mostly hollow, partially cardboard - would be about $80 today and that's on par with similar recent Batman Batcave playsets. Hasbro's recent playset output has been around $50 for not very little toy and a $13 figure - so something like the original unpainted 1978 toy could probably be done for $80-$100 if Hasbro felt so inclined. And again - that means an unpainted toy with a sticker sheet and cardboard wall panels. Something robust would cost more.

My big concern about the Death Star is that no matter what Hasbro does, anything short of a car-sized toy will be seen as falling short of fan expectations. The only thing that would probably make me happy is some sort of modular system - mostly because that would allow flexibility for display on shelves or storage. The removable engines on HasLab's Razor Crest show there's some flexibility for display options, and a big giant playset would need something like that if it'll ever happen. And no matter what it is, I guarantee you, people will complain about it.





Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: JT, Jared, Bobb, David, Galvatim, Christopher, Robert, Marco, Dan, Stephen, Matthew, Jayson, Todd, Kristine, and Mario! Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



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.

I made a TikTok of very short toy videos - I'm uploading stuff I made in 2014 and 2015 for YouTube. They're extremely short because I had about zero interest in watching a guy go on about a robot for 20 minutes.

It's Toy Aisle Reset season, so your local big box store (and online toy store) has a lot of new stuff up. Toy stuff - collector stuff will continue in whatever cadence Hasbro sees fit. But if you want new Grogu toys or Play-Doh or LEGO stuff, it's your lucky day/week, depending on the store.

Andor starts in 30 days, with two episodes for the premiere and ten more for a total of 12. And a second season. Will it be good? It's hard to know - we just came off of sky-high expectations for The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which certainly makes it seem like the trend is to name all TV shows after a specific character nowadays. I assume there will be plenty of toys, and I certainly hope someone out there is planning Kenner-style figures.

--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.