Q&A: Star Wars Jawas and Old Buyers

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 26, 2022

1. We talk about the fans/buyers a lot in the Q&As. I'm always intrigued by how much the fan groups from each website actually represent the whole fan/buyers base. I know this data isn't public, but using your best judgement, what percentages of the star wars buyers fall into the following categories: (a) elementary school kids, (b) teens, (c) younger adults, (d) older adults. You can be as creative as you'd like in defining those groups or even create your own. I think it would be fascinating to get a sense of where us old-school 3.75" fans fall into the grand "pie-chart" of star wars buyers. I'm betting it's a lot smaller than I'd guess!


Short answer: you're not getting a pie chart.  Such breakdowns are not available for the public, but they're going after all of those groups (and other categories) with different kinds of products. It's very much not all about action figures, lightsabers and LEGO are huge business.  And Funko.

Older, more established web fan communities who have been here for years tend to be pretty loud and not super welcoming to the new generation of fans, while the up-and-coming younger groups hang out on Discord or other channels that tend to be a bit harder to see unless you're part of the community. There are also groups that think KOTOR should be the focus of everything, and there were times when various novel series fans felt similarly - we've seen them impact fan votes and the fans were blindsided by this behavior (and the fact that the groups existed.) Collectors see things through that lens, KOTOR fans see things through that lens, book fans see things through that lens, and so on.

Generally action figures and kid lightsabers tend to be Hasbro's better sellers, and LEGO does amazing business too - after all, there's no Hasbro Star Wars TV specials. As far as I know, no comments have been made regarding who buys what with breakdowns to the public so we get to wait for that information to get dumped in Star Wars - From Concept to Screen to Collectible II: The Search For More Money. Nobody's going to share that kind of data to the public right now.

If you look in any hobby online, you'll see a similar pattern of the group that self-selects and forms a community as the one that crowns their opinions as the most valid. (Case in point, 3 3/4-inch collectors tend to think they're the center of the universe, regardless of which action figure line we're discussing. Well, maybe not Marvel, they have a better grasp of reality there.) Fans do age out of this stuff over time - as we've seen with 12-inch G.I. Joe collectors being unable to support a widespread Hasbro line. Which was followed by 3 3/4-inch O-ring Joes coming and going over the years and now existing largely as premium-price reissues. Major Matt Mason was something of a big deal once, and there was never a revival. Mego has some new figures out but they're not the center of the toy world now that Generation X has largely aged out of this sort of thing. There's still a customer base, it's just smaller.

In the 1990s, most fans were Generation Xers and Millennials - now it's some of them, and some of everybody who came after. Older fans sometimes shout out the younger fans from some communities, so I assume accurate insights - even official ones - may not all be 100% accurate. But if you think the collecting world is only after one kind of toy or figure, that ship has long since sailed.



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2. With the reveal of the Obi-Wan retro line, were you, like me, a little surprised that Hasbro didn't go for a Teekla jawa figure with a vinyl cape? They should do one of those before they stop using plastic bubbles, though I can see him being crowded out as more of a wave 2 guy.

What did you think of the hand-held lightsabers in red and blue for the retro Obi-Wan line Vader and Kenobi? As a vintage fan, I love the idea of "official" vintage hand-held lightsabers in those colors (yes, of course some ROJ Lukes had blue ones), and a Vader figure (or Ben) without a slotted arm. I hope the body sculpt on Vader is a little improved over his late-70's ultra-thin state.


I wasn't expecting Teekla, but I am a little surprised we haven't got a new/reissue/retro Kenner Jawa just because Jawas seem to be on the shows all the time. Even for The Mandalorian it seems an easy thing to offer - perhaps in an offworld color variant - just to flesh out the familiar and the new. I can't imagine a vinyl cape one, though, and I would be kind of surprised to see a wave two for Kenobi at this point. (But I'm also very surprised The Book of Boba Fett has no Kenner wave, because I want Danny Trejo and Fennec Shand and Jimmy James and Krrsantan and the Gamorreans and Jennifer Beal'lek.)

Hasbro's current team seems to be alternating between figures that seem to aspire to make something that uses the flavor - if not literal elements - from the old Kenner figures (Boba Fett, Death Trooper) and ones where I'm not entirely sure what they're trying to evoke. The vinyl capes are a great example - are we pretending these figures were made before 1977, or after 1983? If it's before 1977 (which would be a fun directive for a prequel) vinyl capes and telescoping ligthsabers make a lot of sense. But you can't to telescoping lightsabers for the Inquisitors very well. If it's after 1983, figures like Darth Vader (Dark Times) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Wandering Jedi) seem perfect. Vader's cape looks closer to The Power of the Force General/Pilot Lando Calrissian's, Obi-Wan Kenobi's cloak seems to borrow design cues from Han Solo (Trenchcoat) from 1984, and those two seem to be saying "this is a post-trilogy design" since vinyl capes were largely phased out of new figures by 1982. (Minus C-3PO's net, and a few reissues.)

Darth Vader (Dark Times) is about 95% what I was hoping he would be - red lenses! Cloth cape! Removable lightsaber! I love it. The weird double-cape pants look odd, though, and I don't like that - I'd rather they'd have gone with the old-school skinny legs, but that's me.

Circling back to your original question, I think a wave 2 for just Kenobi seems unlikely - but it would be nice to see Hasbro do a new The Power of the Force line grabbing characters from all the shows and movies (with coins) in it. I'd buy tiny Leia and a Jawa, and also Peli Motto, Wedge Antilles, Kylo Ren, The Client, Vlix, the list goes on. I wouldn't poo-poo some of the bounty hunters, scoundrels, or sidekicks from the Kenobi show getting the Kenner treatment - as it stands, Obi-Wan & NED-B vs. Darth Vader and Three Stooges is very much the kind of breakdown we got for Ewoks in 1985 - 2 Ewoks, 4 Duloks, all clearance. I'm thrilled to load up on villains but well, we'll see.

As an older fan, I wouldn't be disappointed to see vinyl capes done away with for future reissues - they won't do it, of course. I really loved the cloth cape Jawa from when I was a kid, so if they said "we're going to make a cloth cape Obi-Wan Kenobi" (with the 1978 plastic figure) I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I didn't like having to take off his cape to get him in the lightsaber - but it would be a little silly to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars making a functional correction to a toy that's roughly 45 years old at this point. Unless they decide to do a Masters of the Universe Origins-style line that appeals to kids/grandparents/dads as an excuse to re-buy their lost childhoods, and I certainly hope they consider it.





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I had some ramblings on The Book of Boba Fett, but it seemed better to punt those and write about Obi-Wan Kenobi. With an unimaginative title, there was a lot of neat stuff there - I liked the fact we got some Kenner toys, although I didn't need three Inquisitors (already got a good 5-jointed Fifth Brother,) although the fact that the show gave us six figures and I'm struggling to say that there are six more that I really want probably speaks volumes about the show.

Aging Kenner kids remember that Kenner was pretty stingy with new figures - you'd get a dozen or so per year, and they wouldn't do a new Darth Vader sculpt when the one from two movies ago would do just fine. But it makes sense that the Hasbro of 2022 would want a Darth Vader that's more in line with the post-Return of the Jedi Kenner stylings, just to try something different, while also really loading up on the Dark Side with a whopping three Inquisitors to face off against Obi-Wan Kenobi and NED-B, most of which I assume were front-and-center in the style guide last year. A lot of things were kept secret, like Kumail Nanjiani's not-a-Jedi and a certain short sidekick. I'd be thrilled to see some toys of those two, and while I could see another Obi-Wan Kenobi costume variant I certainly don't feel like I need it. (A Final Duel Darth Vader would be pretty awesome.)

I'm really curious as to the future of the show itself - will there be a second season? (Do we really want one?) Is this something older fans will rewatch, or are kids going to own this one?

I eagerly look forward to a making-of special. If Darth Vader's voice really is all Respeecher software cobbling together a shockingly convincing 1980s James Earl Jones performance out of existing clips, I have to give Obi-Wan Kenobi credit for perfecting a technology - perhaps mostly due to this one specific mechanical performance - that I assumed wouldn't be very good for a few more years. (The Luke voice was fine. The Vader voice may have been perfect.) On the other hand, I'm a little worried that some of the vistas in the digital "Volume" stage are starting to look a little less believable, and I can't even say why - maybe it's the depth of field, or perhaps because I'm now too used to seeing them. Star Wars tends to be at its best when it's pioneering new technology and throwing weird stuff at us, and for this show, it did one of those things very well.

While it was fun to see Obi-Wan tooling around, nothing I saw made me want a second season. I'd still be curious to find out if Boba Fett is due for another one or not, mostly because what we got seemed like setup for some other story - or perhaps just the comic book equivalent of a crossover event, in which case, it was fun enough. If Lucasfilm decided to spend the rest of my life making more post-Return of the Jedi stories on different planets and churning out Kenner figure waves for each show, I'm absolutely on board for it. But I would also be completely on board for an "Atha Prime" series, or a bounty-of-the-week show that just has Mandalorian busting fools. I don't need some big overarching story necessarily, I'd happily tune in for Kung Fu but with helmeted space warriors.

We're supposedly just two months away from the double-episode debut of Andor. I was bouncing off the walls excited for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett debuts, and my expectations for Obi-Wan Kenobi were pretty middle-of-the-road and I'd say they met it. (Better than Resistance with less filler than The Clone Wars or Rebels.) A 12-episode first season of Andor has me scratching my head, mostly because I have absolutely no idea what it's about. The brief pre-release information on The Mnadalorian was an exercise on under-promising and over-delivering, while The Book of Boba Fett said "Boba Fett is in charge now" while delivering a top-tier show for young fans and Obi-Wan Kenobi promised - and delivered - a Vader vs. Kenobi rematch. What's Andor for? To give the fans who watched Rogue One once and declared it the best movie of the original trilogy, but probably never bought any toys and maybe half-rewatched it on Blu-Ray and Streaming, something to see? I really don't know. I don't know of plans for there to be a massive toy presence, either. Based on what we got for Boba and Kenobi I don't have big expectations for the toy roll-outs, and I have close to zero story expectations.

Since it could theoretically work alongside Star Wars Rebels there are many opportunities for cameos, and if they wind up incorporating the Hutts or the Fromm Gang I will probably shift over from being a generally positive toy crank to being an absolutely insufferable madman doing nothing but lobbying Hasbro for Kenner-style Annoo-dat Blue action figures. And you know which one, too.

--Adam Pawlus

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