Q&A: Star Wars Licenses and New Movie Figures

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 19, 2020

1. I believe 2020 is the year Hasbro's Star Wars license expires or is up for renewal. I know Toy Fair is next month but was wondering if you've heard anything regarding Disney's plan to renew Hasbro's license or to consider other companies' proposals to fill Hasbro's niche in the Star Wars toy segment?


I can't get anyone, anywhere, to tell me an official or final decision has (or has not) been made. But this article and people I've spoken with and also this article all expect it to be renewed. My guess is that there are lots of finer details to work out now that we live in a post-"Master Toy License" world. 40 years ago Kenner was pretty much the only game in most of the world. 25 years ago Galoob and JusToys carving off some parts of the license while Kenner was gearing up for a relaunch. 20 years ago LEGO started going after things in a big way. Today, Hasbro has to compete with so many other manufacturers that the once-ubiquitous 3 3/4-inch figure scale is almost an afterthought instead of the driving force behind the license.

The original gangster fans grew up in a world where 3 3/4-inch was everything. Anyone born after 1995 had options - micro, construction, bendy, and so many others.

Hasbro has a lot planned for 2020 - some things you've seen rumored, some things you've seen announced, and a few things that were announced but nobody even bothered to write a story about because they're just not the kind of things modern collectors - kids - are likely to want to purchase. But beyond that, Hasbro has a lot of surprises on the drawing board all year long. I would recommend saving up some money just in case some of them are your kind of cup of tea - they're still very much interested in experimentation in what figure collectors would see as "non-standard price points." (Also things that aren't necessarily figural.)

I'd love to see someone else - increasingly Lanard given their weird takes on sci-fi brands - try a kid line for Star Wars 3 3/4-inch action figures if Hasbro is really done with trying to make that work. After Solo I really still believe they make some of the very best figures... they just don't make that many anymore. I'd like a bunch more.

The brand isn't what it was 10, 20, or even 25 years ago - and neither is the toy world, or toy licensing in general. Star Wars enjoyed a healthy rut, and in the past year we've seen drastic changes even just at Hasbro. Hopefully we'll know more at Toy Fair!



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2. In the recent column you say the the 3.75 line is a bore and that fans aren’t biting. Yes, the line is dull, but I bet every 3.75 collector had the entire TROS figures the day they came out. It’s very hard to keep up enthusiasm for a line the offers so little new product. What makes you think fans aren’t biting? I think fans are clamoring for more.

We're both saying the same thing - welcome to "denial." "Acceptance" is still a few years off. The 3 3/4-inch line has been in decline for a while now. It's not dead, but it's not 2007 anymore.

I do believe customers are out there, but the powers that be - Disney, Hasbro, and/or Lucasfilm - aren't doing anything to cultivate a single "collector line" at any scale. 3 3/4-inch phoned in 2019 and it looks like 2020 is going to be fun if you're excited about photo real printing on reissues of figures from 10 years ago. It's something, but after seeing the huge improvements of X-Wing Pilot Luke, Yak Face, Klaatu, and others in the last year - is anyone really excited by reissues with new face paint? If you can pop off your rose-colored fan glasses, the collective 3 3/4-inch segments are in the worst shape we've ever seen. It's not dead. The quality of what we're getting is better than ever. But it may or may not be truly dying after 25 years on shelves. But it peaked, we're over the hill, and nobody seems ready to trade on the parts of it that could probably excite a broad audience, like The Mandalorian, beyond a tiny handful of announcements.

It would be great if it was still 1997, and most fans bought 3 3/4-inch action figures because there weren't a lot of competing lines for your collector dollars. That's not how it is, and the slow-trickle release combined with mixed approval for the new stuff has strangled off the hardcore fans among things like impossible-to-find Carbonized figures (if the Mandalorian ever hit my neck of the woods, I never saw it) to bizarre chase schemes (Disney's The Rise of the Resistance vehicle comes with one of four random colors of astromech droid.) There's a lot going on here that isn't conducive to keeping the fans you have, and any new collectors brought on board aren't being given a broad enough of a line to keep them on board for too long.

If you loved The Rise of Skywalker and decided now is the time to collect these things, the 3 3/4-inch Hasbro line has Rey and Poe, but not Kylo Ren, Finn, D-O (at Disney Parks if you want one), Leia, Luke, C-3PO, the Emperor, or many of the others. Similarly if you like and prefer the 6-inch line, that lacks the Emperor, Finn, and many others that are coming much later. And if you like the 5-inch line, that lacks Poe and a bunch of the troopers, as well as figures based on the older cast of the classic trilogies - and Yoda, and Obi-Wan, and so on. Right now Hasbro is spread so thin that I don't see any one segment as appealing to the new - or even really casual - fan. It's kind of like 1999 all over again, where people that see this movie will probably pick up a couple of items like a souvenir, the hardcores will keep on keeping on, but there's enough of a gap where Triple Force Friday was somehow even less interesting than the non-event launch of Solo: A Star Wars Story products during the death throes of Toys R Us.

There's still interest in Star Wars - Hasbro has a robust offering of lightsabers that everyone who reads this column is ignoring, because we aren't the market. There are blasters we don't want, 12-inch figures we don't want, and other market segments that just don't appeal to the old figure-and-vehicle fans. What's more, the fanbase was offered some pretty great classic stuff - the new Skiff, the Jabba's Palace playset, and a 3-pack of 2 The Vintage Collection repacks and a remold - and only one of those seems to have sold out at Hasbro. The rest can be had at a discount. This is where we are right now. Even really good things are sitting around. It's not your fault, there just aren't as many of "us" as there used to be.





When I was a younger computer dork, one of my favorite things on my old Mac was the After Dark screensaver. One was just a string of sarcastic quotes - this was a kind of big deal when there was no internet as such, so weird little quotes popping up like "Smile! Tomorrow will be worse." tended to make a lasting impression. And then it ends up being true.

This week we got hit with a server outage. We were told "delete all JPEGs" which I assumed was initially a phishing email trying to get us to log in to something, but no, it was a real request (and one the people on the phones at the host have never heard before). Several hours of calls, tweets, and chats resolved the outage in about three days with the cost of having to delete nearly every JPEG on the server. You're going to notice some content is gone - some of which needs to be reuploaded, and some of which you may not get up any time soon. If something is missing that you want to read, or you see a broken link, please reach out.

For my long-time readers - I've been doing this for 24 years, 5 months, and 20 days - you probably know that I actually really do like writing and posting things. Any sort of maintenance is a huge waste of time, I just want to get information, or reviews, or lists to you - and during this whole process I was also exploring alternative ways to keep doing that if the server took a dump. (One solution by the host was to buy more expensive hosting. We don't really get ad revenue here - just the occasional kickback from an affiliate link, so when you click on an Amazon link or support a Patreon, that's what keeps the lights on here.)

Since starting this as a fan thing to a quasi-business-adjacent thing to a part-time job to... whatever it is now, the question of how much more, and for how long comes up a lot. Figure of the Day died out before, and it's probably going to change to something else. (As I'm fond of reminding people, it's filler. But the filler now takes up all my time, so it's the site.) It's probably going to run its course at some point soon and we're going to move to more "first impressions" type things, which may mean more irregular - but more timely - stuff. I've got figure reviews I'd love to post, but the battle of "make sure we have new things going up every week" and "let's get reviews up first" don't work well when you have to plan several hundred toy reviews per year around a number of business trips for work.

I guess what I'm saying is - thanks for your support. Reading this column and seeing the counter tick up is what keeps me doing it, even though it has gone down a bit as members of our community get older, stop collecting, and generally find other, more entertaining things for them to do. Thanks for supporting the Patreon, thanks for reblogging/retweeting/telling your friends, and for the people who asked what was going on - big thanks for caring and reaching out.

Galactic Hunter started as a group effort and now it's back to where things started in 1995 - one goofball, up all night, writing about this stuff for the few thousand people left that want to read it. there are other, better sources for news but thanks for sticking with Galactic Hunter.

--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.



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