Q&A: Star Wars Mandalorian Stuff, Boba Fett Stuff, and Stands

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, May 10, 2020

1. I have a question that you may be precluded from addressing due to your day job, but maybe you are free to speculate... This past week (as I write this), Hasbro announced some new figures in the Vintage collection and Black Series, some of which were available to pre-order soon after, and some of which weren't (that would be black series Admiral Admiral Ackbar and Teebo - and I think also a Darth Vader that I found myself not at all interested in). Why wouldn't Hasbro just open everything they've announced up for pre-order? What's the benefit here for them?

Mike asked this question in early April - yes, we had that many questions where we're just now getting to it!

This sort of announcement gap isn't too uncommon historically, and we did ask if we could start taking orders on these. Hasbro has strategies and roll-outs that may have to do with licensors, or other issues - perhaps as-of-yet-unknown-to-us manufacturing delays - so I can't really say for sure because from what I've heard and what I'd speculate, I'm unsure why the split.

Sometimes figures get released before they're officially announced - there may be a gag order for that reason. It's unusual, but it just happened in another line this last week.

In years gone by, it was pretty common for Hasbro to preview figures months before pre-orders. They've been getting a lot better about those big Comic-Con announcements tying in to pre-orders, but this April round of reveals and pre-orders was meant to tie in to the home video release of The Rise of Skywalker, although that entire ordeal seemed kind of like it came and went without much notice. (I didn't run out to buy it, but COVID-19 slowed my roll-out to the stores.)

Generally speaking Hasbro has preferred to capture orders at the time of reveal in recent years, but not always. Force Fridays had some reveals before on-sale dates, and of course most of the reveals throughout Hasbro's tenure with the brand had no correlation to pre-order or on-shelf dates. Hopefully we'll see more items go up for grabs going forward, but that's ultimately up to the manufacturers and licensors out there. I'd say the era of delayed gratification should end, street dates and pre-order delays aren't a lot of fun when people are in a hurry to pay you money for these things - but if Hasbro knows about a delay that we don't, well, they're ultimately probably more knowledgable than the collective lot of us when it comes to most of this stuff.



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2. Assuming it's not an April Fool's joke, will the new carbonized Boba Fett Black Series figure be available in brick and mortars, or only online?

This figure is a "fan channel" item - so you won't see it at big box stores, but if you have a comic shop or local toy shop that orders from EE Distribution or Diamond or some place like that, there's a good chance they may stock it at their stores (or can go place an order for it, provided it's still available for order.) This is very much an "ask your local store to get you one" kind of situation.




3. Questions! First - what are the best figure stands for the 6” black series line, and where can I find them? Second, why oh why have we not gotten a 6 inch Hammerhead (or any other cantina aliens for that matter)? With Disney in charge and an audio-animatronic Dok Ondar at Galaxy’s Edge I figured it’d be a great chance for them to double dip, but instead it’s all humans all the time. Borrring. Third, and unrelated, didn’t Hasbro get the license for Micronauts? Did anything come of that or did I miss it?

I have not found the perfect stand yet. Those metal doll stands with the claw arms can be very good, and disc-based foot peg stands are not good for bigger, heavier figures. You're going to want something with more support.

A friend of mine (and possibly yours) was doing some marketing on My Beltz and sent me a few - and hear me out, these are pretty good. The clear waist clip fits The Black Series figures well, and there are magnetic, shelf clip, and nail/screw-mounted variations. I've had a Rey figure hanging on a metal rack next to my desk for months and it's been a surprisingly good solution. The Four Horsemen also had some excellent stands for their Gothitropolis Ravens figures, but those are basically just fancy doll stands.

Hasbro has a pretty good clear stand with a deluxe Black Widow Marvel Legends figure this year, but there are no plans to sell them sans figure. I asked. Repeatedly. Also for Transformers since those have had ports specifically for stands since about 2014, but no official stands yet.

As to Hammerhead, I can't say - I keep asking, and we've still only had Greedo and no other Cantina aliens. I'm not picky as to who we get - but another alien is about due now. Greedo was 2013 and after several Chewbacca and C-3PO variants, a few classic aliens would be nice. If you look at the 6-inch and 3 3/4-inch lines, though, there has been a severe drop-off in weird one-off aliens since 2013, with them being real rarities in the new-era film lines.

As to Micronauts, Hasbro now owns Micronauts as a brand. There was a cartoon in development that hasn't been discussed in a while, and it isn't on the radar/slate of upcoming things Hasbro whispers about at this time. Someone working on the toy line no longer works at Hasbro and I haven't seen nor heard a peep out of any sort of new developments outside existing SDCC exclusive products - those mini micro figures, and a reissue boxed set. A movie has been threatened for over 10 years, and I wouldn't necessarily expect anything next year either. With the 2020 stuff being pushed back into 2021, I assume it's going to be a pretty packed slate of toys and entertainment once this whole virus thing starts to go away. My guess is that it's too late for this to be a success, but I'd also say the same thing for G.I. Joe unless they can find a new way to appeal to kids - the core audience just hasn't gotten any younger in years.



When it comes to telegraphing intent, the modern Lucasfilm is either somewhat unsubtle or unaware of what seems to be coming up. For example, we tend to get retro products right around the time a similar character is about to return. Amazon got a fancy exclusive Palpatine last year, just before The Rise of Skywalker put him back on the big screen. Darth Vader was developed as an "Ep4" edition for Rogue One to avoid spoiling that he would appear in the movie, coincidentally in that exact design. There were some Chewbacca and C-3PO crossover items before C-3PO got Chewbacca's gear in that film, too. There were plans for a The Vintage Collection Jawa around the same time they appeared on The Mandalorian, but are these coincidences?

This year we've got the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, which means some Yoda stuff and a lot of Boba Fett merchandise. Not coincidentally, word on the street is Boba Fett played by one Temuera Morrison is coming to The Mandalorian. If this is all true, I have to wonder if it's part of some grand design - the 40th stuff was pushed back to late April/May, and this announcement was kept under wraps right up until now. Granted you're probably not going to all the stores, but there are plenty of new and reissued Boba Fett products on online shops with more in development for later in the year. I have to assume this is intentional.

A lot of the left-field "classic" products - Wedge Antilles in The Black Series, Yoda in The Last Jedi line, the core three leads reissued as classic figures for The Force Awakens - it seems so many of these items are there to make sure you have something to buy when Lucasfilm and Disney want to be so speedy and secretive that they won't even tell their licensees what they have up their sleeves, or if there's just no time to make it happen.

It's kind of amazing to see what the new era may be giving us. The two Star Wars stories were strange little side quests that seemed to be rolled from a bit of existing lore and serve as something that feel like they may have been part of the 1990s era of Star Wars - give or take the effects and Darth Maul. The sequel trilogy ultimately seems to be the next Thing We'll All Agree to Not Talk About, with a few decent elements for pop culture's canon and if you love it or hate it, a lot that probably will be forgotten or swept under the rug. The future seems to belong to streaming, and now we have to worry about what could well be a font of fan service.

Anyway, what else is new? Disneyland Shanghai is opening, so I'll be watching the news for that. A lot of things are opening, but I've got a lot of food at home and no toys to hunt for at the moment, so I'll just stay in here if it's no bother. The business seems to be looking at all kinds of contingency plans, but most conventions, events, and conferences are on hold until the various hotels let the event out of its contract. As we get closer I expect more things to get the axe, I can't imagine that Star Wars Celebration will happen this year. I hope everything works out, but right now, I hope everybody does everything they can do that makes sense for them. I'll be getting a non-tan this summer.

--Adam Pawlus

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