Q&A: Star Wars Playsets and Vehicles and Toddlers

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 15, 2020

1. Love the Jabba's Palace Playset... One of the Best Sets in awhile... After its Release there were Rumblings of an Additional Set that was to Connect to it and Expand the Set...since then nothing has been said or heard about it.... Have you heard anything about an additional set coming and if so what Part would you think or like to see?

The "rumblings" were fans going "oh, this has hooks on it, I hope they do more" - to my knowledge nothing else was ever seriously considered for production, and after the amount of these sitting around after Christmas I am not hopeful for another Jabba's Palace-themed playset until the next Return of the Jedi anniversary. But I'm happy Hasbro thought about an environment with the Carbonite block for once, because there's another one and I'd love to see that again.

If it were up to me I'd hope they put out something with Jabba's throne area and a Rancor Pit grate next. Or the bandstand area. Given what we got and what it cost, this could also be an area better served by the fan community making its own add-ons. Fans are not going to be able to make aliens or characters without infringing on trademark - but but anybody can make a playset made out of dirt and girders that connects to Hasbro's set, if they wanted to do so. Since there isn't a big Chinese fanbase, I wouldn't expect a "third party" playset to happen without US fans leading the drive for it, though.



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2. What's the difference between the new TVC Slave 1 and the previous version of TVC Slave 1? Box photos are same and it just appears to be the stand?

I haven't done side-by-side comparisons, but I was told the ship deco has changed significantly - as have production costs in China. Depending on who you ask it may or may not have a Carbonite block in there, the newly-tooled stand isn't free, and of course there are some less obvious deco changes. The back of the ship - that is, the engines - got a complete makeover with lots more detail and energy "lighting" it up. It's not a blank slate - the engines glow yellowish orange, and you are being charged for this bonus. (Paint ain't free.)

If you have the existing Amazon version and are happy with it, this $150ish reissue with a few enhancements may not be necessary for you to buy. And that's fine. If you missed it - and a lot of fans did indeed miss it - now you can get it with a few more bells and whistles for twice the original asking price, assuming Chinese factories are back up and running at 100% capacity relatively soon. I have no inside dirt here, the rumblings at Toy Fair were that a lot of offices were back to work in China but the factory floors were largely not back up to full employment post-Lunar New Year. Which could mean delays of production and bottlenecks at the ports as the year goes on. Don't be surprised if Q2 manufacturing in China misses release dates, is where I'm going.




3. There is a lot of Baby Yoda product coming. Do you think it is too much? Does the world need this much baby Yoda?

I think it's too much, but the free market will ultimately decide. The rapid and hard change-over to the Child is surprising, and fans are a fickle bunch - the baby is a pop song being marketed to an audience of oldies fans. We'll like it for a while, but not forever, and not all of us are going to like everything that comes out.

It seems wise that they're trying to do the norm for Star Wars, which is to make a version of a popular character for nearly every potential iteration of the customer base. You've got electronic plush at multiple price points, you've got plush dolls, you've got action figures, basically they seem to be doing everything except 3 3/4-inch scale action figures... and those would be, what, half an inch tall?

Fans still theoretically love the character, but the heat is gone. It might come back for season 2, but with all the product supposedly hitting around May or later, it might not sell all that quickly. Of course, given the nature of what's going on with COVID-19 delaying production of countless products, maybe some of this stuff just plain won't be available until season 2 is on the air anyway.

So given everything, it might just plain work out.



Well... here we are! A few months after the coronavirus being a fairly nebulous thing in China disrupting a billion loves and some toy manufacturing, now it's here and everybody is on the toy run experience, but for toilet paper. And water. Possibly eggs. There have been numerous crises, disasters, tragedies, and other problems during my time on this planet - and writing about toys - but this is the first one that seems to be global. Unless you've got a vault of food in an abandoned missile silo, all of us are already changing up our routines and having to plan for, at the very least, a snowless snowstorm in spring.

I can say boats are being loaded in China with new production of action figures from the big guys and will be hitting here over the next month or two. (Some stuff will even show up earlier than planned originally!) Make sure your pre-orders are up to date unless you want to do toy runs like I did chicken-and-beef runs last week. It's hard to know for sure what it all means for convention season, as some items were delayed or disrupted already and the fate of the actual conventions is still somewhat up in the air. Since the virus broke out in China in December with the chaos in January, it's possible things might still be on for summer if we don't collectively blink first - just this week we've seen postponements of numerous theatrical movies as well as a bunch of rock shows and conventions.

The AV Club is keeping a running list of things that are halting production - TV, movies, talk shows, game shows. It's sad to see so many people out of work, with the minor silver lining of this serving as a reminder of just how much good stuff will hopefully be back in full swing in a few weeks. Or a couple of months. Maybe next year. Soon, we hope.

I already work from home, and have for a while, but I'm holing up with a stack of Famicom games and an ever bigger stack of wax from my slog through the marshes of Brooklyn last month. (Adam's got a brand new Pigbag.) Oh, and I hear that 50th Anniversary The Hot Rats Sessions Frank Zappa box is supposed to be good. And Picard has 8 episodes ready to stream with 2 more coming still.

The industry is starting to hole up working from home in some areas, and it looks like people are ready to keep working as long as possible thanks to the wonders of the internet. It's amazing, 25 years ago I was writing a goofy toy newsletter on a 14.4 dial-up modem, and now the planet can go to work from home on their computers. We've come a long way, and hopefully we'll all be here next year to keep talking about how things used to be back in the day.

As always, thanks to all of you for writing in - we got so many questions we're back up to 3 per week. We used to do 10, 2-3 times a week, when we started 20 years ago. If you keep the questions coming, the column will get bigger and more frequent - and if there's nothing on TV anyway, why not write more? I hope you and your families are all well in what may well be the most uncertain period of our generation. Stay safe. Be well. And take solace in the fact that Disney+ is putting up Frozen II early, I guess?

--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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