Q&A: Star Wars Pre-Toy Fair, TV Speculation, and The Not-So-Last Jedi Toys

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 11, 2018

1. Is "The Last Jedi" 3.75 inch action figure line dead or do we will still have hope for more figures? (I know some 3.75 inch figures are coming and I will pre-order them from the only site(EE) that is available to pre-order, but aside from those figures) I will like a Kylo Ren when he was Ben Solo with Jedi robes and a blue lightsaber from the backstory scene of being confronted by Master Luke . Also, a 3.75inch action figure of Luke Skywalker when he projects himself to fight/stall Kylo Ren on Crait. I also have in mind the aliens and other characters that we will probably never see but hope that Hasbro can make them. Is there a possibility that Hasbro will revisit TFA, Rogue One, and TLJ to do any new characters in the future??

As far as I can tell, The Last Jedi toy line is over, finished. Entertainment Earth has 3 exclusive figures (order yours below) and the first shipments of the Crait set are also going out and have been received at Entertainment Earth, which I put in here twice because they pay me.

Because Solo is opening within six months of the last movie, Hasbro developed the line accordingly - it should be short. Originally Rogue One was supposed to be a six month line too, but things changed when The Last Jedi got pushed back. I think it was for the best.

What you've seen is all you're going to get for that line look. As we see Rathtarrs making appearances in The Last Jedi - and Rey, and Kylo in Rogue One - it's possible Hasbro will revisit The Last Jedi with new toys and figures in the Solo line or whatever comes next. I don't think it's very likely in the near term, but if Solo comes out as scheduled and Hasbro has 18 months to fill - with Lucasfilm not telling them to hold back? - it's very possible you might see something like that. Right now we don't know, but I'm hoping. I miss the days of a new action figure on shelves being from a movie I like instead of a movie I haven't seen yet.



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2. With Toy Fair coming up, I was wondering about whether we'd see a preview of the next Star Wars animated series at the New York event, similar to when Rebels debuted stuff at Toy Fair? That's assuming we hopefully get new animation in the Fall.

Probably not this year. Given that we haven't seen Solo toys or trailers as of my writing this, I'm not hopeful. Rebels' body isn't even cold yet, and it was announced in May 2013 with an October 2014 air date. Assuming they keep that kind of schedule again, we'd be very fortunate to see a tease this year with a new series to tie in with the new movie next year. It's possible they're keeping something under wraps, but to see a new series with a new toy line this week is almost beyond my capacity for imagination.

I really hope that the next television project is given a higher profile - more support, more toys, and a home where more people might see it. I have no idea how many people actually watch Star Trek Discovery, but gating something off in a new media portal isn't great for licensing or growing a fanbase. Star Trek hasn't aired a new episode on television - other than the Disco pilot - since 2005. You don't want your franchise to be just for old people if you want to sell more toys and cultivate yet another generation of fans.

Rebels on Disney XD seems to be averaging 600,000 viewers per episode - and you really can't sustain a successful show, much less a toy line, on that. With any luck they'll put whatever comes next on ABC or Disney Streaming - as the last announcement we heard was a possible 2019 release of a live-action streaming show. As networks use franchises as a marketing tool to get you to sign up for their service, it could be a while before it has value and if it does indeed launch under Hasbro's current contract, that's probably for the best. I can't imagine that many big toy companies would want to push a multi-million dollar toy line that may have to stand on the shoulders of a brand new paid TV platform.




3. what are old folks looking forward to from the 3.75 Star Wars Action Figure line in 2018? I want a Snoke. I did not buy a $300 Snoke with BB-8 playset accessory. (I don't care too much whether he has 5 POA or 13 POA but I would prefer 5, since the absence of ankle joints means that the holes in his feet will be deep enough to accommodate the pegs of the Star Wars action figure stands.) Also, as a religious reader of Star Wars comics (all the recent Marvel SW books are pretty good except the Poe Dameron series) I want a Doctor Aphra figure. Other than Snoke or Aphra, is there anything else to appeal to old folks in 2018?

The past is usually a good indicator of the future. I can't say that I've had a lot of classic excitement since 2013 brought about The Black Series rebranding. If anything, unless you like the 6-inch figures (and I do) it probably would have been the time to pull back and get picky.

Hopefully there will be things we can talk about this week. We know a 6-inch Grand Moff Tarkin is in development, as is a new 3 3/4-inch Wampa and a Hoth Leia. We were shown a Qui-Gon vs. Maul 2-pack. It's entirely possible Solo could be great. The fan community has struggled to get behind any one vehicle, figure, or playset in significant numbers in decades, while Hasbro has also largely stopped pushing toys for Star Wars 9 months out of the year. We're growing apart.

The public hasn't seen enough of the 2018 line yet where we can say what's going on. We know something is in the works for Solo, but what - if anything - the Fall line looks like? No idea. Are they planning a nostalgia onslaught for Christmas? Or are they going to drop the line in favor of pushing Marvel or other toy properties? The current model calls for what feels like excessive secrecy, so Lucasfilm and Hasbro have lost that ongoing cycle of announcements and releases all year long. Now fans know they can ignore stuff until Force Friday, and as of late they seem to be seeing if anything is too expensive, just wait 30-90 days. I saw that BB-8 playset in the $80 range last year and that's just painful.



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Well, that was a heck of a week.

On Monday we got the teaser - not the trailer - for Solo: A Star Wars Story. On Tuesday, we find out that the men responsible for Game of Thrones' television adaptation are writing/producing a series (number unknown) of new films. And not Anna Biller or Taika Waititi or Ana Lily Amirpour. After that, Bob Iger confirmed multiple TV shows are in the works. On Wednesday Toys R Us started its long march to sea and started closing 182 stores - which may mean about 4% of American toy sales are about to evaporate.

Solo looks neat, but Star Wars trailers are less about explaining what it is you will see in theaters and more about trying to convey some emotion or excitement. The tightrope walk between excitement and nostalgia is a tough one, and the trailer does what these trailers usually do. You get the great Donald Glover, and some other people, and a robot that isn't Alpha 5 but maybe his cousin. And maybe a Boba Fett cameo, who knows, they kept Darth Vader quiet in Rogue One for a while. I'd like to say that I'm excited but as you know, I don't really think I ever went through my life as a fan saying "Golly, I wonder where Han Solo came from!"

Another new series could be fun, but we don't know what all that could be. Are we being treated to a prequel centuries in the past? Something far out in the future? Something about the trials of other battles elsewhere in the galaxy during the Galactic Civil War? Right now I'm sitting here hoping that whatever they do takes place within the confines of the established time frame. Around or after The Phantom Menace through Episode IX, that'd be fine. Or if they want to muck around with Jabba the Hutt when he was younger, I can live with that. If we start getting origin stories for Jango Fett or the Jedi Order - the latter of which doesn't sound too farfetched a possibility for two guys that translated a popular sprawling fantasy series - I can't say the idea particularly excites me.

To date Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and even Star Trek mostly trade on the fame of existing characters (or in the case of Rogue One, events) to get your butt in the seat. If Marvel made up something with no pre-existing character in it, I could see people getting soured quickly.

Of course, this is to say nothing of the Tuesday event - Toys R Us began shutting down the 182 closing stores. The two locations I frequent most are gone, but some other ones - near places I am far less likely to go for lunch - will be open for now. I've read pieces speculating another round of closures could be forthcoming, but I'm less likely to be afraid of it going belly-up soon just because Kmart's been supposedly reaching the end of the line for over a decade and while I can no longer easily visit a location, they are still around. The loss of Toys R Us could actually be catastrophic to the business - they buy a ton of exclusives and carry thousands of products you won't find at any other national chain. I work in the toy business and have been going to trade shows for years, and there are products in Toys R Us that I wouldn't see or even be aware of existing had it not been for their putting stuff in front of me. I know online is important (I work online toys), but I also know the value of discovery and I can see what happens when an avenue of communication is lost. The ubiquity of Saturday morning television? Spread out. The death of publishing as a means to promote toys and toy stores? Not helpful. The lack of co-sells on many toy packages these days? Also not helpful.

--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.