Q&A: Star Wars Repacks, ReActions, and Movies

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 17, 2019

1. Do you know if the TVC repacks (Boba, Leia, Luke, etc..) that are coming to Europe will be offered through US e-tailers? If they were, I'd assume they'd be up on Entertainment Earth or BBTS by now.

While I am not in a position to necessarily share dates of things that haven't been officially posted, I can say I haven't been told these aren't coming to the USA. For those keeping track, there are four figures - three of which have visible human heads with the new facial printing - are coming. One of which is Echo Base Long Coat Han Solo, which absolutely nobody has asked for in terms of reissues. (Seriously, not Carbonite or anything at all close to recent playsets or vehicles?)



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2. The new Kenner-esque collection surprises me. IMHO, UNreleased vintage figures are a great idea--the vintage-style Tarkin is a hugely welcome addition to the line. But Hasbro tried something similar about 20 years ago--releasing new figures identical to the vintage--and as I recall the collector community was furious since they were seen as devaluing their older figures. Why the change in perspective? And what do you see as the odds we will get more UNreleased figures in the vintage Super7/reaction style rather than re-releases as most of the new ones are? (I know you'd love to see a new Vlix!)

A few years ago I was told the 6-inch figures were a thing they were considering for a while and were holding off on until the original 3 3/4-inch line more or less ran its course - it still has legs, but when you need a massive infusion of newness, you deploy something like that. Or vintage something or other.

Back in the 1990s, when I heard Kenner was to revive Star Wars, I was expecting a line that picked up where the old one left off - Tarkin, Bantha, Wedge, Slave Leia - and not "let's do almost everybody over again and then never finish the vintage line."

Hasbro made a fuss to say these are new sculpts based on the original figures and may be slightly, barely taller. I assume this means they may have new markings or foot peg sizes on their feet, and for those of you old enough to remember the Classic 4-Pack of 1995, that thing didn't devalue anything. The faux-weathering isn't fooling anybody either - this is a faux-retro product, not unlike the Target Mego line of 2018, for a fan that wants an old-thyme product without old-thyme prices. Hasbro also said they were going to keep it very limited - this may be all we get this year, and with the Boba Fett a few years ago, it's not exactly a big collection.

Am I asking for Vlix? Of course. Always. I'm not particularly interested in bringing back something you can buy online, but I don't deny there are a lot of fans who will gobble up $10-$13 remakes of 1978 action figures if they are right in front of them on the shelves (or online.) It's a fun gimmick, especially if Hasbro doles it out slowly, with odds and ends like Tarkin to keep it interesting.

I sincerely doubt this line will expand beyond a dozen figures in 2019. I doubt it'll go beyond the existing Boba Fett and the 7 new guys until next year - I really hope they play around with things like anniversaries, giving us something like Dagobah Luke in 2020. I don't need a lot of newness - one or two per year, every year, would be pretty exciting and worth chasing.




3. Since Solo apparently bombed, do you think Disney is devaluing the brand by focusing on TV rather than film? I very much subscribe to the theory that Solo was done in by rushed release (should have come out at Xmas 2018--not 5 months after Last Jedi), poor marketing, and a failure to properly introduce the "new" version of Solo to the audience (for that matter, appearances by Harrison book-ending the story would have been a nice touch and easy way to hook in tentative viewers). All this stuff extraneous to the movie aside, I thought it was a solid SW movie--and I fear Disney may have learned the wrong lessons from its implosion. What are your thoughts? Does a sudden SW focus on the small screen devalue the property and push additional big-screen releases too far out in the future? (I for one loved the idea of a new SW movie every Xmas--and it always surprised me Disney moved off that time frame so quickly with Solo).

I have been in the licensed toy business for a while, and Disney has been very vocal about its plans. So has Marvel, so has Lucasfilm. When Iron Man was coming out, they were not shy to remind you they were working on movies for Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and a team-up Avengers film down the road. If you were in a meeting with these people, they kept repeating it. Similarly, every time I am in a meeting now they're very vocal about whatever the next 1-2 years of entertainment are - but last year, all of a sudden, it stopped. We know what's vaguely coming - a new Spider-Man movie or two, a Black Panther sequel - but that's it. There's no more grand calendar for Star Wars or Marvel beyond 2019, possibly due to avoiding spoilers, or possibly because they haven't decided yet.

Most studios plan out big movies as a warning to the competition. You don't want your Avatar sequel to blue all over whatever it is Marvel might have been doing, and the Christmas season is filling up. Avatar 2 is December 2020. Avatar 3 is December 2021. Aquaman 2 is December 2023. Avatar 4 is December 2024. The Star Wars Christmas window has closed - Disney, now the proud owner of Avatar and Fox, will not burn off Star Wars and Avatar in the same 2-3 week period and I doubt they'll want to throw Star Wars against Aquaman 2 right now. Maybe there's room in another season.

If we get another Star Wars theatrical release (and I don't think we should for another 5-10 years!), it would be a summer movie. We also don't know what Marvel is doing with X-Men, Fantastic 4, Ghost Rider, or its many other character properties - let alone Disney's own stuff. Is there even room for theatrical Star Wars before 2025?

If Disney+ can keep small-screen Star Wars focused, cool, and weird, I think it's only going to help things. I don't know what The Mandalorian is going to be, but there's so much talent on both sides of the camera that I'm giddy to see it - even if it sucks, it's going to be spectacular to see a TV show with Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte, Car Weathers, Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, and countless other amazing people involved. There might even be too many names that make it even weirder, but if that's the case I'm super duper interested.

While I'm sure 90% of you will disagree, I loved the era where Star Wars was abandoned to fend for itself. We got a theme park ride with Pee-Wee Herman, two TV movies - one with Wilford Brimley!, a TV show with Boba Fett and space gangsters menacing droids and punk rock drag racers, and another TV show with space Care Bears and Duloks. Oh, and the comic books had gorgeous art that looked like fashion art of the day with references to Japanese pop culture stalwarts Go Nagai and Go Hiromi. It got really weird, and we got bizarre stop-motion lizards, wrinkly space pirates, green space gangsters, and more Ewok lore in 3 years than we've probably had on the Jedi in the first couple of decades. I admit it wasn't for everybody - but it gave the world a lot to build on for subsequent films and was a ton of fun if you're a kid.

I get more excited when Star Wars explores clamps down to the strange corners of the galaxy. Maybe we'll see Cassian Andor deal with Jabba the Hutt or the Fromm Gang. Maybe we'll see the Mandalorian meet up with the Marauders or the Guavian Death Gang. There's a lot to do still, and I'm not even taking the theme park ride to which I have no plans to see for several years if ever into consideration. (Long lines, extra fees, cuts into my sitting-around time.)

...I also don't think the Game of Thrones' guys movies or the Rian Johnson movies are going to happen, but that's more of a gut feeling than anything based on facts.



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Another week... and not much news. Marvel's currently enjoying pre-Avengers and post-Captain Marvel buzz, which also shows you one of the disadvantages of the corporate monopoly. Now that Star Wars has competition in the form of corporate siblings, it gets a bit less attention due to potential cannibalization of the overall marketplace - so we're getting a lot less Star Wars, and with no teaser, no title, and really not a whole heck of a lot for the 2019 movie, I am most curious how this year is going to shake out.

Supposedly we've got a whole lot of Star Wars this year, although so far the reaction to Galaxy of Adventures and Resistance has been slow. I don't assume it'll pick up - while the former has cool animation and the latter has really high-quality action figures, I don't assume there's a lot more coming to keep it interesting. I hope I'm wrong - it seems like it might be a good thing to grab now so you don't regret it later. It's a pity, Resistance is loaded with aliens and some of them would make for great toys.

I still have to clear out some space for my barge - because, apparently, the year wasn't enough - so I'm looking forward to that. Mattel has new cars and ships trickling out, and for those of you who are super duper cheap Dollar Tree is getting a fair amount of $1 Rogue One 3 3/4-inch action figures. 99 Cents Only had gallons of them for about $1.99 since last year, or as we call it "false advertising." I assume Solo and The Last Jedi overstocks might be coming later, although I kind of hope not.

--Adam Pawlus

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