Q&A: Star Wars Rogue One Toys, Slow Sales, and Future Prospects

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 9, 2017

1. With a large amount of product not selling, especially the 3 3/4 inch Walmart exclusive series, do you think that there will be a recall, like they did with the six breasted woman wave?

There's a lot to unpack here.

Yes, there are items that aren't selling as well as one might hope in a perfect world - we're also seeing stores mark items down one or two months after release, instead of longer. It's important to remember that Force Friday was roughly six months and a week ago, with many stores slashing prices on items that came out in December... in December. Perception is a lot, and we don't know how much stuff Hasbro is sitting on. Its ultimate success or failure is something you and I can't know from here without Hasbro actually saying "This did well for us." Metrics are hard to measure and aren't consistent from manager to manager in most jobs, and for all I know some people will say "anything that doesn't sell through 100% was a flop" when you know and I know most items that sell close to out would be a success. Rogue One was set up for a short life with limited momentum since 2015 if not earlier, because the plan was for The Last Jedi toys to have launched around now. Obviously, that changed.

Will there be a recall? OK, it's time for the vocabulary lesson. Recalls are generally held for safety problems - there may be buybacks, but recalls are exceedingly rare in this space. If something really flops, once in a while Hasbro will send out their minions to take some units back. This is rare. This didn't really even happen with Yarna d'al' Gargan for years - she just sat around for a very, very long time at most stores.

I'm trying to think if I ever saw an exclusive go-back - usually the store either slashes it to clearance (almost every exclusive ever) or on occasion I see Target stuff dumped in original packaging en masse at isolated, surprise Goodwills. If there's evidence of Hasbro sending people to pick up dud exclusives, I've never seen it. I've seen exclusives (especially Walmart exclusives) that Hasbro manufactured for Walmart wind up elsewhere because Walmart didn't take the rest of it, though. Usually once it's in a store, it stays there until it sells.



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2. With celebration coming up and reveals from Lucasfilm likely for films, tv and games etc more than guaranteed. Unless you already know, do you think there will be any pleasant reveals from Hasbro? I'm sure we will see what was on offer at Toy Fair, but wouldn't it be nice to see a tfa Luke at long last?... What would you like to see?

We did see a digital sculpt of Luke from The Force Awakens at Toy Fair this year, just to indicate some progress had been made. I'm not sure what the hold-up was since Funko got theirs out over a year ago, but Hasbro did confirm it was coming in 2016 and we saw proof of it in 2017. I hope it comes for the movie toy launch. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

I don't know how much we can really expect to see revealed - games are far and few between. They probably want to throw out a teaser (or title) for the Han Solo movie, since that's supposedly still due in May of 2018, only 6 months after The Last Jedi. I'd place more money banking on their delaying the movie to December just to let The Last Jedi breathe a bit, but who knows? Maybe we're going to get two a year soon, as Marvel Studios rarely goes a year with just a single film. For TV, you'll see new Rebels stuff. You might also see a new project not directly related to anything else so far, but sometimes weird projects sort of come out of nowhere... and then go nowhere.

At this point, the only thing I really want to see is Hasbro re-commit to actually announcing and revealing its products. That may sound ridiculous, but since 2013 we've seen items show up in stores without an actual announcement or reveal - things like the battle-damaged TIE Striker had no real awareness in fan circles, the early 5-jointed figures had a few releases that Hasbro never showed at a convention or put in their panels, and so on. When it comes to action figures, we've seen talk of waning fan support and I can just as easily point to waning Hasbro marketing support. If you don't put figures in your presentation, fans might miss them - exploit your resources, and we'll most likely buy more stuff.

I'd also like to see more 3 3/4-inch figures based on the classic movies and TV shows, but that's just being unrealistic.



3. I was wondering if Hasbro intends to make Bodhi Rook and Saw Gerrera for the 6" black series. Rogue One remains incomplete without these heroes.

Here's an answer you'll hate - since Hasbro hasn't announced anything about more Rogue One 6-inch action figures, I can't say anything about any upcoming 6-inch figures that haven't been announced yet. If you want to scratch that itch tonight, Disney Stores generally have a decent chunk of unsold die-cast metal 6-inch Bodhi Rook figures, although time will tell if this would be a stopgap solution or the only figure in the slot.




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--Adam Pawlus

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