Q&A: Star Wars Rogues, Robots, and Rascals

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 18, 2016

1. Do you hope that the first wave of rogue one toys will be a large enough selection, character-wise, given the number of characters introduced in the trailer that was released. When the force awakens came out, it seemed that hasbro only had a few characters available, because of all the secrecy. Are you hopeful that there will be less secrecy surrounding this toy line, since we have seen at least two new vehicles smaller vehicles and the new AT-ACT? I guess I am wondering if the new line will carry over through Christmas to have new waves each month, as opposed to what seems to be a new trend as it were to offer one wave in the winter, and one in the summer.

A quote, from one of my favorite comic books: "Listen to me. Never hope. Hope is a lie."

Your question is pretty open, and given how most people ask questions here I'm going to assume you're talking Hasbro 3 3/4-inch specifically. (That's the go-to.) We know the first two waves of figures - through reveals and leaks - have a mix of Rebels, The Force Awakens, and Rogue One. We know a few characters weren't leaked as toys yet, and I suggest doing the math and accept that some characters won't be out at launch.

The line was developed on the short. It was meant to be out in September, with Episode 8 replacing it in the spring - after all, that movie was set for May 2017 until Disney pushed it back, most likely realizing they won't lose a dime on a December release. With that in mind, I'll be very surprised if Hasbro has any plans to continue this line/line look beyond April but it also wouldn't completely surprise me if they looked back into their own playbook and extended the line through reissuing old figures in the new packaging or making new troopers or droids with paint. These things are possible, although Hasbro has been shying away from doing them. For those of you who have been here for a long time, a redeco wave was more or less obligatory once or twice per year from 2005 to 2008. And then, no more. We got more reissued/repackaged figures, but things like holographic figures, astromechs, and trooper variants were less common. (We still got some, just not as often and not as a wave.)

Secrecy... is subjective. Hasbro kept it mostly under wraps until September, which is pretty amazing. The dam burst a couple of weeks ago. Here's what we've seen so far.

7 3 3/4-inch wave 1 figures
7 3 3/4-inch wave 2 figures
6 3 3/4-inch wave 1 2-pack figures
4 3 3/4-inch wave 2 2-pack figures
3 3 3/4-inch AT-ACT pack-in figures
1 3 3/4-inch A-Wing pack-in figure
1 3 3/4-inch Speeder pack-in figure
1 3 3/4-inch U-Wing pack-in figure
1 3 3/4-inch TIE Striker pack-in figure

So we know of 31 figures. I would assume another wave or two are coming, and we don't know if there are any exclusives (beyond Walmart's repack wave, which I'm not counting here), surprise assortments, gift sets, or so on. Depending on when things ship, this could well carry us through Christmas but it's definitely a more conservative effort and I assume Hasbro has lost interest on the unwritten "come back every 6 weeks and something new will be in stores" release schedule we got (mostly) during and after the prequels. I'm of two minds about it - on one hand, sure I'd like more stuff. On the other, I've got thousands of figures. Smaller lines are welcome.



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2. I What were the 4 new domes that came out for the Disney build-a-droids in 2016? I know one was a brown r6. Will Disney be releasing more of these droids? (Kinda strange having a brown dome with no body to go with it)

So far there haven't been any waves of parts in 2016, but the wave you reference came out in late 2015. Disney is almost completely silent on this program, so it's possible more parts could hide in there and we'd never know it unless one of our own goes in and finds them. I assume more are coming eventually, but it would seem to me that the built droids are a smarter move - less hassle for all parties involved. So far we've gotten R5-M4 and R2-B00 this year, and I would assume more may be coming soon just because of the new movie, the anniversary, and another new movie.




3. Do you know if the head on the 6” black Series Poe Dameron can be swapped with the 6” Poe from the Target exclusive set? I have one of the figures, but the head does not seem to want to come off. I have not seen anyone do this so I am guessing it is a lost cause. Any insight?
--Christen Cousins

I wasn't able to pop the heads off both of my 6-inch Poe Dameron figures - so I'm hesitant to say you can. I was looking for other fans saying they've done it and most research seems to indicate people just gave up. If you've managed to make it work out there, let me know, and I'll update this post.




Rogue One is here, now! Thanks to a variety of factors - the Kroger chain (Fry's, Fred Meyer) not giving a hoot and assortments having new waves mixed in existing assortments instead of an all-new assortment - stuff's getting out. The reality of the midnight launch is probably going to disappoint, so I'd say pick up stuff now and don't lose any sleep over it if last year's The Force Awakens launch was any indication. Few items were hard to get for long - the lack of information about what was where and when leads to confusion, particularly Walmart's exclusives. The Kmart stuff is still showing up week in and week out near me, some of Target's are still available, as are many of Toys "R" Us' other than the 6-inch Snowtrooper Officer - which had at least two big shipments and two production runs.

Now, looking at the 3 3/4-inch main line itself I'd expect some anxiety as the new Stormtrooper sculpt is actually quite excellent, as is K-2S0, as is the Imperial Ground Crew. Kanan ain't bad, Sabine is no slouch, and Jyn Erso is... also available. Kylo Ren appears to be the "unmasked" version that you can't find (except at Dollar General) with the hooded/masked hear and a new weapon, but the star gem of the assortment is the basic Stormtrooper. So shiny. So 5-jointed. So Kenner-esque. It's better than the last one, but blaster has a different clip and another bit on the side where I'm not quite sure exactly what it's supposed to be, but it's not the same as the original gun at all.

The feeling going around now is still one of indifference. I don't think it's quite fair - not knowing what we're getting - because the stuff is a mix of really neat newness and (WHY) new production of old vehicles in new boxes, which I think is probably the single most bone-headed decision we've seen in years. Given the non-movie stuff is coming back, as is Ezra's Bike and the Y-Wing again, I'm left assuming either Hasbro doesn't care or Hasbro plans to phase out these assortment levels for Episode VIII simply because the era of fans giving a rip about package variants is over. And also, I don't think the madness of "it's midnight throw anything in the cart I don't care what it is" won't take hold this time. Heck, maybe next time - people are excited about the new story, but I can't imagine that the collector class will be joined by the mass media for annual toy holiday events like these. The last batch of stuff is still loitering shelves, and the complete and total lack of momentum since Walmart's last wave of exclusives - which itself was late after other stuff - is certainly off-putting.

I still firmly disagree with the assessment that some of the toys are bad merely because they have an added feature you don't like, but I'm guessing that doesn't matter thanks to the higher price points which even prevented X-Wings and TIE Fighters - and that was a dang fine double-seater TIE fighter - form selling like hotcakes last year. If you factor in inflation, the ships weren't too poorly priced - a $20 X-Wing from 1980 is about $59 in modern dollars - but I think people just freak out spending more than $20-$30 on a ship for their kids, regardless of the current value of a dollar. It's tough to make a convincing case for a pricey vehicle, which is one of the reasons making even more expensive versions is a tough sell.

So, I'm guessing - could be wrong - Rogue One will be a big deal later. Much later. Like, this is the movie you'll all skip and later go "Oh, I shouldn't have skipped that" and the toys - the new toys - are going to be something you may wish you had, particularly if they show up in later movies or games or something. If the last movie is any indication I assume troopers and main characters are going to be what you go for, and vehicles are not. So we'll see how that shakes out. I'm guessing if there's a decent video game with U-Wings in it, all bets are off... but we don't know that, do we?

My mailbag is empty-ish - I'm waiting on some stuff so I can actually correctly answer a few questions, but I will say the Nerf cannon on the U-Wing doesn't get in the way. And it's got an elastic seat belt. Neat-o.

--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.