Q&A: Star Wars Vintage Goals, Season 6?, and Upcoming Stuff

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 21, 2019

1. Some people/websites are calling the upcoming season of clone wars season 6 while others are calling it season 7. Which is it?

The new season is 7. I suppose it could be considered the back half of season 6, but after 5 years it's a new season.

Since the dawn of the internet, fans have been coming up with bizarre (and wrong) ways to call things. I had an unfortunate conversation at a store recently where a gentleman was going on applying season information to toys that was wildly inaccurate to the point where I was unsure even where to begin, and nomenclature is a thing where a lot of people screw up - sometimes because of ignorance, or just having some weird line of reasoning I don't get.

I have six separate seasons of The Clone Wars Blu-Ray box sets, so from where I sit the upcoming season would be season 7. Wookieepedia calls "the lost missions" from Netflix "Season Six" so I would say whoever is saying season six is either a) ill informed, b) forgetful, or c) some weirdo who has decided Netflix doesn't count as a season.

The unfortunate thing is that usually lesser fans who are Wiki-heads can and often will rewrite history in bizarre ways. For example, there's a whole "generation of video game systems" thing on Wikipedia that is bizarre and retroactive, not something you saw at all in the gaming press, well, ever. Some goober went with it and other goobers agreed. Or the whole "The Last 17" thing referring to the Kenner line's final action figure releases, which I never heard any dealer, collector, magazine, or book refer to until relatively recently - and I was engaged in the hobby in the 1980s and 1990s pretty heavily. Heck, where I lived we were lousy with Paploo and Lumat, too, so I'd go as far as to say it's something written by someone who maybe wasn't quite there at the time. But I digress.

We live in an era where a company can take a movie released in 1977 and change its name on a whim. I'm a fan of a movie called Star Wars. That's what was on the poster, the ticket, the merchandise, and so on from 1977 through at least the late 1990s for its 1997 relaunch in theaters. Supposedly it's "A New Hope" or "Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope" officially, but who says that? Now Disney renamed it Star Wars: A New Hope as of a couple of weeks ago. Sure pal, whatever floats your boat. The movie is still called Star Wars and you're wrong. But again, I digress.



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2. Do you know a release date, or would you care to speculate on one, for the newly announced Luke 3 pack of 3.75” figures? The Stormtrooper Luke sure will look good next to the TVC Stormtrooper Han.br> --Derek

The Luke Skywalker 3-pack is set for San Diego Comic-Con in July, but the notes surrounding the panel said they may appear elsewhere later. (I would read that as single-carded figures in 2020.) Keep an eye open for those over the next year, sort of like how we got Aphra last year and it was wink wink nudge nudged that BT-1 and 0-0-0 would bore us with single-carded releases long after we already purchased them.

Kudos to Hasbro for getting a redo on Luke Jedi Knight's cloak. That's been irking me for a while.




3. Do you think Hasbro in any way has a goal of releasing all of the original 1970s/1980s Kenner figure selections as new or repack figures on TVC cardbacks? I was just thinking about figures that haven't been released at all in the modern Hasbro TVC line, and realized (as far as I can remember) we've never had a Jawa in the TVC line, not to mention the few other figures that have never been updated (like Sim Aloo). It might be cool to get a Vintage-carded Jawa that has fully cloth robes.

An emphatic "no." Hasbro has absolutely no plans to update all of anything in 3 3/4-inch - if they did, we'd be talking about Kenner-deco Ewoks and Cantina Aliens, maybe red coat Bib Fortuna, mustache Bespin Guard, or even Sim Aloo. To name a few. There is no real plan for any specific goal in the 3 3/4-inch Hasbro Star Wars action figure line - I feel right now we're more or less lucky to get anything, given how many new characters we're getting. The latest wave of Vintage just started shipping, and it's 4 figures from 2010 with new face paint. They're not giving a lot of thought on how they will be finishing the line, and from conversations over the years they didn't ever seem to have it as a true end goal on most of the iterations of the brand team I was lucky enough to converse with. I'm not saying it'll never happen - or even that it's being considered or not - it's just that historically, no.



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While Star Wars continues to shuffle along and get new stuff out - admirable, all things considered - the stores which we all used to buy them at aren't doing so hot. No doubt, you have read features about the "Retail Apocalypse" and we've discussed such things here. There are always opportunities for things to shift, but this article pointed out Walmart and Target are also closing a few locations in addition to Family Dollar, JC Penny, Walgreens, Shopko, and other stores that were semi-regular stops on toy runs for some of us.

Online sales, Five Below, Ollie's, and Aldi are expanding - although that's usually where you go for closeouts and final waves, if anything at all.

This does effect you - even if items are shifted to online distribution, it's possible Hasbro may elect to not produce an item, or only make a small quantity. Having the big box stores has always been a net good for toys, mostly as advertising changes and you might not even know something exists unless you are actively involved in collecting or just happened to see it in a store one day. With thousands of existing Star Wars toys in the marketplace, online selling on the likes of Amazon and eBay make it difficult if not impossible to weed out the current or newest stuff.

In general, consolidation is a real mixed bag. One big company owning all the licenses means lesser things won't get attention - so Marvel gets a ton of love, Star Wars might get a little less, and the Muppets are forgotten. Similar things can happen with retail - in the 1970s and 1980s there were tons of smaller and regional players, like Children's Palace, Kay-Bee Toys, Toys by Roy, Lionel PlayWorld, and countless others. They were steamrolled by Toys R Us in the 1990s, which gave them a ton of power as to what toys you would see in stores. Walmart had similar retail clout. Without lots of stores ordering stuff to put in front of people, there are fewer opportunities for experimentation and risk in toys becomes a bigger issue. We saw people trying all kinds of amazing things in the 1980s, putting TV ad dollars behind weird action toys like Rocks and Bugs and Things or massive hits like Masters of the Universe. This gradually gave way to more licensed properties, and now it seems there's precious little - other than "collectible" stuff - on the boy's toy aisle that isn't from a long-running existing franchise or brand.

Stores are starting to shrink toy aisles as the stores themselves start to contract a bit, so it's sort of an unfortunate consumer storm for toys. If Star Wars enters a period of decline along with retail, well, I guess we won't be missing too much. Enjoy the hunt while it's still possible!

--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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