Q&A: Unknown Conention Exclusives and Star Wars Perfection

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 13, 2022

1. Do you know anything about exclusives for Celebration? Do you think they will be letting people line up for them or just offer them on line? Do you plan on going?


I haven't heard anything as to what we'll get (or if manufacturing will even allow something to make it in time), and I currently have no plan to go. (I haven't been to one since Celebration VI.) The last few Celebration exclusives tended to be existing figures in new packaging, which I can toss my hands up at and ignore - but they may be exciting for someone who didn't already own the figure. (Now if they have a unique accessory, that's another story.) Given Disney's secrecy, nothing seems to time well with a new story launch, and it's not a big anniversary year either. Star Wars isn't a precious thing anymore either - in the 1990s it was active, but it was books, comics, games, and a few toys. Today it's a new TV show every few months, a bunch of movies in development Hell, and an endless supply of merchandise. We celebrate Star Wars always, so a convention (usually something to keep it alive) seems less and less necessary when all I have to do is stream a new episode of a show.

Given New York Comic Con was also run by ReedPop and convention exclusives were largely sold online and not at the event, it would not stun me to see a bunch of Star wares be sold via your computer or smart device to avoid prolonged crowding in densely-packed lines. (I mean I certainly don't want a bunch of people standing in line all day, but that's because I respect peoples' time.) But, we're still in uncharted territory - we don't know how things will look in two months, but I assume "back to normal" is a likely descriptor regardless of things are greatly improved or if we're facing down the deadly (let's call it) Blueberry variant.

Blueberry variant aside, I had one foot out the door of most conventions prior to the pandemic because I'm a) cheap and b) impatient. I really don't like going on vacations that involve a lot of waiting in lines if I can help it, particularly when the cost of hotel parking or rental cars could let me just stay home and order the exclusive online. Even expensive exclusives from a few years ago are cheaper than a couple of nights in a hotel these days. (Jorg Sacul got pretty cheap.)



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2. The modern figure line has been running for twenty five years now. Seeing as most figures get upgraded, some frequently for main characters, are we in danger of never reaching a definitive point for these, or any character? A lot of figures have a shelf life of up to ten years before collectors buy the updated version of the figure?


If anyone is collecting expecting this to reach some sort of logical end point - stop now. Hasbro will continue to repack and resell figures as long as the tooling works, and will make new and improved versions of characters as long as the money still adds up. After 25 years, do you want to keep spending your kids' inheritance on toys for yourself? Maybe, maybe not. Some are really cool, I know $200 or more for a really nice Jabba's Palace was something I couldn't ignore. But when I saw a $29 Cad Bane at Amazon, I just couldn't pull the trigger. A $9 premium on a figure I already have? It was too much.

Back in the Kenner era, upgraded figures were not even something you'd consider. R2-D2 looked like trash in 1978, and the 1985 version kept the same of-model sculpt and fragile sticker for a body. Today they'll go back and upgrade figures from time to time, but they'll also repaint and reissue - or retool - as need be. Not everybody is guaranteed to get an improvement, and I'm really not sure what their requirements are to do somebody over from the ground-up these days. We could certainly use a very good, very new Darth Vader and this would be a reasonable year to do him.

There will always be new fans - kids, young adults, part-timers who go to the store and see something on the shelf and just want it. And that last category is crucially underserved. While I could go through life and never need another Boba Fett or Darth Vader thanks to decades of toys, a new fan - or someone less fanatic about this - is probably only going to buy something if they see it on-shelf at Target. And they'll never see them on-shelf at Target.





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Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in.

Target seems to be getting a lot of its exclusives all of a sudden - I'm seeing Carbonized Biker Scouts, Cartbonized Paz Vizslas, and a lot of Carbonized Shoretroopers - endcaps worth - which is the most I've seen of any new Hasbro exclusive, for any line, in one place in years. Usually if you see 1-2 of something it's a small miracle, but over a dozen? That may mean clearances will return. I went to another Target later, and saw at least 80 Carbonized Shoretroopers at once... I haven't seen 80 of any exclusive at a retail store in years. Possibly ever.

It may be a good time to go out hunting for stuff if you're so inclined, but main line stuff seems to still be in short supply. And a lot of exclusives have no estimated time of arrival. I lucked into Walmart ARC Trooper and ARC Trooper Commander (The Vintage Collection) figures last week because Walmart.com suddenly had a handful in stock - which is rare, but I'll take it. A lot of previous Vintage exclusives are in stock there for $13 or so, you may want to check whatever figures you missed on whatever web site for availability. I also spotted quite a few GameStop exclusives in stores, which is surprising because for years I was told pre-order or no figure. (It was rare to see Hasbro stuff in actual stores, at least around me.)

I'm not saying things are normal, or we're going back to some glorious age of finding things in stores (which more or less never actually existed), but it's a good time to stick your head in the toy stores out there if you missed something and are out anyway. Since so much of it seems to be deco variant figures, I'm less and less interested - I'm just not going to pay $200 for metallic repaints - but that doesn't mean these aren't cool. Carbonized Paz Vizsla looks great, I just don't need three different versions of him anymore. One's good. (Unless there's a 3 3/4-inch one coming, that I'd want.)

Good hunting this week, and don't forget to change your non-internet clocks if you still need to do so!

--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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