Q&A For February 23, 2004


1. any word on [the second batch of Wal-Mart Cantina Aliens] @ Toy Fair? Maybe a TRU 4pk release? May the toy gods bless us.
--Ki-Adi Randy

The one thing that got me about Toy Fair is that nobody really "said" anything. The showroom people seem to have been instructed to only talk about what's in the room. Any questions about other releases, past or future, seemed off-limits. As such, this is still in limbo.

2. Why do you suppose that with all of the reissues we're seeing from Hasbro, there has been no consideration given to reissueing R2 w/ holo Leia? This was hands down the best R2 sculpt that has ever been done and is still in decent demand. Any thoughts?

Odds are we just haven't seen it yet. This figure was the best R2-D2 at the time, but the Power of the Jedi R2-D2 had a far better sculpt, just not better articulation. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this figure reissued at some point, but if it isn't, you can take solace in the fact that prices for it on eBay have gone down significantly so it's actually affordable now. (I'd go look up prices for you, but as of right now my cable modem has decided against connecting to the Internet.)

3. does the new dagobah training luke come with interchangeabe head and arms. from looking at the pictures it apears it does. just hoping you could help out.

My sources tell me that Hasbro has been inspired by the Japanese here and will include interchangable heads and arms. Ain't it grand?

4. Explain the outcome if Hasbro placed high quality and exclusive figures in playsets. Do you think that would help sales of playsets thus making Hasbro rethink their playsets strategy? It’s blaringly obviously the many people want some good quality playsets. Wampa cave, Jabba’s Palace, Cantina, Death Star environments, Lars Homestead, and so forth the list could go on for a while. Ya with me Adam?

I see where you're coming from, but I don't think the market is there right now. Sometimes, Hasbro can make and sell a good playset. The Geonosis Arena is a fine example, plus they got to reuse the mold for G.I. Joe (which is now half price at Target) so that worked out fine for everybody. I think if Hasbro made, say, a Cantina with a few exclusive figures it'd sell pretty well, but overall things like vehicles and playsets are a tough sell to us nowadays because we have just so much stuff. While the mini Wampa Cave with the Wampa and Luke is nice, it isn't big... and to be honest, I think that's all we're ever going to see of that environment. We got two fantastic cardboard environments of Jabba's Palace and the Cantina, and while I think both would make excellent larger playsets, it isn't likely to happen. There were also two decent, but not great, Death Star playsets.

Like you said, a good exclusive figure would probably help a lot. If Hasbro reissued the cardboard Jabba's Palace with, say, Ephant Mon and charged $15-$20 I have no doubt it'd sell well just because there's a lot of people that still want an Ephant Mon. But the Lar Homestead? Nope. Not gonna happen.

5. I like the action figure stands that come with the Toys R Us 4 packs. Are these available for sale by themselves? I'd buy a whole bunch of them.

I've asked Hasbro about this, and there are no plans for Hasbro to sell a sack of stands just yet. There are a number of third-party solutions, though, and at this time those are your best bet.

6. Hello. I was thinking about next year and the release of E3, and I had a question. Was the E2/Saga line considered a financial success, and if so, do you believe that Hasbro credits action features for that success?

I'm just wondering because they are doing some really good work right now, especially with articulation, and it would be real drag to go back to the pre-posed action feature duds of 2002.

I can almost guarantee you that action figures will be back in 2004 since they supposedly help sell the line to kids. I'm not the biggest fan of them, myself, mainly because they don't work well most of the time. I think that Throne Room Vader worked pretty much OK, but the Cloud City version in 2002 couldn't do anything without his cape flying off.

I know it looks like Star Wars is doing a lot better now, but there are reasons for this. Namely, there was probably 10 times more product shipped to stores in a given week in 2002 than there was in 2003, especially given for most of 2003 new product just plain could not be found.

I'd argue with you when you say that the figures of 2002 were duds. I think the action feature Zam Wesell was one of Hasbro's better figures, that the Obi-Wan Kenobi that came with the sentry droid was great, and that the exploding Battle Droid worked, too. Granted, I also though that all the extra junk coming off of Kamino Jango Fett didn't quite click, and that nobody seemed to like Outlander Peasant Anakin Skywalker. (Although I did dig the lightsaber.) If Hasbro can integrate action features into their product better than they did before, I see no problem having them back. Was there anyone that really disliked the electronics in R2-D2? While I prefer my figures to be posable over playable these days, well, in a movie year, Hasbro's gotta sell to the kids. Which very few of you actually are.

7. Do you if there will be more then 12 [New Vintage Style Figures] released for this line or is it 12 and that's it?

From the official documents I was shown which may or may not have been fake, there are 12 figures. This is a 2004 release only, and then that's it. Each wave is said to have only one shipment, which I find hard to believe. Of course, who's to say Hasbro won't take the lessons they've learned from the vintage style figures and translate them to their regular assortments? From the look of things, these are the figures we've always wanted, so let's hope Hasbro walks away from the experience with new knowledge of how to make a figure that we won't go to them and gripe about.

8. Hello!!!, i saw your article on Galactic Hunter about the Slave 1 Code 3, and wanted to know how much the Slave 1 will retail for? Also you mentioned the Han Solo in Carbonite will come with the Slave1, will there also be a Boba Fett figure as well?

It will be $295 and no mention was made of any character pieces. Han is included as he's a prop, part of the ship. It seems Code 3 has no interest in (or no license for) making small figures for its vehicles.

9. Ask the Swami for me if there is any chance we'll see a Biggs Darklighter "deleted scene" Academy Uniform w/tan cape figure come out later this year around the release of the DVD?

Hasbro seems to be digging awfully deep for figures in the non-movie year and I think this would make a pretty cool figure that ties in well with a possible "deleted scene" on the DVD. I know they haven't announced much for the DVD extras, but hopefully the Biggs/Camie/Fixer Toshi Station deleted scene will make the DVD.

For starters, I can't ask the Swami anything. I don't know who the Swami is beyond some nebulous cloud of data. For all I know, you're the Swami.

What we saw at Toy Fair was more limited than what you saw on the Internet the week before we went to New York. But back to your other statement, I disagree they're really digging deep for a non-movie year. In 2001, we saw some truly great figures that have never, ever seen production before. It seems that one or two waves down the road, all we're getting are vintage remakes or remakes from earlier in POTF2. I mean, we're getting a Cloud Car Pilot, General Madine, and a more sensible Lobot. Am I the only one somewhat baffled by these choices? It seems after J'Quille, we're in for a mostly human-filled year, which I find a bit of a shame.

In 2001, we got a new Jar Jar Binks that I actually liked alongside Tessek, the first ever black R2 unit, the first ever Fan's Choice figures, and so much more. In 2004? No announcement of Fan's Choice, no new droids beyond what's out and remakes of R2-D2 and C-3PO, and unless I'm forgetting some, I can count all the basic aliens on one hand. However, Hasbro really made a run on Rebels, making characters that I would never have expected to be released in such a short frame, which I have to give them kudos for. I mean, this year we're getting General Madine, Captain Antilles, General Rieekan, Dutch, Red Leader's X-Wing, General Dodonna... this is pretty amazing stuff. I question how sales will go, but for fans of the Rebellion, it's never been better.

To finish up, very little has been said about the DVD this September, other than a few things leaked from an alleged French press release that says the release will feature deleted scenes. If it doesn't make it to the DVD, a full version of the sequence exists on the most fantastic Star Wars resource ever produced, the double-CD set from LucasArts entitled Behind the Magic. If you're a trivia fan, and like me are one of the people that think you've seen everything there is to know about the trilogy, this set will surprise you. It came out in 1998, so it's easy to find super-cheap in some software stores' clearance bins. Unfortunately, it's Windows only, but you can get a cheap enough machine from that era to run it. And yes, it's worth it to see the alternate Cantina sequence, the Biggs scene, and more.

10. In your opinion,what are the main scenes that need to be fixed for the release of the Star Wars dvds?I think "Han shoots first" against Greedo should be re-added,as well as change Palpatine's hologram in ''Empire'' to Ian McDiarmid.Plus,the lightsabers used by Ben and Vader in their ''A New Hope'' duel should be colored in.These things get on my nerves.

The plan as I hear it is to release the films as they were released to theaters in 1997. Which, unfortunately, means that horrible, unfinished CG C-3PO model in the arrival to Mos Eisley will still be there. (You can even see it on the trading cards. There's no excuse for this.) There are some changes that need to be made in the films, but it's George's baby, and he can decide what to fix and when. Frankly, if they just released a version that's as close as possible to the 1977, 1980, and 1983 release as well as the 1997 releases, I think fans wouldn't be asking for him to fix anything. I'm more or less OK with the films as they were originally just because that's how they were, and that's what I grew up with.

While I don't like some of the Special Edition additions (Wama cave), there's very little that I would fix. Actually, aside from the SE changes, I can't really think of much that I as an armchair film editor would want to tweak. Funky lightsabers were part of how they did things in 1976, and I'm OK with this.


Since I was roughly 12 years old, I heard about the wonders of Toy Fair. Goodie bags. Things you've never seen before. And I gotta say, this year was a bit of a letdown now that I finally went. Hasbro's booth didn't show too much new in the way of most collector-friendly brands, and the people there weren't familiar with Zoids, one of Hasbro's male action toy brands since at least 2001. I was curious why they weren't there, and they didn't know what they were. But I digress.

It would have been really great to have seen more revealed, but it seems like Hasbro is more determined to release things to us via the Internet or through convention appearances than Toy Fair, which I think is probably the best way to go. After all, you might as well be completely prepared to deal with fans instead of dealing with a few fans and a bunch of buyers, right? I'm glad to have seen the booth and Hasbro was great about letting me poke around their room a little to see what else was coming for G.I. Joe and elsewhere, and my shots and info from that are being processed for 16bit.com. So I'm happy to have seen their wares, surely.

In addition to Hasbro, Gentle Giant, Master Replicas, and LEGO were all great people with good booths and a friendly staff. Some of the non-Star Wars companies turned out to be really great as well, and Toy Biz has managed, with a smile and a handshake, to keep me on board as a loyal customer for years to come. They answered most of my questions before I could think of them, and had no problem with me asking a few more to clear things up. Ditto with LEGO, the showroom people were absolutely great. Gentle Giant were great people, DC Direct were great people, Master Replicas were really great people... it's nice to see that so many people are OK with dealing with the fan media these days. Shocker Toys' Shockinis were pretty slick as well as far as brick figures go, and it was neat to see a lot of other, lesser toy concepts while walking around the Javits Center.

I also found Mattel, and if you didn't hear, it seems the future is 100% not decided for Masters of the Universe. I was told that the line has not been officially cancelled, but that no new product is going to ship to retail beyond Fall. While this may change, you can guess what it means until something new is announced.

This week's reviews: Clone Wars Durge (Animated), Star Wars Republic #61, and probably one more to be determined. It's looking like the spectacular sample of Gentle Giant Studios' Bust Ups Clone Trooper.

Anyway, get those questions in for next week. Just email me with your inquiry, and we'll see what we can do.

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