Q&A For January 10, 2005
1. Since the release of DK's Star Wars visual dictionary, I have really
enjoyed that series of books (episode 1,2, and looking forward to the
release of the episode 3 guide of course!). My question is since DK has the
rights to SW til 2008, what do you think the chances are that they will do a
expanded universe visual dictionary? They could do a comic type version
(like their super hero guides), but i'm thinking more of a cg version (like
they have used with the SW card games!). Characters from the comics (Lumiya,
Baron Fel, Mara Jade, etc.), from video games (Dark Forces, Battlefront,
Republic Commando, etc.), and the Clone Wars (Durge, Asajj Ventress, etc.).
Of course lets not forget about the vehicles too! I know i am jumping all
over the timeline with this, but maybe they could do a few volumes of these
kind of books that cover the SW timeline! I don't know, but this sounds like
a pretty cool idea. What do you think?
Cool as it would be, I'm not sure how we're going to be looking at the Expanded Universe going forward. For years, the EU made up a huge part of Star Wars, and it still does-- even more so. Which is why I think we might be seeing less of it in other realms. We now have a new TV show with Clone Wars, six movies by the end of the year, and a heck of a lot more stuff for the "official" storyline. (Before anyone jumps down my throat by inferring that comics and games and books aren't, well, as Lucas said he's free to contradict them, you know the drill.)
I think it'd be great to see a "Complete Guide to Spectra", or Marvel, Dark Horse, or other eras of Star Wars expanded stories. There's a lot of stories and continuities out there, some of which don't exactly tie in to one another. I mean, when's the last time you heard about Crimson Jack or the Mindharp of Sharu?
I'm not sure how these books sell for DK, so I have no idea if we can expect them-- I bought my Episode I DK books on the cheap at the Waldenbooks clearance rack. It'd be neat, I'd buy it, but I'm not optimistic.
Will the new Entertainment Earth exclusive Super Articulated Clone Troopers be carded or "nicely" packaged? Will they be loose in white mailer boxes similar to other troop builders? Or will it be like the Christmas Jawas that were nicely carded, and in white mailer boxes?
These will come in a box not unlike the Cinema Scenes, except last I heard it'll be the black and silver style that most of us have come to love. I do not believe they will come in mailer boxes from what I've heard, just the black boxes with the windows and Clone Wars background. I'm a little surprised they went through the trouble, because the boxes are actually nice enough to keep instead of the throwaway white things with text we were given in 2002.
3. Do you know if Waves 1 and 2 of the RotS figures will be released simultaneously or will they be spread out a bit? And, how many total Figures/Waves do you think will be in the total run?
While Hasbro has not (and usually does not) reveal a complete year's plans up front, I can provide you with some educated guesses. Hasbro has always upped the ante with new figures in a movie year, and as such, I'd say you should probably plan for 60, and I'd say a very large chunk of those would probably be out up front. Episode I had 18, Attack of the Clones, depending on where you shopped, had roughly 25 in some of the better stores with more following every couple of weeks.
The number of waves is a total unknown, because Hasbro mixes things up a lot and you might have a hard time telling what exactly constitutes a wave with a high quantity of remix assortments up front that were made to give the stores a better variety. However, there will be two collections (or that's what we've seen so far.)
The total run is tricky-- who knows how long the line will last? Saga, the AOTC line, lasted from April 2002 until about the middle of 2004, which is a very long time by today's standards. Episode I lasted about a year. If Hasbro doesn't include Original Trilogy product in this packaging, and decides OT product will not appear in the ROTS packaging, I'd say we can expect the "next" line to start in 2006. I'd be surprised if the line for the next movie was smaller than 70 figures, though-- and that probably includes some spillover for next year.
4. What are the main differences between the Imperial Scanning Officer figure that came with the figure case from a few years ago and the carded one in the OTC collection?
Although I have found the rest of the OTC figures at retail, I have seen no sign of the Imperical Scanning Officer. So I looked at the case assortments list and saw that he shipped only one per case in only one of the assortments. Why make this figure so tough to find? It's making me a little crazy especially as soneone who digs all the Imperial officer figures!
Paint, and one fewer accessory. The POTF2 version had a blaster, and the new one doesn't. But the new one has a different hair color (blonde) and a lot of different paint changes to bring out the detail, which is good because the initial sculpt kinda sucked when it first came out.
As far as the figures go, I'm still seeing OTC figures ship and believe it or not, I saw a bundle of these this week. If you have grocery stores near you that sell toys, try those-- or Kay-Bee, or other smaller stores. You'd be surprised, I'm still seeing Vintage OTC Stormtroopers show up and I have to say I wasn't expecthing those after the new year.
5. What do you will be the future of the VOTC molds? Do you think Hasbro will utilize them in various repacks, over and over again like they've done with that one version of Han? Since many of the VOTC figures seem to be the best incarnation yet of a character, seems they should milk them for all they're worth. Especially that stormtrooper. But does all the extra articulation make them more expensive to produce, and therefore make Hasbro settle for an older, cheaper mold to revisit?
After the endless reuse of the 300th Boba Fett, I think we'll see these again-- the molds cost a lot and people like them, it'd be a waste to let them go to waste. I'd say stay tuned, even though we don't know for sure (and Hasbro said this is probably it for these guys), I don't buy it.
6. In your opinion do you think Hasbro went the lazy route with the CW animated figs? I'm happy to see ARCs and Grevious but why not a Obi-wan in Clone armor? It seems to me that was one of the more popular images to come out of the cartoon...heck even Padme would have been nice. I find it disturbing that they let that one go.
Hasbro has a finite number of slots in a case and a short time to get these out-- the new episodes announcement from the time we saw the figures was, what, six months? Even if Hasbro had a slight tip-off that they should do more figures, odds are they didn't get a heck of a lot of time to plan it. As such, well, this sort of thing happens. This line is a side line and as such, probably won't get much of the deluxe treatment we're used to from the movies. I'd be surprised to see any more of these, but this isn't to say I don't see where you're coming from-- this was the one figure I wanted to see in this line, and we're not seeing it. Heck, even Gentle Giant saw the inerest in it and cranked out a giant statue of it, so they obviously realize a big seller when they see it, but unfortunately Hasbro has yet to make one-- they might, though, I mean, they have to save SOME items for hypothetical future assortments, right?
7. I am a big fan of the vinyl line of Star Wars figures, the ones first
begun by Applause and, as of Attack of the Clones, continued with
Hasbro. Are there any plans for a vinyl line for Revenge of the Sith?
Also, are there any plans for a lithograph set similar to those
released for the Original Trilogy with Ralph McQuarrie’s art and then
with Doug Chiang for The Phantom Menace? I know they did not release
one for Attack of the Clones, which was very disappointing. It may be
too early in the cycle to tell.
Unknown-- the whole rotocast (hollow plastic/vinyl figure) craze is really big lately, Hasbro made a bunch of them for The Incredibles and you've no doubt seen many for other properties like The Hulk, The Batman, and Spider-Man. I'd be very surprised to see 2005 end without something in this capacity, but stranger things have happened. Stay tuned!
While we have received quite a few questions about those lithograph portfolios, no, we know of no plans to make new ones. At this time I'm guessing collectors don't really want these as a demographic with so many other high-end ways to spend their money, so I wouldn't hold my breath either. It's a bit of a shame, as they were excellent products.
8. I saw you wish list and I think it was great.. but on the vehicle side I think our toy universe will always be lacking if we don't get an AT-TE & SITH INFILTRATOR.. How can we push for these as well? [vehicle poll!!!]
Well, while it was done by our good friend Adam May, we all have different opinions and desires for what would be the "must have" toys for Star Wars. Me, I agree with you-- those would be the two vehicles from the prequels I'd be the most interested in owning. The best way to push for these? Let Hasbro know that these are the items you are the most interested in seeing at the conventions, or write them a nice, friendly letter telling them the one or two things you really want. Sending a list of a dozen items doesn't quite pack the same punch as saying "please make this one thing," and a lot of people doing it will undoubtedly get their attention.
Of course, we're in a very unfriendly place for non-ROTS vehicles this year, but hey, they're working hard on 2006 and 2007 as we speak-- so speak up, fans!
9. I was wondering what the best selling toys/action figures on the market today are. Is there anyplace I can look to see sales charts similar to movie weekends? How did Star Wars fare against, say, Transformers, Muppets, and YuGioh in '04?
It's my understanding that this information is not tracked-- and if it is, we don't see it. Toy companies rarely divulge sales numbers unless it's very general, like over the course of a quarter or over a year. Tomart's Action Figure Digest used to post the top-selling lines and some industry rags do over the years, but currently, I am not sure where to find out the top-selling action figures/male action toys.
10. For the longest many toy companies have stated that their product is for kids first. How do you feel about that? I personally feel that it is collectors who keep this line going in between movies. Why are we ignored in favor of fleeting fans? When I go to my Wal-mart or whatever it's folks my age dropping the big bucks and wasting gas looking for this stuff. IF I do see a kid in the aisle he's going for Power Rangers or Yugi-Oh. Why doesn't Hasbro put more focus on collector interests (less rehashes of the main characters, more new figs)?
Like many of you, I started collecting Star Wars before I was old enough to drive. And at that time, all that was available were hundreds of wonderful vintage items that were sold primarily as toys to kids, and I've always said (and will continue to say) that I believe that's the way it should go. While I do appreciate the weird characters made to appeal to kids and collectors, fact is kids are buying the weird Cantina guys too-- it isn't just us.
Going forward, odds are we're going to see the line change to be more collector-friendly, which is a mixed blessing. Odds are Hasbro would be best served by putting out repackaged core characters and "best of" product from previous years alongside new vehicles and new figures, thus keeping the line going forward to new customers with less effort. While some of you will no doubt hate the idea, I have no problem with the line becoming 50% repeats and 50% new product-- I'd rather see the same figure shipped a second (or eighth) time than have yet another new sculpt Han in my collection.
For the most part, I'd say the first half of 2004 was aimed at Collector Interests (I mean, none of those figures were especially kid friendly save for Hoth Luke) and going forward, we'll probably see a lot more like this. While we do spend a lot of money on toys, Hasbro can make more money selling 1 toy to a million kids than by selling 150 toys to a few thousand collectors, many of which will hold out for clearance or decide that it wasn't as good as it could have been and wait for some other item.
Kids push the market-- when Hasbro decides kids don't want this line any more, then it'll be all about us. We support the line, but in big event years, not like kids and parents.
It's shaping up to be an interesting year, isn't it? It looks like the designs from the final movie will appeal to some Trilogy collectors, and they really are using the designs to bridge the gap between films. All I can say is, wow. But hopefully there will be enough new stuff to make us shell out the big bucks.
Here's an annoying question for you-- have you ever been stupid enough to buy a toy and accidentally throw out some parts? I bought a G.I. Joe Operation Crimson Sabotage and apparently threw out the rifles-- never even saw them, and I just found out they were included. As these are not easy to find in Phoenix, I'm needing to find a way to get them, and I may have found one-- my question to you is this: does anyone know where one can buy multiples of the mail-away Agent Faces figure? It has the same gun, I can just steal them from him. Him or the Destro figure from Spy Troops.
Not too much on the radar this week, or month, as it doesn't look like Hasbro has a lot planned before the rollout of the Sneak Preview toys in February. As such, well, I guess there won't be as many required toy runs for this particular segment of toy collecting.
Just email me with your question and I'll put it in queue. (If you do not put "Q&A" in the subject line I cannot guarantee it will get through due to the high volume of spam these accounts get.)