Q&A For March 14, 2005


1. Help us out - is the Revenge of the Sith basic Vader figure (#11) the same sculpt as the VOTC Vader? Not that the new cards aren't pretty, but a man's got to pinch pennies where he can.

There are some similarities, but no, these are not the same figure-- just take a gander at the arms and legs, this version doesn't have the same articulation. We're all for pinching pennies, but we'd advise not to pinch pennies when it comes to everybody's favorite Sith lord.

2. In the clone wars animated series General Grievous,well from the looks of it, looks enormous in size well when it comes to height and structure. Though what it looks like as in the movie based action figures, Grievous isn't so big after all, don't get me wrong he's still scary but not clone wars animated series scary. Anyways what's the deal with that?

It's my understanding that animated Grievous is both stylized (i.e., exaggerated) and was also designed before the movie version was finalized. As such, I'd say that could pretty much account for any differences between the two.

3. Do you think there is a chance that Hasbro will ever make any more "making of Star Wars" figures like the Stormtrooper they made a while back? Since the Stormtrooper was a fans choice figure it seems like most fans probably wouldn't mind a few more behind the scenes characters. I would like to see a concept Luke or a cut scene Biggs, but most of all an Episode IV director George Lucas! I couldn't see these being a harder sell than the new Lobot figure. It would nice to have a realistic George Lucas figure before the line comes to an end.
--Harmony and Jim

That Stormtrooper was a surprise winner in the Fan's Choice polls Hasbro apparently did away with for now. As such, it's possible-- the figure was a huge hit compared to the rest of the wave, and it was packed heavier too.

Cut scene figures are a sure thing for this line-- toys made before the movie was finished tend to fit the bill here, but they also made the Floppy Hat Luke with Hunting Rifle, which means they're going back to the well to mine for new ideas, too. I think Biggs is something we'll see post-films if the line keeps going, but some things-- like George-- will not happen. Or at least, they're not planned to. George doesn't want a figure made of himself, Jorg Sacul was made using some goading and a loophole (it really isn't him) and because it was a convention item for hardcore fans-- he'd just as soon not have a little figure of himself as himself in the line, which I understand because it does come off as a little narcissistic. Peter Jackson was done up as a Hobbit (if you've seen it, we still can't find one) so as to not be a totally odd concept, so I'd not hold your breath here.

4. Any idea how many of the character and vehicle designs Hasbro sees before the release of new movie? Does Lucasfilm feed Hasbro only a few things based on what they think should sell or with all sorts of background characters and vehicles? For instance, was someone like Coleman Trebor produced later in the Saga line, because Hasbro designers didn't see him until they saw the movie?

Likewise, do Hasbro designers know much about the plotline and who are the important charcters are and what they do? It seems Lucasfilm tends to hype certain characters as being major players in the new film and then they only have bit parts.

It's my understanding that they get good access for these movies. A lot of customers-- not licensees, but customers-- are often treated to 20-30 minutes of footage before the movie comes out as a sales tool to get them to order more product. I believe I've heard Hasbro gets to see rough cuts, lots of concept materials, set visits, and all sorts of goodies that you'd go bonkers over. The downside, they've said, is that they're spoiled prior to going to see the movie.

Since a lot of items are based on concept designs from AOTC, it seems obvious to me that they're getting a lot of concept art-- they'd have to, as the ramp-up time to make these is a year or more. Hasbro picks a lot of figures because they look neat too, so knowing who does what and why isn't always the first reason to make a figure.

And what of Coleman Trebor? As a CG character it was assumed he wasn't ready for Hasbro to see for the early stages of the line, and as such he wasn't ready for a figure until the later in the toy line. While it isn't always the case, it seems that CG characters are typically not as heavy early on because the designs aren't always done-- Episode I was an exception, and they had to go back to the drawing board on a few of those figures.

5. I was wondering if this figure from the transitional wave ('05 #09) came in both a standing and hand standing version like its OTC predecessor. Reason I ask is that images of this first appeared on-line (via Entertainment Earth) in the hand-standing position, but my friends and I only found it in the standing (upright) version. A quick check on eBay shows only the standing (upright) version, so I do not believe the hand standing 2005 version actually exists. Can you verify?

I've only seen the '05 post-OTC Luke a few times, and none of them have been in a headstand. If you readers have one, please do let us know!

6. Greetings Adam, I'm writing to you with probably a"stupid"question... but I'll ask anyway because well, I'd like to know if you have the answer! Do you have ANY idea if Hasbro is doing a 12" Obiwan Kenobi for Revenge of the Sith? I just think its a bit weird that one wasn't put in the initial 1st wave.... anyway, thank you for your time.
--Mikeywan Kenobi

The 12" line has gotten the short end of the stick since Episode II, and it does not appear there will be a Kenobi in the first wave. Which is funny, as he was the first custom ROTS figure I saw, like mere days after the photos got out of how Ewan was going to look in this one. It's not like this is the first time they delayed a major player to a later wave-- assuming there will be one, that is.

7. I have heard in the past about a Gargan figure from RoJ. Also more cantina denizens. Any other rumblings in the force?

Tons of rumblings, but nothing useful. Some neat things are coming out this year from other SW flicks, I'm told, but nothing has been confirmed in the way of either Gargan or Cantina creatures. I'd expect something on both fronts eventually, just not this year.

8. I've been so psyched that Q&A's been going bi-weekly lately. Any chances of 3X (or more) a week as EPIII approaches and/or after Apr. 2/ May 19? I mostly collect just the 3 3/4 figs/vehicles/playsets but I like to hear the latest on the other lines & products to know what's happening out there. You make 1 thing on Mondays to look forward to + any extras during the week are always a treat.

Anyway, I do have a questions:

1. Unfortunately, I can't get to Celebration III this year. What do you think will happen with next year's Celebration with no movie coming out? (smaller, less attendance?) and, although many sites have a lot of great coverage, for someone who hasn't been, just how "must go" is it? Would my wife, who mostly likes SW for the Anakin/Padme love story + to put up with me, enjoy herself for 2/3 days?

2. Isn't it getting ridiculous that we have no official word on what we'll see on Apr. 2 and whether any stores will do a midnight madness? I'm not sure but I think with the last two films we had heard about a month before: a general figure count, which stores were doing it and what special giveaways they had (I especially liked getting the Sansweet SWAF Archive book at TRU, which I didn't have). Are stores really just treating SW like 'any other' line after being burned with so many pegwarmers so often by hasbro?

Thanks for the kind words. Q&A is a self-sustaining thing... if the questions come in, it increases its readership and can be done as often as I can get 10 answers together. Some weeks it happens, others, not. As such, it's a good thing to send in a question if you have one-- preferably one that doesn't require hours of research on my part to compile a big list for you. (You know who you are.)

I assume you are referring to the hypothetical (I think) Celebration IV in your first question-- there's no guarantee there will be one, and if there is, it could be a ramp-up for the TV show. The Celebrations have been a bit of a misnomer-- they don't celebrate the saga, they promote the new movie. Otherwise it'd be all about Hoth and Cloud City and the Death Stars. So if they have something new to promote, a Celebration isn't unthinkable, and as long as there are fan sites, there wil be coverage.

Would your life like it? Well, mine doesn't want to go, if that tells you anything. (To be honest, I find these shows rather dull-- I'm not a big fan of things like table top gaming or fan films, and my main interests in the hobby are in the dealer room.)

The lack of midnight madness probably has more to do with the lack of there needing to be one. I just saw a Mon Mothma at a Wal-Mart on Saturday as well as Force Battlers and repackaged ROTS-style Lightsabers and Darth Vader Voice Changers. At this point you may as well just start hunting now. Despite the street date on the boxes, many stores are giving Hasbro/LFL the finger and just selling them-- which if you ask me is a good thing to do. They have empty pegs, so they should sell something on them. Street dates are a bad idea for all media, and while I have heard some claim it was to give the mom & pop shops an advantage, I know for a fact Best Buy accidentally puts out DVDs early, that stores ignored the toy dates for ROTS this year, and I've even heard Blockbuster Video doing it in some cases. So can we all drop the charade that some horrible fine will happen because someone sold merchandise they had in the store? This is just ridiculous. It's not like you can tell that these figures are embargoed once they leave their shipping cases.

9. So, Adam, how come you don't post on the forums? You too good for us? Just kidding. Been a while since I sent you a question, probably since you where at Yackface, and couldn't think of anything else.

I haunt a lot of forums, but typically am really kinda busy-- if I get an hour to sit down at home, I'm either writing this or toy reviews for this site or 16bit.com, which is a wee bit time consuming. I find forums a great way to find out things I didn't know-- which is why I watch them for things like TransFormers, Playmobil, and G.I. Joe. On the whole, everything for Star Wars bubbles to the surface via official news sites or fan sites, and I find that on the whole I have absolutely nothing of value to add to most discussions anyway. (I could write "FIRST" after every thread but I think that'd get old. Funny, but old.)

I think forums are a great resource, but for whatever reason, Star Wars evolved into an abundance of Web sites that, through the power of Google, can answer most of my questions. Still, I think there's nothing better for transmitting news faster than an online forum, so that's why I pop in when I'm keeping my ear to the rail for breaking news-- some insiders post to our forums (or Rebelscum's, or Ring of Collectors', etc.) instead of emailing us. And that's awesome-- especially because it means that person didn't start up yet another Star Wars toy news site. (Those things are a lot of work to check you know.)

10. Here's my question; I've found several "leaked" merchandise in my area (collection 2 ROTS at Wal-Mart and Galactic Hero ROTS at Target) if these things sneak out early can the store re-order supply for April 2 or will there be a mad rush by people believing these to be rare?

Second question, the community seems very unsure of what to expect from April 2. I can't seem to remember this being the case for either Phantom or Clones. Any ideas as to why this is the case?

I'd say that some stores are going through their "April 2" stash now, but that's OK-- Toys "R" Us is a goodie two shoes and you can get stuff there if need be. Stores are always able to reorder supply, it's just a real question on when they'll get it-- this may be the smartest thing that a store has ever done, really. If stores sold out of ROTS stuff due to fan interest before any of it hits stores (if you catch my meaning), that might create a fervor which will drive fan interest through the roof for a few months, like Episode I and Maul madness all over again. The case assortments aren't really friendly to collectors that aren't buying sets, either, so hopefully Hasbro has some stealth assortments with different mixes down the road too.

I believe we did know that there would be midnight events for the first flick, the second, I'm not so sure. At this point, though, I'd say forget about Midnight Madness events and go hunting now instead.


Well, I finally scouted out a Mon Mothma early from the new line. Whoopee. Couldn't I at least get a C-3PO, a Clone, or a Vader? Bah. That's what I get for Hasbro diversifying their earlier waves and not focusing on core characters.

One of the most frequently asked questions this week was "so what's gonna happen if the line ends?" Well, obviously, I'll still be here. I started getting into Star Wars as a dead line and I find it to be the most satisfying-- things like minor variants, shipping schedules, and "what's coming out next" go away in favor of me getting to memorize everything I can about the line, which, to me, is what matters. Q&A is fun and I hope to do it as long as you'll have me (or my peers), but in a supervillain sort of way, I look forward to dealing with it as something in the past tense. I'm looking forward to setting up a final configuration for a display room. And more importantly, I'm looking forward to being able to sit down and enjoy everything I've bought since the onslaught around POTJ. Still, I hope it keeps going, even in small numbers, so we can get loads of new aliens before the inevitable death of the line.

For next week, 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.)

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