Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
April 10, 2006
1. Now that you're in the biz, what is the deal with the Saga figures and
It really seems that Target (and other stores) cannot keep these items in
stock. Many stores have empty pegs and when they do get in a case its
usually completely gone within days.
I've seen a couple of Targets temporarily shift their pegs to hold more
Unleashed, Galactic Heroes, etc. in the mean time. I'm assuming this is
temporary as a lot of these pegs have the underlying code and price covered
by white paper.
I know EE has delayed shipment on some cases as well, so maybe you can
provide some perspective.
I guess its good to see Star Wars is still popular, but it reminds me of the
OTC and Clone Wars Season III figures that weren't always easy to come by.
It's no secret that the demand for 2006 Star Wars product isn't what Hasbro and retailers expected. Some stores are ordering their normal numbers, and others are ordering lower quantities based on what they perceived demand to be. Who knew fans would want to keep collecting after the movies ended? (Aaaaand everybody out there raised their hands.) As such, allocations happen.
Truth be told, were I a buyer at a major company, I'd have a hard time predicting that the current line would do as well as it's doing. And part of the reason it's doing well might be because they're hard to get-- you never know. If you take a step back, you can look at the 30 figures released so far and consider this-- is this a good line on paper? I see about 12 new molds and some newly modified figures, like Foul Moudama-- who was in a cartoon and not in the movies. The retail price shot up. It's a giant box of rerunrs... and fans are buying them all. (In most markets.) There's no Luke yet, there's no Stormtroopers, there's a tiny selection of aliens... it's just a weird line. I think it's fantastic as a "collection" moreso than the best most funnest toy line ever, but Power of the Jedi was a great collection, too. (Collect all of this line, and you've got a great set of figures.)
So let's look at the stores. Because LA sucks (Phoenix was sooooo much better), I frequent about 3-4 Toys "R" Us stores, 3-4 Targets, 2 Kmarts, and 3 Wal-Marts. (Plus Kay-Bees here and there.) On the whole, most of the stores have had a very limited selection until just recently. One Wal-Mart I hit daily (once in a while) just to see how it acts, and a store with 3-4 full pegs of figures could be emptied within 1-2 days due to people actually buying. But if you can get to enough stores, you'll see that one area's pegwarmers are different than anothers. Remember people complaining Bib Fortuna and Barada were piling up? Well, here in LA, I've only seen one Bib Fortuna in quite some time, and it's the very first Saga figure I saw in stores. (Someone stole the holo at a Wal-Mart and nobody has ever bought it. Poor lonely figure.) So demand is through the roof.
Other lines aren't as in-demand, though, and as such, Transformers, Customs, and some other items aren't flying off the shelves. They may be doing well as a standard toy line, but any collector line is going to get more attention because that's for us. Customs aren't, and kids don't seem too high on them either... although figures seem to be making everybody happy.
As a conspiracy theorist, I think Hasbro probably just doesn't want to flood the market after a movie. If there's less product, the line's going to be hot still, and we're all still crazy over it. Of course, this has happened before in pretty much every series of figures for a while, every year people starting rumors of some giant reset in which the stores are going to be making store displays for POTF2 or POTJ or whatever line is popular that week. It happens, and, of course, our rabid purchases are going to dictate more items being released next year. (The popularity of Scorch and Foul Moudama has me optimistic for more good Expanded Universe figures. "Good" being the key word.)
Finally-- one thing to keep in mind is that some figures, like Commander Cody, have been available for about two weeks. I get some complaints from people going how they NEVER see ANY new figures, EVER, and often it's "figure X came out last week and I haven't seen one in stores yet." Well, I've never seen a Cody in the wild, either, nor a Scorch. (Although I have seen many a Firespeeder pilot.) So keep in mind, that this is a hobby, and that one collector can engulf an ENTIRE case of figures these days without too much trouble. Yes, you'll have to do some hunting, some waiting, or some ordering online.
2. A question about the upcoming Heroes and Villains release: Will these get their own pegs, or be lumped in with the Saga figs on the same pegs? I agree with you in the last Q&A...this assortment is a snoozefest. I'd hate to see pegwarming H&V figs clogging the pegs, preventing stores from getting more Saga figures.
A related question: can we assume the pricepoint will be the same as the Saga? If so, that's at least a dollar per fig higher than the original 2005 ROTS release. Any thoughts on this?
The questions you ask will vary from store to store. For a store's internal tracking, they will likely realize that the SKU is different and likely set different pegs for them. Now, if you think they're going to be organized, no. People are going to open the cases and go "these all look alike" just like we saw with multiple collections in the past. The previous "Hall of Fame" assortment in 2003 (I think, the Saga figures with no numbers on them) was mixed in with other similarly packaged figures and was pretty uncommon. The price point is expected to be identical to that of other figures, but as it's a different number, stores may calculate prices differently. I can only speak for one store for certain and as such, I would expect these to be $6.99, but they also have holos (we hear) and new stands (possibly, not confirmed).
3. I just saw on your wonderful website the preview of the Titanium Episode III
Millennium Falcon (?!?!?!) is it refering to the tiny one that was snuck
into ROTS as an easter egg? if so did it really have the paint scheme they
are putting onto the titanium version? and if so i guess this gives hope to
all of us who would luv to see some really unusual and EU vehicles show up
in titanum! (or maybe not since its just a repaint) whats your thoughts?
This vehicle is indeed based on the design used from Revenge of the Sith as an easter egg-- so it's not really Expanded Universe. A big part of the Titanium Series are its treasure hunt/Titanium Limited/whatever releases which are basically special repaints. This one, the white TIE Fighter, the silver Slave I, the purple Mace Windu starfighter, and the Clone Wars Gunship are all part of this program of special repaints and as you can see, it's mostly EU. As far as EU vehicles go, I think we're going to see a ton in Titanium, a fair amount in the regular line (so says the rumor mill and what's been confirmed), and I'm crossing my fingers for a ROTS deco Millennium Falcon for the action figure line. I embrace ship repaints. I'd much rather have a new deco blue marked Falcon than another release of the same ship with new electronics.
4. Right before the Clone Attack on Coruscant battle pack came out, I remember seeing pictures posted somewhere showing a varient pack with different troopers in the gun ship; Shocktrooper, 501st trooper, grey trooper, a regular Commander Bacara & one more. Is this ever going to be released, or was this just a mock-up before the final one came out? I'd love to see a battle pack of camo-painted, super articulated Barc troopers! If there are any plans for even a carded version of him, that would be great! The little unleashed ones are cool, but we need a 3 & 3/4 version.
I believe the phrase is "product and colors may vary." That was a prototype/mockup/concept, and as such, it changed-- which kinda sucks. I could see this set repainted time and again and rereleased until the cows come home, but as of now, there are no known 100% sure plans of that other deco being produced. And in a way, I'm OK with that-- I prefer my Clones have foot peg holes, which 4 of the 5 figures in that pack do not.
5. I was just wondering if you have heard through your various sources if the rumored Yavin aka Death Star wave is in fact coming/confirmed? The reason I ask is because I heard that a few of the rumored re-pack figures(Endor Rebel Soldier, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader) that were supposed to be part of the Endor wave were cancelled, so I was curious if this cancellation was going to happen to other upcoming waves/figures from other upcoming waves. I know that cancelling re-pack figures from one wave probably has little to do with the release of new figures in another wave, but it would be nice to know if the Yavin aka Death Star wave is actually planned for release and not just a rumor like the cancelled re-pack figures from the Endor wave turned out to be. I know that everything is a rumor until Hasbro confirms it publically, but I was just wondering if you could unofficially confirm it based on what you've heard through your sources.
In a way, it doesn't matter. Right now, I hear lots of rumors, and these are always up in the air. Snow bunny Padme may be confirmed, she may be part of a gift set, she may be a Fan's Choice figure, a fan club exclusive, a Target exclusive, and I don't know which is true-- I just hear lots of crazy things and unlike 8 years ago, lately it's more sensible to sit back and see what comes up than go "well, here's what I heard" because so much of it does in fact change before release.
Right now, there's no confirmation that this was happening in the first place. Anything you hear that doesn't come from Hasbro or a similarly trusted source could be a fabrication... or it might not. It's hard to tell. As to these, right now, I file it under "rumor" and when I see something a little more solid, I'll pass it along-- those other "Endor wave" figures weren't confirmed and as such, could be coming later, could be concepts abandoned months ago, or could be a good idea Hasbro will revisit in 2007. Who knows? Hasbro's been deathly silent beyond the Endor wave, and since that's an August (or July) item, odds are they're going to try to keep everything under wraps until San Diego Comic Con in July. (They did it with the final 12 last year.) So right now, well, you know what I know for sure.
At this point, I currently expect 50-60 figures total, and we know 43 right now.
6. One of the Wal-marts in my area final gave a decent mark down for the Early Bird set. I bought it on March 31, and was not able to get to the post office in time for that day. I did go a head and mail it off the next day, but wondered if you heard what Hasbro's plans are for honoring these late.
In the past, fans have found that Hasbro and other companies may honor it for a few weeks after the expiration. My advice to you: send it in and see what happens. Otherwise, how will you know? The worst that you end up with is an extra display stand and some stickers which you can probably get a few bucks for.
7. I have a question on the titanium series 6" ultra ships. I noticed that some of the ships come with a small figure (Slave I and Snow speeder). Are these figures metal or plastic? Are the ships 100% metal or are there some parts of the ship that are plastic? Do you think they will make a Jedi Starfighter (Episode III style) in this line?
Also, on the Boba Fett titanium figure, is this the first Boba Fett with removable helmet, metal or plastic, we have gotten from Hasbro? I don't seem to recall ever seeing a Boba Fett with removable helmet.
As far as the small figures go, these are "dedicated" (read: NOT REMOVABLE) and are so far made of plastic. The ships are also, in some places, plastic but are mostly metal. Some pieces (like clear windows) and breakable pieces (guns) are plastic.
A Jedi Starfighter is on a list for future releases on Hasbro's own Titanium site. Which one? Nobody knows.
Finally, yes, this is indeed the first-ever Boba Fett with removable helmet action figure. I know you can also see Mr. Fett sans helmet in the comic The Empire Strikes Back: Infinities which you can buy at Amazon or Borders or Entertainment Earth or whatever comic shop you frequent if their trade paperback selection is any good. Beyond that? I am not presently aware of any representations of Boba in the armor without a helmet.
8. Lately there has been lots of buzz around the fan's choice figures over
in Toy Fair magazine. I was wondering, who are the people that voted
this list of 100 into existence? It is the readers of Toy Fair that
happen to be Star Wars fans, or what? I ask because 1) I didn't hear
about this until the top 25 were being announced, and 2) fan's choice is
a cool concept, but what "fans" pick isn't necessarily something that
will sell or that "everybody" wants.
Truth is, the fans don't know what we want any more than Hasbro does. To some point, it's all a crapshoot. Right now, fans are chomping at the bit for more prequel-based figures, and aren't getting them. Also, fan's choice figures in the past have a spotty record.
The poll to pick the 25 was put online and fans would write in any character they want. Unless there's some hanky panky going on where Hasbro said "put these on your list," these 25 were picked by fans on the Internet. Which could mean votes were written in many times.
Fans certainly don't want what's best for the line. If I was king and ruling tyrant at Hasbro, you'd be getting a line that's probably about 25% EU just to see how it works. (Lady Lumiya here, Carnor Jax there, a new Mara Jade, and red stormtroopers.) That might be a terrible idea. Then again, a lot of fans want KOTOR-- depending on the quantities made, it may turn out to be a very smart release. It's hard to say. Hasbro's played it safe in 2006 so far with making the less desirable figures a lot more limited, like General Rieekan, and making sure Darth Vader and the Utapau clones are made in larger-- but in some cases, not large enough-- quantities.
9. I read number 4 from Vallis found in the most recent 4/3 Q&A and I just wanted to say:
FWIW, the ToyFare Fan's Choice Voting website form accepting a “submit" in no way indicates that the vote is duplicated in whatever variation of a database that is being used to accumulate results. It only indicates that the web server accepted a “submit". For all we know each one over-wrote the previous one. Or, it could check credentials and see that you already voted and not store the new result at all.
Let it not escape our notice that a user interface does not always accurately and fully reflect the behavior of the back end process.
In short: It would be foolish to presume that just because the UI allows you to hit the button more than once, that the vote is actually counted more than once. At the same time it would be a humongous dropping of the ball if it does not account for multiple votes on the back end.
But that raises a different question: If you voted more than once and there is no bug, which vote counts? First one, last one, some other one? If you want to make sure to vote for your favorite, vote once.
Good points, Roger, although who knows how it'll all work out? Maybe they'll just cancel all your votes. Maybe they'll just look at the voting log and go "we got 2000 votes for Kir Kanos/Jedi Luke/whatever within an hour, something is up here." I guess we'll know for sure in just a few weeks. Or months. Whenever it gets announced.
10. Is there a list anywhere of every possible character who appeared in the Star Wars movies? In other words, a checklist of sorts, that if Hasbro followed it from top to bottom, there would be no more possible figures to do without Expanded Universe (although I would have to buy X-Wing Pilot Lak Sivrak, mentioned in the Cantina book)?
I've seen some fan-made lists, but all of them are missing a lot of things, and it's widely debatable if it's legit or not. Luke Lak Sivrak the pilot-- it's EU. Would fans want it? That's a valid question, but back to the issue of the list. There's so many extras, background characters, and droids that have never been named that such a list is just not possible. Just think of every crowd shot, from the end of the Return of the Jedi: Special Edition to the Pod Race arena in The Phantom Menace. That's a bunch right there, and you really haven't got to all the Rebel briefings, alien scenes, and everything else. Heck, even just the Ewoks are a giant can of nameless worms right there.
Plus, there's a lot of room for debate. For example, in Star Wars there's the other "Wedge" in the briefing room. In Episode I, there's the Jedi that looks like he has to be Sam Jackson's body double. Are these new characters? Or mistakes? As such, it's something I wouldn't touch or even start until I could convince Lucasfilm to let me write a "Complete Encyclopedia of Characters of the Star Wars Movie Universe." (I'm available and work cheap.)
So, the rumors turned out to be true. Last Friday, I got an email at work that said there will indeed be a second "Episode III Heroes & Villains" assortment, or as many call it, "crap we bought last year at $1 more." The good news is that this wave contains a lot of popular Collection 2 figures from last year, and more importantly, at higher case ratios. C-3PO? Yes. Tactical Ops Clone Trooper? Huzzah. Blue Royal Guards? It just gets better. Unless, of course, you've had your fill of these. Me, I'm happy the line is doing so well that Hasbro's scrambling and going "OK, we need more figures out now, let's repackage some stuff so fans have something to buy."
Spent most of Sunday going through my comics and trying to find Target exclusives. While I found no Target exclusives, I did find out that I not only missed Star Wars: Purge, but apparently it's somewhat hard to get. *shakes fist* LA comic shops, indeed, are a huge pain to utilize. So, if you have a copy to unload or are drowning in them, let me buy one. And I thank you.
So for next time, 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.)
Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!