Galactic's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
August 7, 2006


1. I know that you must hate getting asked questions about the names of certain characters - but everywhere I have checked I can't find the names to 3 of my action figures. Could you help? They are:
1) The Red Astromech that come with the Queens Royal Starship
2) The Rodian Jedi that came in the clone wars 3-pack
3) The Twi'lek Jedi that came in the clone wars 3-pack
--Darth Parker

For whatever reason, Hasbro opted not to name a few figures in the line-- those you mentioned, the Nikto Jedi Knight, and a few others. The Queen's Red Astromech was eventually revealed to be R2-R9, and you can see the name for the droid in the Power of the Jedi Force File for R2-D2. He's under "Allies."

As far as the others, there are no known names for them at this time. While some have named them with their own back story, it seems the only real information about these is in your imagination. Some very vague entries on Wookieepedia mention some backstory of these characters, but do not offer names outside of "Rodian Jedi" and "Twi'lek Jedi." (And for the record, I don't think Wookieepedia's info regarding their being on Geonosis is entirely correct.)

2. What does Hasbro do with unredeemed figures from the Early Bird Kit or George Lucas? any chance we will see them at retail or For direct purchase through Hasbro or another outlet?

In the past, some unredeemed premium figures make it out through other outlets. For example, a number of all-gold Action Masters C-3POs and Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobis were bundled and blown out at some stores in the midwest a few years ago. Back in the 1980's, Kenner held a warehouse blowout and sold scores of white boxed mail-ins for as little as a few cents each. If there are unused figures from these offers, I expect them to be donated to charity, or blown out to some retailer or perhaps even used for some giveaway/promotional purposes inside Lucasfilm. (In a perfect world they'd just offer cases to sell to the toy stores of the world, though.)

3. Given that you answer some of the most obscure SW questions, I thought that this one is up your alley. Back when we where in elementary school after RotJ was release there was this kid in school that told a few things about SW, and I hated him for it. They were: what we saw are episode 4, 5, and 6, Darth Vader falls in a volcano (that is why he wears armor), and Boba Fett shoots the rocket from his backpack. Now, back then instead of asking where in carnation did he get those "facts" I just did the kid thing of replying with "Nah aaahhh!" How could he have known this back in 1984? I can tell you that when E1 was announced/released it fell like if someone had thrown a cold bucket of water at me, yet I was not in the least bit surprised later on when Anakin/Vader burns in Mustafar.

In 1983, the Expanded Universe was already in full effect, and at time, the whole "falls into a volcano/molten pit" story was most widely known as being from the novelization from James Kahn. (And a few other places.)

Apparently this comes from George's original outline, the one he claims to have written on a stone tablet in 320 B.C. Obviously, some additions to the films' plots have been revisited or altered due to editing and pop culture, but the duel as seen on Mustafar was, in many respects, pretty much what George had been planning for at least a couple of decades.

4. I know you're big on astromech droids and I was hoping you could tell me which ones were aboard the Naboo royal star ship, and which ones went out and got blown away? Can you also specify their arrangement in that room where Jar Jar says "hello, boyos!" (is that what he says? heh) As far as I can see, it's just two rows of droids facing each other.

Any idea where I can get some harnesses for the droids, other than paying $25 a pop for the R2-B1 just for the harness on ebay?

I have the two five packs of astromech droids and I'm hesitant to open them, I want to make sure the droids actually have a place in my dioramas. They look all the same, just repaints.

Well, for starters, there's 3 different molds in the sets, so it's a smidge more than just being a repaint. R2-M5, R2-C3, and R2-A6 belong to the Queen, and there are images of them on or near the Starship. Absolutely crack it open for R2-M5. As far as the rest, well, anything you can answer by popping in the movie and looking, I don't tackle here-- you can go check on that. (I'm not here to do your homework.)

Droid harnesses were sold with R2-B1 and the Royal Starship. At this time, your best bet may be to find someone who's good with making molds and attempt to custom make a few yourself-- check out your favorite customizing and modeling forums, because these are going to be up-there in price unless you find a fluke somewhere. At this time there are no known plans to make a new harness, and the last time a new one was produced was 2000.

But yeah, open those droids. You can always use one or two for filler for the ones they haven't made yet.

5. I saw the article on the site about the Commemorative Coins. I honestly think that anything in the figure other than the figure and it's accessories (including a stand), is a waste. I have tons of those freeze slide projector. I have tons of those bio cards that came with the POTJ line too...

That said, its not my concern that they are packing more crap in the figures that I don't is the line where it mentions "coins usually mark the end of a line". That scares me. I think Star Wars has been over all very good for Hasbro's bottom line...but would they really end the line? With the animated series continuing and the 100 episodes planned for TV...not to mention all the comic, game and novel characters...wouldn't they keep it going? I know that the article said it was possible...but could that be true?

Lastly, I love the vintage packaging...well all but the clam shell. If I had to have my choice, I would rather get as little bubble plastic as possible. I'd think it would cut down on cost of the packaging and the trash I throw out. I am an opener...everything I get has to be opened and on display, some very rare figures go in a star case. Most are in my displays or in storage though. I would vote for less plastic packaging and go back to basics! But the 2007 Card backs do look hot!

Well, opinions are like... yeah. Bonus items are made to make the item more appealing at the point-of-sale. It's like try-me packaging or a motion sensor. A big burst saying "free exclusive figure inside" that compels a person to pick up an item and look at it is more likely to help make a sale than an item that does NOT beg you to touch it or interact with it in some way. Things like Freeze Frames and CommTech chips serve a purpose, but it's more marketing than collecting. Also, these are often kid-friendly, with things like the POTJ Force Files giving actual useful information, like being one of the few places that identified R2-R9 by name. So, you may not like them, but they do have value.

My line about "coins marking the end of a line" is, more or less, a joke. Obviously, both Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles both came back and came back big, and the whole spiel about Star Wars being bad for Hasbro's bottom line is probably more hype than fact. You gotta have a scapegoat. The line could change focus, it's possible they could realize there's more sales in non-3 3/4-inch releases, but if Star Wars were to end tomorrow, it's been a good run. 11 years, probably 600 or more figures, and it has become the most prolific licensed action figure line in history, except, maybe, Batman.

You want less stuff in your packaging? Well, too bad. What the heck do you expect me to do about it? More basic packaging doesn't mean a more basic price anyway.

Speaking of which, on one of Hasbro's Q&As this week, am I alone in noticing the comment that they seem to be dropping the stands? Booooo. Boo. I needs my stands.

6. I have to admit, you were right 100%. In a Q&A released before ComicCon 2006, you mentioned that a lot of people would be upset at the "lack of surprises" because of all the leaks before the event on the internet. Low and behold, with a few exceptions, there was not much announced at ComicCon in relations to Star Wars, especially the 3 3/4" line, that we did not already know. Here is my question...

If Hasbro is so rock-hard on keeping production numbers secret and not revealing their plans to early, how does this information get out? I look at the list of the last 22 figures that was on your website almost a week and half before ComicCon and it was 100% correct. Its not like the info being leaked is wrong, the information is obviously coming from good sources.

Does Hasbro do this purposely? Is it all out the back door and they have no idea? Seems to me a company like Hasbro, who uses these shows to showcase new product would have a iron door on these new items until released???

Hasbro's interest in keeping secrets is all over the place. They don't want to reveal too much about an upcoming TV show or movie, they don't want to release information about a product so far off, that it might be likely to not happen, and of course, on the Internet, people complain. A lot. A lot of the email I get is about the "cancelled" Yavin IV wave that people consider a great injustice to have gone unreleased. And of course, this was a series nobody has seen and for all we know, may never have been something they were seriously considering to release. So that's why Hasbro is big on keeping secrets-- a part of it is to hedge off problems before they start.

Hasbro doesn't leak information intentionally. They might, for example, make an internal document showcasing everything the company is producing, and it gets in the hands of someone outside the company that knows its significance. The production logs at a factory can get out, or something even more devious. When you're a big company, with worldwide offices, there are a lot of places for information to get out early. Hasbro's "surprise" convention exclusive Transformer was up for preorder at Action-HQ months before it was announced, or even had a picture. These things happen, not because Hasbro wants it to, but because someone, somewhere, wasn't paying attention about what they said to who.

And this, friends, is why we can't be surprised on Christmas. We open all our presents early. (Not that I mind peeking, of course.)

7. Do you know if the Walmart exclusives will be Walmart USA only or might Canadian Walmart's see them too?

On a similar note, Diamond Exclusives? How do we get those? I went to their site and it seems I'm too print a page and take it to my local comic or action figure dealer? Is this right?

When it comes to chains outside the USA, I do not know. Each region does something different/special for exclusives and as I do not live in Canada, I don't keep track. It's possible, but as always, Canada gets screwed on most toy distribution matters. I advise you to keep your eyes peeled for stuff you can trade with fans in the USA to cover your bases.

Diamond is a big comic distributor that sells to companies like your local comic shop, Entertainment Earth, Suncoast, Brian's Toys, and even Hot Topic. As such, pretty much anyone can buy their stuff, but some of it is territory-exclusive. As Diamond has not solicited this item yet (and damned if I'm not asking about it), we really have no idea what, if any, regional limits will be put in place for it.

8. I know Hasbro and Wal-Mart keep production and sales numbers as closely guarded industrial secrets. But arguments about repaints and rehashes often come up on message boards. I would appreciate even a ball park idea. I have read it's about $200,000 and some numbskull recently tried to tell me it was about $15,000. Who is right?

About how much does it cost Hasbro to conceptualize, design, and manufacture a typical Star Wars action figure? About how much does tooling cost for a figure with 10-points of articulation? Then, if possible, how much does it cost Hasbro to bring them to market?

While actual numbers are a closely guarded secret (to some companies), you're closer. $15,000 might be a close number as to what it costs to conceptualize a figure-- that is to say, sculpt, paint, prototype, etc. When you factor in the molds and production costs, hundreds of thousands of dollars is a bit closer to the mark.

Repaints cost "less," but as to what that actually means is hard to tell. Urban Legends seem to say that, back in the 1980s, a G.I. Joe action figure cost about $0.50 to produce and that the bulk of its cost was packaging, and odds are if this is true, then repainting it must cost virtually nothing. There's still setup, approval, packaging, and other costs associated with a repaint, but the bulk of your investment is going to come from setting up the giant steel molds. As articulation adds to the cost, it's tough to get a definite number but, obviously, it seems to be something Hasbro can manage well.

9. This year's 5 VTSC toys seemed to take many collectors by surprise, and I've not read where Hasbro has ever given any official word at Comic-Con ('05 or '06) concerning Vintage Style figures. Is this just a particular line they like to keep under wraps? Perhaps I'm just overreacting, but I am a bit concerned for the health of the Vintage Style line. I am still seeing pegs overflowing with them at most Target and Wal-Mart stores, with even more sitting on the top shelves. I was wondering if Hasbro considers this a successful line with definite plans to continue the vintage-carded figures in the future. Were there at least any hints by their people at Comic-Con?

While we're swimming in hints, rumors, and heresay, there has not been one confirmation. As the line took a break in 2005, I see no reason to be worried that they're over, but even if they were to stop, it's really just packaging anyway. They know how much people love it, but I bought a Greedo and Han Endor Coat at Target for less than $3 each the day before I wrote this. The Wal-Mart I went to afterward was stuffed with Sandpeople, Han, and Greedo. So obviously, it's a line that, while awesome, isn't doing crazy fantastic in all markets.

10. Will the Death Star Briefing Room set come in a box that will make it more or less look like a fancy cinema scene set? As in, will it come with a table, made out of cardboard or plastic, that they can all stand around in the box (it didn't look like they had any knee articulation, but I could be wrong). Or will they just be side by side, lined up in a box? Still an incredible set, but if it looked like a scene in the box, that would be even better.

It's expected to come in a box like the Bounty Hunter set from last year, but the packaging has not yet been finished. (Nor has the final pricing been confirmed.) We're still a ways off, but I expect a line-up.


So, a lot of you are writing in to say "I haven't got my George Lucas Stormtrooper yet." Well, neither have I-- as far as I can tell they haven't shipped them all out yet, despite cashing checks. I hate to say "patience," as I have yet to get mine as well, but they said it'd be sent between June 30 and December 31-- so as of yet, we don't have much to complain about.

Also, a lot of items went up for pre-order and appeared in pictures online this week. As such, well, keep your eyes peeled if these things matter to you. On the issue of the Battle above the Sarlacc Battle Pack-- no, you don't get a skiff with it. And no, you don't get half a skiff with it. Hasbro loves to make mock-up packaging based on toys lately, as you can see in the Clone Attack at Coruscant Battle Pack and the Hunt for General Grievous Battle Pack, both of which feature illustrations showing their respective vehicles. That, and a Skiff can't fit into a normal sized Battle Pack box. So there you go. You still might want to pick that up for the repainted Weequay. The rest of the figures are the Saga 2006 Boba Fett (no stand, no flames), Saga 2006 Han Solo (no carbonite, no stand), Saga 2004/OTC Luke Jedi (no cloak, no gun, no stand), Saga 2004/OTC Lando Skiff Guard (no stand, maybe no gun.)

As far as the Sith Lord Attack Battle Pack goes... I'm trying to find a selling point here. I guess on clearance, you can get some cheap Battle Droids. It's a lovely presentation and a great item for newcomers, and I might get one just to keep it in the box. But it doesn't seem to add much new except I think one of the Battle Droids is a little different than its previous release as far as joint grime goes.

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.)

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