Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
February 26, 2007

 

1. I didn't see any pictures from the Toy Fair of the action figure stands that Hasbro plans on releasing this year. Any idea if these are going to be the same mold that all Saga figures come with or something more detailed like the landscaped ones that came with some of the ROTS figures?
--Barbara

It's my understanding from Hasbro's Q&A (and I could be wrong here) that any hypothetical packs of stands would be exclusive to HasbroToyShop.com. Toy Fair is Hasbro's showroom for media and buyers of all of its lines-- exclusive products are usually shown directly to the buyer or to the public in a fan convention setting like Comic-Con or the various Star Wars Celebrations. As such, they have not been shown. It seems that the plan is for a stand similar to the 2006 model, but as we haven't seen them, this could change-- they might even not come out.

2. We just had a new Walmart open locally and I anticipated it as a new avenue for my collecting hunts. I figured I'd be able to get in on the ground floor so to speak when they stocked fresh cases of figures. Sadly at the grand opening there was only about a case worth of the current comic two packs and those sold quick. I forgave as I figured they may have some time involved to get new merch in. Well it's been about a month now and I've seen them restock with a whole bunch more comic two packs but still no basic figures.

Then I looked closer and noticed that the pegs aren't there for basic figures. They have shelf space for lightsabers, vehicles and battle packs. They have pegs for galactic hero figures and titanium vehicles. They have the transformers pegs. They have one row of pegs for comic two packs priced at 9.88 and labeled "SW EU comic" ( or something to that affect ) and another row of pegs labeled "SW Unleashed Battle" priced at 9.88 as well. The SKU numbers and walmart item numbers and stuff are different but they just have the comic two packs up.

My questions are thus: would there be any reason that Walmart is phasing out carrying the basic figures?
--Joshua

Well, there are lots of ways to answer this question, so let's start with Wal-Mart itself. Wal-Mart is weird, and its method for clearancing and discontinuing products changes from store to store. In 2004, I could go to one Wal-Mart in my area that had the entire Xevoz line on clearance for an even $2.00, while all the rest had it at full price. In 2000, I received reports from readers who found then-new Episode I product shipping to their local Wal-Mart store and selling for under $3 per figure, while the rest of the country was panicking that they had never seen a Sio Bibble. I've seen a lot of other really odd things at Wal-Marts, especially new ones-- like pegs full of Shadows of the Empire Prince Xizor figures, when the figure had stopped shipping months before the store opened. It's not unusual to see things that don't make a lot of sense.

Wal-Mart as a chain is not phasing out basic figures as a whole-- it's possible they may discontinue one of the multiple basic figure SKUs (there are 3 shipping right now), but all of them? Very unlikely. It's also possible that just one or two stores may decide that their toy section isn't going to carry a particular line-- again, given Hasbro's going on about how great sales are for Star Wars, I find this unlikely.

Finally, there's the issue of frequency-- a store whose pegs are usually bare will continue to have bare pegs. Last week, I mentioned that I was hitting a single Wal-Mart every day for four weeks. (Here's the funny thing-- the day I skipped because I had the day off is the one they got the exclusive wave. I missed all except for a lone Nabrun Leids. I was furious, but I digress.) During that week, I watched Marvel toys, Pirates, G.I. Joe, and Transformers as well as Star Wars and I noticed that it was very common for an entire new case of figures to sell through completely in 1-2 days. I did the same thing in the past in other regions with other Wal-Marts, and found the same thing-- the foot traffic in Wal-Mart stores, especially new ones, is so great that the hundreds (or thousands) of shoppers who come in every day could make a case of 12 (or a few cases of 12) vanish quickly, especially if they're collectors. Look at it this way: let's assume your store gets a new cases of basic Saga Collection figures, the Wal-Mart exclusive wave. 5 of those figures are the exclusives-- those will sell instantly to the first collector who sees them. The remaining figures could be any of a mix of figures from 2006, and according to some reports this may include hard-to-find clones like Commander Appo and the Elite Corps Trooper. Again, the first fan who sees these will buy them, and if a collector doesn't, you can bet one of the many kids will beg mom and dad for a figure or two. If you aren't hitting this Wal-Mart very regularly, and by that I mean 3-4 times a week, it's possible that you're just missing out on every new figure that comes through the door.

As it's a new store, it's also possible there are bugs in the system they're working out. But given what I've seen at Wal-Mart stores lately, I usually bank heavily on Wal-Mart's insane foot traffic causing nearly immediate turnover on the pegs. There are a lot more kids out there buying 1 or 2 figures each than there are collectors buying them all.

3. yeah, so i was thinking. why hasn't hasbro released accessory packs since like 2002??? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that thinks we're due for more. Why did they stop? did that area fail? i didn't think so . . . I have some really good ideas. They could make an accessory pack for each faction, you know? Like clone rifles (the big and small kind) and lightsabers for the Republic, stormtrooper rifles and other Imperial gear for the Empire, battle droid rifles and backpacks and rockets for super b droids (they've all come with one of those missile-launching arms) for the Seperatists, boomas and gungan shields for the gungans (ok, well, maybe not), Ewok rocks and spears and logs for the Ewoks (again, maybe not hahaha), some kind of crap for the rebels, and yeah, stuff like that. Don't you think that would be a hit??!!! I do!!! And we could have Sith and Jedi accessory packs. packs which could include all the lightsabers for all the Jedi in and not in the Order, and all the lightsabers of the famous sith in the sith one. I distincly remember they made an accessory pack that included all of Maul's accessories . . . it came with his cloak, his wrist thingy for calling his droids, his binocs, and a few probe droids, and his lightsaber hilt. THAT WAS AN AWESMOE PACK!! I still display my best maul (the one from evolutions) with that cloak, and that hilt. They could make a pack like that for every sith and jedi!!! I could almost guarantee they would sell. BIG, big sellers.
--Tyler

In short, nobody wants them. 350 fans on the Internet, sadly, constitutes "nobody."

Unfortunately, the online collectors who really get excited for these sets are in the minority, and Hasbro has actually cancelled no less than 6 unique accessory packs since the year 1999. There was going to be a Stormtrooper accessory pack around the time of Episode I, but poor sales of the first wave of packs and the near-impossible-to-find second wave ensured that these were never going to happen. Target's exclusive Saga accessory packs shortly following Episode II included a figure and lots of weapons for a mere $10-- fans didn't bite then, and they were clearanced out, nailing the coffin shut on the concept.

"Pimp my figure" isn't something that has worked lately. Hasbro tried accessory packs, and tried making the same figure (or slightly different versions) with new accessories, and the market favored the different figures. There's no conspiracy here, Hasbro isn't trying to screw us, they just tried a few different ways to make different figures, and fans flocked toward re-buying slightly different Darth Mauls and Obi-Wans and, of course, Lukes in spades. Also, accessory packs tend to deliver what some call an incomplete play pattern-- a box of guns does not a toy make. Packing in the right figures might make a difference if Hasbro ever tries again, but they've given it two very strong attempts and fans didn't buy. Of course, if they put out a $10 pack with a Stormtrooper and some rifles, a mouse droid, and some other top-notch extra, maybe it'd work. It's just that Hasbro currently seems wary of the $10 figure price point outside of Vintage, and fans by and large will not buy accessory packs.

In the 1980s, most figure lines had them-- G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a while. But as the lines went on, these were always phased out-- they were usually bought as replacements for lost guns. The last real attempt at packing accessories galore with another toy that comes to mind was the new Castle Grayskull from the recent He-Man relaunch, which came with tons of swords and axes and other extras. And we all know how that did.

Just cross your fingers that Hasbro might toss in some extra spears or rocks with the next Ewok that they make. Accessory packs are a fairly dead product and if you look on the action figure aisles, you probably won't find any on the market for any male action toy line today.

4. I've seen where people have suggested "pack ins" that could build a larger figure or prop in the Star Wars line similar to Marvel Legends. What would think of something on a smaller scale, with future clone or stormtrooper releases Hasbro could, for example release 5 variants of a clone with each clone having a different piece to build another clone. Buy 5, build the 6th clone. What do you think?
--Chris

We've been bugging Hasbro about this for years, and it seems they're going to give it a try this year. Two figures will come with pieces of the curved end of the Cantina bar, allowing us to finish building a playset of sorts that began in 2002.

As far as building Clones go, I very much doubt it. Although I would love to see them use the build-a-figure concept to make figures that collectors will adore that might not see production otherwise. (Vlix, anyone? Dejarik monsters? Jacen Solo? It'd work. I mean, how many of you would buy a whole wave of figures to get your favorite character from KOTOR as a build-a-figure? Win-win.) Hasbro has no problem selling nearly every Clone or Stormtrooper they make at full price, so I'd guess that they wouldn't bother making them as freebies for quite some time.

5. Given Hasbro's willingness to make different versions of characters (the McQuarrie figures, Holiday Special Boba Fett), do you think there's any chance of getting new Droids-style figures of C-3PO and R2-D2?
--Dave

Hasbro seems a little less eager to make new versions of these two figures, but one can hope it might happen some day. If we're getting Luke and Chewbacca in comic book colors, maybe in 2008 we can get R2-D2 and C-3PO in cartoon colors with a DVD. I know I'd want one!

Hopefully Hasbro will take it a step further and make something like the old timey Listen & Fun sets that came with a cassette and a toy for a low price. A DVD with one episode of Droids and a figure or two would be a heck of a great item. Especially if they made the entire line that way... 13 episodes, 13-26 figures... that'd be like the best sub-line ever. (And they could even repack Stormtroopers and the animated style Boba Fett with new accessories.) And Vlix. Vlix, of course, being key. So he can pick on Tig Fromm.

To go on a quick tangent, I really hope Hasbro and Lucasfilm decide to slightly better exploit some of its 1980s TV properties-- even if they were basically designed for school-age kids. There were 13 episodes of Droids plus the two-part The Great Heep special which a lot of fans have never seen. There were also 26 episodes of Ewoks, and a pair of live-action Ewok telefilms. Oh, and the Holiday Special (which, save for the Boba Fett segment, is probably better left unseen.) Seeing as the DVDs released by Lucasfilm for Ewoks and Droids edited out much of the original music and several of the episodes, this could be a good thing or a very bad thing.

Plus it means more toy opportunities. KT-10, anyone? Obviously, I'm a bigger fan of Droids because of its crazy cameo-fest (MAX REBO!!!), its use of toys in the show for no good reason (Mini-Rigs on parade in the episode "The New King"), and the fact that it was very close to the galaxy of Star Wars that I liked-- the one filled with bickering droids, Imperials everywhere, and gangsters galore. Heck, there's even a pirate TIE Fighter redeco-- but I can't seem to find pictures of that right now.

And if the DVD doesn't happen, well, there were several decent issues of a Marvel/Star Comics Droids Series published around 1985, including a pretty spiffy three-issue arc retelling the original Star Wars film from the perspective of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Surely Hasbro could use those for new comic packs, were they so inclined.

So in conclusion, Droids = I hope. I'm a really big dork for 1980s-era Expanded Universe because, well, that's what I had growing up. (And I know some of you are saying "nyah, Droids sucked. Well, now you know how I feel about the New Jedi Order.)

6. I have two questions regarding the Death Star Briefing set, which I received in the mail a couple of days ago. Well, okay, one is about the set itself, while the other is more of a general question

1. Why did Hasbro use Admiral Ozzel's legs for Tagge, Cass, Bast, and Yularen? I don't mind 'kitbashing,' but Ozzel was a very short figure compared to other Imperials, so the end result is these four are shorter than the other figures in their set, and most other figures in the line by the looks of things. I don't mind this very much, as I enjoyed the set immensely, I'm just curious about the hows and whys.

2. Why does Hasbro insist on using the ROTS young Tarkin mold for post-ROTS Tarkins? His pants and boots are different, and the figure is sculpted to represent the character 20 years before ANH. Therefore, the recent figures included with the Death Star Briefing and Marvel Comic packs look way too young to me. Sure, they 'aged' his hair, but all this does is make it look like it's Young Tarkin gone grey prematurely.
--Bill

Exclusive development for smaller accounts (Diamond, Entertainment Earth, ShopStarWars.com) usually, but not always, tends to focus on recycled products-- this may mean resculpts, repaints, or something that was in development for another company that ultimately got pushed to another account for some reason. In the case of the Death Star Briefing room, Hasbro most likely looked at which factories were available, which tools (molds) were in good shape, and what they could crank out on the cheap-- after all, it's a box of 7 figures for $30-$40, and 7 basic carded figures would ordinarily set you back $49 or so. Since Jerjerrod was pretty good (complain as you will, it was pretty good), why not use some of his parts?

Also, some of the other figures may be too big. Motti was made in 2000, when most figures were enormous-- they didn't start paying closer attention to scale until Power of the Jedi, and even there, it didn't kick in until the line's sophomore year. (Case in point: Dejarik Champion Chewbacca is tiny, Mechanic Chewbacca is huge.) And since Hasbro probably saw zero reason to resculpt Motti, well, you're going to see some scale issues.

As far as Tarkin goes, this goes back to the molds available in good condition and the issue of "good enough." The POTF2 version really doesn't look all that great compared to other recent figures. OK, so the boots and pants are wrong. The rank pins on most of the officers in the set are wrong, too. That's life when the goal is to get a product out in a certain time frame at a certain price point. I thought the deco on Marvel Tarkin head was rather good, myself, even better than the Death Star Briefing version. Also keep in mind that a lot of us (myself included) didn't think that the movie version (as in, the guy in the costume) didn't look all that great, either.

7. I'm just reading the Q&A from January, 5, 2007, and I must comment on a few things.

In an answer to one of the questions there, you write that WalMart is able to sell huge quantities of Star Wars stuff. But somehow, in some shops of this chain, things appear to be on the pegs for months, and in other shops things just sell through.

What astonishes me a bit is the huge number of quantities Hasbro is selling to such a low price - meanwhile here in Europe and elsewhere quantities are - compared to that - incredibly low and the prices are high.

Obviously, Hasbro's whole selling plans are outlined just for the U.S. . Other countries don't matter much.

Every time I read about the great availability of Star Wars items in the U.S. I tend to become jealous, because we have so few stuff here. I could never understand, for example, why WalMart sells items for increadibly low prices there, instead of shipping them to Europe, where there is demand, but no items. (And too high prices, of course. I get sometimes the impression Aas if we are designated to pay the high prices Hasbro just can't charge in the U.S. .)

I see that foreign and overseas collectors don't matter much to Hasbro. They don't even try to think of a selling system for countries where retail contains mostly of comic shops. A recent development is, that because of Hasbro's case assortments, collectors more & more tend to buy whole cases, where other collectors (like me) just cannot keep up with Hasbro's pace in putting out new items, and tend to refrain themselves from collecting - simply because they can't afford whole cases (some figures are sold out far too early because of the very small numbers Hasbro ships to here in general).

So my question is : Will Hasbro ever give foreign collectors the respect they deserve ? And, for example, build case assortments that make sure figures won't be sold out far too early (15-20 Euros for a rare Clone is no extraordinary thing here) ?

I fear not.
--Alrik

Well, as I've said in the past, congratulations. You've figured it out. Hasbro US really doesn't do international distribution, and based on sales, odds are that some regions (not all) are in fact getting the distribution that the free market has demanded. It's nothing personal-- that's how life works. Hasbro UK (or Asia, or whatever) manages that as Hasbro US tends to spend its time worrying about the US market and, you know, developing the product.

As I've said, depending on what you're in to, it's going to suck. I like video games, Playmobil figures, Polysics albums, Zoids, Transformers, and Star Wars-- for example.

Konami makes some great collections of games like Salamander Portable for the PSP which will likely never come out in the USA. But the USA is a bigger potential game market than Japan, right? Well, why not release it here since it's mostly in English? Well, the Japanese market tends to appreciate shoot-em-up games and retro collections more than the USA, and another shooter collection-- Gradius Collection-- didn't sell too well over here. Hence, there are no known plans to bring it out in the USA. So my option is to pay an importer, or to do without. (Plus, it's on the PSP, which most people don't have. Why not sell it on a console that's actually sold really, really big numbers like the Playstation 2?)

Playmobil is a German company, and their products tend to come out in Germany a year (or more) before the USA, with few exceptions. There are also numerous promotional figures and toys for European-only stores and eateries. Don't they care about the US market? Apparently not.

Polysics are a Japanese band-- and most of their stuff never comes out in the USA despite a lot of their lyrics being (mostly bad) English. Zoids are pretty much exclusively Japanese (with some European releases) these days-- what about us? And Transformers, well, there are some you can get in Japan, and others you can get in the USA. Neither market is perfect or has everything.

Depending on what you like to collect, the grass is always greener. Japan has some Disney stuff that the USA will never see. And ask any otaku about how much it sucks that so many anime series never get translated into English.

So you're jealous. OK, well, that's life-- it isn't always fair, and depending on what you like to collect, you may not necessarily live in the part of the world that's the most conducive to your toy of choice. Overseas markets aren't always a good profit center. Case in point, Canada's toy market is said to be about 10% that of the USA. Considering a lot of countries require special packaging, yes, it sometimes is too much trouble to import an entire line compared to what it's worth. That's what the Internet is for. I buy German Playmobil from eBay. I email some of my favorite Japanese bands and buy CDs directly, or order them from international client-friendly online stores. And yes, in some cases, I have to pay a premium for some of these items.

In the USA, you can't even find all the Star Wars figures you want without having to visit stores a dozen times every month. So don't get too jealous of us over here, we've got it really good, but you'll never go a year without having to work hard to track down more than a few items. Every part of the world has things that other parts don't-- it's unfortunate when you want them and can't get them easily, but as I attempted to illustrate above, that's sort of how life works. Also, Wal-Mart v. Europe = Apples v. Oranges. It seems like who you need to get in touch with are your local stores and distributors. If a country's main selling channel for Star Wars toys are a handful of comic shops, it might not be in Hasbro's best interests to focus on that product for that channel if some other item will sell more units to more stores.

As far as casepacks go... don't get me started. Even if fans were to determine Hasbro's cases and approve them, other fans (or kids, or retailers) would complain about it. It's a no-win situation, because you never really know when people are going to go nuts for some figures and ignore others. In some markets, nobody wanted Foul Moudama, while in others, you couldn't possibly make enough of them to fill demand. Making assortments has got to be one of the most thankless jobs in the hobby, short of fan relations. (I do not envy the anonymous person or persons who put together the Hasbro Q&A at all the various sites.)

Star Wars figures aren't food and water-- they aren't going to get widespread, worldwide, easily-had distribution. I hate to say it, but because of where you live, you might want to just get used to the idea of buying online-- especially with no movie or TV support. It's not ideal, but sometimes you don't have an option. There's really nowhere I can go in my area and buy Japanese Zoids kits, so I have to pay up or give up-- that's life. And since we're on thet subject of shopping online...

8. As one of the few collectors who buys almost all his Star Wars stuff online (eToys, toysrus.com, HasbroToyShop.com, etc.) I thought I'd weigh in with a few comments/questions.

1. Any idea how Hasbro views the ecommerce channel? While the aforementioned sites tend to have a pretty good selection of stuff, they're almost always weeks, if not months behind the brick and mortar stores. As an example, neither eToys nor toysrus.com have received a single figure from Wave 8 or 9 yet (I've also noticed that Entertainment Earth hasn't gotten their shipments either). Why such low priority?

2. eToys and toysrus.com are great for getting hard-to-find and so-called "rare" figures and vehicles (because once they do get their shipments, they get a LOT of it), but as many people know, the condition of the packaging ranges from "a bit scuffed but okay" to "fully bent up and thrashed". For openers like me who also have kids, I'm cool with that.

3. HasbroToyShop is one of the most poorly maintained ecommerce sites I've ever seen. New stuff sometimes appears on the site as already "out of stock", stuff that's listed as "in stock" is frequently listed as "out of stock" once placed in your shopping cart, and there seems to be no logic nor truth to anything listed as "coming soon". Personally I think it's a half-assed attempt to provide a manufacturer direct sales channel, but in reality it's a purposely frustrating experience that ultimately gets people to abandon ship and drive to a store instead. In other words, it's an elaborate way of supporting their retailers.
--Tom

Each store is different, but Hasbro treats some online stores quite well. For example, Entertainment Earth (full disclosure yet again: yes, I work there) is first-come, first-served. So if a case goes up in July and you want something from the first shipment, but it comes out in December, you should probably order it in July. Waves 8 and 9 have both come in with multiple shipments and most backorders were filled-- I can't talk numbers or too many specifics, but I can say that if you placed a back order before the first shipments, you probably got your case by now (or it's en route). (I mean, I got my Wave 8 and 9 cases no problem.)

Some stores are more interested in delivering mint condition figures than others-- you have to remember that most stores view collectors as a pest, a menace, and/or a minority. ShopStarWars, for a while, basically told collectors expecting mint, unfolded packages that this was an unreasonable request for a while. Also, some collectors are really picky, so a small flaw that may make a figure a C-9 on any normal human scale might be viewed as an unacceptable flaw-- and stores should take into account that if you're going to use the word "collectible" with something, then yes, your customers are well within their rights to be picky. This is a thing that, well, all you can do is hope the store you order from has a good return policy if you receive something in bad shape.

HasbroToyShop.com is actually pretty good. (Aside from, well, not having a lot of product in stock.) The prices are decent, but stuff tends to presell out very quickly, and new shipments don't seem to happen often. Since HasbroToyShop.com probably has to get the same assortments as Wal-Mart, Entertainment Earth, Toys "R" Us, the Star Wars Fan Club, and everywhere else, it's a pretty safe bet that they're having difficulty managing this business model, or they're happy with the way things are selling out and making enough of a profit for this particular division. I sincerely doubt there's any attempt to make it bad on purpose-- why even bother, then? (And besides, it's not like Mattel is trying to do anything close to this right now.)

Depending on your situation, ordering online might be really good or really bad. Not every store can be perfect. (There's very little profit to be made on a SRP $7 toy.) There's not a lot of incentive for Hasbro to come up with the world's perfect solution to selling Star Wars online. Some fans want cases, some don't. Some want sets, others just want specific figures. Some fans have suggested a universal pre-order model, but that's probably a lot more trouble to implement and maintain (and manufacture to order) than it's worth. So, as our unfortunate friends in international markets, we're going to have to work with things as they are until a better system comes around.

9. Hi Adam. Any word if Hasbro will make the Aqualish members of the Separatist Council Po Nudo and his aide Shi'ido? Thanks!
--IGGY

The answer for this, and most question, concerning unannounced action figures is "there are no known plans at this time." This isn't fancy double-talk or anything-- Hasbro really isn't saying and the rumor mill is harder to read these days because some figures are on the drawing board for a year or more before coming out, leading to some fairly premature announcements on fan forums. When it comes to the separatists, though, I wouldn't hold my breath for new non-battle droid, non-Grievous figures in the near future.

Trade Federation members and the separatists seem to be astonishingly low in the request-o-meter. I don't think I've ever had more than one request for any specific character outside of (and this may surprise you) more Neimoidians and new versions of Nute Gunray. So all I can say is keep talking up your favorite characters, ask Dark Horse to write about them in the comics, and do what you as a fan can to increase awareness of the ones you like. It isn't like the old days where most fan requests were obvious things that Hasbro and Kenner would do anyway-- they're going to need fans like you to increase awareness in the community as to who these guys are. Sure, some fans know them, but you have to consider that a lot of kids know them (thanks to various books) and some hardcore fans do (same reason), while a lot of less hardcore fans will scratch their heads when they hear those names.

There's a real split in fans between the hardcore fans that know most of the characters and know them well-- those who post online in forums and run web sites, for example-- and those who buy a dozen or so figures a year, tops, and don't know anybody who either wasn't in the vintage line or was named through the course of the movie. This doesn't mean that your favorite character is a horrible candidate for a figure or a guaranteed bad seller, it's just that a low awareness doesn't help things. You might say "Adam, you're nuts. How could any one fan's frequent mention of a character on the Internet eventually result in it being made?"

I give you exhibit "A".

10. Generally, movies from +-30 years ago are often remade. For example: The Wicker Man (1973/2006), The Fly (1958/1986), The Hills Have Eyes (1977/2006), War of the Worlds (1953/2005), Psycho (1960/1998), The Omen (1976/2006), House of Wax, Planet of the Apes (1968/2001), Titanic (1953/1997), The Fog (1979/2005), King Kong (1933/1976/2005) and let's not forget Shaft (1971/2000).

When do you think the original Star Wars trilogy will be remade? Aside from the actors (in most instances) there is so much that can be improved upon. Do you agree?
--Rich

A lot of people have brought this up, and I think at some point George Lucas will consider it. I doubt it'll happen because of the crazy fan outcry as well as YouTube footage of people on the Internet pouring gasoline on themselves and lighting a match. (I kid, I kid. I think.)

One thing about Star Wars (and a few other movies) is that a remake doesn't make a lot of sense because the originals really never left the pop culture radar. The original King Kong isn't something every parent shows their kids at some point, nor was the 1976 remake. So making a new version made sense. I don't think there's a kid growing up (in the USA, at least) today who doesn't at least hear about Star Wars and a lot of kids really do like the originals still. Sure, they could be remade with all-new actors, but why? It's too soon, and it'd be like remaking The Wizard of Oz. (I don't count The Wiz.) A lot of the other movies were remade because, well, the originals were somewhat well known but not exactly what you would call a classic of American cinema. (King Kong and, I'd argue, Planet of the Apes being the exceptions-- but you gotta admit, parts of them didn't age well.)

If they ever remake Wrath of Khan with all-new actors, I'd say all bets are off. For now, though, it seems giving the old movies a digital facelift every few years removes the need to remake them at all. I mean, with very few exceptions much of Star Wars and its descendants tends to look good 30 years later. Short of reimagining Jawas in some ridiculous way (they're taller and speak German now), or stunt re-casting Obi-Wan Kenobi with Ringo Starr, or completely redoing the Cantina (replacing the Tonnika girls with some crazy hot fetish models) or... hey, I like that last idea. Let's make that happen. We're about due for another Special Edition, right?

There are many opportunities to revise the films-- as we've seen since 1997-- as well as revisit them in exciting ways. For example, I've often mentioned how much I'd like to see Lucas give the audio track from the film to a Japanese animation house, and let someone make an Anime version of the original trilogy-- I mean, how cool would that be?

FIN

I got the new Tantive IV Battle Pack last week, and oh man, is it great. For $20, you get two Stormtroopers (which, aside from the lack of a waist joint, are pretty much super-poseable) as well as two Rebel Troopers with new heads and removable helmets, and a Darth Vader figure (no lightsaber, for the record.) It's totally worth snagging-- the Stormtroopers' poses are great. The white troopers are based on the 2005 Evolutions Sandtrooper mold, meaning the grenade thing on the back of the belt is missing, there's a white slot in the back of the figures for a backpack, and the lenses on the helmet are flatter-- not convex, like on the Stormtroopers. (Yes, there's a difference.) If I ever see these things on clearance, I swear I'm gonna buy like every last one.

Also, I overheard an interesting rumor-- apparently, the Hasbro showroom in New York had stuff added to it and taken away from it throughout Toy Fair the other week, and there was supposedly a female Clone Trooper on display at some point. Obviously, no pictures have surfaced yet, but I did hear this from a reliable source so I'm most curious if any of you out there have seen or heard anything too-- especially if you have pictures.

Finally, I have received a few emails complaining that Hasbro hasn't told us about enough of the 2007 line-up yet. While, in theory, anything short of 100% is undesirable, they're doing pretty well. By my tally, we have official word of at least 38 basic figures (of, supposedly, 60) as well as the entire Saga Legends line. Considering that this is only February, I can say that this is pretty good. (Last year, we were previewing the Moff Jerjerrod wave at this point-- which brought us to 40-- so we're probably about where we should be.) Don't forget, Hasbro still has at least two big summer conventions to announce even more stuff at.

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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