Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
April 9, 2007

 

1. Have you or anyone else online figured out how many more characters Hasbro would need to make figures of to have a complete cantina? There are some cool ones coming this year of course. And while everyone has always been screaming for the curved bar pieces I'd like something to go behind it. You know some piece with all those funky tubes and the IG-88 head? What about Jabba's palace?
--Chris

I don't believe there's a definitive list of all patrons of the cantina from the original Star Wars, in part (no doubt) due to the difficulty piecing together behind-the-scenes images from what made the final cut of the film and the Holiday Special. Some aliens were created specifically for the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, some were off-the-shelf masks and new creations for the first pass at the original Cantina Scene, and others were made for the reshoots. Oh, wait, and there's the 1997 Special Edition additions, too.

As such, I'm going to put this one in the realm of "you argue it over." When it comes to the Cantina, fans typically get behind one or two recognizable parts for it and ask-- no, demand-- that this item be made. For example, nobody asked for curved bar pieces until we had the regular ones, and nobody seems to mind the fact that, as far as I can tell, the bar didn't have stools around it in the first place. Before we had this to ask for (constantly), we asked for Wuher-- and after Wuher, it was the Tonnika Sisters, which we still don't have. (And remember all those scoops and rumors two years ago saying we'd see one like immediately? No? Well, they were flying in 2005 post-Celebration III and we still don't have them.)

It's possible fans will move behind the gadgets and gizmos behind the bar next, and odds are there would be at least two or three different chunks of drink dispensers and other barware needed to fill it out-- possibly more or less, depending how many "bar sections" long your set-up is. Assuming they'd only give us one modular piece and we'd have to get multiples, my vote is that they give us those parts with a Sandtrooper. May as well get a trooper out of it.

Jabba's Palace is a little more straightforward because, as far as I can tell, the designs were better catalogued and photographed, leaving us with a stronger picture of what exists-- but the question is, do we even care? Now, some of you are already screaming "yes, dammit, I want everything from Jabba's Palace!" In theory, I do too-- but this is a situation where it might be best to pick a figure and campaign for it until it comes out. I mean, after years of begging, we're getting Hermi Odle now-- and a Palace-specific C-3PO with Salacious Crumb. Today's campaign seems to be for Gargan, but who's next?

The problem with Jabba's Palace is that while there are lots of exciting aliens, there are also loads of boring human flunkies, extras which have no name or backstory beyond the 1.5 sentences Decipher penned in order to create a card game. While I'm sure hundreds of us are actually quite interested in such minor characters, is it really worth coming up with a list to throw at Hasbro to say "make all of these in like the next year, dammit!"? Nah.

The issue of a "complete" scene is also hard to peg, no matter the sequence. For example, we haven't got all 12 Pod Race pilots, but then again, they didn't all appear in the movie either. While we don't have every alien from Jabba's Palace, and are still missing such essential faces as the original regular Klaatu, shelves are full. Dioramas are packed. I mean, have you crammed all of your Jabba's Palace figures into that pop-up diorama from 1999 lately? It's pretty dang near full and, in my book quite near capacity.

And then there's the issue of resculpts-- and while I might find some figures like a vintage 1983-style Sy Snootles as essential as you might find and IG-88 head drink dispenser, well, that's going to be the source of some arguments. At the rate they're going, with 2-3 figures from each scene a year if we're lucky (we got screwed on Jabba's Palace in 2006), there's probably a good 5-10 more years of brand new aliens to be had.

2. With Hasbro saying they won't do too many Marvel based figures.
"While we still will be heavier on Dark Horse, we do want to keep Marvel issues in our sights, too. Dark Horse has created a great depth of characters who are a contiguous extension of the on-screen adventures, and that's why we have been focusing our efforts there for the most part. Some of the Marvel characters you mentioned are simply not as strong and uniquely Star Wars (Crimson Jack or Jaxxon for example). You have mentioned a few that we are considering (Valence and Baron Tagge are two of them) but we just have to figure out when we can fit them in. There are a lot of great characters to do!"
I'm sorry but I feel they have missed the boat. the comic packs come with the comic the characters star in correct. then Kids can read the old Marvel comics that we read & maybe know & even like some of characters that we knew & wanted figures of Like Jaxxon,Z-X3, Valence the Hunter and so on. To me it seems they are only doing this to make the current Comic Licence holder Happy or maybe does Marvel still holds the Rights for non Movie Characters (ALA Micronauts) just wondering what your take was on this?
--Richard

While I've never seen it explicitly stated with Star Wars, I know in the case of Transformers that all characters that appear in the pages of a licensed book first usually means that the licensor holds the copyright-- which I believe is the case here. After all, Lumiya (a mostly post-ROTJ villain) is now appearing in the Legacy novels, right? Jaxxon appeared in the RPG and what have you as well. It's my understanding that Lucas owns all of the Marvel stories and their contents-- which is why Dark Horse now has the right to reprint them, and not Marvel. Lucas said "we own these, now you can reprint them." Also take note that most (if not all) mentions of the word "Marvel" has been stripped clean of the reprints from Dark Horse and Hasbro-- the same thing happened with their G.I. Joe comic packs. Interesting, no?

When it comes to specifics, well, everybody has their favorites. As readers of this column no doubt know, I'm a big fan of Lumiya, the Nagai, even little Plif-- I'm not quite as big of a fan of those earlier stories with few exceptions. Orman Tagge is hardcore and a great candidate for a figure-- wacky glasses, a lightsaber, and a beard that lets you know he's evil. You can't top that. But then again, maybe you'd disagree-- there are probably thousands of characters in Star Wars between all the comics, novels, games, trading cards, cartoons, and so forth and everybody has their favorites. Because Valence-- well, who cares? Sure, somebody does, but I'm sure people care about Kligson, Dani, Kiro, and the mighty Hiromi as well. (Well, OK, I'd be up for those last three there.) When it comes to some of these characters, you're going to find some people absolutely giddy about them while others roll their eyes and move on-- it's hard to determine what's sensible.

We first met Crimson Jack in, what, 1978? They didn't miss the boat-- the boat is just getting here. With wave 1 of the comic packs-- which most collectors seem to think are "crappy repaints"-- it seems most stores in my neck of the woods have nothing but empty pegs-- they come in, and sell out quickly. (Goofy colors or no, $10 is a good deal for a comic book and 2 action figures.) I personally don't believe that most modern fans know the old Marvel characters well enough to justify lots of them seeing plastic-- and I include my favorites in this mix. If we as fans want them, we need to make sure that we raise awareness of them.

3. Hey Adam! I was wondering if you knew if hasbro was planning on making a Kal Skirata figure. If you read Republic commando: Tripple Zero, then you know Ordo, Mereel, Etain Tur-Mukan, Bardan Jusik and Omega Squad with the new black armor. Hasbro could repaint 4 Boss' with black and that would be Omega. They could them in a pack with Kal Skirata and Ordo. Then they could release another pack with Etain, Bardan and Mereel.
--Wendy

Well Wendy (if that is your real name), there are no known plans for any of the Mandalorians from the novels. Since they're not widely known characters and have no real visual reference (or at least, most of us have no idea what they should look like) outside a few Fan Club illustrations-- which might be a good fight-starter when it comes to what should determine who does or doesn't get made as an action figure. The Expanded Universe is a tricky place, as few fans really, really know all about everything and very few casual fans even care. Plus our favorites and focus are dictated by what we saw and what kind of things we like-- for example, most of my requests come from comic books or cartoons. A lot of fans want nothing but game-based figures. Depending on which books you may have read, or skipped, your perception of some corners of the Star Wars Universe will be completely and totally different from mine, or anyone else's.

Take the front page of Wookieepedia-- a fine resource, more or less, for all the content it has to cover. Its "Did you know" section sums up everything I need to say about Expanded Universe (to a great extent) being a more obscure, more personal fan outlet that is really tricky when it comes to toys. Example: Did you know... "that Baroness Omino found Savrip meat to be delicious?"

This might qualify as trivia in some camps of the fandom, but to me, it's jargon. I know what a Savrip is, but Ominowhatsis? What some consider to be worthy trivia, others find merely trivial.

Lucky for you, your favorites are things fans like. Clones and anything vaguely resembling Boba Fett seem to be popular with fans, be they Order 66 Target Clones or the likes of a McQuarrie Boba Fett or a Mandalorian from the video games. I'd say your chances aren't so bad, really, but like I told our previous questioner-- be sure to keep asking Hasbro, keep the dialogue going, and be sure to remind people to ask for these when you get a chance to do such a thing. 'cuz I'm going to be asking for Vlix when I get such a chance.

4. with the galactic heroes line being repacked into cinema scene sets and the recent release of the hoth snowtrooper/rebel trooper pack, what do you think the chances are of us getting a hoth galactic heroes cinema scene set with possibly the wampa and taun taun from the old playschool line??
--Craig

As far as I can tell, there are no plans for any additional "Cinema Scene" 10-packs of Star Wars Galactic Heroes right now-- so it might be a while before such a thing happened. Hasbro seems eager to expand this line (as it seems to be doing very well five years after its introduction), so I'd say there's a good chance we might see some more high- or mid-tier price product. After all, right now, there's only a $5/6 item and a $20 item-- surely there's room for something in the middle. With a Wampa in it. UPDATE: Well, damned if I don't look like a liar. Looks like Toys "R" Us announced Naboo and Hoth Cinema Scene sets. Neither is confirmed as an exclusive at press time.

5. What's the best way to say thanks to Hasbro for producing a great figure? I liked Mars Guo and Dud Bolt so much I used the email-Hasbro-a-question thing from their web site to send praise. However, this seems to be oriented to complaints - missing and broken parts and the like. I want to make sure Hasbro gets the message that I like NEW figures!
--Nick

If you go to a convention, be sure to go to the Q&A and when it's question time, let them know. Also, usually, at most companies, any comments you leave tend to be forwarded to the right department. Plus, Hasbro used to/usually reads this column to make sure I don't say anything that they can kill me for, so odds are one of the nice folks in their company has just read your comment and let the toymakers know that they just got a thumbs-up for a job well done.

Or you could just write a review for a web site, post in a forum, etc. Toymakers (and just about anybody in the business) tend to do some vanity searching to see if anyone is discussing what they worked on-- if you write it, odds are the right personal will eventually see it.

6. Wave One of the TAC just started hitting in my area (downstate Illinois) this past weekend. I found all of the figures I have been waiting for and am most pleased. However, the Galactic Marine seems to have a flaw on his coin. There is a rubbed out part on its face on the coin. At first I thought maybe I was too rough getting him out of the package, so yesterday I went out and found another one. I got it home and carefully removed the coin and it to has the same blemishes in the same places. Is this just an imperfection in the coin, or in the manner it is packaged in? And have you experienced this with your Galactic Marine?
--Kris

I don't know if it's a packaging issue or a production issue, but I've seen a lot of smudges, scrapes, and heavily rubbed parts of coins on fully packaged figures. These imperfections seem to be somewhat common, so it might take some additional hunting on your part to find super-mint coins for your collection. My Vader, for example, has significant nose rub on the coin.

7. Entertainment Earth has TAC "Wave 3". This is the Tatooine wave. Where is M'iiyoom Onith and Elis Helrot? They are supposed to be in the Tatooine wave. As a cantina fan, screw all the repaints, skip order 66 repacks! The highlight of my Star Wars year is going to be new cantina figures. Hmm. On second thought, I should qualify that as one of the highlights. "Holiday Edition" Boba Fett is going to be a highlight too. And... Hermi Odle will be a highlight too. And, to tell the truth, I am pretty excited about the LIN droid too... Still, M'iiyoom Onith! My Feltipern Trevagg has been yearning for her company next to him on the shelf. Where is she? Has she been postponed? Say it isn't so.
--David

It's very common for figures to be delayed to a "X.5" wave. In this case, I'd assume they've been delayed until Wave 4 or will appear in a hypothetical Wave 3 remix. So truth is nobody has been postponed-- because no release dates have been given to postpone them from in the first place.

8. Just saw the hi-res pics of 30AC wave 3. What the deuce is up with that Luke (the one with the moisture collector)? How can that head sculpt possibly have passed the approval stage? It's not even close. It has a receding hair line (?) and it almost looks like a Muppet. Does anyone else think it's as bad as I do?
--Randy

The prototypes from Toy Fair looked pretty decent-- but the newest pictures do indeed look like he's balding. It remains to be seen what the final product will look like, but depending on the paints and plastics used, it's entirely possible it's the same sculpt all the way through and, well, somebody picked the wrong plastic to make this one. Because lots of fans take issue with lots of things, I'm sure you aren't alone-- but I want to hold one in my hand before I unload on it.

9. Any idea what percentage of Star Wars toys are purchased by collectors and what percentage are purchased for children to be used as, well, as they were meant to be used...as toys? I would imagine that, lacking an extensive follow-up research program at Hasbro, that would be a tough number to know for sure, but I'm assuming they have some kind of guesstimate.
--Tom

In the 1990s, it was largely collector-driven-- the early market was short-shipped, collectors bought two, three, or even sixteen of many figures to "save for later," and as such, you can get most of those guys for two bucks or less.

Hasbro has indicated in the past (before Episode III) that in movie years, it's mostly kids, and in non-movie years, it's generally around 70% or more adult/collector-- for figures. Things like lightsabers still sell huge to kids, as do some of the other toys. I'm not sure I totally buy this.

The problem here though is this: what does it really mean? Let's say, hypothetically, that 30% of figures bought this year are by kids. It's possible that a large chunk of the total production needs to be Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and kid-friendly figures because that's the kind of character one needs to start off. Sure, Greedo is great, but without a few main characters, all the aliens are a little less fun. Seeing as how many assortments ship from Hasbro with 1-2 Darth Vader figures in it, it seems somewhat shocking that collectors would absorb that many of the Sith Lord-- but I suppose it's possible.

As far as "toys" go, it's hard to say-- most kids I've seen who had POTF2 figures and sold them, sold them in mint condition. They seem to know these are "collectible" and don't really roughhouse with them, which is kind of sad really. So even a lot of these that are being given to kids aren't getting the kind of play they deserve, but some collectors actually open their toys and play with them in some respect. As such, the data you're curious to find may not be able to be easily measured.

10. I don't know if blasters are your territory, but here goes. Rebel blaster fires darts out to 30 feet. Clone trooper blaster barely makes 15! Did Hasbro bias the guns towards the good guys, or did I just get a bad example? By-the-way, apart from the bright colors, these are actually pretty nice (i,e, accurate) weapons. I plan to re-paint mine for display.
--Nick

My Clone Trooper blaster fires nicely, but yeah, it's a little weak. They're really fun toys, though, great for "office warefare" and the like. Also, did anyone else notice the color variations? So far, I've seen (as in held, in my hand) green and blue versions of the Rebel Trooper gun. I wonder if that means more are on the way, or are out there already?

FIN

A few weeks ago, I did a tally on "all" of the 30th Anniversary releases so far, and now that I look closely at the Battle of Geonosis Battle Pack, it turns out that, if you're really a hound for all the variations, you need this too. Count Dooku has no magnet in his hand for this release. The Super Battle Droid has deco different from the Revenge of the Sith and deluxe Attack of the Clones releases for this mold-- basically, it's just different enough to make you mad. Obi-Wan Kenobi's backpack has not been retooled, though-- it's just assembled incorrectly in the box. The spots on Aayla Secura are more pronounced, I believe virtually identical to the Felucia Battle Pack. I haven't yet noticed an extreme change in Jango-- but there you have it. Some of those figures are "different enough," in my book, to warrant some form of attention by you, the sucker consumer. (Hey, I bought one too-- it looks like there's going to be PLENTY of variations in every Battle Pack, even if it looks identical on the surface.

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with "Q&A" somewhere in the subject line and hopefully I'll get to yours in the next column!

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