Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 17, 2008
1. i am largely unfamiliar with post rotj material, so If i was to begin reading from here, what are the books/ comics to read first, which order should they be read and which are the most important. i cant find this info anywhere!
Before the prequels, this would have been a really easy question to answer. The problem is that with the new movies, various bits and pieces of really good stories are sort of ambiguously canon. That is, certain elements couldn't have possibly happened, either due to an event in the new movies or their backstories. As such, you should (as I do) look at every bit of fiction with two things in mind: one, that like the toys, it's a product tied in to the movies. As such, it isn't going to be 100% true to the movies, because it isn't a movie. Two, that the entire saga is best viewed as something of a tall tale or bedtime story. Things are exaggerated, retold, and tweaked-- and as such, things will not always align. (And no, you can't call me an apologist for this. Have you heard the total continuity screw-up that is Star Trek novels and comics? Oy.)
Ideally, what I would suggest to you is to read everything by its publishing date-- because that's how I absorbed the material. Feel free to skip stuff here and there (a lot of it sucks), but it's probably a good idea to see what you can get from your local library's fiction section or graphic novels department, frequently found in the Young Adult area. There are a minimum of 48 comics published for Star Wars in many years, plus at least a half-dozen (if not more) novels most years as of late. It's a lot to absorb, which is why (if you don't mind some spoilers) it might also be good for you to pick up the various Essential Guides to Characters and whatnot and read various entries, seeing if anything appeals to you.
On top of that, depending on who you ask, there are multiple continuities to choose from. In a way, I prefer to look at Marvel's post-Return of the Jedi comics as their own thing. (Some elements were co-opted by later stories, especially the Legacy comics and novels.) The Rebel Alliance is now "The Alliance of Free Planets," Luke is pretty much totally against training anyone else to be a Jedi, and oh yes-- the writers are huge fans of Japanese culture and named two of the three chief new villain races after Go Nagai and Go Hiromi. The series also featured a totally cool female dark Jedi cyborg named Lumiya, a few Mandalorians, and some other totally cool things I won't spoil for you. At the same time, the Hiromi aren't really remotely cool (fun, yes, not cool) and the Tofs are kinda dippy. And the Zeltrons... well, different strokes for different folks. (It's a neat idea for a Star Wars race.) If I were you, I'd suggest starting here-- these were the first, and for the first few years following ROTJ, the only post-ROTJ stories. The post-trilogy stories started in issue #81, Jawas of Doom, but I'd suggest reading everything from the Empire Strikes Back adaptation onward to get most of the backstory. Since these were written when comics writers wrote monthly stories, and not six-issue arcs for trade paperbacks, there's a lot to love here and they're all collected within seven volumes called A Long Time Ago. They're not all fantastic, but it really does serve as a nice microcosm of what you can expect for all the "new batch" that started in 1991.
So, 1991-- this is the big year. The novels started with Heir to the Empire, the first in a series by Timothy Zahn. We got one book a year for three years (ouch!) and it focused on Grand Admiral Thrawn and all his crazy run-ins with clones, smugglers, Mara Jade, and more. It introduced more important concepts to the EU as a whole than probably anything else, so be sure to pick up and read the first one as well as its sequels, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. This series has huge fans and a lot of potential toys, and all three novels are also available as comics. I also suggest the Dark Horse Comics mini-series Dark Empire, which is neat for several reasons-- many of which are its appendices. The Dark Empire series also had some excellent figures made in 1998, plus it features the birth of another character who would appear in future projects. So that brings you the first complete "modern era" comic and novel series.
My other quick picks:
I was hoping to have more that I was totally ready to suggest to read, but honestly, I didn't love all that many of them. A few characters eventually get killed off, but the problem with the post-ROTJ universe is coming up with nifty villains-of-the-week. I read all four current comic series, and the only post-Jedi one is Legacy-- and that takes place over 100 years after Vader dies. It's a neat series, but most of what I love about it comes from the references to older works. There are Zeltrons, Nagai, Yuuzahn Vong, and even some characters who lived through the Clone Wars. You might be bored by it because you don't necessarily get the "hey, I know that race/face" aspect of it but it's still plenty enjoyable thus far.
- Crimson Empire: A tale of the last surviving member of the Emperor's Royal Guard, plus revenge. It's not fantastic in terms of story but the "hero" Kir Kanos is fun to follow, plus he made some brief appearances in a couple of other tales.
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron (comic series, novels): The life and times of Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron after the "fall" of the Empire. Dozens of comics and several novels were written, and I loved the comics and had friends who adored the novels. It's a meaty series, so if you decide to dive in, prepare for some research and some time spent. (I give the same "time spent" comment to the New Jedi Order series, which I opted not to read.)
2. As far as the expanded universe goes, Kir Kanos is arguably my favorite
character. When his original release came out, I bought a couple. Overall I
was pleased with the figure, but thought the paint job could have been a
little better applied (especially to the helmet visor). Recently I heard
that there would be a re-release of him in stores. I have not been able to
find much info about that. Would you happen to know anything?
Kir Kanos was originally released in a two-pack with Carnor Jax as a three-way (giggle) shared exclusive between Entertainment Earth, StarWarsShop.com, and HasbroToyShop.com. In late 2007, the set was repackaged, repainted, and reissued and as far as I can tell has already mostly come and gone. The 2007 version is virtually identical, except the new version has a clear, unpainted visor on both characters. If an unpainted visor is enough for you, it may be worth snagging. (And to tie in to the previous question, don't read the comic that comes with the figures if you can help it-- it's issue #6 in the series so it may ruin the previous five issues.)
3. Probability of Felucian single card figure [from the Force Unleashed Battle Pack at Target?]? Probability of Clone Engineer single card figure?
Hey, words to indicate a question are overrated.
Hasbro has typically taken any "exclusive" new sculpt and used it at least one additional time, with a few exceptions. There's no reason either shouldn't show up again somewhere, but where, how, and when remains to be seen. If Hasbro has another Fan's Choice poll, I know I'll be voting for the Felucian. (And barring that, I'm crossing my fingers for a Battle Pack with a couple of them in there.) With Clones, Hasbro has yet to not repaint/reissue most clone molds, with Commander Cody being a notable exception. The engineer will undoubtedly surface somewhere some day.
4. In the [Wal-Mart] Droid Factory exclusives-why pack Watto with R2-T0(?) and not R5-X2?
R5-X2 belongs to Jabba the Hutt, as far as I can tell. R2-T0 was Watto's, so if you're going to pack a droid with Watto, that one makes good sense.
5. I was wondering if you've heard anything about the Battle on Mygeeto Battle Pack. It was announced, but never shown at Toy Fair. Did Hasbro forget to bring it or has it been cancelled or pushed back? Also, any word on the Bacara in the pack? From the picture we have seen it looks like he has better articulation.
As far as I know, Hasbro has not yet delayed the Mygeeto pack. Since it's due in around May (so says my employer's web site), there's plenty of time for this to change. In the pictures Commander Bacara is absolutely a different mold-- apparently a mix of existing and new parts, so fans wanting the best-possible Bacara (for this year) are going to want to pick this one up.
6. Apparently some of these Target exclusive (3/23 street date) items are already starting to leak out early. Can you let us know what is new, a re-tool, and a re-paint so we can pass on the completely rehashed stuff?
- GH Endor Speeder Bike Cinema Scene (ewoks, scouts, bikes, Luke)
- GH Mustafar Cinema Scene (Obi, Padme, Anakin, pile of shocktroopers)
- Aayla's Jedi Starfighter
- TFU Kashyyk Battle Pack
Each of the four items qualifies as "just different enough to make you mad."
Each Galactic Heroes set has at least one new sculpt-- the Mustafar one is particularly maddening, because all that's really new is Padme and Thire from as far as I can see in the photos. Everything else, you have. The Endor set has some new Ewoks plus Wicket, who has been off the market since 2002. So by picking these up, odds are you're paying about $40 for 4 (or more) "new" figures.
Aayla's Starfighter is indeed a repaint, but the deco is fairly unique and distinctive. It has an almost cartoony appearance due to lots of solid, bright colors and I'm quite taken with it. I haven't yet found one but I'll totally buy it.
The Kashyyyk Battle Pack from The Force Unleashed is a real toss-up. The Wookiees are redecorated, so they're pretty good to pick up. Darth Vader seems to be the 500th/TSC mold, and I need to see it up close to confirm if any changes were made-- ditto the Stormtroopers, which appear to be 2004 "Vintage" molds. If you're an army builder, you probably want to get these set-- but if you aren't, well, how exciting are repaints to you?
The good news is that in April, the new Order 66 packs and the super-cool Felucian Rancor are supposed to hit. Now those I can get excited about, as there are loads of new molds in there.
7. Are you looking forward to the Indiana Jones line, what do you think of what you've seen, and what will you be getting?
Personally, I think it's wonderful to be geting anything Indy - that aside I'm really hoping we see an Indy headsculpt that looks like Harrison Ford (why don't they just sculpt a Fedora onto the VOTC Han?).
Finally, Hasbro says they want to make it an ongoing line, which would be great - what are the chances, in your opinion, of it continuing beyond 2009?
My opinions on Indy have dwindled since the first look at the products. At first, I was hoping to get the entire 3 3/4-inch line-- and now that I've seen this year's line, I don't think it's worth it. I certainly don't need Indiana Jones in multiple configurations, and I don't really need generic German troopers. The faces on the various Indiana figures are all over the place and I have yet to be totally bowled over by any of the samples, so when they hit, I may look them up in person and pick up a few. In theory, I want to get Indy, Sallah, Short Round, Dr. Jones Sr., and maybe a smattering of other figures. I'll totally get Marcus Brody if they make him so I can lose him in his own museum. I don't see myself getting too many larger items, and I don't expect my figure count to go over 12.
As to if the line can go beyond 2009? Sure. Fan stubbornness to collect can make a line go on forever-- look at Star Wars. Indy's adventures in the PC game world and comics, plus television, leave the door wide open. Heck, there are probably a few dozen more minor characters to do from the movies. The opening sequence from The Last Crusade introduced a number of characters which could make figures of some level of value. But really-- there's a lot that can be done, and it doesn't have to be a crazy rapid-fire line like Star Wars or the recent onslaught of G.I. Joe. Were Hasbro inclined, there could probably be a year of 20 or so figures, so they could keep the line going for a while. Or they could pull a Titanium and start mixing in Indy in the Star Wars cases like they did Battlestar Galactica-- it could happen.
But to be more specific: we could still stand to see (and may see this year) Toht, the German Mechanic, Belloq in non-ceremonial garb, Donavan, Elsa Schneider, the Knight, Short Round, Sallah, Willie Scott, Mola Ram, Lao Che, and pretty much anyone Hasbro feels like. I personally wouldn't want to see the line become another Star Wars, but hey, if it works, it works. I could see the line dying a quick death by the time Hasbro releases their Temple of Doom wave.
8. I really have to cut down on my SW figure buying and I was wondering if you had a thought. Should I just go with 1. figures from just the movies (excluded re-releases), 2. force unleashed (comic book and book stuff), or 3. Any new figure never released before. I really like the comic two packs and the new evolutions so, I would probably get those. It may come down to what would be cool in the future to look at someday, not really value, although that could play a part. I value your opinion.
If you actually want to cut down, your best bet is to quit cold turkey, stop reading fan sites, and only buy stuff if you see it at retail. The less you know, the better-- you can't be tempted to buy 250+ new figures/repacks in a year if all you end up seeing are a couple dozen when you're out buying diapers/toilet paper/whatever it is you get at Target.
I've found I (in the grand scheme of things) typically won't cut back, because typically whenever a good sale comes up, I'll buy heavy into a line that I like. But skipping a whole line? That's easy. While I just railed against collecting Indy, I guarantee you that if I stumble on it on clearance, I'll probably pick up as much as I can get. In your shoes, I'd change my focus to be entirely "new stuff." That is, if I have to ask myself "is it new enough?" I'd skip it. You can save a fortune this way. There's so much neat stuff coming out in all assortments that I wouldn't advise dropping any one segment (except maybe Battle Packs), because those build-a-droids are freaking sweet.
The stuff that traditionally ends up being worth something is the stuff kids rip open and play with-- which is why some Galactic Heroes items have done particularly well, collectors don't horde it. Everything else you will likely be able to pick up on eBay down the road for less than it costs in stores today. As long as Hasbro continues to repackage and reissue (and resculpt) figures, future value shouldn't really be a big concern.
9. Being a collector of all things Boba Fett, I have been delighted in the past year with all the love Hasbro has shown my favorite bounty hunter. With all the cool Fett stuff we have seen and knowing that Fett sells, what do you think the chances are of us getting a modern version of the Boba Fett from the 1979 cardbacks? You know, the "kit bashed" one we thought we were getting in in '79? I think it would be an awesome collectible and would gladly pay a premium price for it. While it is a long shot, if anyone had told me two years ago that we would see a Holiday Special Boba Fett I'd have never believed it. What do you think?
First up: do not tell Hasbro you would pay a premium price for something. That's like telling Uncle Sam about all the tips you earned in cash last year, or asking the teacher for more homework. Shop Star Wars still has the Concept Grievous for $17 and just marked down the Shadow Scout after nine months-- and let me tell you, stores will charge you premium pricing if given the chance.
Second up: chances are getting better all the time. Hasbro has been looking for new ways to do certain characters, and honestly, there aren't that many new ways to do Boba Fett. This "proto Fett" is one of the key remaining versions, and yes, I want one too-- what, with its mismatched gauntlets and brown gloves and all. There's also an all-white one based on this design too, which is sort of in between the McQuarrie version and the version Kenner made as a 12-inch figure nearly 30 years ago. I'd love to see an "Evolution of Boba Fett" set with the McQuarrie concept figure repackaged, the white "proto" Fett, and the version you described-- but time will tell. Hasbro has to keep us interested, and I don't doubt we'll see it as fans start to ask for it.
10. Whatever happened to the Titanium wave with the shadow AT-AT in it? I never saw it at retail and must have missed it at EE. Will it be repacked?
Due to various worky things, I can't say everything about this item because I don't have 100% of the facts (and may not be at liberty to share them all.) I can say though, without a doubt, that this wave has since appeared at Wal-Mart and Target stores in the USA in the past couple of weeks. I don't know where else you can expect to see it but I'd snag it on sight if you do.
A lot of fans have been asking when Hasbro is going to do another round of voting for the next Saga Legends line. Well, that line is being phased out but will be replaced by a new series of greatest hits later in the year. Hasbro hasn't made any firm announcement on when or if we can vote, but it's never too early to start campaigning! Here are my picks.
1. Oochee & Wicket/Widdle (2007). Last year, Target had two exclusive Ultimate Battle Packs, one based on Endor and one based on Hoth. The two Ewoks from the Endor set are going for $10-$20 a pop-- which is kind of ridiculous, when you consider they're both repaints of a $5.99 2-pack from 1998. So my first vote goes to these guys, as is, no changes.
2. Red Royal Guard (2005). This was a good figure but has been away for a while-- and with a minor tweak or two, it could be super-cool. All Hasbro has to do is retool one of the hands and give him a Force Pike, and I'd probably buy six more in a heartbeat. The original rifle has to go, but as long as the accessory is upgraded, it'd be a great figure to see again.
3. Pablo Jill (2005). People are paying stupid amounts of money for this guy-- most carded samples go below $20 but for some reason, opened ones actually seem to sell for more on eBay. One went as high as $36! Fans want this guy and obviously logic isn't taking a role in the purchase, so getting it in stores again might be a good idea.
4. 501st Clone Trooper (2008). Because better safe than sorry-- this super-articulated figure is supposedly shipping but I know I haven't seen it yet, and I expect a lot of fans to want not one or two, but a dozen. May as well get ready for the demand, and if Hasbro is feeling saucy, it'd be cool to include random droid parts with each trooper. I'd buy 4 Clones to build a new R2 unit, assuming the Clones were new enough.
5. McQuarrie Concept Luke Skywalker (2007). It's a good figure, but for some reason, it really shot up on eBay. Since there are only so many new and exciting ways to do Luke, it might be fun to issue this figure so that kids could get it.
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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