Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
August 4, 2008
1. Now that Joker Squad has been reveald, can you tell us if Jes Gistang is a different sculpt from her squad-mates? From the photos it looks like her midsection is lengthened, but what about her, um, 'upper torso'? Any other differences? Thanks!!
As far as I can tell, the arms and torso are the new body parts-- the legs seem to be the same, and, of course, the head is new. Any other differences are likely to be a surprise to me as much as you at this point.
2. The four astromechs that came in the Wal-Mart exclusive Build-A-Droid 2 packs all had background stories (at least a sentence) on their packaging. The four astromechs that were in the Legacy Collection Waves 1 and 2 donŐt come with backgrounds. Wookieepedia.com doesnŐt help either with entries like (for R7-Z0):
R7-Z0 was an R7-series astromech droid which was primarily colored white with a black dome and yellow trim.
Do you know the background stories for the four new astromechs?
One of the problems with the droids is after a while, there really isn't a backstory beyond "this was a prop in a popular movie from George Lucas." Anything more than a sentence or two tends to be a stretch, but there are a few tidbits here to share.
R4-D6 is going to be the source of limited fan arguing for a while. According to a lot of sources, the bluish R4 droid is actually R4-I9-- and Hasbro/Lucas got the names wrong. Maybe. It's tough to tell, because official Lucas reference material often conflicts with other Lucas reference material, one of the more recent examples being R2-D1 and R2-D3 who were eventually renamed R2-M5 and R2-C4. So here, you don't have a backstory so much as you do a potential argument.
Meanwhile, R4-J1 really does have a backstory on Wookieepedia, although I haven't actually picked up the book which features him. If anyone wants to sell me your old worthless RPG books for my reference library to check such things, drop me a note.
Meanwhile, R7 droids have very little backstory as of yet. R7-T1 appeared (by name, at least) in a novel. So he was assigned to Luke, and sports quasi R2-D2ish coloring. As far as I can tell, there's no concrete official information on R7-T0.
3. Has Hasbro ever thought of doing an exclusive 4-pack (using some existing sculpts) to create a "denizens of..." series? This [snip] could have 4 random folk from Tatooine or Coruscant or Bespin or Nar Shadda. These would be nameless bystanders/creatures/locals that would fill out some of our diaramas. Maybe there could be a contest where you come up with a story for the individuals. As an avid collector (mostly of the original trilogy) I dream of looking up at my version of Mos Eisley and not knowing a few things about some of those background folk. A little mystery is nice.
I'm told by numerous licensors that an important thing that Lucas' camp considers during the approvals of a product is the story. If you can't put a paragraph on the packaging explaining just who or what it is, they're disinclined to produce it. There are exceptions, as seen in the above question, but this element of story is pretty important. Otherwise, it'd just be any old toy, and not something uniquely Star Wars.
This is sort of why random people from Nar Shaddaa might be a tough sell. What you're asking for is random people from a random planet which many (I dare say most) fans wouldn't recognize as being Star Wars unless you told them. Diorama makers and army builders do buy a lot of figures, but not enough to warrant something this obscure just yet. With The Force Unleashed, Hasbro showed it could throw a bunch of figures at fans with little to no name recognition (and in the case of the apprentice, no name) and still see strong sales. Perhaps it's a compelling design, or the promise of the story to come-- but there were some great designs in there. Where was I?
I wouldn't mind seeing some pop in to sets here and there, as a boxed set, it might be a tough sell. The production size on Hasbro's products don't tend to be as small as, say, Sideshow's, and as such convincing fans to actually buy a box of nameless shlubs is something of a challenge. Obviously there's a decent amount of collectors who will buy anything and everything, but it's not a sizable enough market to justify a set. BoShek may be about as close as we're going to get for a while, but as you can see, Hasbro's focus changes as each tier of characters gets fully exploited. They're going to need new figure fodder some day soon, and this may be a future avenue for toy production. Although I have to say that as a fan, I get kinda depressed to think that my hobby is now being viewed solely as an avenue for someone to crank out new figures that I personally cannot identify or name. I'd like to be able to have some name recognition for these guys.
4. Now that the animated collection is out do you foresee this being a movie thing similar to the Indy stuff or do you see it becoming as large as the legacy or realistic collection is? For me I feel it has a long way to go and I can't wait to see how much of this animated stuff they will produce.
On not such a positive note: I'm having a ton of trouble keeping my animated Grievous standing and ideas other then gluing him to the stand to keep him upright? I actually customized mine to have a peg in one of his feet even stuck to a stand he falls over, any tips would be greatly appreciated
Television is (and for a while, was) the go-to place for licensed products. Having a weekly show on the TV is like a commercial that people make an appointment to watch-- if the sales are there, I expect animated and TV-based figures to be equal to or surpass movie product eventually. It may be impossible to reach the size of the "realistic" collection, especially given the amount of molds they have to work with-- unlike the movies, Hasbro is starting from scratch here. We'll be lucky to get 30-40 new molds a year, really.
Animated Grievous doesn't stand very easily-- basically, you're on your own here, with any luck Hasbro will retool the figure with foot holes or more stand-friendly designs.
5. Ref your Q&A comments from the last batch - I agree that the Sarlacc Pit playset is both a build up and a let down. It's nice to see the pit and the skiff, but yea they could have done something else with the figures. Especially since the new collection focuses on ROTJ. Maybe some new guards, at least 1 or 2 to pad the already-released figures.
On the other hand, it is a "playset" of sorts, like people have been begging for for years now. You get the elusive skiff, and the Sarlacc! The same with the Lars' set. You get the homestead playset (sort of) finally. IMHO it's better than nothing, since we've gotten nothing for so long.
Anyway, is this a new direction Hasbro is going to start going, are they testing the waters for an actual full-blown playset someday?
Also what is going to be the price of these things? The Lars set only comes with 3 figures, if I'm correct? The skiff set comes with 5 figures and a vehicle of sorts.
I don't know if "playset" is really a good term. It's an environment, and it's a set, but I'm not seeing a lot of "play" in there. The line as it stands this year seems have a certain air of experimentation within the 3 3/4-inch brand. Hasbro has developed Unleashed and Transformers to the point where they're happy, but Choppers and other lines went away-- so they have to find other products for collector and fan dollars. Some fans want a $8 figure, and others want big, $50 items. This year, we're getting over $600 worth of what I consider "high end" action figure items-- that is, vehicles and sets priced at $35 or more.
I don't necessarily see an item as "better than nothing." Nothing is OK. We've spent thousands of dollars collecting this stuff, I personally don't mind if they skip a few things here and there. I have little doubt they're testing the waters, but for what, I don't know. A $100-$200 Death Star seems like the grand finale of such a program, but that's going to depend greatly on the reception fans end up giving the high-dollar items this holiday season.
These two new environment packs are going to be about $50-$60 each-- and yeah, the Lars set only has 3 figures and a creature. It's really expensive unless there's something cool hidden under the house, which is entirely possible.
First up: Figure of the Day. Some said "hey, you missed Saturday and Sunday!" Actually, after nearly 3 years of doing this 7 days a week, I decided to scale back just because it's starting to kill me. This is sort of my after-job job (and doesn't pay well), so I figured a 28% reduction in workload would be a good thing. So for now, it's going to be 5 days a week, so you'll have something to read at work every day. I'm also going to focus on more new stuff, as that has been requested a lot. Why not? May as well make it easy to decide what's worth picking up, after all. So for now, I'll be cranking out 5 FOTDs, 1 Q&A, and who knows what else. Thanks for reading!
Oh, what else is new... oh! I found out that Lucasfilm quietly discontinued pretty much their entire TV catalog of Star Wars titles, and like an idiot, I didn't buy them all at launch. So the Ewok live action films? Out of print. Clone Wars? Gone. Ewoks & Droids are still out there, but are definitely harder to find. I attempted to order Clone Wars Volume 2 and the Ewok adventures from Kmart's web site over the weekend, and let me tell you, that's not a site set up to take your business. I'll keep you posted if anything actually shows up in the mail.
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!
Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!