Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
February 9, 2009
1. I have seen the images for the turbo tank. WOW is all can say. I'll have to pass seeing as how my [Big Millennium Falcon] and At-tE share the same shelf. I'm running out of room!! My question is: I love the big ships, will we really be seeing any OT ships done up in the bigger scale? I know a while back someone said Slave I, but do you think it is a real possibility?
The success of these larger items is going to start speaking volumes over who really buys the stuff-- and what they do with it. As I've said before, a lot of collectors buy without thinking of storage, meaning stuff either ends up in boxes or quickly sold off. That, and if it starts selling well and it isn't collectors, that means kids can support this. The never-ending army of 4-11 year olds (unless that documentary from the future Children of Men comes to pass) is an enormous consumer group. There's millions of them, and they're not collecting them all-- their decisions to buy ones of things, especially in large groups, could well render us obsolete as Hasbro caters to their tastes. Which could well be the tastes we had 9 years ago before space started becoming an issue. But I digress.
Yes, a spy report from many moons ago did list a Slave I but as I am not the person who makes those lists, I can't tell you how many of those are true, false, red herrings, or pipe dreams. I have no doubt every significant item Hasbro makes is up in the air for a refresh, as we've seen fresh takes on the Falcon, X-wing, and TIE Fighter in recent years.
For the conspiracy theorists and pattern-watchers, remember: last year Hasbro announced the AT-TE at Toy Fair and was totally mum on the "rumors" of the Millennium Falcon up until and shortly after images of the product hit the web much later. (Despite being confirmed by Target's computers.) It's entirely possible that if Hasbro has a big vehicle one-two punch this year, they're going to save punch #2 for later. Nothing any of my sources or crystal balls or what have you say would lead me to believe that we should expect any announcements of a large, original trilogy-focused vehicle in the next five months. Hasbro may be getting better about creating surprises, if this is the case then you can ignore my previous comment. Right now I don't believe a secret of this nature will be kept long in our DPCI-having, leak-freaky, consumer-crazy marketplace.
Were I to predict a Slave I in any new XL size, I'd expect it to be about $50-$70 tops and issued around an appropriate media tie-in. Perhaps they'll wedge it in the cartoon. Maybe the live-action movie. It's too early to know for sure, especially as we still don't know if Hasbro has called the BMF a success or not. (I'm calling the AT-TE as a success-- it seems to have sold well last holiday season, and the Turbo Tank speaks volumes.)
2. Hasbro gave us a number of creatures last year -- from Geonosis, Feluccia, Hoth, Tatooine -- and a new Rancor this year. Will there be more, either reissues or never-before-seen ones? Personally, I'd love to a Krayt Dragon, Akk Dog, Vornsker or Voxyn, and a reissued Dewback and Ronto would be nice additons to the collection.
When it comes to the subject of reissues, it's my policy to remind you of two things: your impatience will serve you well, as will a desire to do the green thing. Kenner made tens if not hundreds of thousands of Rontos and Dewbacks in the 1990s, many of which are currently cluttering the basements of collectors who no longer care for them. As such, you can have both right now for $15 shipped for a sealed box sample-- less, if you watch a lot of auctions or find a lot of the two, which people do sell. When it comes to any existing item, you really are best served by exploiting the secondary market. Old modern-era (1995-present) Star Wars toys are largely worthless-- there are exceptions, but you'll almost always do better to buy what exists today than to hope for a reissue which may or may not ever come. Making sure these old toys are in a collection that might want them is good for everybody-- active trading makes the community stronger, plus it really isn't good for us if Hasbro just reissues things we could buy right now. Wouldn't you rather see the R&D go toward reissuing rare beasts like the Eopie or something completely new instead?
As to your others, you may wish to turn your eyes to Wizards of the Coast and their Star Wars Miniatures line. They're very creature-friendly, although these are not action figures. While you absolutely will see more creatures in 2009, I wouldn't expect a lot of them to be based on the Expanded Universe (which I think I need to redefine as "everything not on the movies or TV") simply because of recognition. Hasbro has done a Felucian Rancor and a couple of takes on the Ysalamir, but aside from that we really haven't seen non-humanoid creatures from the realms outside the movies or TV. (I'm surprised we never saw a Cliff Wampa repaint based on Shadows of the Empire. That's low-hanging fruit.)
While many would like to see these lesser-known creatures, remember, a lot of people don't even know what they are or what they should look like. The Krayt Dragon has had so many artistic interpretations, not to mention sub-species, that one has to be left wondering which one Hasbro would even do. I expect to see creatures from the cartoon (we've already seen a sample package for a potential Can-Cell reissue), the Rancor from Return of the Jedi, and beyond that who knows. I'll be watching the Battle Pack SKU.
3. After looking at the photographs for the upcoming waves 5 and 6 , are these figures retooled Captain Needa, Emperor Pappatine, Jawa, and Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in the stormtrooper disguise?
Do you think that Hasbro would ever have a creature cantina or Jaba's palace figures as a pack in instead of the current droids that they offer? I think that would spark more interest in buying more figures.
While I do not have a Needa in my stash yet, it has been significantly modified from previous Imperial bodies-- how much so, I'm not sure. Palpatine is the Evolutions one with some modifications. The Jawa is the 2007 Jawa, but with new accessories and maybe a tweaked hand-- I need to compare it. Obi-Wan is all new. Luke and Han, well, they're repaints. The holsters were not improved, despite promises made last year. (Or if they were, it's "improved" in a very loose sense of the word.)
Anything is possible after Hasbro gets bored with build-a-droid. Fact is there are dozens of droids left to do, so it can go as long as Hasbro wants-- the format allows for you to make frankendroids, which is good for kids, and draws inspiration from the original 1970s Droid Factory toy. Also, getting spare droid parts as accessories fits in with the films and beyond-- you'd see spare pieces for repairs here and there, creating oddly colored droids like C-3PO. For all these reasons and more, build-a-droid is a perfect fit for the franchise, plus it allows collectors to get oddball droid repaints that might take years to get out in the regular line. Just last year, build-a-droid gave us two protocol droids, and four astromech droids. In the 30th Anniversary Collection, the basic line had a couple of R2-D2s and an R2-B1. This new direction seems to be a great way to fill the need for astromechs and beyond.
There aren't many cantina aliens and Jabba henchmen left to do, and I don't know if having them sold in pieces would be a good idea. I wonder what parents would say for a kid to get a dancer's arm or the torso of an obscure alien? Those seem easier to sell as whole figures than droids, as an astromech in a new color is admittedly not the most exciting thing you can buy for $8. A cantina alien provides a better value with more potential accessories, so I think Hasbro is going in the right direction right now. I don't know if it would really help sales to move to another build-a-figure type, if anything it might make some people angry as a lot of droid collectors are already upset about being "forced" to buy figures they don't want to keep their droid collection complete. (I should also note I'm totally biased and think the Droid Factory/Build-A-Droid program is totally the bestest thing ever and you are a terrible person for not agreeing with me. Am I kidding? Who knows.)
4. I'm continually impressed with the way they use different kinds of music for the clone wars cartoon series! Was there a CD soundtrack to the movie?
Do you think we will ever get a Clone Wars CD highlighting the first season's different worlds? I thought it would be awesome to even have short little snippets of each place they have gone to. Where can i fine this stuff?
Finding soundtracks can be tricky-- soundtrack collecting as a hobby can be a lot of work. For those wanting a physical object for the music from a film, sometimes you have to go to a specialty label, or pay a premium price for a low-run album. This is not one of those situations. In this case, you could have found an answer using one of my favorite web sites. (I'm just saying, is all-- pretty much any question a fan has about anything can be answered by Google in some capacity.)
As to the TV show, there are no plans yet for such a release but it wouldn't surprise me. Paramount released numerous CDs for Star Trek over the years (obviously not one for every installment) and it's possible Lucas will do so here. We have yet to see full soundtracks for all the prequels, and the movie version of Lapti Nek from Return of the Jedi has never been released to my knowledge. With this in mind, it could be a while before some of the music sees release in any format short of leaked MP3 files on a torrent site. (I don't really like piracy for stuff that's available at retail. But if it's not for sale, well, tape trading exists I suppose.) I spoke to a friend of mine at the office who's a bit more of a soundtrack person than most other people I've ever met, and he informs me that he isn't expecting to see such a TV-based release due to the fact that Sony (who basically owns Star Wars music rights for now) doesn't do much other than big, major releases and this is small potatoes to them. Sometimes this stuff finds its way to the web through unofficial means, I suggest you keep your eyes peeled in case any music files may make themselves available.
5. I am hooked more and more by the Clone Wars week to week. Quality stuff all the way around. Even my wife watches it and she's not into SW, toys, or collecting anything at all. It's the first I really look forward to a cartoon since the original Batman the Animated Series. I've been looking for updates on the live action series and haven't heard anything recently. Are these eventually going to overlap? I don't see in any previous articles any clearity on that. The reason I ask is the affect this will have on both toy lines. Obviously there will be a big push with the live action series when it hits. Just like the animated got a big push over the regular line this year. You think it will be similar when the live action series hits?
History proves that competing Star Wars toy lines don't typically work. I'm not overly fond of the fact that The Clone Wars and The 18-Month Main Line are essentially competing SKUs. I'd hope the styles mixed, but it seems that for now it's working. Because of that, I would have to assume that a fourth SKU-- after Saga Legends and everything else-- would be created for a live-action TV show. It's also possible Hasbro would mix all these together into a bigger assortment, with targeted waves. Or phase something out. Anything could happen.
If and when the live-action TV show hits, yes, expect another massive media push. The Clone Wars seems to be looking to create the next generation of Star Wars fan-- today's kids are getting AT-TEs and lightsabers, and in 10-20 years they might be back as adult fans or high-end collectors. Unless the new live-action show is intended to be a non-merchandised property for adults-- and hahahahahahah to that-- yeah, it'll be huge.
Toy Fair this weekend, kids! What kind of reporting will Team Galactic Hunter have? Actually, I have no idea. We'll all be surprised! Here's hoping some new exclusives hit soon, or it's going to be a freaking slow winter.
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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