Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
June 8, 2009
1. What happened to Captain Fordo? I had thought the new packaging color was based on his outfit? Is there a chance they confused him with the new TRU exclusive Ponds or is it still yet to be determined whether Fordo will come out? There were several Hasbro Q&A's where they claimed he was not in the works at all. If there trying to surprise us there doing a good job. Do collectors really want to be surprised each year?
I get questions like this a lot. My initial response: "What the Hell are you talking about?"
To my knowledge, Hasbro has made no indications that any figure named Fordo will come in the not-too-distant future. If one is coming, they haven't announced it, and as far as I know a test shot hasn't leaked. (Unless I missed it.) Hasbro is determined to "surprise" fans, as they think it's fun. Video game developers are doing the same thing with the titles released on PSN, Xbox Live Arcade, and WiiWare, completely missing the point that a lot of us do enjoy the anticipation more than the surprise-- we enjoy looking forward to things, and knowing about the future in a sense. I find that when something just shows up, like Target's Mighty Muggs earlier this year, my sense of "I gotta get that" deflates pretty much immediately. On the other hand, if I see a test shot months early, it'll be rattling around in my head and I'll probably go out of my way to get it when the chance comes. Everybody is different, but when I'm in the dark, it's less important for me to run out and grab something. I like making sure I have enough money handy to get that exciting new toy, it also keeps me from buying other stuff impulsively if I know I need to keep $20 handy for... whatever it is they're doing.
2. A new second season of The Clone Wars TV series is due out sometime in the Fall of 2009. When will the new action figures be released? Or, will the season 2 release be a continuation of the original release with the same red packaging that is new now?
The new season of the TV show and new toys really don't go together. As far as I know, Hasbro is not doing any sort of "push" for the new TV season, they certainly did nothing to tie in to the launch date of the television series-- just the movie. While there may be season 2 specific product in the new packaging, there will also be new product based on the first season in this red packaging. New The Clone Wars action figures will continue to be released to stores on a regular basis, they're certainly not holding back for new episodes of the TV show.
The packaging change is not at all tied into the series. Every 12-18 months, Hasbro and/or Lucasfilm initiate a new line look and refresh the current stuff. The red packaging will likely be commonplace this summer, slowly replacing the current blue and white design.
3. Which [2009 Legacy Collection] Hoth trooper was shipping first; with beard and tripod cannon or clean shaven? Also, same question with the ugnaught; with smock or without? Collecting has been non-existant in MN for several months and I don't want to hit a revision wave and miss these.
The first 2009 Hoth Trooper was the bearded figure missing the skirt. It was followed by the skirted version, and the beardless version has not shipped yet. Right now, it seems like it might not hit until the red packaging, but that's just a hunch.
The only Ugnaught right now is the one with the smock. Looking at the currently announced Hasbro assortments, it seems possible that he, too, will not see his variant released until the red packaging unless there are a few surprise waves that will sneak out before the summer ends.
4. I'm just wondering if Hasbro will ever make a playset based on the Cloud City Gantry and Control room?
Hasbro releasing a playset of any sort is very unlikely. The Lars Homestead environment performed poorly so far, as far as we can tell, but that doesn't mean a Gantry or Control room won't ever happen. If anything, the gantry (where Darth Vader announces he's Luke's father in The Empire Strikes Back) is probably an easy thing to do, given their interest in small, pricey exclusives with an environmental piece. The 2008 Legacy Holographic Emperor Transmission set comes to mind as an example, it's very possible for Hasbro to do this if they want to. Personally, I don't want to see any more excuses to force us to buy another Darth Vader figure if we want to own a playset, which I believe would be likely were this to happen.
Don't hold your breath. If you want something like this, I'd suggest taking a page form the enterprising Transformers fans over in Asia, who have made unlicensed, non-branded products which are compatible with their favorite toy line. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems that you can get away with making a damn similar toy on a limited basis if you don't infringe on trademarks-- so I suggest you readers out there go out and see if you can make a "Space Station Playset" on a small production level which is compatible with and similar to your favorite 3 3/4-inch action figures. You'd have to change a number of details from the movie set in order to make it into a toy anyway, so it seems it would certainly be possible for fans to do something if we weren't a bunch of lazy people. (Of course, then we'd get first-hand looks at what it costs to mass-produce a toy, which none of us really want to know.)
5. Regarding the Dagger Squadron B-Wing.....it came with stickers to customize the vehicle to reflect the other members of the team. Naturally I assumed the other members would be forthcoming shortly after it's release, possibly as an exclusive or a multi-pack. Yet I still haven't heard anything, and from a marketing standpoint it would only have made sense to do this while the vehicle was still available. Any chance we will get these other members? Personally I'd love to have Gold Dagger Callen Troyt, because to date there has only been one Falleen figure. Also, there's an opportunity for a Verpine figure with Suskafoo.
You assumed? What are you doing, setting me up for jokes now?
Never assume anything with Hasbro unless they outright tell you, and even then, sometimes the truth may be stretched. It's also possible that we see what we want to see. Remember, a year ago they said that a Return of the Jedi Rancor Monster wasn't a sure thing despite having tooling available and a DPCI in Target's system basically confirming the damn beast.
Hasbro has made absolutely no rumblings regarding the release of other Dagger Squadron characters from the Star Wars: Rebellion comic book series. The fact that you got the vehicle is something of a miracle. If anything, I think the stickers with that B-Wing were to encourage fans to buy multiples of the vehicle, which the clearance racks tell me did not work out well. I know I certainly didn't buy a second one to sticker up differently.
When Hasbro releases a product, often, that's it. Just because they released over a dozen Cantina aliens doesn't mean there's a reason to do more, what you see is sometimes all you're going to get. Given the lackluster sales of the vehicle, I'd say that unless Hasbro gets hard-up for new comic packs, I wouldn't expect these characters. A Verpine, I'd say that's an even longer shot. When it comes to the Expanded Universe, any figure is often something of a miracle, particularly if there's new tooling involved. (I still don't believe there was an all-new Amanin Warrior. It's right here, next to me, and I don't believe it.)
If you want to get picky about Dagger Squadron, don't forget that the Netrem Pollard figure that Hasbro released wasn't at all based on the comic, but rather a member of Hasbro's team who works on exclusive products. (I dig this.) A Pollard based on the comic doesn't exist yet, so really, the entire squad needs to be done. Considering Rebellion was dropped and few fans seem to have mourned it, I wouldn't get your hopes up for anything like this. (And personally, after the past year and over a dozen Rebel Pilots were produced, I don't particularly want to see more of them for a while now. Or at least keep it down to 2 a year.)
Since Toys "R" Us bought out FAO Schwarz, I was hoping to go hit them up and see what all it looked like. So this weekend I just happened to be in Las Vegas, and wow, was it a sorry sight. The first time I went a few years ago, it was amazing. The last time I went was around 2003, and it was significantly less so. This time? It may as well have had a big "going out of business" sign on it. The formerly three-story store is now down to two barely-stocked stories, with very few action figures, Playmobil toys, LEGO sets, and so on. One thing that did surprise me, though, was that a number of Toys "R" Us exclusive products could be found in the boy's toys section.
After seeing it, I kinda hope Toys "R" Us opts to rebrand it and start stocking it again. The New York Toys "R" Us flagship store is pretty sweet, and FAO... uh... not so much. May as well slap on some new paint on it so we can get used to the idea that there's pretty much only one toy store chain of significance left in the USA after we lost the likes of ToyCo, Lionel Playworld, and now Kay-Bee Toys over the past couple of decades.
Speaking of the apocalypse, I stopped by the Atomic Testing Museum too. Not only were there tons of old chunks of hardware and atomic age knick-knacks behind glass, but there was a giant massive chunk of Soviet anti-American posters and such. It's always interesting to see an actual artifact of how other cultures see one another. Despite lots of Reagan-era clips and gizmos, there didn't seem to be a lot of mention of "Star Wars" (the unfun one. No, the other unfun one.) If you happen to be in the area, it's not a bad thing to see. Also fun was the Pinball Hall of Fame, which has that awesome Data East Star Wars machine that I still freaking want. It's less a museum than it is an arcade, but call it whatever you want-- you can see the evolution of the game over several decades, and see how consistent certain elements were from table to table. Specifically, illustrations with giant boobs.
Oh, and Futurama has apparently been renewed. Uh... good?
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!
Follow me on Twitter! Or don't!