Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
January 11, 2010
1. It seems that as the basic movie line takes a pause before it 'reboots' - many sites and collectors are taking the time to reflect over the last 15 years and really look at what we have (a lot!!)
Looking back, what would you consider to be the biggest mistakes or risky moves regarding the line since it's re-launch? (marketing strategies, individual products, price points etc) - and has there been any point over the last 15 years where you have been genuinely concerned about the future of the line?
On the whole, Hasbro (and Kenner) have done a fantastic job. It's easy to nitpick certain pegwarmers, but when you considered that there are literally thousands of figures, a couple of dozen stinkers are hard to fault. (Or at least 1,000.)
I will admit, though, in the holiday season of 1999 I really did think the whole thing was going to collapse. Not only did every store in America have way too much product, but fans were writing me about the future secondary market value of their toys and seemed mostly concerned about this hobby purely an investment. And we're all still here-- who'd have guessed?
if you look back on the line's history so far, it's kinda funny. In 2002 when Hasbro first introduced the 7-inch Unleashed figures, fans freaking hated them. The varying price point gambits seem to have worked fine-- the line's still here, after all-- and really the one repeated "mistake" I'd point to is not having certain key characters in circulation, which happens in every toy line. (Case in point: The Simpsons line stopped being successful when you couldn't bring in new blood with main characters they wanted.) It's not so much a matter of doing it for the kids, but for new customers-- with over 1,000 figures, some people aren't going to be quite as charmed at the prospect of owning Lessub Sirln, especially as one of their first figures. As long as Hasbro keeps Darth Vader and his ilk in circulation, we'll be fine, and right now it seems kinda tough to find some of those guys-- as it seems to be every now and again, yet we get past it, and everything is basically OK. We'll see just how OK it really is at Toy Fair and again later this year when the stuff actually ships.
2. Waaaaaaaaaaay back in the early days of POTF2, we were all told that 'Attack R2-D2' and 'Attack C-3PO' were in development (I seem to remember this news from Tomart or something - shows how old the memory is, its from a magazine and not a website!) - anyway...... i've always assumed that Attack R2-D2 became the first modern R5-D4 (split-apart rocket firing) - - - but is this true, and if so, what happened to the Attack C-3PO concept, and has anyone ever seen a mock-up or prototype?
A little background-- in 1996, Hasbro handed out a line list with numerous new action figures including three which went unreleased in that year. These were Attack R2-D2, Attack C-3PO, and Darth Vader Removable Helmet-- which would come out in 1998. No images have ever been released of the two droids, or of whatever mock-ups existed of Vader from the 1996 line.
In my many travels I did indeed ask Hasbro employees what all they were planning for the droids, and while I got an answer I can't remember who gave it to me at the company. I was informed that Attack C-3PO was essentially C-3PX from the Droids comic series in the 1990s, but were not specific which (if any) action features the figure would have. Attack R2-D2 was described as the figure which eventually became the 1996 R5-D4 (or "Attack R5-D4") but again, we haven't seen any mock-ups. This is the truth as it is now, relayed to me years after the fact to the point where I don't remember who the heck confirmed it. So take that for what it's worth.
3. What's the word on the Matchstick/Padme wave? I've been hearing reports of them hitting, but I've seen jack near me. Are the reports of them being out just anomalies?
I got my Amidala/Matchstick figures in August. At work (Entertainment Earth, for the purposes of disclosure) Hasbro did indeed ship us some within the last month. This wave does seem to be in shorter supply, sort of-- if you look at the casepacks, each box is about 50% new stuff and 50% stuff that you probably don't want. As such, one collector (e.g., me) could buy out the entire case worth of new stuff and you're out of luck. This seems to be the case with most "new" figures in the red card line, the new guys blow out the door and the other stuff sits a smidgen longer.
4. With the Recent Dark forces figures coming out, Dark Trooper Phase 1, Dark Trooper and Kyle Katarn, do you think some of the Dark Jedi from the "Jedi Knight" game could make it to figure form?
Not really. If you look at the past 15 years, we got a Dark Trooper and Kyle Katarn in 1998... and then nothing until 2009, in which we got a new Kyle Katarn and a new Dark Trooper (plus another new one in 2010). To me, this says not only are we not going to get anything else but if we do, it's going to be another Kyle Katarn (remember, we never got a beardless one from the first game still) or another flavor of Dark Trooper. And for the record, Hasbro recently confirmed a repaint of the 2009 build-a-droid Dark Trooper was in the cards for a future exclusive and was put to pasture, so I would put those other unique Dark Jedi in the "don't hold your breath" column. Sorry, Pic fans!
5. I think it is interesting that Big H chose to use realistic movie-style images of Anakin and Obi-Wan on the packaging of the new Unleashed packs. Wouldn't be that remarkable---except that they're both wearing clothes from the Clone Wars animation. Hasbro has said they don't plan to blur the line between CW and Saga, but this looks like exactly that to me. Maybe a one time thing. Maybe a window into things to come. Hmmm. What do you think?
While interesting, I think it's just Hasbro being consistent within the Unleashed line, or perhaps the fine people at Hasbro were sitting on lots of great completed paintings that they had to use. I can speculate all day long, but I really have no idea why exactly this particular style was employed over CG models from the TV show. It's great art, though, and I really hope Hasbro uses it on a poster or (if I get my wish) they appear on future Star Wars Galaxy Topps cards. Because why not?
The animated figures in realistic style are appearing in Sideshow's toy line, of course, so clearly there's some level of interest in this sort of thing. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Anakin and Obi-Wan in this style some day, but really, I wouldn't get your hopes up too high. Hasbro is aware how much people want these uniquely styled figures, and if you keep asking for them, eventually, Hasbro will make them. There are only so many core character costumes for these guys and Anakin and Obi-Wan can and do sell well-- if you ask my opinion, it's probably a matter of time, but it could be one or more years before it comes to pass. Just remember, Hasbro listens to all of us as a group and if we're all on the same page they're going to want our $7.99.
So a week ago, the first unannounced Hasbro exclusive of 2010 hit-- because Hasbro didn't announce it, and we just found it. And this weekend, some very interesting slides hit the web, wouldn't you say?
For those who care, The Clone Wars returns on January 22, which is a very long time away. If the episode titles are any indication, before the month is up we'll see some Mandalorians. Finally. The season so far has been pretty good, but for "rise of the Bounty Hunters," well, what a load of crap. Surely, a second Bounty Hunter character would have made it an OK season name, so far it's just the one. And we've already met Cad Bane, so bleh.
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!