Galactic's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 8, 2010


1. With the end of the Knights of the Old Republic comic books this month, I have two comic book questions for you.

First [snip - AP] I liked KOTOR telling the story of Zayne Carrick, and Republic telling the story of Quinlan Vos and Legacy telling the story of Cade Skywalker. These three characters seem to have their stories told most completely. After these three, who is next? In other words, if I have read the stories of the three, which books should I next take a look at?

Second, all of Zayne Carrick's story is in KOTOR and all of Cade Skywalker's story is in Legacy. Quinlan Vos's story seems to be spread over many different comic lines. The bulk of it is in the 83 Star Wars/Republic issues, but some of his story is in the five Jedi comics and the four Jedi Council comics. Is there a resource somewhere that gives the complete listing of comic books that tell the story of Quinlan Vos? I want to make sure I have read all of the relevant books. Wookieepedia is strangely incomplete on this point.

Opinions on the comics and who is good and who sucks vary wildly from fan to fan. A few people have written in to tell me they despise Quinlan Vos, Cade Skywalker, and/or Zayne Carrick. While I find these entertaining, I'm more of the school that Star Wars needs to have a Skywalker in it, so I lean more toward Legacy. No other series really focus on a non-movie character (or era) to the extent that the stories of these three men have been painted, so at this point you need to look at series like Crimson Empire with Kir Kanos over 12 issues (plus a few odds and ends), or perhaps my personal favoritest Star Wars series of the modern era. Star Wars: Tales spans 6 collected volumes, each of which is a treat, packed with short stories, longer tales, and wonderful artwork spanning every nook and cranny of the Expanded Universe. There are movie-era stories. There are one-page humor tales. Even Tony Millionaire contributed to it. It's spectacular and I think one thing you positively must read, because you'll find other characters appear here that may interest you in other series. (For example, Villie, Aayla Secura, the Skywalkers, Ewoks, and others.) I can't say this enough: go buy Tales.

Your best resource for "who appeared in what" is still presently Wookieepedia. It's not perfect-- and if it's incomplete, then it's your job to pitch in and help out. There were numerous erroneous references to droids (the characters) and Droids (the series) I've noticed, so go ahead and fix them as you can. (For example, there are no "Jugaloos" in "Coby and the Starhunters". It's a spotted Jugadoo. There are no Insane Clown Posse fans that look like elephants in Star Wars.) There aren't all that many stories that you simply have to read, but it's worth getting as much of Republic (previously simply Star Wars) as possible to get the bulk of the important stuff, and some not-so-important stuff.

2. What are your thoughts on the possibility of an online retailer [snip] or even Hasbro's own site offering an exclusive set of figures in the vintage packaging that wouldn't necessarily thrive (and even help to choke) at retail? The ones that immediately spring to my mind would be: Leia (Bespin Gown), Jawa, and the Power Droid. Maybe even R5-D4. These would all be re-releases, but far from "Greatest Hits". Figures that a niche buying group would snap up because of the Vintage type packaging, but that moms and dads wouldn't give a second look at when buying at big-box retailers. It wouldn't cost Hasbro a dime in sculpting, just churning out a limited number of figures they already have in their arsenal, slapping them on the retro-packaging (that would already exist from the old Kenner days), and offering them up to fans. What do you think, lame and dangerous, or a possibility to get some of the original 93 figures back out there in vintage packaging?

You sort of nailed the reason why this won't happen. Exclusives that are primarily online only do so by virtue of massive popularity and momentum, while retail exclusives benefit from putting a few units in tons of stores. So if Wal-Mart gets an exclusive and only has to sell 20 or so per store, that isn't too unreasonable. Expecting an online store to sell tens of thousands of a package variant-- even a cool one-- is very unreasonable because it targets a very specific group, and that's packaged collectors. While nice, it isn't enough to make Hasbro's production runs usually, so a company like Hasbro needs to be very careful about what new figures they make and about what old figures they reissue. Personally, I think the new tooled AT-AT Commander was a huge waste of resources, but as an armchair quarterback I can say all kinds of crap that doesn't mean my job is on the line for making an error.

This wouldn't work for Hasbro's own web site either as at the moment, they really don't do direct-to-consumer exclusives since the 1990s.

I really hope Hasbro puts more effort into "Greatest Hits" Vintage figures, particularly when we have a great figure from as recently as 2006 that could be repackaged. If fans buy these just for the packaging, really, there's no need to waste time and money on redundant releases. (And yes, I put the AT-AT Commander on the chart of totally unnecessary.)

3. Any word on the Vader funeral pyre? From what I read around the intertubes, fan reaction was mostly positive. But there's been no word on whether Hasbro has decided to actually go ahead with it. Have you heard anything?

I vaguely recall reading Hasbro say something to the effect that the current climate was not the right time to make this. Personally, I still think it's because most fans will say "I want that!" as soon as you say "you can't have this" regardless of how good or bad the item is. Now that we're in a period where that new Jedi Luke is out I haven't even heard fans peep about this one, so really, this is one most likely best left in the giant pile of unproduced stuff that most fans will remain blissfully unaware of.

It's a bad item. If fans really wanted it they probably would still be asking about it in the Q&As. Since Hasbro has a lot of other fully-tooled-up items to dump (i.e., the last couple comic packs we're getting as summer convention exclusives) odds are they don't want to spend the money to make a pile of twigs just yet. And frankly, the longer we get from the announcement the lamer this item is going to be, so count your blessings it got canceled so they can devote the resources to, oh I don't know, anything remotely new.

4. Do you know the fate of the following Wal-Mart exclusive Comic Packs:

Storm Commando & General Weir
IG97 & Rom Mohc
Plourr Ilo & Dllr Nep

Are these still coming out? If so, when? Did I miss them? Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

Still coming, still coming, and you're probably going to find out really soon. Wal-Mart supposedly found some content in the third one objectionable-- Hasbro or the appropriate retail partner will most likely announce what's going on with Plourr and Dllr any day now. I assume. Probably.

5. This may be too broad for the Q&A, but do you wonder if kids who watch the original trilogy find it clunky and goofy? I have to think that the movies we adult collectors hold so dear come off badly to a generation of kids raised on flawless CGI, frenetic quick-cuts and Bay-splosions. If your first exposure to Yoda was as a fearless warrior-general in AOTC/ROTS/Clone Wars, it's sure hard to buy him as a loony rubber puppet stealing granola bars on Dagobah. As you're plugged into the Star Wars community, I was just curious if you know how today's kids feel about the OT.

I don't know if kids are all that savvy as to special effects, given some of what we watched as kids-- I enjoyed Star Wars, and I also enjoyed Godzilla films. And He-Man cartoons. And all sorts of crap. With entertainment being somewhat different from person to person, it's certainly possible some kids will sit there going "I can see the zipper on that" now that we're in the age of hi-def TVs where you can see every last flaw. (I'm doing exactly that with the Blu-Rays of the original Star Trek.) I hear a lot of anecdotal evidence which can basically support any conclusion, mostly from parents, which is clearly biased in many cases. I mean, there are parents who won't show their kids the new movies until they're older, which I found a little surprising until I realized how Revenge of the Sith may be a bit much for the under-10 set. (Dismemberments, murders in the classroom, and so on.)

We still live in an era where Sesame Street reigns supreme with Elmo as its king and Dora the Explorer just hit its 10th year. And on the adult end of things, Two and a Half Men remains on the air and we just lost Conan O'Brien for Jay Leno. Movies or TV shows are no longer all things to all people, with so many alternatives it's likely that each aspect of the saga may appeal to different individuals. I loved The Empire Strikes Back as a kid because I'd never seen snow and I thought Lando was pretty awesome. Other kids insisted Star Wars was better. The only real analysis I've heard of Yoda being goofy and annoying comes from adults, and only a few of them at that.


Now that "Vintage" is just around the corner it's sort of weird to be sitting here thinking Hasbro may have missed a grand opportunity to repack more figures and even make a grab for the younger market. There's no new "Vintage" Yoda-- even an old one on a new card-- yet, sadly. I'm not seeing R2-D2, either. One of the things I thought was awesome about the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection was that with the smoke and mirrors of the new packaging, which fans loved, we got 39 figures. Of them, 7 were "new" and of those, only 5 were completely new sculpts. In the remaining 32, we were given a few repaints like Bib Fortuna, the Gamorrean Guard, Jawas, Tusken Raider, and Imperial Trooper, but most of the rest were basically repeats on a new cardback. The line seemed to sell very well, with few products going to closeout, and the price point stayed down.

Of course, this was in the era of 6 points of articulation still being the norm and 10-12 points being obscene when it came to Star Wars, which made a big difference in the costs as well. It's my hope that in 2010, Hasbro exploits its existing tooling and lets the new packaging do most of the work. 2004 OTC Yoda is great-- recard that puppy. There's nothing wrong with the 2006 General Veers except, maybe, he's a smidgen tall. While that new C-3PO has a ton of removable panels, a lot of people would probably be thrilled to see a new "Removable Limbs" version based on the 2008 U-3PO mold-- I know I sure would.

Since the late-2009 reboot of Legacy it seems Hasbro is going out of their way to make the line totally collector-friendly, or way more so than previous lines. I want to say I can appreciate this, but it seems like it's making the line less and less accessible to new fans. Plus I know I'd rather see the development resources put into new product (or even Hasbro's bottom line) rather than Yet Another Resculpt of something we have, unless it added something meaningful. Like a wire cape or telescoping lightsaber arm in Darth Vader. I'm just saying, is all.

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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