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Collector News

Star Wars Q&A: May 8, 2009 Many moons ago Hasbro mentioned that the Imperial Dignitaries released were precursors to the rest of the Imperial Dignitary gang. Given that it has been well over five years since the first two Dignitaries came out, any chance of seeing Sim Aloo or the others any time soon? (Especially Sim Aloo who we had in the vintage line).

Hasbro: There are so many different "sub-themes" to balance in the figure line that it is tough getting to all of them as often as we'd like.  Sim Aloo is a logical choice for the next Dignitary who needs updating, and we also have a strong desire to see Sate Pestage in figure form as well...Comic Packs would be a more likely place for him, given his storyline presence in the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics. With the Unleashed Battle Packs coming to their end, and the Titaniums finishing at the end of this year, and Muggs being reduced to only Toys R Us exclusives, what can you tell us about the viability of the Star Wars Transformers line?

Hasbro: Star Wars Transformers Crossovers is a strong line and will continue on through 2010.  Unleashed 2" actually shot up in popularity with the success of Clone Wars (after we had already made the decision to rest it). It's a likely candidate for return some day. This question is in response to a previous Hasbro Q&A question from another site which asked about creation of more cantina patrons.  In your response you cited how collectors alone do not drive the market, pointing to the Yarna figures that seem to be abundant on pegs. In your response you point out that figures need to appeal to kids and collectors and while collectors may yearn for a Yarna or a Willrow Hood, the kid market prefers more iconic characters.

Hasbro: Your suggestion is very interesting and one that we have already been contemplating and pursuing - you can see this with the introduction of the "GH" or Greatest Hits-type characters within the Legacy/Droid Factory lineup, which is separate and parallel from the Saga Legends assortment.  Even more of these GH-type figures will be coming in the Fall, although we will drop the GH-desgination going forward for the sake of simplicity.  Keeping these greatest hits-type figures in the lineup, completely unaltered from the best previous release, does allow us to focus our energies on new figures.  It is likely you will see us follow this approach even more in the future, since we have indeed over the past few years does a pretty solid job of making sure that the main heroes have great versions of them in rotation or can be drawn into rotation. Retailer expectations are exceedingly high and items (or assortments) that aren't pulling their weight are the ones that are cut or dropped. This means that we need to ensure that we have the greatest possible audience in each of assortments, and it's a necessity that we keep these greatest hits coming to surround the smaller-batch collector-focused characters and offset some of their inordinate development costs.  We are absolutely committed to keeping collectors excited and engaged in the lineup, and that means a steady stream of new and exciting choices; we just have to work harder to make sure that the assortments are healthy and productive, and don't cripple the system with massive tooling costs, at the same time.  Thanks for the thoughts on this - we are on the same page.    Follow-up question:  With these iconic characters appealing to the kid's market, have you found there to be more appeal in a resculpt of a character versus a repackaged, rereleased figure?

We ask because so many of the main characters have close-to-definitive versions already released, we wonder if it make more sense to put the effort of new sculpts and new toolings to figures that have never been done in the modern line (the missing Imperial Dignitaries, etc.) or ones that do not have good versions yet (such as Lobot needing an update), and keep the iconic, kid appealing figures to the Greatest Hits/Saga legends line.

Hasbro: See above… On a few occasions last year US Walmart Exclusives found their way North to some of the Canadian Walmarts long after their US debut and landed on our shelves at clearance prices. How does this happen or more specifically why does this happen? Are they left over product that Walmart US feels they can't sell? Is there anything we Canadian collectors can do to encourage it more often? I'd love to see the US Exclusive A-Wing hit our stores (even at full retail price) but as it stands it's pretty much a crap-shoot.


Hasbro: When this happens, it means that a) Wal-Mart Canada elected not to carry the exclusive the first time, and b) the exclusive was closed out in the US but Wal-Mart still had inventory and moved it to Canadian retail.  It's unlikely this will continue, as we are trying to encourage the opposite: placement of all exclusives with Canadian retailers if possible, and dialing in on the numbers so WM U.S. does not have overages on any exclusives.   The A-Wing is not planned to go north of the border, unfortunately. Will the Wal-Mart exclusive evolutions packs (Evolution of the Commandos, Imperial Pilots #2 and Rebel Pilots #3) be coming to Canada in September?

Hasbro: We have confirmation that the Evolution packs will now indeed be coming to Wal-Mart Canada this Fall.  Great news - as these are fantastic.  Look for them available at approximately the same time as the U.S. version hit retail - approx 9/1. Now that we almost have all of the droids from the ANH Purchase of the Droids scene, is there a chance that Hasbro would make a new bigger Sandcrawler vehicle? You could increase the appeal to kids by making it also open up to function as a Kenner-style "droid factory" and ship it with a ton of different BaD parts (or even a BaD R2, C3PO and bronze RA-7). The OTC Sandcrawler looked great, but if Hasbro can't make a new one to the proper scale (which admittedly would be super huge), if you just made one bigger than the vintage mold this would be a terrific improvement.

Hasbro: We have actually looked at this, but the costs would be staggering to deliver this very passive vehicle in a larger scale and we do not feel it would be successful at the larger size.  We'd put this up there with the likelihood of Jabba's Sail Barge - we would love to do it, but the likelihood is very, very low. Reissues are something that many collectors have grown accustomed to over the years.  Most notably with the vehicle line.  However there are some vehicles that have only seen limited release or re-release.  And some have never seen wide release at all.  Among them?

-AT-ST (general release in the 1990's / Toys R Us / Target exclusives)

-Landspeeder (Toys R Us exclusive)

-TIE Bomber (WalMart exclusive)

-Tatooine Skiff (Target exclusive)

-Y-Wing (Target/Toys R Us exclusives)

Can you elaborate on what makes it more difficult to bring these vehicles to the general release market?  And might we see any of these vehicles re-released in the near term?

Hasbro: Many of the ones you cite are more expensive than the regular Starfighter Vehicle assortment (notably TIE Bomber, Y-Wing, and even the AT-ST),.  Because of this, they are prime candidates for exclusives because we don't have a higher "mainline" vehicle price point in the $35-$40 range to host them.  Others, like the Skiff, have a very narrow interest and would likely be released once every several years at the most frequent.  The Landspeeder is one that we do not feel can command the price of the Starfighter Vehicle Assortment, and thus needs to be an exclusive to see the light of day.  We just haven't found the spot for it yet, given the other things we've been looking at.  Eventually, there is a high likelihood it will be re-released. Collectors are still a little puzzled about the Return of the Jedi wave that was previewed in the Star Wars Insider.  Where in the schedule does this wave fall now?  Has the name on the Sullustan B-Wing pilot from this wave been settled?  And is there any chance of a look at that one?

Hasbro: The EpVI wave has now been pushed back to be the second wave in the new red/white line look and will be on shelf around October if not earlier. The timing was due to a wave order switch, when we made the Epi our lead wave to tie into the 10th Anniversary of EpI and the Qui-Gon/Eopie mail-in.  The red Sullustan will be Ten Numb. I know that the Clone Wars is the hot ticket right now but where is the love for the Legacy? The line of deluxe figures from the Clone Wars looks solid for the fans of that line. For those fans of the Legacy collection we feel left out. It has been about six years (four if you count EIII) since we have gotten deluxe figures. Will the deluxe figure ever show up for the Legacy some day?

Hasbro: Interest in Deluxe expressions has always been much lower than for basic figures, but given the success of Clone Wars and demand for more of the mid-range vehicles, we believe that the Clone Wars Deluxe assortment is poised for success. It's very unlikely that we will be pursuing a deluxe-type assortment for the Legacy Collection; that is why we have tried to do some things differently in the Battle Packs this year (even thought that format will be changing eventually as well). And, this is not a Q&A question, but a question just for our site guides so I'm hoping it can be answered: Can you tell me what line the Wal*Mart Droid Factory 2-packs officially belongs to? The 30th Anniversary Collection or Legacy Collection?  Thanks!

Hasbro: Because of the packaging look, it should officially belong to the 30th Anniversary lineup.  In fact, had we not had tooling delays, it would have been out in Spring 2008 as intended, instead of later.  The second one will be Legacy and will debut in the blue/white line look in Aug/Sept. The deluxe assortment seems to be inspired mostly by the success of the Clone Wars, and thus the early figures we've seen are focused on that property.  Is there a chance we'll see Original Trilogy deluxe figures, or realistic prequal era figures/characters in the line, or will it mostly be focused on Clone Wars?

Hasbro: Interest in Deluxe expressions has always been much lower than for basic figures, but given the success of Clone Wars and demand for more of the mid-range vehicles, we believe that the Clone Wars Deluxe assortment is poised for success. It's very unlikely that we will be pursuing a deluxe-type assortment for the Legacy Collection; that is why we have tried to do some things differently in the Battle Packs this year (even thought that format will be changing eventually as well). Regarding the upcoming Scramble on Yavin battle pack, can you confirm which body Red Leader will be using? Will it simply be the VOTC X-Wing Luke body with a new head sculpt (as shown in some pictures,) or will it utilize the new torso pieces from the recent Nrin Vakil figure as shown in other pictures?  Most fans are hoping for the Nrin Vakil body, as it's a more average height body/limbs it seems, while Luke is obviously a shorter character.

Hasbro: Red Leader used the Luke figure.  When the set was originally created, the Wedge/Nrin Vakil body was not available and thus the Luke body was selected.  In fact, if it wasn't for some heroics from our engineering team, Nrin may not have had that body at all since he was supposed to use it *after* we were done running the Wedge/X-Wing exclusive, which was subsequently delayed until this Fall.  We managed to push the tooling dollars around, and we were lucky to get him, but not soon enough to impact Red Leader. Multiple headsculpts are a great way to make the maskless troopers have some variety, as evidenced by the upcoming Hoth Rebel Soldier...  Is this something Hasbro will make more "standard" with army builders such as Rebels, Bespin Guards, Naboo military, and other non-clone type soldiers? It's a great feature and definite encouragement for army building.

Thanks as always for your time, and looking forward to the latest news on the line!


Hasbro: We like to see variety, but we probably will be doing fewer of the "running change" type figures since it causes extraordinary difficulties in our system.  More likely we will look to do head sculpt changes and release alternate versions in some other way, either as candidates for "repaint waves" (should we ever need those again), or Battle Packs. Seeing as you've already made a figure of R3-A2, wouldn't it be better to make one of the other two predominately orange R3 units on Hoth for the upcoming BAD figure? One is in the control room and has some grey on his front and his legs, and the other one is in the hangar, and has differently painted back panels.

Hasbro: R3-A2 is one that we wanted to get back out there as there seemed to be fan demand for a re-release.  If we could go back (and it's too late to change at this point), we would have looked elsewhere in Echo base for a different droid.  We'll look at those droids for future opportunities. There have been a lot of cool droids so far in the new CW series, and even a rack of assorted astromech and other droid parts in the Naboo repair shop. Might we see the BAD concept work itself into the Clone Wars line in some fashion? Their collectibility and creative construction features seem to be ideal fit for younger fans. You could even use the existing astromech parts since they are very similar to the animated style anyway.

Hasbro: The BAD concept will not find its way into the Clone Wars - it will stay a part of the Legacy collection.  The Clone Wars figures will continue to have missile launchers in most packs. I recently noticed that in the Clone Wars movie, Ziro the Hutt has some "bartender" astrodroids wearing the same serving tray that R2-D2 used on Jabba's Sailbarge. Seeing as how there was also a second, red-striped R2 unit on Jabba's sailbarge using the same serving tray, what are the chances we might see you dust off the old "bartender" R2-D2 mold to produce one of these other droids?

Hasbro: That would be an interesting idea, perhaps in conjunction with a release of Ziro sometime.  Right now it's not confirmed, but it is something we are thinking about. The Battle On Mygeeto battle pack was never available in the UK. Are there any plans to release this again as part of the Legacy Collection, and what other hard-to-find battle packs might we see being re-packaged at a later date?

Hasbro: There are no plans right now to re-release Battle on Mygeeto.  Right now, the Battle Pack lineup is slated to be new sets (some of existing figures), but none of the previous sets are planned to come back into the lineup.  That may change over time as we continue to respond to retailer needs and look to previous "greatest hits" to keep the assortment going.  If that happens, we'll take a look detailed data we get back from retailers to decide what to get back out.  Mygeeto is a good candidate for release some day.  Could we please get further details on the exclusives that will be released in the UK (such as Jabba's Rancor, Comic Packs, Droid Factory and Geonosis Arena sets, etc.), along with dates and which store(s) will be getting them?

Hasbro: The Geonosis Arena 2-packs will be coming to Tesco this Fall. Unfortunately the news is not so good for the rest.  We have offered these exclusives to several retail partners, but unfortunately did not secure placement for most of them. Comic Packs are not as strong across all of Europe as they are in the U.S., so the exclusives (both Spring and the Fall wave which has yet to be announced) will not be coming to the U.K.  The Rancor and Droid Factory will also not be coming.  We share your frustration - these are all excellent items and deserve to be distributed all over the world, but we need willing retail partners to be able to able to get them to you.  We are working to solve issues for 2010 further ahead of time with the goal of having better global alignment.  With the demise of the Hasbro UK Toy Shop, will collectors in the UK now be able to buy directly from the US store (typically exclusives not released in the UK along with other items like stands and cases, etc.)?

Hasbro: Unfortunately, U.K. collectors will not be able to buy from the U.S. store.  The only other country in development for shipment outside the U.S. is Canada, and we have had extraordinary difficulties in getting that on line.  We don't know if we will be able to add more global distribution to the U.S. site, but if we do it won't be for some time.  Sorry - wish we had a better answer for you. Recently revealed in an issue of Star Wars Insider was plans for a new Ewok 2-pack - Paploo & NoApaak.  Paploo I know, but who or what is NoApaak? You hinted at a great story behind his name, care to share?  And any chance you've got a pic you could share?

Hasbro: Sure - we'd be glad to tell the story.  It starts in Spring 2008 when a 7-year old boy named Noah came to visit Hasbro. He lived locally, and was about to undergo an operation that would keep him bedridden for months.  Noah was a big Star Wars fan, and when we learned of this we wanted to meet him and sit down and talk about Star Wars. This young man was amazing - sunny, and bright, and even though he had been through a lot of pain and medical work before, it did not disrupt his disposition. And he clearly knew his Star Wars!  As we love to do with kids who are fans of Star Wars, we started to talk about what their favorite characters or moments were in the films (remember, this was pre-Clone Wars so his knowledge was primarily from the films).  As it turns out, Noah was a big fan of Ewoks and we were about to design the Ewok set from the EpVI wave.  We had handy one of the on-set shots with all the Ewok characters given to us by Official Pix (we often source these set shots for development inspiration).  So we asked Noah which two Ewoks stood out to him as interesting and that we should do next.  One of Noah's choices was Paploo - an excellent choice since Paploo was overdue for an upgrade. We did not recognize the second figure but he seemed an interesting choice and we stuck with it. A few months later when we were discussing the set with Lucasfilm, we realized that the second Ewok Noah has chosen has never been officially named (turns out there are a number of them still).  When we told Lucasfilm the story of how we picked this figure (or rather how Noah picked him), it suddenly made perfect sense to name the character after Noah as a tribute to the strength and bravery of an incredible little boy.  Lucasfilm wholeheartedly agreed, and came up with an Ewok-language name incorporating Noah's first and parts of his last name.  We were thrilled, and when we called Noah's family to tell him they were beside themselves.  Since then, Noah has had his operation and is making a strong recovery.  We promised him that we'd get together and celebrate as soon as we got our final samples at the start of production so he can have the first one.  It's a small story in the grand scheme of things, but it made a *huge* impact on Noah and his family, and we can't thank Lucasfilm enough for helping to make one little boy's life, and Star Wars experience, magical and something we'll all never forget. What are the chances of the following figures being recycled into future Saga Legends assortments - VOTC Chewbacca, VOTC Han Solo, and VOTC Luke Skywalker?  All three seem to have developed a bit of demand on the secondary market lately thanks to that Big Falcon and most folks wouldn't mind seeing them again on the new cardbacks.

Hasbro: Good questions.  The VOTC Chewbacca will be coming into the Saga Legends line this Fall.  The VOTC Han is not available because his tooling is in use elsewhere for another set; instead, we will be getting an older Bespin Han back out there (not a vintage-quality articulated figure, but since this line is kid-targeted we went with the best one we had).  We did not have the VOTC EpIV Luke planned for re-release because of the upcoming DSII Luke, but he is a good candidate for getting back into the rotation sometime.  Thanks for the suggestions.    And finally, a question from one of our readers:  "Any chance we could ever see some Star Wars themed Clipo sets?  My kids love using Clipo to build 'ships' for their little Star Wars Heroes figures!"

Hasbro: We do not have any plans to cross Star Wars over with Clipo.  Cool idea, though - send us some of your kids pics when you get a chance so we can see how the little ones are playing Star Wars! Any chance of using the 9" DC/Marvel Signature Series bodies for a 9" line of Star Wars figures?

Hasbro: We don't have any plans to go to this format, since it's a pretty niche area of collecting interest (we have abandoned it from the Marvel line for the same reason).   Instead, we prefer to let Sideshow continue the larger-figure excellence in their outstanding 12" lineup. Will we see build a droids released in multipacks geared toward mix and match action? Something along the lines of the C3PO and battle droid pack from Episode 2.

Hasbro: Right now we don't have any plans to go this route right now, but it is something that we have discussed.  With the great library of parts we're building up, the opportunity to do something fun like this is interesting. Are there any current plans for a new Zuckuss figure? Relative to the other bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back, he seems over-due.

Hasbro: We agree.  A Zuckuss is indeed in the works….we will have more information available at Comic Con. This larger AT-ST people are rumorizing about, that would (hypothetically) be in the mid-size ($50+) range, correct?

Hasbro: We certainly hope that if we did pursue a new AT-ST that it would be larger-sized but also a decent chunk less than $50. Will we ever see an apparition of Obi-Wan Kenobi as he appears to Luke Skywalker on Hoth (with his hood up)?

Hasbro: This is a cool idea, and ever since we released the great signature spirit of Anakin we have been hankering to do more "spirit" figures with the same soft goods and sheen effects.  A flexible version of Obi-Wan who could be posed with hood up or hood down could be handled the same way. We've been keeping some of these spirit character ideas (Obi-Wan, Yoda, Qui-Gon, Sebastian shaw Anakin, and even Luke Skywalker from Legacy) off to the side for future repaint waves if needed, but with none in the offing right now we may look to slot these into the mainline lineup in future years. Knowing that we can't have a cardback with EVERY figure on it like the old days, would it be feasible to put together and periodically insert a DVD with pictures (and minor factoids) about the line?

Hasbro: DVDs are very expensive for us to produce, not to mention a tremendous amount of labor to oversee and produce.  Instead, we prefer the cross-sells which, while not being able to contain many pictures, do show more of the lineup.  Also, we plan to produce another poster this year for Comic Con (as we have done annually for a long time) that showcases all of the "new" figures this year in The Legacy Collection.  In addition to being available at Comic Con, it should also be available on-line as well. My favorite figures are the Stormtroopers / Sandtroopers so thanks for doing the Spacetrooper. He's an awesome addition to the line-up. I like the "VOTC" style trooper but think the recent Tantive IV Battlepack trooper is far superior. For me it's that whole torso joint thing that just doesn't work right. It gets loose and the figure looks hunched over. The Tantive IV troopers have a better stance and are aesthetically more pleasing with their ball jointed heads and wider stance. Would it be possible to do a carded run of these awesome troopers / Sandtroopers in the near future? You could give them the correct utility belt with a functional holster and give them two hands that can grip a blaster the right way (the left hand is usually hard to open).

Hasbro: The Tantive IV figure is actually the trooper that debuted in the Evolution pack back in 2005, that we have used every once in a while (and which also came out as the Sandtrooper in Saga Legends in the TAC lineup).  Good point about the hands - that's come up a few times and something we can look into.  It's a safe bet given the great aesthetics of this figure that we'll look to use him again, and a regular Stormtrooper in Saga Legends seems like a good idea - perhaps for Fall 2010. Will we ever see more Clone Wars Figures based on the 2004 Cartoon Network's Clone Wars Series in Realistic Style?

Hasbro: Beyond L8-L9, who is a buildable droid in one of this year's Legacy Collection waves, we don't have any more figures lined up.  We would never say never, the focus has been on the new Clone Wars series.  It's possible we could do one or more here or there - Fordo comes to mind as an important one yet to do - but we just have not slotted him into a figure lineup yet. Can we get a high res picture of Clegg Holdfast? If not, maybe let us know which Klaatu is coming in a future wave?

Hasbro: Sure - sorry that a site beat you to this one in the previous Q&A.  See attached pic of Cliegg Holdfast. With the unfortunate announcement of the Titanium Series line ending after 2009, fans want to know all about its now-limited future. How many new tools will we be getting between now and its end? When can we expect the last wave, and what will be in that wave? What happens to tooling and promises that were on the bubble for '09, like the Outrider which was promised and forgotten last year and then promised again for the end of '09, or the Gungan Sub which was tooled up and promised in 2000 but canceled? Using the term "hiatus" as you did, is there any hope for the brand's revival in the foreseeable future? As Titanium Series is the only outlet for the majority of Star Wars vehicle toys these days, will Hasbro be filling that void with an all-plastic form of Titaniums?

Hasbro: There should be nine all-new tools to look for from now until the end of the year, with numerous other repaints rounding out the line (these new tools all follow the latest that have hit shipped recently - BARC Speeder, Xizor's Ship, and IG-2000).  The nine include:  Hound's Tooth, Clone Wars Y-Wing, Hyena Bomber, Punishing One, Malevolence, a new Republic Gunship tool, Mist Hunter, Nebulon B Frigate, and the Outrider.  Unfortunately, the Gungan Sub did not make the cut.  We have a lot of heart for the series ourselves - it is amazing to reflect back on the 5-1/2 year run of this line and the incredible number of cool ships that were brought out.  We are proud of it and feel it was a tremendous line, but we just couldn't keep it active any longer since the large development cost, the need for a lot of items to maintain retail productivity (an outcome of having a smaller but passionate fan base), and high cost of goods are all factors that could not be addressed for a healthy line. Aside from perhaps an improved cost of goods, an all-plastic vehicle line would not solve the problem either, since tooling costs are the same for plastic or metal, we would still need to introduce a ton of designs, and it would not necessarily attract a larger audience for Titanium.  It's something we'll be exploring, though.  It's important that we continue to work on ways to bring out the most exciting Star Wars vehicle lineup we can.   With the nifty Build-a-Droid line, every basic figure gets a little bio paragraph on the card except the actual build-a-figure droids themselves. Some of these BAF droids are made up by Hasbro (or are they unknown designs made up by Lucasfilm, we don't know) and have no backstories at all, while others are from comics, novels, even tertiary characters in the movies. Might Hasbro add a section to their website explaining to casual collectors who these droids are, both in-universe and even behind-the-scenes info, and perhaps make up bios for the characters new to the line? This would be win-win, fans would get more nifty bios about their figures, and Hasbro would get more interaction between the figures and their site.

Hasbro: We did not create any of the droids in the Droid Factory lineup - they have all come from Lucasfilm entertainment reference, with names supplied by Lucasfilm in the event that a particular figure had yet to be named or had been named by fans but not yet given the official Lucasfilm designation.  That's a great idea about given each of their bios a day in the sun.  We have some new plans on how to market the droids themselves a little better, especially since we'll be phasing out the confusing "GH" designation for repacked figures in favor of a continuous BD-series code.  As a result, we are going to create virtual guide maps to collecting the parts from new/refresh of repack/carry-forward figures.   The way we are creating the waves has not changed, with either 6 or 8 new figures, just the way we are labeling some of them is changing.  Thanks for the suggestion - it's a great idea. Given that we have a number of figures from SW: Purge (Bultar Swan, Tsui Choi, Koffi Arana, and of course, Darth Vader), does Hasbro plan to complete the remaining Jedi figures from that story - Roblio Darte, Sia-Lan Wezz, Ma'kis'shaalas, and Jasus Farr - at some point in the foreseeable future?

Hasbro: An excellent question.  The answer, though, is probably not.  Unless we do a multi-pack of figures where we could get extensive re-use of existing characters, it's very unlikely that we'd tool up these characters on their own.  That's one of the inherent challenges with the EU - there are so many great and interesting choices, especially with Jedi, that we can only cover so many in a given year.  A good example is the Republic comic series, during the Clone Wars era - each  issue is literally a treasure trove of great heroes (and villains) but we simply can't do as many as we like as fast as we'd like in one area.  Over time, we just hope to be able to continue to delve into these great veins and systematically tackle an occasional one in a particular series. We'll take a look at the Purge Jedi once more, and if they fit something we're doing theme-wise, and can get them tooled, we'll certainly consider it. If you had to guess, shoot-from-the-hip style, what percentage of Star Wars would you guess Hasbro has covered with the existing 3.75" line? Obviously the EU has a much wider number of characters, vehicles, and settings to address, so you can pick and choose which sources you'd like to answer for - e.g., "out of just movies & tv" or "out of movies, tv, video games, and recent DH comics", whatever works for you. But with so many main characters and even secondary and tertiary characters getting the action figure treatment, how far does Hasbro think they've taken the brand over the last decade?

Hasbro: Let's tackle the movie figures first, which is the heart of the question. As much as we'd like to answer that with some hard numbers, the truth is that as we have elevated the design and aesthetics of the 3-3/4" figure form to a new plateau, it makes us look at our existing back library of movie figures in a new light, and periodically select "iconic" candidates for upgrades. From this standpoint, the line can continue for years with new versions of the core characters.  There are literally hundreds of movie figures we still believe we can deliver that would delight for years and years to come, and it's our hope that we are able to deliver far into the future.  As for comic figures (both Marvel and Dark Horse) - the answer is easier...we don't believe we've even scratched the surface of what is possible, or what we'd like to do.  What is realistic to do is another story, since there are only so many slots to go around and so many fantastic characters to draw from (one dream of ours, for example is to knock off the Rogue Squadron in it's entirety some day....but even pecking away at a few a year leaves us many years away!).  Clone War is just getting started, and based on the tremendous ratings and toy success, the future is long and bright.  So in short, we think that we are just hitting our stride as to what we can deliver, and hope that you and everyone else stays with us for the tremendous adventure that still lay in front of us with Star Wars.     With Titanium Series ending, the opportunities for re-releasing popular and hard-to-find tools is getting quite short. With that in mind, might you be able to shoehorn re-releases of some of those popular, hard-to-find pieces like the Droid Gunship, Mon Calamari Cruiser, Trade Federation Landing Craft, Rogue Shadow, and Hailfire Droid into the last few waves (perhaps through revision cases) to make sure collectors are as best served as possible, rather than letting the Titaniums' ending serve only scalpers? 

Hasbro: The Hailfire and Droid Gunship will be coming back in the last wave, on shelf around Oct/Nov.  Unfortunately, it is too late to add anything more to the Titanium lineup as we are well passed our window for adding to the packaging lineup. While we'd always prefer a worn paint deco on vehicles and droids, we understand sometimes the budget just can't do it. The next time you do a vehicle with a white deco where the budget prohibits additional weathering paint, could you please not use the clean-white color of plastic that you've used on the Clone Wars V-19 or the TLC Dagger Squadron B-wing? This white plastic is just too clean, it screams for weathering as it hides every sculpted line and gives an unwelcome plasticky toy look, while the slightly off-white colors of plastic seem to bring out the lines and look a little weathered better than clean.

Hasbro: Thanks for the input - certainly something to consider when there are definite times when costs prohibit us from pursuing all of the deco ops that we'd want (especially a challenge with new vehicles where most of the cost is tired up on the tooling).  We'll pass your thoughts on to the design team. Can you give us any more details as to the likely Pilot characters we are going to see over the next 12 months, you've mentioned Gen. Salm and Lt Telsji previously as one's you'd like to do, are they there? What about the likes of Gavin Darklighter or any of the Wraiths?

Hasbro: Your question is an excellent, as we are quite fond of pilots ourselves, and will try to provide some guidance. While there aren't going to be quite as many pilots in the next twelve months as there were in the last twelve, there is still a good lineup coming. Confirmed ones for this Fall include the Rebel Pilots #3 Evolution pack (Wal-Mart exclusive including John D. Branon - Red 4, Shira Brie as X-Wing Pilot, and Jake Farrell - A-Wing Pilot), Wedge X-Wing pilot (in a set still to be announced but is one of the worst-kept secrets of the line), Luke - Snowspeeder pilot (new sculpt) in the EpV wave this Fall wave, and Ten Numb (red B-Wing outfit) from the EpVI wave this Fall.  In addition, there will be at least 4 more coming in Wal-Mart exclusive comic packs over the next twelve months, and the likelihood of a several more late next year in various exclusives.   The Clone Wars C-3PO is great! The most poseable version yet. Are you going to make a SA classic version of him anytime? Even if it's not in totally shiny gold finish as the others have been.

Hasbro: One of the challengers has been getting the vac metal finish right on C-3PO in the Saga/Legacy line, because to nail the finish we cannot use the kind of plastic that lends itself to insert-molder joints.  So it's either one or the other, and in our discussions with Lucasfilm the need to have the shiny gold finished has always prevailed.  So the current "Endor Throne" version of C-3PO is probably about as good as it will get for a realistic C-3PO. Ref the Wal-Mart Droid Factory Exclusives. I think the Build-A-Droid idea is a good one but not when it's used on exclusive repacks. We have to buy 5 packs just to get a new Dark Trooper! With the exception of Corran Horn they are all repaints or variations too. That combined with the fact these aren't available in the UK means we have to spend a lot of cash to get them. Can't you bring back the Deluxe figure style and just sell the Dark Trooper that way? I'm sure you would get a lot of buyers.

Hasbro: We look at the exclusive wave as having new upgrades to each character (not always possible, but we do try) and a new droid in every pack, so the packs themselves are a solid purchase and together they even better.  We do try to make sure that we are earning your purchase with each one, and feel that if a fan likes droids, then they will enjoy the packs and be rewarded with a tremendous buildable droid.  Another way to look at it is like this - in the Droid Factory basic figure line up, you may get ten figures that would include a buildable protocol droid and an Astromech droid.  For the same (or perhaps even lower) price in the WM lineup, you get 10 figures and the Dark Trooper - a solid proposition. Last year at Comic-Con, it was mentioned that there were plans for a second Endor-themed Battle Pack, which would include the second Imperial Officer pulled from the Shield Generator Assault set. More recently, early word has come out of such a set and the Original Trilogy fans are eager to learn more. Can you tell us who will be in this new set (please have some Ewoks!), and is it possible to see a close-up of that ill-fated Imperial Officer, even if it's the same photo from last year's presentation?

Hasbro: As it turns out, we are using the officer that was dropped from the Shield Generator Assault set after all....he will have the original head, but on a modified torso (one that removes the rank insignia completely and is consistent with the imagery).  As an added bonus, we can tell you that the Ewok in this set is Warok. Combining two lines into one single question, since the question is pretty much the same for both: Mighty Muggs and Titanium Series. Can you comment on the demise of these lines, and more speficially, when they will be ending? There's obviously a lot of characters/vehicles to bring out in these lines, and of those that were already announced (like Ahsoka Tano, the UT-AT, E-Wing, Gungna Sub), which ones will actually come out before they end?

Hasbro: Both lines are winding down for the same reason: diminished interest in these formats compared to anything else in the Star Wars lineup.  While both started strong - and Titanium in particular has had an AMAZING 5-1/2 year run - interest had waned since the original launches. Actually, the two lines diverged significantly in a couple areas.  Mighty Muggs were faster and simpler to develop, but we were dipping down into characters that consumers did not seem to care for in the vinyl format, and many fans who initially were excited about the concept either did not have the room to continue to pursue or decided that they had had enough.  Titanium was more difficult to develop, was subject to pricing volatility given the metal component, and needed a significant amount of new tooling to keep it interesting.  Both of them, because of the extremely high item count needed to sustain their sales, were less important than the need to refocus our design team elsewhere on new initiatives. Over the past several years you have manufactured many nice and interesting EU characters. Would you consider making figures from the Droids animated cartoon series that aired back in the mid 80's? Some notable characters that would make great figures are as follows:

  • Animated C-3PO and R2-D2
  • Vlix
  • Admiral Screed
  • Gaff
  • Mungo Baobab

I know for fact that vintage collectors would be very interested in getting these great figures, and many younger children and fans of the EU would be as well. In other words, these would probably be popular among everyone! Would you please consider selling these?

Hasbro: We've actually discussed doing figures from the animated Droids series with Lucasfilm. After discussion, it was felt that that way to do Droid figures "right" would be to produce animated-style figures.  This would mean an inordinate amount of new tooling for admittedly niche figures, given that not a lot of folks have really been exposed to Droids.  So while it's an interesting idea, the reality of the situation is that we won't be pursuing them any of the Droids figures. Hasbro, what are the chances of some battle packs with repaints of Battle Droids for the Clone Wars? There is the one with yellow highlights, camouflage deco, blue highlights and others as well as a battle pack with the various astromechs seen in the various episodes? We already have Obi-Wan's Delta 2 Starfighter, but no R4-P17 to fit in the droid slot. Thanks for your consideration!

Hasbro: More of the Battle Droid variants from Clone Wars are already on the way.  As for Clone Wars astro droids, it's certainly something we have heard loud and clear from fans and will be looking for ways to get more of them out, and Battle Packs may be one possibility.  R4-P17 is one of the most important ones to get out there and we'll look to him first. So you've given us detailed pics of the upcoming Legacy ROTJ Nikto figure. The large cannon accessory appears to have some kind of clip at the end of the "arm" or "base". Clearly, this is meant to attach to something big in order to keep the figure from falling over. Can you please provide us with pics of the BMF Jabba's Sail Barge you plan on releasing in 2010 but haven't told us about yet?

Hasbro: The design team did put that in there for forward-compatibility, should there ever be a chance to do a Sail Barge.  There is certainly no Sail Barge in development for all of the reasons we have previously articulated - not iconic enough, not a kid-demanded vehicle, and it would have a massive tooling budget against probably the lowest demand of the "big vehicle program" we have been driving.  In short, not a good formula for success, that would likely grind the program to a halt. We would love to do it, because we are fans and it is a cool vehicle to us, but unless Jabba and the Barge shows up in a big way in future entertainment the chances of this one are slim. Hasbro, in regards to the recently revealed Saga Legends on the new cardbacks, why do you continue to keep making the same choices for repacks? As every SL we've seen on a new card are figures we saw in this year's (Stormtrooper cardback,) and TAC's Saga Legends line. While we realize the need for core characters, is there any way we can shake these up a bit? Maybe replace Vader with the infinitely times better Legacy mold? Or put older Clone Trooper paints - 212, Cato Nemoida, or 7th Legion - in place of clean ones?

Hasbro: The simple answer is that we are drawing on the same figure because Saga Legends have been extraordinarily successful in meeting the needs of kids for core characters, and we see that demand continuing.  Your point is a strong one regarding different trooper variants - as some of these are long-overdue for a return to the lineup.  There's a strong possibility that we'll add future waves of Saga Legends to the lineup that can get some of these back in - since they meet the dual needs of strong Clone Troopers for kids, as well as offering collectors another chance to get them.  As for Vader - he's still being repacked in the Legacy Collection, and this not available for Legends. He is a strong figure and sure to be back out on a basic figure card in one form or another. Question from JI reader Dake: Dear Hasbro, I imagine you will be receiving a flood of questions about the Titaniums hiatus. I was surprised to read that it has been a struggling subline almost from the start. I understand the need for multiple repaints to make tooling affordable, yet that creates a paradox in that people stop buying the third, fourth or more iteration of the same vehicle therefore cutting into the margin. With that in mind, is there any possibility of changing the fundamental property of Titaniums and make them all plastic? It seems counter-intuitive at first, but it seems that more and more plastic is already being used in the newer tools, and you've stated in earlier Q & As about the fact that metal is a more difficult material to work with than plastic. Furthermore, it would seem that utilizing two different types of materials would increase the number of steps required in manufacturing. Would a shift to all plastic lower costs enough for the line to continue with fewer repaints and therefore more new ships for people to pick up? The "Titanium" name would not have to go away, as it is still symbolic of the standard of quality (ie silver, gold, titanium) of the product if not of it's nature - it's not like they've ever been made of actual titanium to begin with. This line has been such a wonderful opportunity to get ships we would have and probably never will see in larger formats, such as the recent Tie Defender, Virago, IG 2000, and Z-95 to name only a few, and it's a real shame to read of its demise.

Hasbro: We appreciate the fan passion for ways to continue Titanium - the fact that a number of fans have written us with similar suggestions attests to the passion with which fans of the series have approached the news. We have had a lot of heart for the series too - and have kept it going for a long time because of the passion and the desire to see some of the exact vehicles you cite finally see the light of day. We look back on the Titanium Series as a tremendous success, if not in business terms, then in terms of the sheer number of amazing Star Wars vehicles we were able to fit into a 5-1/2 year run. The vast majority of toy lines can't claim to have runs that long, must less claim the variety that was eventually produced.  It's exactly for these reasons that it was a very tough decision to shutter the line.  What you suggest is unlikely, for a couple reasons. First, the tools for plastic vs. metal vehicles cost the same to develop, since the two criteria that determine cost are size/amount of steel used and labor. Thus, moving to plastic would not change the underlying issues with the number of new tools needed to keep Titanium going.  Second, to start a line like you suggest, it would need to be launched with an extraordinarily deep tooling lineup - a real commitment to the format, or the results will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It would literally be better to restart Titanium using a metal format and using the existing tools, rather than start and all-new one. Honestly, we don't know what can be done for a relaunch since the collector base by itself, as it exists, just isn't enough to keep the line going. Unless we found a way to engage kids in the format, or found a way to broaden out to more consumers, it will remain on hiatus. Can you tell us what the 2009 Star Wars SDCC exclusives will be, how much they will be and show us pictures of them?

Hasbro: There will be two basic carded exclusives, both in the new red/white line look on the slightly-smaller new basic figure card size, in protective clamshells.  The price on these will be approximately $12.99.  The first figure, available exclusively at HasbroToyShop at Comic Con and online, will be version of Luke with the "jubilant" expression when he climbs out of the cockpit after destroying the Death Star in EpIV.  This figure is a rework of the Luke originally created for the 2008 Wal-Mart Droid Factory Luke/R2-D2 set, which Lucasfilm rejected because the head did not match out original input.  In the end, we went with a previous version of Luke's head in that set for the Droid Factory set.  There seemed to be significant fan demand to get this version back out there, so we re-sculpted it and added a brand new X-Wing ladder to the set.  It will be a basic-carded figure on the new slightly-smaller card size, in a protective clamshell.   The second figure will be a re-release of the Stormtrooper Commander figure from The Force Unleashed, which was very sport distribution last Fall during the release of TFU.  This version will be on a  red/white card (different from the original release) and will be a shared exclusive with HasbroToyShop distributing at the show, and and distributing the figure online during and after the show. Question from JI reader Alpha 77: What I'd be hoping to see appear as a Clone Wars or Saga Legends figure would be ARC Captain Fordo, since the new packaging for the figures is dedicated to Fordo, I would believe that there would be a figure for him as well. Is there a possibility of this?

Hasbro: There is no Fordo planned right now, but there's a strong likelihood that we'll get to him someday.  Lucasfilm has asked that we not pursue any more of the Clone Wars micro series figures, but given there are a couple important ones still to go, we think we'll be able to get them into the lineup in the future. In the various QnA sessions over the years you've mentioned that sometimes old molds for figures and vehicles have been damaged or misplaced necessitating the creation of a new one (ex: the BMF). Can you reveal any often/repeatedly used figure or vehicle molds that we can look forward to not seeing again.

Hasbro: That's a tough question to answer, since we don't know which tools will break or wear out in advance, necessitating their replacement.  If you are referring to upgrades or replacement for older vehicles, there are a couple all-new surprises coming up this Fall that will effectively make existing tools obsolete.  For figures, there are continuous upgrades in the lineup that make older tools obsolete.  One example would be the current Legacy Battle Droid figure....there is an all-new BD coming that will effectively retire the older one.  Details on all of these will be revealed at Comic Con.    When the Legacy/Droid Factory line was initially launched, the included B.A.D. parts were of 2 types: astromech or protocol droid. Now with B.A.D. figures like HK-47, L8-L9 and the ultra cool Darktrooper from the Walmart Droid Factory sets, the trend seems to be moving more toward "one-off" characters whose B.A.D. parts can't be repainted to create other characters as the astromech or protocol droid parts could. If that trend continues, is it possible we could see Episode I version of C-3PO without his coverings offered as the B.A.D. or would he be considered to be too "mainline" for such a release?

Hasbro: The intention with the Droid Factory sets was to always try and produce new droids, not just use existing parts.  We went to figures like the HK series (and there may be more than one of him!) and L8-L9, and others, because we wanted to add some variety to the parts list rather then cycle through a number of similar-looking proto droids.  It is less of a concern for the astros, since there are two new ones per wave. You are right on the EpI C-3PO - we would not do this version as a BAD figure and would keep him as a mainline figure, if we ever slotted him into a future lineup (there is no update currently planned). I am overjoyed to see that Corran Horn and Whistler will be part of the upcoming Droid Factory sets. I wondered though, what made you decide to give Corran an orange flightsuit despite all of the references indicating that he always wore a green one? Trying to keep us customizers on our toes?

Hasbro: Since he does have the orange suit in some of the novels, we decided to go with that version, after consulting with Lucasfilm. Are you going to be re-releasing the electronic Battle Droid Blaster from Episode 1 any time soon? It would seem with all the interest in the "Clone Wars" cartoon this would be something to put back out in the market.

Hasbro: We do not have plans to get that blaster back out there.  At least with the General Grievous blaster, which is very similar to the BD blaster, kids have shown that they strongly prefer the Clone and Stormtrooper blaster over the droid blasters.  So after this Spring, we will retire the Grievous blaster as well.   Now that we are getting a new Republic Commando with articulated legs, and since we're already gotten Delta Squad and Omega Squad, what are the chances of Hasbro doing a series of four packs featuring the various Repbublic Commando squads? This could be a exclusive with Target or Toys R Us or an open retail item, but it would probably generate a lot of interest with collectors and army builders due to the popularity of the Republic Commando books, video game, current action figures, and just plain cool looking armor.

Hasbro: That is a great idea, and one we have had in mind when we updated the Commando tool.  It certainly is an intriguing idea and we are looking at it for down the road. I hate to ask the ole "will we get such and such figure released again," but will we see the Fan's choice Darth Revan in the saga legends at some point?  I really hate seeing the escalating prices for this guy on evilbay.

Hasbro: Right now, he is not in the lineup for re-release.  But we recognize the continued demand for Revan and are looking for ways to get him back out there.  It won't be soon, though - these things unfortunately take time to work out.  It may be in Saga Legends, but it may also be part of something else entirely. It's great to see Hasbro finally release a 501st Legion trooper using the #41 RotS mold. However, I bought a few and noticed a problem: the helmet's blue stripe is incorrect!  The stripe should be continuous but instead we have a gap between the black rim and the visor. Also the stripe is too wide and should instead narrow from the top of the helmet to the chin.  Please see the paintjob that was done for your TSC Commander Appo figure which was done correctly (although on Appo, he had too much dirt and his chest stripe didn't reach all the way to the neck). Can Hasbro please correct the problem for a future Legends release, I'd love to army build dozens more but only if it's accurately done.

Hasbro: Thanks for the feedback on this one - we had not heard that on this guy and will definitely look to correct for the upcoming Saga Legends re-release.  It will probably be a running change at this point.  Thanks much for the email on this.   The black RA-7 Build-A-Droid looks great, but isn't the color of the eyes incorrect?  The BaD has gold/bronze eye lenses, but in ANH it seems as if it has silver eyes (and even Hasbro's PotF2 figure used silver eyes).  If this is a mistake, can Hasbro consider including a corrected head in a future Legacy wave so we can actually get a proper version of this character?

Hasbro: We work with Lucasfilm on the coloring of the figures, and this is what was determined was the correct coloration.  It sometimes happens that previous color schemes were thought to be correct, but turned out to be slightly off.  When we re-release or upgrade figures, we sometimes go back and adjust seemingly canonical figure colors as better reference becomes available. The shirtless Evolutions Darth Maul looks great but if Hasbro ever re-releases this sculpt again, say... as part of a 2pack with a Sith training droid from the Darth Maul comic, could you use a brighter shade of red paint?  It was disappointing that the Evo Maul had such a muddy red look whereas in previous action figure incarnations, Hasbro used a much more intense red that really made him stand out.  And any chance of including a softgoods outfit with a re-release?

Hasbro: Thanks for the feedback.  We will look at this for any future releases.  This Fall's Wal-Mart exclusive Droid Factory wave - which uses this figure and a soft goods robe, might satisfy your needs (although the figure is a little darker than the Evo figure version).  Beyond that, we don't have any plans for the figure but if we did re-release we will take your comments into account.  Thanks!