Hasbro 2003 Preview

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SAGA FIGURES
The Saga line continues in 2003, continuing to feature action figures from the films. The level of detail paid to the figures shown were nothing short of spectacular. While most of the toys were based on characters from Attack of the Clones, there were a few others from other films on display.

Packaging
The packaging for 2003 has already undergone a slight change from 2002, as seen in the initial releases. This look will continue throughout the year until October, when the Clone Wars line takes over Collection 1, and Collection 2 becomes the traditional Saga toys. Once the Clone Wars line debuts, the Saga line will again be treated to new graphics. The familiar blue starburst will have more of a contrast to it, with a bright white color in the center. To make it easier for fans to pick them out on the shelves, look for the title of the film the figures come from to now be placed on the left side of the card, along with an additional title identifying the scene the character appeared in. The cardbacks will continue to include bios of the characters, as well as smaller shots of other figures in the assortment.


Basic Figures
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Tyranus, Anakin Skywalker, Barriss Offee, Aayla Secura, Boba Fett, Tusken Raider, Lama Su and Clone Child have already been featured in our Photo Archives, but they were all on display.


ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Characters from Attack of the Clones are the main focus of the line for 2003, and each figure will include a special base that not only supports the figure, but also is designed to connect with other figures and playsets.

Notice the size of Jedi Master Coleman Trebor, as he towers over the other figures, standing on his Geonosian base.

Padmé Amidala (Secret Ceremony) comes with a bouquet of flowers and a secial background base of a Naboo balcony. Presumably this would have connected to a similar base with Anakin, but for some reason he doesn't have such a base packed with him.

Leader of the Techno Union, Wat Tambor is another fan-favorite character that fans have been calling for. He also comes with a display base, and his holographic ship is detachable and can be used on the battlefield table from the Geonosian War Room Screen Scene set.

WA-7, the waitress droid from Dexter's Diner, also includes a display stand, although whether it connects to anything else is not yet known.

The Jedi Padawans Ashla, Jempa, and Chian will include removable helmets and training lightsabers. Yoda will come with his walking stick and his hoverchair, as seen in the carded sample.

Rounding out the new figures from the film, is a pair of space travelers with a special connection to the films. Achk Med-Beq and Lt. Danni Faytonni are based on actors Ahmed Best (better known as Jar Jar Binks) and Anthony Daniels (the actor behind the mask of C-3PO). Each figure includes a blaster, a drink glasss, and a bar table with a base from the Outlander Club. While the bases do not connect to each other, do not be surprised to see a Screen Scene of the Outlander Club in the future.

Also announced but not shown were Bail Organa and Passel Argente.

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Only a pair of figures from Empire Strikes Back were shown at the event.

The Snowtrooper (The Battle of Hoth) does not appear to be much different from the POTF2 version, although the stance is somewhat improved, and he will come with a firing E-Web heavy repeating blaster.

As announced last week, Han Solo (Hoth Rescue) will come with in both a blue coat and a brown coat version, in answer to fans on both sides of the debate. Only the blue was on display, and word has it this is the first version that will reach shelves later this summer.

RETURN OF THE JEDI
The pivotal final duel scene aboard the second Death Star can now be recreated with the three action figures that were on display from Return of the Jedi.

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (Throne Room Duel) shown just how far Hasbro has come in capturing the likenesses of both characters. Both figures are meant to contain the last of the "action features" for 2003, as they will be able to swing their lightsabers at each other. Luke will also include a section of the railing which presumably would connect to the rumored Emperor's Throne Room playset.

Speaking of the Emperor, this figure is a huge improvement over earlier versions. Palpatine will come with his walking stick as well as a pair of lightning bolts to shoot at his enemies.

Also revealed but not on display are plans for two different Imperial Dignitaries, which will be able to "switch parts" in some way, presumably something to do with the bases.


Deluxe Figures
On the Deluxe figure front, there are four sets planned for 2003.

The Jango Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi Kamino Showdown have interacting bases that the figures can climb on, cling to, and even known down. Jango can be launched onto a column where the magnets in his arms allow him to cling to the column, while the missile from his backpack can be fired at his opponent. Meanwhile, a rain-slicked Obi-Wan can force-push a piece of debris courtesy of an air hose that is activated by pushing down his column. Both of these figures were originally mentioned at Celebration II last year, which shows just how long it takes for toys to get into the hands of collectors. The good news is that we don't have much longer to wait.

The Dwarf Spider Droid will feature a firing missile and a wind-up action feature that will enable it to crawl on its own. The fact that it is missing its feet seems to have been lost on the designers, as no one knew what I was talking about when I mentioned it.

Finally, the Super Battle Droid Builder is a nifty toy that will enable fans to mold the body of the droid onto a skeletal droid frame. The resulting sculpt is a bit fragile and will not hold up to rough play. Good thing there is plenty of Quick-Steel compound to make more. The mold-maker itself is designed to continue the ever-expanding Droid Assembly Line, which began with the Geonosian Battle Arena last year.


Screen Scenes
There are four Screen Scenes planned for 2003, although only two were shown. Much like the 2002 Trash Compactor sets, each set is part of a pair of similarly-themed scenes, that when connected together, will make up a larger playset. Unlike the 2002 sets, these will not be exclusive to any one outlet, making them available to a wider audience. Each set will feature three different figures, one character we have seen before, and two brand-new characters never made into figures before.


The first scene is based on the Jedi High Council, and features a new, fully-articulated Mace Windu alongside Jedi Masters Even Piell and Oppo Rancisis. Oppo Rancisis steals the scene as one can't help but notice the bendable rubber snakelike body wrapped around the chair, something that has been wondered about ever since he first appeared in The Phantom Menace. The trio are focused on a small hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi. There are two movable chairs in this set, and the floor is designed to connect to other sets. While there are only two sets due for 2003, there may be others should these sell well.


The Geonosian War Room was the last scene shown and was perhaps the most exciting, since it features Poggle the Lesser, a fan-favorite character. Poggle is joined by his fellow Separatists San Hill and Count Dooku, who is holding a hologram of the Death Star. There will be a second set containing the other half of the hologram battlefield table, but there is an interesting additional feature. The hologram of a Techno Union starship that is included with Wat Tambor is detachable and can be placed on the holographic battlefield found in this scene. Additional War Room carded figures will include such accessories in the future, possibly Passel Argente.


12" Figures
The 12" line was represented by the intial offerings for 2003, all of which we have previously featured in our Photo Archives. The Geonosian Warrior, Anakin Skywalker with Lightsaber Slashing Action, Han Solo with Quick-Draw Action, Lando Calrissian in SKiff Guard disguise, and the AT-ST Driver. These are part of the 10 figures planned for 2003, including an Attack of the Clones version of Jedi Master Yoda, which was announced at the show.


Unleashed
The Unleashed line on display included the Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Sidious, and Princess Leia. Each figure continues the excellent sculpting that has been exident from earlier offerings. There are eight figures planned for 2003, with the most excitement being placed on Han Solo and especially Boba Fett.


Action Fleet
The Action Fleet line continues to do well for Hasbro, so it come as no surprise that there are additional vehicles planned for 2003. We've already featured the Republic Gunship in our Photo Archives, but also on display were Anakin's Speeder, Zam Wesell's Speeder, the Commerce Guild Spider Droid, and on display for the first time, a Jedi Starfighter.


Lightsabers
While there were no lightsabers on display, the upcoming Yoda's Electronic Lightsaber was mentioned during the presentation and a short commercial showing the toy in action was shown. The commercial should start airing on television any day now.



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Next September marks the twentieth anniversary of Hasbro's Kenner The Power Of The Force action figure collection. The line introduced a new generation of children to the wonderful world of Star Wars toys and ushered in the modern collectibles we all enjoy today. Our ever-inquisitive Probe Droid is actively searching all corners of the galaxy to find out if there is interest in products that commemorate this very significant 1995 release.
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