Hasbro 2003 Preview
While the initial video games were released late last year, and the comic book storylines have recently begun, the center of this event is the animated "series" on Cartoon Network. Twenty 3-minute animated shorts will begin appearing on Cartoon Network beginning on November 7th, and will run until March, totaling an hour of animated stories. There will be little or no dialogue, with the focus on action sequences.
Hasbro's entry into the event includes realistically styled figures of the characters seen in the movies as well as a few brand new ones. Several of the Episode 1 vehicles will be repackaged with new paint applications, but there are new vehicles as well. Also look for a new line of multi-packs which will allow collectors to bulk up the armies in the war.
New versions of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda were shown, each with new removable accessories. The Jedi are now generals in the war, and the extra gear is designed to help them in their battles.
New character designs of the ARC Trooper (now revealed to stand for Advanced Recon Commando) and bounty hunter Durge were also on display. The ARC Trooper was designed by Hasbro although it first debuted in the Dark Horse comic series.
On the other hand, Durge was originally designed by Lucasfilm for the Clone Wars story. This figure is loaded with weapons, which fans will see him use in the Dark Horse series as he is sent by Dooku to take out a settlement of Gungans. Look for another version of this character on a swoop later in the year.
The Clone Trooper Army 3-pack contains a Clone Commander flanked by two Troopers, one in a prone position and one crouched down. The only drawback to this set is that each figure has limited articulation, so they are pretty much stuck in the pose shown here. However, since the poses are so well-done (notice the crouching pose is similar to wondeful Kotobukiya model), this is easily overlooked. It should also be noted that the Sneak Preview Clone Troopers shown in the display are not scheduled for release, although we've heard rumors of a Troop Builder set featuring all-white Clones in the works.
The Federation Droid Army 3-pack will feature a Battle Droid, Super Battle Droid, and Destroyer Droid. There doesn't appear to be anything special with this set, although each droid will have limited articulation.
Speaking of Destroyer Droids, there is also a Destroyer Droid Launcher in the works. Collectors will now be able to roll the droid into battle, although this set is not as was originally planned. There will also be another Destroyer Droid figure included with the launcher, as making a figure that could switch back and forth was not possible. Considering that they don't really roll up in the film, this should come as no surprise.
Finally, the Jedi Knight Army 3-pack features a Rodian, Twi'lek, and a human Jedi. The human Jedi will include a cloak, although one was not present at the show. Each figure is extremely detailed, but has limited articulation. Any resemblance between the Rodian Jedi and the fan-fiction character Badoo Bok is purely coincidental, I'm sure.
The Armored Assault Tank (AAT) from the Episode 1 line is repackaged with the new Clone Wars design. The figure is not included with the tank.
The Jedi Starfighter is repagackaged as well, this time sporting a new color scheme and given an "Army of the Republic" tagline. While Plo Koon is shown inside the ship, he will not be included with it, nor are there any known plans for a Clone Wars Plo Koon figure yet.
The popular Republic Gunship will be repackaged as well, although now with a new paint job. Check out the kill symbols on the sides of the ship, signifying the Separatist targets the ship has eliminated.
As for new vehicles, the Hailfire Droid will be part of the assortment, although technically it is not a vehicle. With dual giant wheels and 32 firing missiles, this toy is sure to be a hit with fans.
The Geonosian Fighter will be an all-new vehicle that will include a removable Geonosian pilot figure. Additional features include an opening cockpit amd firing missiles.
Finally, Anakin has modified his own Jedi Starfighter into a souped-up combination of the normal starfighter and his podracer from Episode 1. This vehicle is meant to show off Anakin's tinkering ability as he has added extra firepower and horsepower.
While no other toys were on display, it is expected this line will continue beyond 2003 and right up to Episode III in 2005. Other characters such as Asajj Ventress and a Clone Wars version of Mace Windu were mentioned, but not on display. There will be a smaller vehicle assortment available as well, including a Clone Commando on a Speeder Bike and Durge on a Swoop. It is possible these will be shown during the summer convention season.