Curious about the history of Star Wars collectibles? Check out what was said at the panel in this special report.
President of Lucasfilm Licensing Howard Roffman has been involved with collectibles since the very beginning. He now makes a rare appearance to talk about the history of the brand.
While many retailers were convinced that Star Wars was dead, George Lucas simply said that "no, it was just resting. The younger fans will soon grow older and will look back with nostalgia"...the first attempt was trying to reintroduce the brand overseas, which led to some interesting encounters with fans.
Then Howard wanted to tell more stories from beyond the classic trilogy, and George insisted that the tales not go back in time (because eventually he create the prequels) and not kill off the main characters. After Heir to the Empire was #1 for 19 weeks, and the video games took off, Howard knew they were onto something. But George was resistant, thinking that fans would only liked the books because they thought it was the next movie adaptation. History of course proved that wrong.
It was just a matter of time until companies like Galoob and Kenner got involved, and although there were some missteps like the overly-muscled POTF2 line, the momentum was building and Star Wars was comic back. Once the movies were released as the Special Editions in 1997, and a whole new audience was forming, there was a lot of excitement over Star Wars again.
When they did an exhibitor screening for Episode I, the reaction was mixed. During the summer months, there was the realization That there was simply too many products, so the brand scaled back considerably for Episode II. ....and the excitement and anticipation built to an enormous level for Episode III. The fans were re-engaged with Star Wars.
In 2008, The Clone Wars dominated the brand and took it to another level. Star Wars really has been represented well over the years.
Pablo asked about the history of Shadows o the Empire...for many, this was a great way to enjoy Star Wars again, and there was a number of collectibles that were released uniting many licensees.
A few items they have turned down....condoms, alcohol, and for many years, gambling.
Lucasfilm initiated talks with Star Wars Concerts.
When asked if there would be anything done with some of he older dormant properties. ...Howard said they prefer to work with current properties that fans will immediately recognize. One exception to This was He creation of Asajj Ventress for the Clone Wars microseries.
Ewoks and Droids were an attempt to continue the brand...not as successful as expected.
Hasbro's own Derryl DePriest asks why Howard has never added himself as an action figure. Howard said that he did actually get scanned and has a few prototypes...but Derryl brings out the Hasbro team to present Howard with his very own figure.....Howard Fett.
There are more questions about TV series....both the Seth Green series and the long-planned live action figure.
After the panel ended, I was able to take a few photos of the one-of-a-kind action figure. Stay tuned for those photos!Check out the full gallery from the panel!