Questions for January 19, 2007
Squeezing in an extra update this week just for the fun of it (and to keep my inbox from getting jammed up). I hope everyone has a great weekend, but before you go, Nathan wanted to pass this onto those interested in the mysterious Shadow Troopers
:Sure, the Shadow Troopers were originally nothing more a toy gimmick. However, a back-story was eventually established thru the "What's The Story?" feature on StarWars.com, and can now be seen in the official Databank here
On with the show…1
Were the Galactic Heroes Cinema Scenes just a Christmas thing? I only saw one set in the stores back in December. What are my chances of finding these now?
I don't believe the Galactic Heroes Cinema Scenes were a seasonal item; in fact I'm pretty sure I've seen shelf tags for them in the new Wal-Mart reset. While they may not be readily available at the moment (a lot of stores are still trying to recover from the Holidays) they should be back in stock within the next few weeks or months. (Keep in mind that Hasbro has recently mentioned having "production" issues that will hold up the 30AC line. I'm guessing a lot of the Star Wars stuff, and other lines, got pushed back so that Hasbro could get their new Marvel line out to retail for the New Year…). In the meantime, I have seen a few sets here and there, mostly at Target and Wal-Mart, and I know my local Toys 'R' Us stores had tons right before Christmas… Keep looking, but if you don't find any now, there should be more in due time.
I double checked today, Wal-Mart does have space set aside for these - more should be available soon.2
Ok, I have an idea if Hasbro won't do a Yarna figure, how about Sideshow doing a 12-inch figure; she would be a great addition to their Jabba set. -Gus
In talking with other licensees I've kinda always pushed the "coolness" notion of being first with any particular character, as you point out this would certainly be one of those cases. Unfortunately, Yarna doesn't necessarily fit into the pattern Sideshow says they're following with the 12-inch line. To do this character justice, it would require a completely new body mold; one that Sideshow would really only get one use out of. Seeing as they have consistently said they would primarily use their existing bodies for the Star Wars line, doing Yarna would seem to be out of their range. Granted, it would certainly be a great addition, I'd love to see someone put her on the market before Hasbro decided to finally get around to it, but in reality Gentle Giant probably stands a better chance of accomplishing this than Sideshow. 3
With the New Year upon us, and the Saga collection coming to an end to make way for the 30th Anniversary, is the last wave going to be hard to find? Last year the episode 3 final wave of figures as you know were hard to find if at all. I have been scouring the shelves at Target and Wal-Mart almost daily and still nothing new. In fact there is more wall than figures on the pegs. Are these retailers going to halt their ordering to not be stuck with supposed "old" product if the 30th anniversary is around the corner?
This remains to be seen. Traditionally we've seen where retail will short order the tail end of a collection in anticipation of the following year's line. However this year we have this mysterious 'production delay' that could in fact help the final waves see more peg time at retail. I noticed the Appo wave has shipped to some of the on-line shops; I would guess these are on their way to retail as well. The final final wave is supposed to be a Wal-Mart exclusive; again, if what Hasbro has said holds true and the 30AC has been pushed back to March, there should be plenty of time for these figures to see decent distribution. For now we'll just have to see how it goes, I'm expecting there to be plenty of time for both of these waves, but in reality anything could happen.4
Regarding Hasbro's distribution of the "re-packs & re-paints" wave that's just coming out (with Appo and all the new clone troopers), will shipping continue into early 2007 or will Hasbro cut it off on 31 December 2006? -Lord Edzo
Again, It does not look like Hasbro will cut this assortment off, and in fact it's beginning to look like Hasbro "may" have one or two fill-in waves to keep these figures (and others) on the pegs while they catch up from their "production delay." Given Hasbro is now looking at a roll out date in March for the new 30AC line, they are going to need to keep something on the shelf for the first couple months of the year…5
Hey Mark. I've got a few questions that are probably out of your league, but we're gonna try them anyways.
1) I am VERY pleased to see the return of the larger Unleashed figures. The Shadow Trooper repaint makes me very happy. My question is, why the higher price point? Is the tubbing really worth an extra $5? Or does Hasbro just really not like the $15 price pint? (I know they've tried to avoid it in the past) Can we expect new figures, or at least more repaints?
2) Also, you said once upon a time that EU characters don't sell well. Based on how well the Shadow Trooper sells, can we expect others? Maybe Mara Jade? When exactly is the new wave due out and where?
3) What ever happened to the GI Joe Unleashed figures we saw at JoeCon 2 years ago? Are they totally canceled?
4) Now that Hasbro owns Marvel, can we expect some marvel Unleashed? I know Toy Biz tried to do the "signature series" which I wasn't impressed with. But the thought of an Unleashed Spiderman or even *purrr* Black Cat fills me with hope. It might work for the small line too. Hydra and Shield troops for army builders.
5) What are the chances of Hasbro sublicensing the right for SW to Diamond, to do Star Wars Minimates? -Sam
I'm sure the $5 increase has less to do with the packaging as it does with justification for the production run. I don't recall exactly how much the recent 'tubed' Unleashed
retailed for but if the price has gone up from there it's because Hasbro needs that much to make the line work financially. Can we expect new figures? Here's the rub; if Hasbro can sell these at $20, there's a chance they may take another look at the line and produce some new sculpts. If they can't sell these, odds are the line will go away, for good I'm guessing. Now, what are the odds that Hasbro will sell another batch or repacks (and one marginal repaint) at a higher price point that they had a tough time selling them at originally? Certainly more repaints are possible, but again, if Hasbro can't sell them at $20, and $20 is where they need to be in order to justify the run… It's a shame; this was a pretty dynamic line that displayed very well. Unfortunately it just didn't catch on with a big enough group to keep it afloat.
The Shadow Trooper will basically be a repaint of the Shock Trooper, which was actually a slight re-tool of the Episode II Clone Trooper that Hasbro actually released twice. Talk about getting your mileage out of one mold… In this case Hasbro can afford to dip a toe into the EU, but it really becomes a much different proposition when you start talking about a completely new mold for a character like Mara. Maybe if Hasbro could find a way to re-tool Aurra Sing or Aayla Secura, we might see a Mara Jade Unleashed
figure, but unless there's a huge turn around for the line I can't see it happening.
My guess is with the Star Wars Unleashed
line struggling; the team working on G.I. Joe shelved the idea and moved on to something else. This brings up an interesting point though; what if Hasbro combined their four major properties into one blanket Unleashed
line? Basically they've got the Joe's, Star Wars, Transformers, and now Marvel; if Hasbro could include all four properties into one line would there be enough cross brand support to keep things going? As big a fan as I am of the Unleashed
line, I'd definitely love a crack at a new sculpt every once in a while, even if it was one per assortment…
Okay, so we just talked a little bit about Marvel… No word on any Marvel Unleashed
, but if you noticed Hasbro trying the brand out in the Titanium Forged Figure line, I guess you could say it's not totally out of the question. Bad news is the Titanium Forged Figure line is being dropped (for Star Wars anyway), no telling how that could reflect on the proposition of a combined Unleashed
line. We'll just have to see.
There's probably a much better chance that Hasbro would work a deal to distribute TOMY's Kubrick line here in the U.S. before they would ever sublicense a line out for Minimates, but you never know. You do see Marvel Minimates out there right along side the Hasbro Marvel stuff, there's certainly precedent for a Star Wars line, but there's also a history between Hasbro and TOMY and interest at one time in bringing Kubricks over to the U.S. Where I believe LEGO has always been an obstacle in offering that type of line here in the States, it appears as if the dynamics of that situation may have changed a bit. It's certainly something to watch for and ask Hasbro about, but so far there's been no word regarding a potential Kubrick/Minimate type line. Stay tuned.6
With the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars coming up, I've been looking at my "essential characters" collection of figures and see five major figures who need to be done with some articulation and attention to detail. We're not talking about "third Stormtrooper from the right who has a green shoulder pauldron" or "the midget mouse-faced guy in the Cantina as we saw him in such-and-such a comic book". I'm talking five major players in the overall saga, lynchpins in what happens to our heroes (or a few of our heroes themselves). I know Hasbro will probably quote high sculpting/retooling costs, but it's this attitude that has 3 million different Clone Troopers, camouflaged Battle Droids, and non-canon re-hashes instead of characters that NEED to be redone.
My rant aside, here's the five figures that the modern line is desperately missing:
1) Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vintage OTC aside, the only sculpt I've seen (the POTF "Ben Kenobi" which was used again in OTC as regular and "spirit") is sorely lacking in both soft goods and articulation. We have 2304582 variations of the excellent ROTS Obi-Wan Kenobi (super articulated), but nothing new or spectacular has been done for the classic Alec Guinness version of "that crazy old wizard". Give us something with a fabric cape, a hood that can be pulled up, and a place to stash that lightsaber that no one saw coming until Ponda Boba lost an arm at the Cantina.
2) Princess Leia ("A New Hope" dress). Again, all we seem to get is that static, rigid POTJ sculpt that's been rehashed in every major assortment since Hasbro took over the line. A soft-goods cloak with a hood and some poseability would be nice. And yes, I know she's a "girl" figure in a "boys" toy line, but it's Vader's little girl, dang it!
3) Lando Calrissian. I don't own this cat at all, because I want him in his "signature" Cloud City purple garb with cape. Sadly, I missed the Vintage OTC boat and this look has only been done by Hasbro as a Vintage (to the best of my knowledge), so he's missing from my shelf. Why can't the current hold be redone a bit, given a purple velvet cape, a few accessories, and send this sucka back to toy stores?
4) Emperor Palpatine. So far, the only decent Emperor I've seen is the ROTS Emperor Palpatine with firing lightning (III-12). Again, a major character and crucial part of the universe who's never really been done justice. Give him a soft-goods cloak with hood (like the Evolutions figure, which also had a wonky facial sculpt), a lightsaber that can hook to his waist under this cloak, and give him actual legs... not just those leg-stumps that help him stand up. Yes, I know we got the Emperor in the recent "ROTJ" wave of The Anniversary Collection, but that thing is an eyesore that should've never made it past Lucas' desk.
5) Wicket the Ewok. Now I don't care much for Ewoks, but he is a signature character and I've yet to see him done recently. Is it really that hard to repaint one of the newer Ewok molds and give him the proper hoods and goods? Or put a simulated leather hood (same material as the Wookiee Warriors from the end of the ROTS line) on the old Wicket mold?
So what are the odds? Hopefully, good, because while I love buying figures, I've not purchased a figure in almost a year because repaints of figures I already have don't do it for me any more.
I would think the odds are pretty good that we'll eventually see re-releases of the Vintage OTC Ben Kenobi, Princess Leia, and Lando, as well as a re-release of the Evolutions Emperor Palpatine (Hopefully with a new head sculpt, or two). Given Hasbro has these higher articulated molds already, I can't see them investing the time, effort, or expense of tooling all new Super Articulated molds for these characters a second time. As far as Wicket is concerned, the Power of the Force version is so far off, I would honestly hope Hasbro could see their way clear to approaching this character again with a fresh mold. It doesn't have to be Super-A, a pack-in with say a Vintage Leia Endor Poncho would be fine, as long as it's scaled to better fit the 3¾" line. Overall, I'd say the odds are good for four out of the five, the chances for a new Wicket being the weakest of the bunch.7
I was wondering what the status of the new "Star Wars" TV shows? I recall that there were 2 or 3 in development, both animated & live action, but I haven't heard much lately as to when they were going to air and what networks they would be on. I remember hearing that Madonna was actually cast in the live action one as a Sith witch or something like that, but I haven't heard anything new in quite a while. Have you heard anything new on these shows? Any news you could provide would be very much appreciated. Thanks for your help, keep up the good work! -Chris S. (Charlotte, NC)
Last I heard, the status of the animated show was that it was in early pre-production, the live action show was still "on the drawing board." I would imagine at this point a lot of the animation for the cartoon is in process, with an air date sometime in 2008. I fully expect we'll see something from this series at Celebration IV, but so far no network has been named to carry the program.
On the live action front, I've heard a few things, but still no firm details. Word's going around that scripts have been submitted for various episodes, but no one's talking about shooting schedules, air dates, or networks just yet. The last official word on the subject, that I caught, was that Lucasfilm was looking at the end of the decade for a premier… I'm pretty sure/hopeful that the Madonna thing was just a rumor, but you never know. Crazy as it sounds; she might just show up in an episode with the boys from NSYNC… but let's hope not.8
Just bought all the Titanium ULTRA Vehicles series a few weeks ago. I thought that I have the complete series. If you look inside the booklet that come with the vehicles, I'm missing two vehicles. The vehicles are the Jedi Starfighter and the Tie Fighter. Have they been released or cancelled? Finally, can you update the Photo Archives for The Saga Series Battle Packs Battle Above The Sarlaac, Jedi vs Darth Sidious and Sith Lord Attack or can you just tell me for each pack which figures are repack, repaint or brand new? -Denis
Neither the Jedi Starfighter nor the TIE Fighter has been released, and according to Hasbro the line has been discontinued. However, according to one of their recent Q&A answers, Hasbro is at least trying to get one or more of these out as a possible exclusive. At this point there's no rock solid information, but at least there's hope that Hasbro can maybe put something together for fans of the line.
Missing Battle Packs: As of today, we've added the last of the 2006 Saga Collection Battle Packs
to our Photo Archive. All the information you could possibly need should be in our Archive now.9
I had a question concerning the Death Star briefing room set. I recently went back and watched the scene and I noticed that there are 2 unnamed or unknown officers were left out of the set. My question is are there any plans to produce these figures at a later date, also is there any info as to the names of the characters. -Bill
I haven't gotten wind of any plans to cover those two characters, and I'm sure Hasbro probably feels like they've covered that particular scene well enough with this set and moved on. I'll have to go back and watch the scene myself, and drag out my Decipher Card Game collection to tell you 'who' those officers are. If anyone comes up with an answer in the meantime I'll be sure to pass that along.10
Is there some factory fault with the new Imperial Shuttle's wings? I purchased it last week, the new re-released version with 2 free figures, and the wings don't fold up well in the "landing position". In fact, it looks really weird with one wing angled at 45 degrees touching the centre fin and the other is at 90 degrees! I noticed from your updated photo gallery that you seem to have this problem too, so is this normal with all other stock too? I need to know, because I don't want to risk snapping some fragile plastic part inside when I decide to correct this error with my own hands. -Leonard
Near as I can tell this is as much of an issue with the current release as it was with the FAO release a couple years back. Try as I might, I've never been able to correct mine and I don't believe there is a fix for this problem. While I don't recall having this issue with my vintage shuttle, I'll double-check next chance I get. I suppose a few parts could be assemble incorrectly inside the newer versions (as we've seen with the Y-Wing's landing gear), but again - I haven't heard a peep on how to correct it.
Until next time... Got Questions?