• UPDATE: Hasbro Unveils 'Star Wars: The Black Series' Line

      UPDATE: Official Hi-Res photos and details!
      Star Wars
      action figures are growing up with their audience. After 35 years of fantastic plastic standing tall in pop culture at 3¾ inches, Hasbro is releasing the Star Wars Black Series this year, beginning a new set of 6-inch figures that will feature more articulation and an increased attention to detail.

      Scroll to the bottom for the update!

      Priced at $19.99 each, eight figures are planned for 2013 — Hasbro will primarily draw characters from the original Star Wars trilogy of films while also bringing in key players from the prequels.

      The first wave of four, due out in early to mid-August, includes Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Fighter flight suit, fan-favorite droid R2-D2, bad guy Darth Maul and an Imperial Sandtrooper.

      "We consider them the best figures that Hasbro's ever produced for Star Wars that meets the sensibilities of romancing the character as well as the playability and poseability that fans really appreciate," says Derryl DePriest, Hasbro vice president of boys marketing.

      Hasbro has had success with the scale before with the 6-inch Marvel Legends figures based on Marvel Comics heroes and villains. In terms of Star Wars, though, the Black Series will act as a transitional point between the 3¾-inch toys — "which is rooted in the childhood memories of generations of now-grown kids," DePriest says — and the 12-inch Sideshow Collectibles figures for adult collectors.

      The current "vintage"-style line of 3¾ figures will also continue under the Black Series banner.

      In creating something new and different with Star Wars, the color black became an inspiration for toy designers, DePriest says. "It's one of the main colors of Star Wars all the way back to the beginning, and it's the approach that Lucasfilm has taken with their collector-oriented product line. We're bringing that simplicity and essence and focus on the character now to the toy aisle."

      The Black Series appeals to those newbies who want to start a series from the start as well as those hardcore collectors who gobble up anything having to do with the words "Jedi" or "Empire" and "are looking for something new and their interest isn't as piqued by the 15th cantina alien we have yet to do," DePriest says. "We realize folks want their iconic characters delivered up in a new way."

      With Star Wars: Episode VII coming from new Star Wars director J.J. Abrams in a couple of years, as well as comics, novels and other media adding to the universe George Lucas started in 1977, it's a good time to figure out different scales and toys for the next generation of Star Wars fan, according to DePriest.

      Before then, however, the Black Series also gives a chance for parents to connect with their own little Star Wars fans.

      "Our focus here is the adult collector, the dad," DePriest says. "We know they have their own generation of youngsters they like to share the adventure with. It can be something for dad, and the 3¾ world can be something for the kids to share."

      via USAToday.com

      UPDATE: Hasbro has sent hi-res photos and the official description of "The Black Series" line:

      (Approximate retail price: $19.99; Ages: 4 & up; Available: Fall 2013)
      In 2013, Hasbro takes collectible STAR WARS action figures to the next level with the introduction of the BLACK SERIES action figure line! For the first time ever, Hasbro is introducing a 6-inch scale of the greatest characters from the STAR WARS universe. This exceptional collection of figures features incredibly accurate design and a high level of articulation. Each sold separately.

      There will be 8 Star Wars Black Series 6-inch action figures available in 2013, with the first wave—Luke, R2-D2, Darth Maul and a Sandtrooper—hitting in August.
      Buy the hottest collectibles from: BigBadToyStore.com and BriansToys.com.

      Comments 55 Comments
      1. SirSteve's Avatar
        SirSteve -
        I heard this was coming... I am sure we will see more on the 9th while at Toy Fair!
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        Ouch. $19.99 each.

        Hopefully there will be some deals to be had. But Luke looks awesome.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        This is very interesting - it looks like the SW version of Marvel Legends. The packaging look is very nice and classy and the Luke looks pretty great. I don't know how much space, time, and money I can devote to collecting a whole new scale, but I'll probably pick up some of them.

        Interesting that the 3 3/4" line will continue under this "The Black Series" banner as well. I'm assuming this is what is replacing TVC? The article even calls the figures vintage-style, so presumably they won't just be continuing the actual vintage look. Though I wonder if this is partly to place the great articulation, paint, and sculpts into one line and have the 3 3/4" figures scale back on some of these aspects. Toy Fair really can't get here fast enough!
      1. Tycho's Avatar
        Tycho -
        I'm not going to buy the new size. Luke looks great and it is nice detail. Hopefully it will create excitement and sales for the stockholders by the very enjoyment of Star Wars by many new fans, and some of the older ones.

        My concerns:

        1. Quality in sculpt and detail are NOT sacraficed for the 3 3/4" line.

        2. The 3 3/4" line continues with Expanded Universe characters, including more obscure or army-building ones, as well as obscure movie characters. If you cannot identify Nyrat Agira, Rogwa Woodrata, Tzzzvvzzt, Shasha Teil, Taym-dren Garen, Nomi Sunrider, Sylvar, Droma, Anakin Solo, Riff Tamsen, Wagtwo, Senator Farr, etc., you might enjoy them when you learn about them, but regardless, there ARE fans waiting to enjoy figures of these characters and more. As well as an open-Bespin Jacket Luke Skywalker (without belt) from Dagobah from just before Yoda raises Luke's X-wing that's never been made. I'm not buying the next improvement to a Sandtrooper or Darth Vader - or General Grievous and Darth Maul.

        3. Regular sized (Corporate Alliance Tank Droid sized, V-wing sized) Class 2 vehicles return and offer new products like Hondo Ohnaka's flying saucer fighter (Rapier-One) and Hondo's pirate tank - as well as things like the Trandoshan hunter pods are made for Class 1 vehicles with figures. The Kamino Clone Labs patrol vessels that kind of look like Slave-One are perfect for on-screen actual MOVIE additions to this set.

        But I don't want to spoil others' enthusiasm for this new size.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        I can't wait. These will look awesome next to my Epic Force, Unleashed, Force Battlers, Jedi Force, and all the other excellent mid-size Star Wars figure lines that were canned after a handful of figures!

        No one in Wave 1 excites me, but, if there are better figures in a Wave 2 and they actually hit retail, or if Maul or Artoo look awesome in person, I might get them when Ross marks them down to $4.99.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        Epic Force
        Rotating statues . . .

        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        Ridiculously posed statues . . .

        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        Force Battlers
        Super deformed and aimed squarely at kids . . .

        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        Jedi Force
        Aimed at kids, tiny, and still going . . .

        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        all the other excellent mid-size Star Wars figure lines that were canned after a handful of figures!
        Yes, there have been experiments with other scales, but this is the first time that they're bringing the same level of realism and detail from the 3 3/4" line to a new scale. The previous efforts were just different kinds of toys or statues, not really aimed at the same audience most of the time. As a longtime fan of the 3 3/4" line, these Black Series figures could be the first new line I'm even remotely interested in buying.
      1. happy's Avatar
        happy -
        Just another reason to STOP collecting Star Wars figures.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        JJL, do you really think that, at a $20 pricepoint, this line will stick around? Whether you liked them or not, all their previous lines were well-executed and sold rather well up until the typical distribution issues and oversaturation of a few unwanted figures hit. Also, keep in mind that Unleashed, with the same target audience as these "Black" figures, wasn't canceled because it didn't sell, but because sales didn't increase as proportionally as the other lines did in 2005.

        I don't think that a new scale of figure is the way to reinvigorate the collector base, particularly after most of us have collections of almost twenty years worth of figures in another size (or two).

        If these come out in 2012 and aren't clogging closeout store shelves by April 2013, I will eat my Unleashed Darth Vader.
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        Considering fans who collect 6" Figures have been begging and pleading for a quality 6" Figure line for at least a decade now... I think it'll do pretty well. The folks on Fwoosh are already chomping at the bit for the line.

        And you might as well start eating that Unleashed Vader now Chuxie.. considering they don't come out until around August of 2013... there's no way they can come out in 2012 and go on clearance by April. Do you want ketchup with that?
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Well, then, since I said "if they come out in 2012," that would make that moot....

        I'm not trying to be negative; the Luke actually looks quite good. I just have absolutely no faith in Hasbro's ability to deliver it as promised, at least not for more than a couple of waves.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        As Beast said, I really do think the audience for these is going to be larger and stronger than it was for previous releases, so hopefully Hasbro will be able to meet the demand. Since figures are already $10, I don't think $20 for something at this level of detail is bad. This line is certainly more impressive to the average figure collector than, say, those new $13 12" figures with limited articulation and attached weapons.
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        We asked Hasbro about this sort of thing way back on November 3rd, 2006...
        ActionFigs.com: With Hasbro now producing 6" super articulated Marvel figures, could we eventually see a special line with 6" super articulated Star Wars figures?
        Hasbro: We have no plans for this type of figure line. As the heart and soul of the Star Wars collecting world, we are focused on making sure our 3-3/4" line is vibrant, fresh, and exciting first and foremost, along with providing continued newness for our other play patterns (Star Wars Transformers, Unleashed 2", and Galactic Heroes).

        Another outlet asked them about that idea a year later, on December 7th, 2007...
        JediInsider.com: There seems to be a decent amount of interest from collectors for 6" Marvel Legends style Star Wars figures. What are the chances we might see a line like that in the future?
        Hasbro: We will not be producing a line like this for Star Wars. When we have tried other collector-targeted scales (like 7" Unleashed) we found that fan interest, when compared to the 3-3/4" system, is just not as strong. In addition, for kids, the 3-3/4" scale is also the best one for a wide-range of figures and vehicles that play together, which is critical to the Star Wars fantasy. Rather than spread too thin against collectors, we will be focusing our efforts against making sure the 3-3/4" is broad, as we have been for the past couple of years. We should note that the other sublines - Galactic Heroes, Star Wars Transformers, and Unelashed 2", have a very strong following among kids and we will continue these going forward as well.

        Surprisingly, that's essentially all I can find in the Q&A about the idea, aside from Hasbro reiterating that stance when discussing the 3 3/4" system's superiority.

        Another site is rumoring that this line will be a co-venture with Gentle Giant, which isn't entirely surprising judging from the looks of the sample figure - the types of sculpting and paint remind me more of GG than of Hasbro.

        Personally, I'm of a mixed feelings on this. I do like the 3.75" line for its ability to interact with vehicles and for a compact display, but vehicles have dried up in quality and Hasbro's collector-focused figures feel like they're peaked in quality, there were a lot of "ok" figures in 2012 that failed to be wows due to little things but also couldn't be failures, and at $10 a piece an "ok" figure just doesn't satisfy. I also like the look of that Luke pilot 6" figure far beyond the 3.75" figure.

        All that said, Hasbro hasn't really earned $20 from me on this yet, that's a lot of coin for not a lot of product, and Hasbro is notorious at missing the boat on fine quality products, they always end up going with mass-market quality paint and production mold crispness. Figures at this scale also tend to be brittle in their joints, and Hasbro has not had good luck in that department either. Will a line of figures this large be able to justify its higher costs? Marvel Legends uses buck parts and simplistic sculpting on the bodies to get around that issue, it wouldn't be possible here obviously. Will this line's complexity cause a quick price skyrocketing, the way TVC did? Finally, my biggest complaint is Hasbro's distribution problems over the last few years, will we get enough figures to satiate, will they clog shelves, will the line budget overwhelm it and shut it down in its infancy?

        I do want Hasbro to be able to recapture the collector market, they tried to do so with TVC and it was met with mixed results, I don't want to invest in a new line of figures only to find partway through that it's coming up short and dead without major characters. That doesn't mean I'm out, but it does mean I'm cautious to my feelings on this matter.
      1. Maerj2000's Avatar
        Maerj2000 -
        If they are anything like the current figure lines, you'll never see these anyway since new figures never seem to hit retail anymore. At least not in my area.
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        Quote Originally Posted by Maerj2000 View Post
        If they are anything like the current figure lines, you'll never see these anyway since new figures never seem to hit retail anymore. At least not in my area.
        Yeah... but a completely new toyline shouldn't have as much trouble in that area.

        I wonder if they'll stick with the box design. If they do, I'm sure we'll get a hang tag stuck on.

        Especially since shelf space is at a premium and stores will demand they can put these on hooks.
      1. SirSteve's Avatar
        SirSteve -
        Disney stepped in!
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        I'm actually pretty excited about this. That Luke figure looks amazing and I'm interested to see what a Sandtrooper and R2-D2 look like in this scale.

        There's only a small handful of characters that I would consider paying $20 for 6" scale figures of and, interestingly enough, Luke X-Wing, R2-D2 and a Sandtrooper would be on that list.

        I'm suddenly optimistic about the future of Star Wars collecting again.
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        Wonder what Wave 2 will have in store. Especially since Wave 1 is kinda quirky.

        Judging by the breakdown of Wave 1... I'd assume 2 OT, 1 PT, 1 Army Builder.

        So... Boba Fett, Han Solo: Bespin, Mace Windu, and Battle Droid.
      1. Snowtrooper's Avatar
        Snowtrooper -
        Its going to be a wait and see for me on this. I'd like to have one in hand to see if it "feels" like its worth $20.
      1. Umbra's Avatar
        Umbra -
        Quote Originally Posted by Beast View Post
        Wonder what Wave 2 will have in store. Especially since Wave 1 is kinda quirky.

        Judging by the breakdown of Wave 1... I'd assume 2 OT, 1 PT, 1 Army Builder.

        So... Boba Fett, Han Solo: Bespin, Mace Windu, and Battle Droid.
        The lack of Vader in wave one actually boggles my mind, I can't imagine they'd leave him out for long. Also why all these sandtroopers over regular stormtrooopers?

        That being said, no thanks Hasbro. I will throw my voice in with those who worry what it will mean for for the 3.75" line. I'd hate to see quality squandered on the line after all this time. I do agree with Tycho to an extent that I would like to see more EU figures, though with the next trilogy throwing the fate of post-RotJ up in the air, I don't know what, if any we'll see.

        However, the Luke picture does look good, and if they hold up as well in person, maybe, maaaaaybe, I'll pick up a few select characters. and a Jawa, because really, I cannot seem to resist those...
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        Waiting on rolling out Vader isn't really that big of a surprise. I'd want them to wait until they could really nail the figure. Hell, he might end up being a stand-alone figure release. Like the great 12" Electronic Talking Darth Vader w/ Removable Helmet from the 12" Action Collection line from a few years ago.
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