All the details, and I do mean ALL the details, that were said in Hasbro's SDCC panel, far beyond just what was shown in the slideshow images.
Make sure to check out the panel's slideshow images first to accquaint yourself with the visual goodies, but don't for a moment think that's the end of what was said, not even close...
San Diego Comic-Con 2009, room 7AB, July 24th, 9:51am. The line for the Hasbro Star Wars panel had been seated for over an hour, and was filled to capacity. Although the panel wasn't scheduled to start until 10am (and that usually means several minutes late at SDCC), Hasbro decides to start the program early, there's no way to fit anybody else in the room and they usually never have enough time anyway.
On the panel is Derryl DePriest, head of Hasbro's Star Wars Global brand team; Chris Gollaher of Lucas Licensing Product Development; Brian Parrish, Hasbro Star Wars design; Mark Boudreaux, Hasbro Star Wars design; Vickie Strathford, Hasbro Star Wars design; Brian Merten, Hasbro Star Wars exclusives design; Chad Donvito, Hasbro marketing; and Sarah Brown, Hasbro exclusives marketing.
Hasbro starts off the panel with many thanks to the fans for being there, rocking Hasbro's world, keeping them employed, and letting them indulge their passions at work every day. Before the slideshow gets started, Derryl mentions that Clone Wars continues to be "smokin' hot", it was the number 1 animated boys program, possibly the number 1 boys program at all, it had incredible response, Cartoon Network was thrilled. In addition to Clone Wars, Hasbro isn't leaving behind the core fan that has really kept the pulse of Star Wars going for 30 years, so fans of the original trilogy are going to see a ton of stuff for this year and next. Derryl makes sure to point out that next year is the 30th anniversary of Empire Strikes Back. Looking at the Star Wars pavillion booth and seeing Bossk, Derryl mentions he was struck how a character like that who got maybe 2 seconds of screen time, didn't say a word, is now the avatar for brand new storytelling in Clone Wars for a new generation of kids, bringing it all around full circle.
Titanium Series is indeed going on hiatus after 2009, but Derryl stresses "hiatus", it's a line Hasbro would love to bring back when the time is right. They've had some challenges with the line but are looking at ways to bring it back, it is not dead. "There is a high probability it will come back."
Mighty Muggs aren't getting a mention in the panel aside from the notice that the line will become a TRU exclusive starting this Fall. No new designs are planned, but TRU will continue to sell them and Hasbro will see where it goes from there. Hasbro is not closing the door on the line either but for right now this is it.
Hasbro starts the slideshow with a special announcement to the fans who have a passion for the line, hoping fans will carry this message to others. As a tribute to Gianni Lopergolo, Hasbro is producing "Insight", a 128-page book of his photography. Lopergolo is the photographer who for the past 5 years has photographed Star Wars, 9 years for GI Joe, and Marvel for Hasbro, and has pioneered the new way of Hasbro photography with dioramas and scenic elements for packaging and promotional photography of the toys, giving the toys a context where they come alive, training a team to bring the toys to life, and he's been the heart and soul of Hasbro's efforts. Unfortunately, Gianni has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, so his time with Hasbro and the fans is tragically short. If you're familiar with Battle Packs, Hasbro advertising, even the posters that Hasbro brings to conventions with all the figures, then you know Gianni through his amazing work (samples of this are in the slideshow). The book will be available at Comic-Con and on HasbroToyShop, and Hasbro is proud to say that all the proceeds from Insight are going to the ALS Foundation national chapter and Rhode Island chapter, as well as a fund to support his 3 young boys, the greatest tragedy of this. So Hasbro is hoping the Star Wars community will come together once again as they have done so well in the past and get the word out on this amazing tribute.
Changing gears to what's ahead, Derryl singles out the new packaging that's starting to hit shelves. Hasbro has worked for more distinction between the 3 sub-brands (Clone Wars: red, Legacy Collection: black, and Saga Legends: orange) so it's easier for the retailer to sort on pegs, less mixing of products so you don't see everything crowding each others' pegs as we have in the past. Also noted, the Legacy Collection line will be continuing through next spring.
At 10:01am, it's time to get into Clone Wars figures with the design team. Clone Wars will be continuing obviously, there's been great response with the figures, and they relish the opporunity to continue the line. In upcoming waves, there will be new outfits like Ahsoka in her space suit, as well as big new characters like Cad Bane. They're going for a wide range of characters, as evidenced by what they've brought to the show downstairs in the exhibit hall.
Shown off is a wave hitting soon with Anakin space suit, Ahsoka space suit, Clone Trooper Denal, and Cad Bane.
Wave 6 has Luminara, Captain Thire, the traitorous Royal Guard Captain Argyus, and a Battle Droid repaint. On Argyus, those who know the show know he has one head of hair, so design asked themselves how they were going to do this since they gave him a removable helmet which they felt was important. Ultimately, they did have to reduce the volume of his hair, but they did stay true to the same style, otherwise the helmet would have been gigantic.
The Clone Wars really allows you to get to know who they are, see their faces, know their names, which is worked into the figure line. Wave 7 includes Clone Y-wing pilot Matchstick and a Tank gunner, as well as Padme in adventure gear who is an important to the show, and Cad Bane posse member IG-86, who appears to be the droid known as 3D. Pairing them other known characters, Clone Wars provides Hasbro with great new looks which Hasbro takes advantage of.
Derryl than throws it to Chad to discuss the contest. With all the Clone Wars characters now out and all the figures in the different lines, Hasbro wanted to see what folks are doing with their great figures. Pointing out the fantastic diorama they had made for them displayed in their booth, they've taken inspiration for that to see what kind of dioramas the fans are doing, so they've set up a Diorama contest through September 25th. At their website at hasbro.com/starwars , fans can upload photos of their own dioramas and scenes. Lucasfilm and Hasbro will select the top 5, fans will then vote for their favorite on the website, a panel of judges will vote for their favorite, the winner of each poll will have an invitation to show off their diorama at the next Star Wars Celebration, and the judging panel winner will also get over $1,000 worth of Star Wars toys - 100 figures, 5 vehicles, 5 figure and vehicle packs, a Turbo Tank, and a smattering of toys. Look for that now.
Back to Mark who takes us to the deluxe "Figure & Vehicle" packs, similar to the deluxe figures as well as the classic Mini-Rigs, but a little different by supplying figures with these, so that with a low purchase the buyer can get right into the action. There are 3 ways Hasbro will be approaching this, right from the shows like the Can-cell set or the BARC Speeder & Trooper; as well as "inspired by" vehicles like the mini AAT based on the full-sized AAT; and finally they are looking forward to opening the door to doing off-camera vehicles that they'll get to design from scratch.
Shown in deluxe wave 2 is the Turbo Tank Gunner Crew. Originally the guns which come with this set were meant to come with the Turbo Tank itself, the vehicle is designed with hardpoints for them to attach, but they got costed out. However, these sets gave them the opportunity to bring them back out, as well as in general flesh out other purchases in the line. Derryl then mentions that while it worked out well to put these tank gunners into this system, these won't be the norm for the line, it will be a vehicle-focused line. Early on there will be figure-only packs thrown in here and there, but as it continues there will be less of them and more focus on figure & vehicle.
One great example of a new vehicle is shown in the form of the Freeco bike from the Clone Wars episode "Trespass", a great new vehicle with a sliding canopy and comes with Obi-Wan. More sets will be coming in 2010, and we'll get a look at them at Toy Fair next year.
Up next is the vehicle assortment. Brian P talks about exploring the expanded universe through stuff like the TX-130 Republic Fighter Tank which originally came from the video games. Also in that wave is Anakin's Clone Wars Jedi Starfighter, Lucasfilm let them take liberties and indulge with the design to have more fun play features, having a mini-fighter split off revealing a more Episode III-styled fighter.
After that is an Ahsoka redeco of the Clone Wars Jedi Starfighter, as well as the Clone Alliance Tank Droid. That Snail Droid tank hlds 2 figures inside, and has a real working tread. Derryl brings up their continuing commitment to put a lot of new excitement into the starfighter vehicle assortment, which they feel is an important part of the figure play pattern.
Mark then talks about the deluxe vehicle Clone Wars Y-wing. The idea is it's pristine, all skinned unlike the Classic Trilogy stripped down, worked on version. Working with Chris at Lucasfilm, Hasbro is able to put features in the vehicles that really are there, they just haven't been explored or shown yet. On the Y-wing, there are pop-up missile-launchers which also reveal a bit of a handle making it easier to "fly" the toy. Because this Y-wing is in Anakin & Ahsoka's color scheme, it may give them the opportunity to repaint it to other ones down the line.
There's the Imperial ARC-170, a big favorite of the team's, they love airplanes in Star Wars so it's great to be able to do the variants on them.
Derryl then chimes in that everybody should check out the Y-wing in the booth as it is huge, and that Dave Filoni - show runner on The Clone Wars and massive Plo Koon fan - dropped by the booth the day before. One of the things Dave loves to do is check out the toys, especially the stuff based on the things his team creates. The first thing Dave always says is "you're not doing enough Plo Koon figures", but the second thing was "oh my gosh, that is huuuge!" He knew it was a big model on the show but it's a big toy too, Mark and his team put a lot into this one.
Up next was Mark talking about the Turbo Tank, it was a lot of fun, great over the last few years to work on a lot of large vehicles like the AT-TE, this is carrying on that tradition of large vehicle playsets. It's great to be able to provide a lot of play and interactivity with the figures. Also, Lucasfilm allows them to put a lot of toyetic aspects into the vehicles, such as the BARC Speeder shooting out. As Mark puts it, "it's kind of a toyetic invention, but again, it really does that in real life, you just haven't seen it yet.... Because everything IS in real life in Star Wars, of course." They work very hard to make them very interactive, so it's more than just a model to sit on the shelf, it's really something that expands the play.
Switching gears to Legacy Collection, there will be 46 figures in 2009. The poster shown in the slide is available down in the booth, 2-sided with Legacy Collection figures on 1 side and Clone Wars on the other.
Brian P takes over, first up is Obi-Wan with a full range of articulation, it was past time they updated his look from Episode I. The build-a-droid in this wave is L8-L9 (the name partly cut off on the slide), a droid in the arena scene from where we first meet Asajj, from the original Genndy version Clone Wars micro-series. This wave is the first of the new card look, it could be in August but more likely September on the national release but could surprise early.
Next is a cool wave in Return of the Jedi with a few new figures. Slave Leia, "we all love to talk about Slave Leia". The cool thing about her is you can remove the upper body and included a second lower body so if you want to pose her sitting on a possible future dais should they do one down the road, it would nicely compliment that. They've heard fans saying they want an updated Jedi Luke so they've done that, they've done 2 removable chest panels so you can have the tunic closed or open. Throwing it to Chris on the Nien Nunb, because Star Wars is such a huge universe that all these years later questions can still come up about items in the films. Because Nien's costume in the Falcon is a red jumpsuit and there's a red jumpsuit-wearing Sullistan B-wing pilot in the briefing scene, they take these questions back to an internal group which deals with continuity questions and what they can do, so what they figured here is that this is Nien Nunb before taking on the Falcon mission, they recruited him to that so he took off his B-wing pilot gear that this figure is wearing from the briefing scene.
Derryl then mentions there's a special story behind the Ewok 2-pack, Paploo and NoAhpakk. Everyone knows Paploo so it was his time to update him. They wanted to do an Ewok 2-pack, and right at that time they were chosing which ewoks to do, they had a sick boy come into Hasbro as it was a dream of his to come in, he's a big Star Wars fan and he wanted to talk to the Star Wars team, and they love to have kids who are passionate about Star Wars come in. His name is Noah, he's ok now but he had bone growth problems that had a lot of surgeries to address. They sat with him and had a good time talking, and he said he loved ROTJ and Ewoks. It just so happened they were picking the next Ewok 2-pack, so they had an official photo of all the Ewoks together and they asked him to help pick from a group photo. First was Paploo, which was great since Hasbro wanted to update that figure, and then he picked one that just so happened to not have an official name, there's still a lot of Ewoks that haven't been named, "a whole moon full." The team went to Chris from Lucasfilm and asked him if they could make a tribute to this boy, and Chris worked with the team so they were able to get Noah's name in Ewokese as the name of the figure. So it's a nice way to bring that special heart, that story back into the brand, so thanks to Chris and Lucasfilm for letting them do that.
Next up is wave 5 with an R2-D2, and this is from the Jawa scene from when he gets stun-blasted, and he comes with the ionization net. There's a Jawa with sentry droid which they've never done before. And Concept Ki-Adi-Mundi, fans have been responding really well to the McQuarrie series, so they thought it'd be cool since there's a lot of other artists out there who contribute to characters in Star Wars that they'd look at other designers and artists as well, and draw from that inspiration, so this Ki-Adi-Mundi is a continuation of that series.
Also in the wave is the Imperial Scanning Crew Tech, as seen in the booth there are 2 different cart pieces because in the movie when you first see it there are 2 separate, the scanner and the lower half. So there will be a running change in the following wave with a different head and that other scanner piece.
Wave 6, "finally we've updated Commander Cody, he's hopefully much better this time." He comes with the lightsaber and the hologram receiving order 66. Plo Koon has a removable face mask which we've seen from the comics, Derryl points out they did this to make Dave Filoni happy. Concept Art IG-88, and this actually is based on McQuarrie art, so they will be continuing to do the Ralph McQ ones as well.
Wave 7's slide gets applause and chuckles, Brian P says "you finally now have your Willrow Hood... and his lovely ice cream maker." Derryl jokingly cuts in "not everyone's clapping, Brian," to which Brian responds "PLEASE BUY THIS FIGURE!" Derryl cuts back "he will not be a Yarna, he will be harrrrd... no." Could there be a little truth to that jesting? Back to the slide, Brian points out the updated Luke snowspeeder pilot, and one of his favorite characters, Zuckuss. There's also the Bespin Security Guard which will have a running change in the next wave, which will be the first wave of 2010.
Comic 2-Packs are still doing very well. Hasbro has heard from a few fans about being upset over the size of the Yuuzhan Vong figure, but they based that off of the art from the comic book, in the art he is gigantic. So maybe later on they will do another Vong that will be a bit smaller, but can't say for sure. Derryl chimes in that with the way the Vong are coming into the EU with the Dark Horse Invasion series, it's a good bet that over the course of a few years they'll get a few different ones in there so that you could build an army. On Luke & Lumiya, she has 2 heads because they couldn't figure out how to do the wrap part of her headress as a removable, so they just went with 2 heads. These shown will be the first in the new packaging and should be available very soon.
That wave will be followed by Exar Kun and Ulic Quel Droma finally, as well as Jedi Masters Tholme & T'ra Saa, and the Blackhole Trooper who comes with a little black hole, receiving a hologram of the black hole and a security droid. Derryl says this is one of the very first EU stories, along with some of the Marvel issues, they were happy to dig back to that and see how cool some of these stories really were.
Rounding out the year is wave 4, they like to give us troop builders to finish up our squads.
At 10:22am, it's Battle Packs. The Rishi Moon Outpost is from the Rookies episodes, one of Brian's favorites so far. They love the art the packaging guys came up with for that. Also in the wave is the new Jellie Grub Patrol. Andrew, another member of the team, really loved the Jellie Grub so they threw that in there for him, and this thing really is seen in the background in Ep III. They updated the trooper to have ball-jointed hips so he can actually sit on the grub. Derryl says they're modifying the colors to make it look more like the package photo version, so there will be a little delay because of that. A new Endor set, but the Mustafar set is an existing one.
Finally in battle packs, the November wave. With the Battle Packs, they like to use them to round out the line but also they are good for kids, a great gift purchase for kids, so that's where they're really focusing on Battle Packs. Derryl feels that Resurgence of the Jedi is one that all collectors will be very interested in. It's really the first time they've done R2 using the R4-G9 body, and they've updated the other figures as well because they know we have to spend $20 to get just 1 figure, so they've updated and embellished the other figures as well, and Luke is a particularly good head sculpt, according to Derryl.
Throwing it to Vickie for Galactic Heroes, or "the squishy guys" as George calls them. Jumping forward through the slides, we get to the vehicles, and of note is the new Slave I which has a great sculpt of Boba Fett. And it has been designed so the wings and cockpit interior rotate when the ship is in vertical orientation. Vickie Dwight Stall has taken over designing this line for the brand.
Getting into Role Play items, the panel is thrown back to Brian. Hasbro loves the Clone Troopers, so they've updated the role play Clone Helmet to be Captain Rex with new phrases and a light-up targeting antenna. There's also the Ultimate Blaster, like the Ultimate Lightsaber sets you can reconfigure this set into different guns such as the pistol, blaster, and rifle, and each has unique sounds and lights. And there's the Duel Action Lightsaber that has a secret smaller hidden-reveal lightsaber in the handle, and they can be combined for dual-blade.
Mark mentions the new Force FX lightsabers that Hasbro will be doing, the ones in the slide (Obi-Wan Ep I, Dooku, and Asajj) are the first one Hasbro was able to design from scratch in Rhode Island. The team found it interesting working in metal after doing only plastic for so many years. The sabers are chrome plated and turned out very nicely, maintaining the continuity and essence of the existing Force FX lightsaber line. Asajj's saber will have blue chrome, and a second end cap piece will come with each so if you buy 2, which Mark encourages you to do, you can combine them into a "bodacious" double-bladed saber.
Star Wars Transformers shown in the slide are not all that the line has to offer, there will be more but they couldn't fit them all in the presentation. (The Twilight and Y-wing are in SSG's Event photo gallery.) The line will keep going and has a presence for next year, it's very popular for Hasbro.
Titanium, Derryl explains that the line will keep going through this year, they'll keep bringing out new waves, new sculpts that they've committed to, new tools, all to finish out the year in a big way. One of the themes has been getting the Bounty Hunter ships into the waves, so they've got Cad Bane's Xanadu Blood, Dengar's Punishing One, and they keep going through the waves with the Mist Hunter and the Outrider is going to finish the line, "it's long overdue". Derryl also reiterates the line is on hiatus and they think there's a chance it'll come back, they have a lot of heart for it, it's had a good 5 year run.
Getting to exclusives, we're now at 10:29am and Derryl is talking about hurrying up to get to Q&A, so he throws it over to Brian M. First up is the Wal-mart Droid Factory assortment, this time mixing classic characters and EU, culminating in the Phase III Darktrooper from Dark Forces (Brian points out the text in the slide says "II" but it's the "III"), the Darktrooper is absolutely huge. Brian encourages fans not to wait on these as the quantities won't be as high as they were last year. Hasbro's been bringing down quantities of this stuff in response to what the collector situation is, so they're committed to bringing out everything but they're making sure to keep the quantities very manageable. If they disappear, it's because the response is good and they're finding the right level.
The Evolution packs were the last wave they designed but couldn't fit them into Spring before the Evolution line went dark after the Spring. Wal-mart really wanted to pick them up so they've got 3 great ones, so look for that around September.
Next up is a very special one, and they have the room lights turned up to show Brian with a sample of the Octuptarra Droid on the stage table. It is huge. Brian wants to address some of the fan controversy over whether the joints will be strong enough, and then changes poses to show how sturdy it truly is. The head opens on top to accommodate a pilot for those who want to play that way. There are lots and lots of points of articulation. Then as he's showing how "the pinchers can crush a figure", one of the missile launchers fires towards Derryl and the front row of the audience. This is another Wal-mart item due September 1st.
The long-delayed Wedge Antilles X-wing gets a big crowd reaction. Brian asked himself how he could "top the log" (jokingly referring to the log from the Target Endor Ultimate Battle Pack's log accessory), and came up with... 2 ladders. This time around, Wedge's body is the proper height, he's a totally new super-articulated sculpt and not the gigantic Dutch Vander since Wedge is 5' 10".
Sarah then tells us about the Wal-mart exclusive Clone Wars 2-pack series which was requested from Wal-mart to be able to bring to fans more figures. It'll have some new and some existing figures, some are based on show scenes, and some are extrapolations on what could be. Most will be clones. They plan to continue these with uniformity to the footprint and package structure.
Toys R Us gets a single-carded Commander Ponds approximately September.
This Fall, Wal-mart gets another assortment of 3 Comic-Packs. Hasbro's going to continue getting into the Rogue Squadron vein and core Rogue Squadron characters.
TRU will get an Imperial V-wing, this is from the EU after the fall and is expected on shelves around October 1st.
And Wal-mart again gets another big crowd reaction for the October-release of the new AT-ST, and Brian gets to bring out another sample vehicle to show the audience in person. Jokingly, Brian says this was another reaction to asking himself how he could "top the log." Admitting he's taken away the little walking feature and he hopes we won't mind, but instead he did add "lots and lots and lots" of articulation to the legs. But there's more, there's room for 2 pilots side by side in the cockpit, and will also come with both a screen-accurate gun and a projectile-firing version can use to shoot Ewoks.
For the TRU-exclusive Clone Wars Gunship due in October, Hasbro has retooled the doors to be accurate to the show. The version in the booth on Wednesday and Thursday is not the final, the deco and sticker shown was for a prototype, they have the painted production sample back at the hotel that Derryl will bring down and replace it. They added cool new features with extra projectiles in the back and added the extra doors and cool nose art to be like the animation.
Target gets an "awesome, awesome 2-pack lineup," as Derryl puts it, based around the Geonosis Arena battle on Oct 1st. There's tons of excitement in the Geonosis arena scene that Hasbro felt they could recreate tons of exciting stuff and tell a unique story both with figures and packaging. The second 6 sets of this will continue in 2010 should this first wave prove successful. These will be new versions of characters like smiling Kit Fisto as we first met him, and Coleman Trebor. They did a brand new Battle Droid figure for these sets specifically to do one which can fold up, inspired by how they folded up in the MTT in Ep I. The package forms a semi-circle like an arena to create the perimeter if you don't want to take them out of the package.
Throwing it back to Brian M, TRU gets another exclusive in October, the TIE Interceptor. He wanted to do another cockpit update here, but found out that the factory would have to recreate the whole pod tool, so Brian took the opportunity to make some corrections, the hatch opens in the proper direction, the ejection seat which is in the real version, and there's 2 versions with guns in and with guns out so you can decide how you want to display it.
Come November is the all new Dewback with Sandtrooper. What Brian tried to do with this is give it decent articulation. The neck is articulated, hips are ball-jointed and can splay, there's ankle articulation, the saddle is removable, and the Sandtrooper has ball-jointed hips so he can ride. Brian Merten closes with "it's gorrrrgeous, if I do say so myself," to which Brian Parrish retorts "it's definitely better than the log!"
Using the TIE Interceptor tooling, we get to the "ultimate version of the TIE Fighter" as Derryl puts it. This Target exclusive has a red lens in the front as seen in Shadows of the Empire, they were really struck by this look and it was a version of the TIE Fighter they hadn't done before. A lot of folks wanted the clear lens but Hasbro wanted to do something different for the fans who stuck with Hasbro through all the different TIE Fighters they've done to date, so that's kind of a thank you, and they hope to use this tool again and again, it's really great.
Derryl has 2 more to call out but they didn't have pictures for the slideshow. K-mart has the Clone Trooper Squad, re-releasing some of the higher-demand figures from '08 like the Scuba Troopers and things like that in a pack coming October. Also, Diamond Comics will get 2-packs of all 13 of the McQuarrie figures that they did in the 2007-2008 line (by my count, that'd include the Celebration IV sets and the '07 SDCC set).
Finally, it's the sneak peek for 2010.
Clone Wars wave 1 2010 has more clone troopers and others. Mark points out that everyone loves pirates so there's Hondo Ohnaka, and we also get Aayla Secura in the wave. Look for that in late December.
Legacy Collection wave 1 2010 is the long-talked-about EU wave. Among the figures is The Force Unleashed Shaak Ti, which Derryl says is incredible. The build-a-droid is BG-J38, which ironically is not EU. The wave may be December, but more likely January.
For Comic Packs, Darth Nihl and Delia Blue, and their first KOTOR pack with Jarael and Rohlan Dyre. Brian P points out that they are obviously all new sculpts.
And now for one of Derryl's special announcements, a 2010 mail-in Clone Wars figure, Nahdar Vebb. Chad says this will be around Spring of 2010, the POPs of any 5 basic figures - Clone Wars or Legacy Collection, not just ones with the program stickers on them - will get you this padawan figure.
And Derryl's second sepcial announcement, the fan site backbreaking-labor portion of the program, er, I mean, Fans Choice 2! The first one, they sat down with ToyFare magazine in '06 where fans told Hasbro the top 25 figures they wanted produced. Hasbro promised to do 1 of them and ended up doing 20 of them thanks to the fans telling Hasbro what was wanted, where the passion is, and Hasbro followed that pretty hard core. ToyFare will be recapping that top 25 in issue #146 coming out in a few weeks, in advance of the announcement for the next Fans Choice vote. In advance of the 30th anniversary of ESB, Hasbro's going to send out the vote and wants us to tell them the top 30 figures we want them to do. They're only going to promise to do 1, "but if history is any indication, we'll go a lot deeper" as Derryl put it. So all of the fan sites who regularly contribute to the Q&A are invited to get with the readers and the community, get the votes together, submit our ranked top 30 lists. From all 20 fan sites' lists, they will put them together to create the master list for ToyFare to run on their website, wizard.com , as well as ToyFare issue #148. That's only a couple months away, so the sites have 1 month to get Hasbro their lists by Aug 24th because Hasbro wants to hear from us and help guide the direction for the next X number of years. Hasbro thanks us for the previous vote and looks forward to our participation in the upcoming one.
At 10:45am, Derryl thanks the crowd, closes the slideshow, and for the first time in a while, has time to open the panel up for Q&A.
The first question took 1:20 to ask and was about how case assortments work, why some figures are shipping in lower numbers, why not put only new figures in a case, etc.. The answer is what we've had before, they're dictated by the capacity they can run on their tooling. The old model used to employ only new product in cases, but it wasn't a good way to do it because popularity issues created too few of one thing and too much of another before they knew what was selling. So it's a mistake to focus only on new for a wave rather than refreshing what was in the prior wave. Now that they have ratio management tools it's made it a lot better, it's very complex but it's led to the success they have.
The next question is about packaging, where on the Clone Wars and Saga Legends, everything is shown in the package, but with the Legacy Collection the droid part isn't shown. Hasbro's response was that this was a deliberate choice to simplify packaging, keep a clean cardfront, they worked with Lucasfilm on this. It also makes collectors turn the packaging over to show them the droid part, and that's part of selling the item.
A question about working with Bioware on their upcoming Old Republic video game. Hasbro says they will be working with them as soon as they learn more about it through Lucasfilm. These are key areas they want to go, there's been tremendous success for video game figures. On Old Republic it may take a while because they just don't know much about it right now.
Articulation for the 2010 EU wave will be the full range, ball-jointed elbows and shoulders, as much as possible. Jacen and Jaina are kitbashed bodies, Luke and some Jedi they can't remember, the bodies already had a lot of articulation so that's good to go.
Is Hasbro doing a special item for ESB's anniversary? Derryl, "No. ...Not 'a'. (Audience and panel laughs) There are a LOT of things coming, both mainline and in the exclusives program, but we can't tell you any more about that right now. But it will be a big celebration next year. Stay tuned."
The question of bounty hunter ships for the 3.75" line. Very unlikely unless they show up in animation, there would be a great opportunity there. Brian P loves them and knows many of us do, but kids don't know them.
For the Clone Wars line, why is Asajj so hard to find. Hasbro says that it's like Ahsoka being hard to find, Ahsoka is the most successful female Star Wars character they've had, even over Leia, and Ventress is following close behind. Derryl's short answer is all Clone Wars figures are running way ahead of what Hasbro thought so they're still playing catch-up and following entertainment, so they'll get her back out there as she's in more entertainment. Brian P adds that he thinks Ahsoka appeals to young girls as much as young boys, so they're not following the normal model of just 1 kind of fan reacting to female characters in the SW collecting universe.
Our own Tycho then asks about Eopie mailaway. Derryl says it skipped his mind, it'll start this fall with the first new packaging wave of Legacy Collection figures. You'll be able to get the Eopie that was only available in Japan in limited quanitites. Brian jokingly says Derryl wanted it for his collection as well so he made this happen.
A question about why they only showed the next wave of Galactic Heroes 2-packs. The answer is that's it for this year, and next year's hint is with Dwight Stall who is not at the panel. But there will be new ones, new clones and Jedi, some repaints.
The last question is from a kid who wants to know about Christmas special figures. Derryl's answer is that they've done these in the past, the door is not closed but as the response was spotty before, so not right now, but possibly if they find the right figure to do in the future. But no plans right now.
And at 10:55am, the SDCC folks have asked the panel to stop, thus concluding the 2009 Hasbro Star Wars SDCC panel.