First off, let me say that I have been a huge fan of the Force FX Lightsaber line since its inception, and for years, I've watched the collecting community ask for removable blades, so to finally have them in my hand at Comic-Con was truly exciting. Hasbro had both of the new sabers from removable-blade wave 1, Anakin Episode III and Vader Episode IV.
Initially, these look and feel the same as their non-removable-blade Force FX counterparts. The hilts ...
Despite the madness of this year's SDCC and the continued popularity that Hasbro's Star Wars display garnered, Hasbro was gracious enough to give us a little Q&A time.
At the busiest Comic-Con ever, there wasn't a whole lot of time for anybody. Team Hasbro Star Wars was always in demand in and around their booth, there wasn't a moment when the exhibit hall was open that one didn't catch a glimpse of the gang in their Star Wars 08 gray baseball jerseys (they brought up at their panel on Friday that the jersey is ironic, they don't actually have a softball team) or even the Indiana Jones shirts. Friday was their big panel, which we already covered here. Saturday, Tycho and I got together with Hasbro's Derryl DePriest (Star Wars brand manager), Brian Parrish and Mark Boudreaux (Star Wars designers), and Brian Wilk (Star Wars exclusives designer) - pretty much everybody making choices and doing design on the line - to discuss SSG's most recent figure poll results (extensively put together by fellow forumite Mad Slanted Powers).
While most of the Hasbro team had to catch the red-eye back to Rhode Island on Saturday night, Derryl and Mark stayed behind to finish up the last day of Comic-Con. So on Sunday, after tons of scheduling conflicts and just missing each other issues, I finally caught up with Derryl and got to represent our readers with a little on-the-spot Q&A session. Derryl was kind enough to give up a little of his off-the-clock time for some Q&A so I made it as quick as I could. While he and I talked at one corner of the Hasbro booth, Star Wars fans kept coming up to Mark Boudreaux and getting his autograph on their big Millennium Falcons (Mark being the designer of this amazing ship) -- it was quite an exciting and almost surreal Star Wars collector experience....
SSG: With the recently shown "Assault on the Shield Generator", why are there only 4 figures with this set instead of the slideshow image's 5? Will this be the first of many battle packs with less than 5 figures and no vehicle or large accessory to make up for less? If so, why is that? Do you think the line can handle the change?
Hasbro: People should get used to 4 figures in Battle Packs, and that's not the case of us gouging, it's the case of... because we could have put the price up on Battle Packs, but $20 is an important strategic pricepoint. And because a lot of our Battle Packs aren't collector-targeted, they're generally kid-targeted, so doing neat things like the Shield Generator [Battle Pack] is kind of a new approach, and that's because we want to get some collector-focused ones in there, but the focus will still be on the kids' stuff. So, our choice was either put them up to $25 still with "5 figures worth", or start to take it out, and we made a decision that "keep it at $20", and that meant that we started to have to compromise. Even with what we showed you, that was a recent decision, the only way to afford that set.
SSG: That's across the board, right, not just this wave?
Hasbro: That's going to be the direction we're going across the board.
SSG: Are you going to work a little harder for new figures in these packs then?
Hasbro: In Battle Packs? In Battle Packs we're going to have the same kind of approach we've had, so you'll see, you know, the Arrest of Palpatine, you know, that may come down to a 4-figure set, but ideas like that are still critical, which is it has a high hero content, we'll still all those kid-targeted sets where nothing changes, they're all existing figures mixed in with, you know, new figures or new sets that meet the collectors' mentality. It's still gonna be a kid-first focus, but we want to get some cool collectors focus in there too. Do we think the line can handle the change? Obviously, you know what, unfortunately, that's kinda what we're faced with...
SSG: So it's a reality either way.
Hasbro: Yeah, it's a reality either way, and we chose this decision to keep it at $20 rather than [go to] $25.
SSG: It's been ...
With the panel slideshow images already in our gallery, this article will just cover the material that didn't end up in the images. A panel with some great surprises and some fun humor, this one didn't get as much time as last year, Hasbro blasted through the slideshow in hopes of doing Q&A, but to no avail; still, plenty to cover here.
The Hasbro Sketchbook on sale at HasbroToyShop's booth here at the show contains artwork from the desks of the designers, eleven bucks gets a peek into the best of the behind the scenes art.
First up was the Clone Wars line. One thing not mentioned was that Rotta the Hutt, the accessory that comes with Ahsoka, is also articulated. This is just one sign that the line still has collector-focused articulation. Clone Wars wave ...