SSG's Monthly Hasbro Q&A - June 28th
What's the future of the Fans' Choice poll finalistis? Find out in Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for June 28th, 2010.
Thanks again to Hasbro for the answers, to all the folks who sent in questions and especially those who voted on them. Here come Hasbro's answers.
Hasbro Q&A for the week of June 28th, 2010SSG: Hasbro hasn't really elaborated on your take of the most recent ToyFare Star Wars fans' choice poll finalists, other than to say in a very broad sense that it was clear collectors were most interested in all-new characters over resculpts and that the results would provide a "road map" for future lineups. So specifically, apart from Jocasta Nu and Jaxxon whom you've already addressed, are there any totally unlikely candidates on the list such as the Queen / handmaiden figures? Any choices that really made you wince because you know they would be retail poison? If you want to avoid giving away too much info now by addressing each character individually could you at least tell us how many characters from each source (i.e. OT, PT and EU) off the finalists list will be turned into figures in the next 18 months or so?
Hasbro: One way to look at the list is to consider that we will not be able to do all of these figures, or even come close, over the next 3-4 years when we will probably wan tto look at another Fan's Choice poll to reflect the latest wants at that time. As for which ones would be retail poison, we feel we have a strong handle on the "new" floor for even the most obscure figures (like the Willrow Hoods of the world) so we can manage just about the anything. The question is....do we want to? That's why it is better to look at the list as a general guide for hotspots of demand rather than a mandatory list. With that perspective, the figures least likely to have a chance to be done in that time are Queen/handmaiden figures, Jocasta Nu, Jaxxon, and the most obscure movie figures like Tey How. We don't have a lot of EU slots to play with currently, and aside from Jaxxon, these are very good choices but EU in general will likely struggle to get fit in with what is coming up (especially among strong candidates emerging from TFU2 and TOR that need to be put into consideration). Finally, as for how the list has impacted development, here is what is confirmed to come out before the end of 2011 (always subject to change, of course): two Prequel Trilogy figures, four OTC figures, and Bastila Shan. Not a bad start...
SSG: One of your answers from the April 8th round said that, as we expected, due to the troubles with running changes, there will be no more of those running-change figures. The statement is clear, running changes from wave to wave didn't work out too well during the TLC line, but it leaves open the question of whether simultaneous, planned production variations could be released concurrently within the same wave. The line has done so before, similar to the way the TSC line's Endor Rebel Troopers were released, or some Saga Legends troopers, the Imperial Officer head variants, the Clone Wars Micro Series clones; and the GI Joe line has more recently had success with concurrently-released chase figures as well. While concurrent variants do make specifics a little tougher to get, it provides a lot more flexibility for army-building troops without waiting years to release a variant. So would those sorts of simultaneous-production, same-wave variant figures still be a possibility, or do these go down in flames along with the running change figures?
Hasbro: There is no difference - all of the examples you cite were running change figures executed against the exact same item number, and that is exactly what is taboo. The only way to do variants would be to plan two item numbers and make releases against each. This would burn one of our precious items. We are under strict item count lockdown each year, so ding this would occupy a slot that otherwise might have gone to an all new or very differentiated figure. Since that is not a good tradeoff, we are retiring the notion of any kind of running change or slightly differentiated release for good. Instead, we'll have to pick up variants in others ways, like multi-packs and exclusives.
And our questions at CollectionStation.com:
- Mace Windu has been represented in action figure form for 12 years now, and a large portion of those figures were released with some unique, non-standard aspect. Mace has been the first "sneak peek" in the modern line and was a mail-away, the first hard-shell "choco" robe, AOTC had a deluxe before basic which had a smiling face and a second figure, AOTC basic had the screaming face, 2003 AOTC basic had the "ultimate lightsaber control" stick gimmick, ROTS had the Force Lightning throw-off gimmick, and now the Clone Wars version with removable armor and saber-swinging waist. While there have been a few normal Mace figures, and even a super-articulated one finally, it seems as if Mace Windu has been tapped by Hasbro to be the sculpting and gimmick guinea pig. Is this pattern intentional, do you think he can't sell without these sorts of things, is it just happenstance, or does someone there subliminally not realize they keep picking Mace to be the test guy?
- Why is it that modern realistic R2-D2 figures are oversized? Our math says that the modern R2 stands a whole centimeter too tall, which is a scaled visual difference of 7 inches. That's a pretty significant amount of extra height. The Clone Wars R2 is roughly the right height, as is the classic Kenner Artoo, while the build-a-droid astromech body splits the difference between the extremes. But the regular modern astromechs are all too tall. Why is this, and will this be addressed on the upcoming R2 redesign?
- Recent Hasbro images show the upcoming Saga Legends Battle Droid 2-pack both using the mold based on the new Battle Droid figures from the Target Geonosis Arena Showdown sets. Is that what we will actually be used to make this Saga Legends 2-pack? If so, will we see any of the issues we raised in a previous Q&A addressed, like a left arm that can hold the blaster similar to the Clone Wars Firefighter Droid, or properly-sized eyes for every droid, or the neck piece facing the right way? Also, will we be seeing any running deco changes on this set, switching from Geonosis red to Naboo tan? Will there always be a commander droid and a regular grunt? Army-building Battle Droids only in red and at a 1:1 ratio with their commanders would be quite limiting, and many previous Saga Legends army builders have enjoyed running changes like this without any problems expressed.
- Have you considered taking figures from the Comic Packs and putting them together into Battlepacks with perhaps 1 new figure, and making these sets exclusive to someone more focused on a comic-friendly audience, such as Diamond Distribution or one of the many fine e-tailers out there? This could help spur interest in the line along and satiate EU fans who crave more of their favorite characters. Star Wars comics still have a big audience, SW: Legacy is Dark Horse's 2nd best-selling line (despite the line apparently ending soon). If not Battlepacks, what about more Comic 2 Packs exclusive to those outlets with more focus on reusing the parts created for the line for new characters or at least character updates, since they're not likely to get used in the mainline?