My talk with Derryl at Celebration VI
You may end up wanting to merge this with the questions thread, but I wanted people to see this as well.
Anyway, we got to do a dedicated 10-minute interview, the transcript of which will be up sometime soon. Since that only covered nine of our questions - albeit the most important ones - I went back to the booth later and spoke with Derryl, who was very generous with his time and his answers. I didn't record or transcribe on this part, but the answers are mostly straightforward.
*Jeff mentioned at SDCC that the MTT's performance will dictate whether future big vehicles get made, and I asked Derryl about that, given its seemingly limited appeal. They were showing it loose to people as they came to the booth, and Derryl said they were still trying to "sell" it here and they hope that fans get it, but unless it's a complete disaster, it's not the end of the big vehicles. It's sometimes possible to sneak figures or small items into the line but Hasbro the company keeps a close watch on the big vehicles. There are still a few he wants to get to, but seemed tired of hearing about the Sail Barge so much. (He spoke on this a bit in the Curto-Burns podcast released yesterday, saying that it's a miracle that this is even getting a release given TPM's performance.)
*The figures not ringing up at Walmarts is an issue Derryl has seen a few times himself, but as we thought, it's a Walmart issue with just not getting them in the system before they get to the pegs. Hasbro doesn't get paid for those figures, so it's problematic for them as well. (I didn't ask about people using other figures to scan instead or whether this inflated old figures' sales numbers - they seem pretty clear on what's selling and what's not.)
*Star Wars hasn't seen any Dollar General exclusives a la the other Hasbro lines because Lucasfilm doesn't want them to go that route.
*There are no plans to release an AOTC Anakin with his unique robe, though a few people had asked and Derryl said it would be a good version to release at some point.
*The goal is to release Coleman Kcaj though there are no plans right now. Derryl thought for a minute when I mentioned he was the last Jedi Council member left, but we both said we wanted a new Depa Billaba that could sit in the chair, and I mentioned maybe a new Eeth Koth who doesn't look so angry.
*Derryl wrote notes on a few things, but really seemed to think that the KOTOR re-release pack (Revan, Malak, Bastila, HK-47) was a very good idea. He asked if I, as a fan, would be bothered by them re-releasing a build-a-droid since I previously bought multiple figures
to make HK-47, possibly going through difficulty to do so, and I said no since there is still a lot of demand for that figure and BG-J38, and that the precedent is actually there with the silver Death Star Droid being re-released in the Target pack. Based on his reaction, he was very receptive to it.
*I asked about additional articulation on a Clone Wars Battle Droid. He wasn't sure if the upcoming one had the wrist articulation, and it wasn't out on display. I mentioned how tooling already exists for articulated knees but this one didn't really get that great of a response.
*Lucasfilm was indeed behind the change to Kithaba. Derryl would prefer to not see variations like this at all but sometimes Lucasfilm puts in additional notes later in the process. I asked why they didn't then change deleted scene Luke's inaccurate robe, and he didn't know; he said that was the first he had heard that Luke's robe was wrong, which I'm not sure about.
*Hoth Luke won't be getting a scarf-down alternate head anytime soon.
*He was disappointed that Tarkin was so green and wasn't sure why the design team made that choice, but it seemed like a conscious decision since the fabric and the paint had to be sourced separately. There aren't plans for a gray one. He wrote it down to ask the design team.
*He also wrote down about the ROTS clone helmets looking big and awkward on the skinny new clone body, as he didn't have an answer. Same on removable helmet Vader getting the accurate damaged hand from Emperor's Wrath Vader.
*We won't be seeing more expressive Jar Jar faces anytime soon and probably not ever.
*I asked about R5-D4's red panels on his back and Derryl thought I was getting too specific - which is typically pretty much everyone else's reaction as well. :P They'd rather focus on other droids instead.
*More figures haven't had the wires in their capes purely due to cost, though Derryl really likes them.
*The plastic clasp with fabric cloaks hasn't been done more due to different designers going in and out and using different methods, but it's something they can look at for the future.
*The Neimoidian Shuttle will absolutely not be released.
There were a few points that weren't tied to questions per se:
*We both still see new unmade characters and vehicles when we watch the films. I mentioned the Battle Droid carrier from TPM and he wasn't aware of it - I didn't have the exact name but I told him where it was in the film. He said there were some bigger items from TPM planned for this year that were cut since they couldn't get them done in time - I probably shouldn't mention them specifically as it seemed off the record. (Separately, he mentioned on the podcast that Kitster/Wald and the Gella twins had gotten pretty far along before being cancelled for now.)
* Daultay Dofine has been such a terrible seller - as with all Neimoidians - that Tey How seems unlikely, even though Derryl personally really wants to see her.
*A passerby asked why Savage didn't have his lightsaber in the Target set, and Derryl directed him off to Brian Merten. I know this was a question they didn't follow up on from SDCC, but it seems like nothing has changed, even if I don't know why.
I'm probably forgetting some stuff, and as I mentioned, the bigger questions are coming soon. I really had a great time talking with Derryl, and if anyone wants me to ask clarifying questions or anything, feel free to post them.