The first Q&A of 2007 is tipsy on new year's champagne, it's Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for January 12th, 2007.
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, and remember to check out ActionFigs.com for their weekly Hasbro Q&A as well (which also got an update today).
Hasbro Q&A for the week of January 12th
Q: Will the Mara Jade comic figure be based only on how she appeared in the comics or will Mara Jade-actress Shannon McRandle's likeness be taken into account?
A: She is based on the Dark Horse comic imagery.
Q: From what we've seen, the recent Toys R Us-exclusive Endor AT-AT and Target-exclusive Imperial Shuttle have both sold fairly well, the Imperial Shuttle selling through in only a matter of weeks. Will this mean we'll be more likely to see more larger vehicles in the future? If so, would they likely be all-new molds, retooled molds, or unmodified reissues? As a side note, some collectors have felt that large vehicles would always sell better if they were released just before Christmas the way Imperial Shuttle was, furthering the likelihood of selling more units to a wider market - what's Hasbro's take on that?
A: Obviously, higher price points do better before the holidays since that's when gift giving really ramps up and that is the ideal timing for anything that is not an "everyday" priced item (we consider the $19.99 SRP Starfighter Vehicle collection to be sustainable all year long and will keep that going with continued fresh waves). As far as our optimism for large vehicles succeeding based on the recent success - we knew that there was a market for the larger vehicles, the challenge is the extraordinary cost of doing new ones. We are looking at every opportunity to bring all-new ones out. We can't confirm anything right now though. If we did, because of timing, it might not be until 2008.
Q: Off and on since the first Saga line in 2002, basic figure waves have been planned and released around themes - either by a specific scene or by a movie in general. By planning figures in themes, does that require rushing some figures to make a wave's deadline simply because it fits the theme, or padding the wave with figures that aren't entirely satisfying simply to fill the wave with theme-oriented characters? Is the themed wave idea somewhat constricting to what can be done, and have there ever been figures that were planned for a wave but didn't get finished in time and were shelved for missing their theme?
A: We start any year by planning out themed waves to take advantage of each movie, or catch-all EU theme and then work from there. This means digging into figures we have yet to do (usually collector-targeted) and finding ways to keep the core characters fresh to provide a "hero" appeal to the wave for kids. However, the waves can and do vary in size mostly by what we come up with for a good overall wave balance and may be as few as five new and as many as 10. So there is no set formula except for the theme idea to work, we have to have a minimum. Now in some cases, we may feel that we don't have enough ideas we are excited about for figures compared to say another movie, so we might skip a movie in a year (Empire and Phantom Menace are particularly challening because all the core characters have been produced and we don't feel we need to go back to them every year).... in that case we may take a rich movie like RotJ or RotS and split them into two waves each. Now your question on the challenges it presents when figures are late.... we prefer to keep waves intact and sometimes the wave might be delayed if we feel strongly we need to keep them together. There are other times when we may split and recombine like we did in '06 with the Endor/Naboo wave, which was previously two different waves with more figures, some of which were shifted off into '07 or later due to delays.
And the questions at ActionFigs.com:
- - Hasbro's answers about making EU figures based on the novels have suggested one of the reasons they're not as likely is because there are no singular visual representations of the characters. However, one of the licensed reference books currently out is "The Essential Guide To Characters" which use Lucasfilm-approved artwork of character likenesses from the novels that are not in the comics, such as many of the Yuuzhan Vong and the Solo Kids. Also, the Japanese cover art likenesses has been claimed as canon by Lucasfilm Licensing executive ficton & comic editor Sue Rostoni, these likenesses being used even on the StarWars.com EU main page as graphic elements. Will Hasbro consider using these sources for the inspiration for future Expanded Universe action figures?
- - Considering it is the very first spaceship we see in Star Wars and plays a significant role in the first part of the movie, as well as appearing in ROTS, will the Tantive IV (aka Rebel Blockade Runner) vehicle ever be offered?
- - With the onslaught of Titaniums Series 3" vehicles lately (5 waves hit stores from beginning of October to end of November) are there less vehicles per wave being produced or are they just moving that fast? Also, will there be refreshes of these waves for collectors that missed them when they were briefly on shelves?