Wrapped in a bow under the tree, waiting to be the final Q&A of the year. It's Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for December 21st, 2009. Thanks again to Hasbro for the answers, to all the folks who sent in questions and especially those who voted on them.
Hasbro Q&A for the week of December 21st
SSG: In a recent answer, Hasbro stated that there won't be an ANH wave in 2010, the next one being the beginning of 2011. Does that mean there won't be any new Cantina figures released in '10, or is it possible we might see 1 or 2 in a battle pack, a comic pack, an exclusive, or perhaps even another venue? If the answer is "no", is a Cantina figure planned for that early '11 basic figure wave, and if so, who?
Hasbro: The next Cantina figures will be out with the first wave of basic figures in Spring 2011, if all stays on schedule. There are no Cantina figures planned before that. It's too early to reveal which ones will be in the wave, but at least one will be new and one will be a resculpt.
SSG: In the current Fans Choice final 30 ToyFare poll, there are several figures that have been mentioned by Hasbro to be figures they would like to do anyway. Without asking about too many specifics, could you tell us how many are already in some stage of production? How many of those finalists may be released in 2010 or 2011 alongside the winner? Were any finalists in some level of planning or production before the fan site lists came in?
Hasbro: Some of the 30 were already in the pipeline before the poll began, but only one of them will come in 2010. The rest will be out in 2011 to accompany the winner, although we won't reveal who they are just yet. The winner, along with a tease on the number of other figures already in the 2010-2011 lineup will be revealed in an upcoming issue of Toy Fare.
SSG: Recently, you gave an answer about Malakili and Willrow Hood that they were to be released in the same quantity, "the lowest of the fall releases, 30% lower than the lowest-run figures from 2005 until Spring 2008". We know Hasbro policy is to not talk hard numbers, but could you at least give us percentages on those types of "hardcore collector-interest" figures as they stand against the most popular and thus heaviest run figures in Legacy, as well as Saga Legends, and even Clone Wars? And heck, while we're at it, how much higher than the Malakili floor was Yarna's run? We hardcore collector types are always curious about how much risk the brand takes on our limited-interest figures vs. more mainstream entries, and it'd be helpful to inform us why it's more complex to run the line than some collectors' short-sighted arguments of "just make that guy and everybody will buy it".
Hasbro: Sorry, but we won't release any more information that that. Suffice to say that the figures that are seeing the lowest releases now are being released at 30% less than what they would have been in years past, which speaks to the degree to which the collector business has declined. The most popular characters are released in far greater multiples, and to varying degrees depending on the character. We have yet to find a ceiling on how many Vaders, or Lukes, R2-D2s, Yodas, and Clones we can make compared to the collector-targeted figures, which have very hard ceilings, and disastrous results if over-released. Incidentally, Yarna was over-released because the wave she was in was ballooned up for the launch event, and as a result was even more toxic than she would have been otherwise. The more accurate comparison would be the Bail or Breha Organana, or the following Cantina aliens, which were released in "old" numbers which were too long and hence were part of the recall. The release of obscure figures can be handled properly if we have a good handle on the number of active collectors compared to our previous baseline, which we think we have now that things have settled down.
- -And our questions at CollectionStation.com:
- In the November Q&A, Hasbro revealed that the latest Droid Factory 2-packs have not performed to expectations and the future planned sequel wave was canceled, with some sets possibly finding their way into other, future sets. With Wal-mart's spotty distribution on these - some stores getting none while others clearanced them for $5 soon after release - and Wal-mart not making them available online, is there any chance that the sequel wave could switch retailers to become another chain's line, or perhaps a shared online exclusive? And if it's not too bold, it sounds like plans were made, so what was the next Droid Factory wave going to be?
- Are you aware that the eyes on the new Bespin guard and Willrow Hood are painted red? That has come up before with some unmasked Clone Trooper figures, but these are the first non-clone characters we can remember that have red irises. Is that a mistake or intentional? If it is a mistake, will it be addressed? If it was intentional, why was such an odd choice made?
- The new dewback looks to be a pretty nifty item, however, its appearance has some fans scratching their heads. The fact that it's packed with a sandtrooper and the appropriate riding gear would lead one to believe that this is supposed to be from A New Hope. Yet its green skin and smaller, more pointed face would seem to indicate The Phantom Menace as its source; and it even looks like it took some inspiration from the vintage version. It's been suggested that this is now LFL's "official" look for the beast, but this set is supposed to represent what's in ANH which this doesn't seem to be. What was the thinking behind designing this piece in such a way, why wasn't a more true-to-ANH look adopted?