3 answers and a clarification make up Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for April 4th, 2008. 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 April 4thSSG: Regarding Luke Jedi in his Death Star 2 look, the only basic figure of this is from 5 years ago, is preposed, has an action gimmick with floppy arms, and a likeness somewhere between "caveman" and "Harpo Marx". That despite Luke DS2 being the only OT main character figure in the last Fans' Choice poll's top 25 - 10 of the 14 figures above him are made or confirmed, as well as 4 of the 9 figures beneath. Hasbro's past answer on this matter was "theming issues, it may be a while, hang in there," yet since the 2003 DS2 Luke figure there have been 7 ROTJ waves and 2 Vintage-style lines with ROTJ figures; as well as 4 more Luke Jedi with Jabba's Palace outfits and Toy Fair has shown yet another ROTJ wave, this time with a Jabba's Palace-styled Luke Jedi from a deleted scene; and the previous new Luke Jedi figure could have fit the bill with its removable vest and outer belt yet was designed specifically against making it into DS2 Luke. Fans want Luke DS2, most of the other Fans' Choice poll results have been made or confirmed, Hasbro's had several opportunities, now we have sandstorm Luke coming - a deleted scene figure - over Luke DS2 which is baffling. So what's the full story here, why no Luke Jedi DS2 yet again? When can collectors finally get the last main OT character's significant costume yet to be done as an action figure?
Hasbro: We chose the deleted Sandstorm theme to bind several core characters together. We had long planned to do both versions, but the Sandstorm scene came first in rotation because of our desire for the new Han and Chewie, so a new Death Star II Luke was slotted into the next Episode VI wave. We are pleased to announce that if our schedule holds, you will see the next Episode VI wave in late Spring 2009.
SSG: Back in 1996, Kenner/Hasbro was developing a Virago vehicle toy for the Shadows of the Empire figure line to go along with the 2 other vehicles the line produced. Several pieces of concept and packaging art were produced, a retailer-enticement sheet describing some cool features was found not too long ago, as well as a prototype model, but the vehicle never materialized. The Galoob Action Fleet Virago remains one of the most sought-after vehicles on ebay, as this ship makes for a unique and exciting Star Wars toy. Did your Virago design ever get turned into a mold? Does Hasbro still have any molds or prototypes of it? What would the chances be of seeing a Virago released today?
Hasbro: The Virago was never tooled, as the somewhat ambitious plans for the continuation of the EU line at the time were scaled back. While it is a different story to do, we are committed to figures and have not gone the vehicle route for EU aside from repaints. It is doubtful we will get to the Virago in anything other than perhaps Titanium.
SSG: The current R5 droid mold (used on R5-D4, R5-J2, and R5-F7) is close to "perfect", but there are a few glaring issues that should be addressed before this mold becomes the all-purpose version. They include the antenna, which comes out and may be lost easily; the pop-up motivator, which worked on R5-D4 but had diminishing returns on later uses; and the chest plate being a separate piece, which has been a problem on every figure to use the VOTC R2-D2 body. The head could just be retooled and used on the more-accurate R4-G9 body. Will these issues be addressed, or will we continue to get more less-than-perfect R5 figures?
Hasbro: Most often it is a capacity issue - which tools are available when, etc. Certain elements, like a pop-out chest plate, are necessary parts of the design, but we will take your comments into account the next time we release.
SSG: Also, could we get clarification on the Ishi Tib answer we received last round since there actually is no vintage precedent that we're aware of?
Hasbro: (Thanks for giving us a chance to update out answer. We obviously misremembered the PotF version as vintage). While no new Ishi Tib is planned, we would probably do a Jabba's Palace one first. However, we're not sure on thatů. given that the Ishi Tib have been fairly prominemt backgrounders in many places, it's possible we would do an entirely different version first.
And the questions at ActionFigs.com:
- Many collectors have noted that Moff Jerjerrod was not a great seller and can still be found in stores, while it seemed as though Admiral Ozzel, Captain Piett, and Grand Moff Tarkin seemed to have sold better. There are times where Hasbro really nails a likeness, but unfortunately Moff Jerjerrod did not look like the actor and had an angry facial expression not seen in Return of the Jedi. Would Hasbro ever consider resculpting this figure or does the perceived poor performance of the Jerjerrod figure make it unlikely he would ever be revisited. Do you agree that if this figure sold poorly it may have been in part because of a poor likeness?
- A number of fans would like to see more figures from the SW Holiday Special, which you've stated is not a priority for Hasbro. One of the characters from it, Ackmena, played by Bea Arthur, has been getting some traction lately in the collector community as a figure they'd like to see made. Before fans get too fired up, might you comment on if Hasbro even HAS the licensed authority needed to make a Bea Arthur Ackmena figure? (If by some miracle the answer is "yes", could you posit on its chances of being made?)
- Has there been any thought about doing a few deliberate variations to some of the figures this year as running changes offered in later assortments, like you did with the ROTS line? For instance, the new '08 Anakin-as-Vader figure could be repainted with Sith eyes, or the '08 Obi-Wan could be redeco'ed with battle damage.