There's no debating that we've got 4 of Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for September 26th, 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 September 26th(First up, on August 1st, one of our questions was unable to be answered at the time, but here now is that answer... -JT)
SSG: Many folks feel the big Millennium Falcon to be a true masterpiece in Star Wars toys, but speaking with the designer at Comic-Con, one of the things learned was that the original design for the toy was even bigger than what we got before budgetary realities found its current size. Were there arguments about what features could be packed into the final version? Did Lucasfilm have any specific requests of ideas to do or not to do? What features were on the bubble and barely made the cut? What features (beyond voice recordings, as we know Leia and Lando didn't make the final results there, along with about 40 more minutes of "vital" Falcon dialogue that was originally considered), if any, didn't make the final cut?
Hasbro: We're very glad you like the end result of what has truly been a labor of love from our design team and the tight collaboration with Lucasfilm to dial in what would truly make this Falcon a magical vehicle. As for the final size, yes you are correct in that there was a lot of homework done before we embarked on this one. It started with the realization that to truly be to scale it would be closer to 4 feet in diameter. This obviously would be way beyond any toy that we could produce. To figure out what could be realistic, we did several differently-sized treatment drawings and then built our choice in foam core to verify the size. We then invited the broader design, marketing, and engineering team to evaluate the structure, features, overall size, and the like. We felt that the 22" (approximate dish diameter) Falcon would satisfy all of the demands of the toy without pushing the price point (and tooling) up to astronomical levels. It was a process that helped us find that "Goldilocks" balance - the point at which it was just right for everybody to feel great about. As for as the final features, this size enabled us to really get every single thing that we wanted into the ship - it really was a great size to work with from all standpoints. We set out to capture the "character" of the Falcon and bring out its most dramatic features. We knew that there were certainly limitations (for example, we could only do a limited number of smuggling compartments and only had room for one gunner station) but we were able to develop some key points for us, such as the four-seat cockpit. Overall we felt that overall this size was really the best for the most magical experience. Dialog was a very important feature for us, since we have never had dialog on any previous Falcon version. The actual choices prompted some *very* interesting discussion, since the chip that we did end up using was 101 seconds, which by toy standards is waaay beyond the norm (then again, so is this Falcon). We looked at every bit of relevant dialog to cull it down to what we felt really captured the essence of the Falcon and it's personality to bring home the experience of the films. Since so much of the Falcon's personality was set up during Episode IV (Star Wars) we focused primarily there, but we also grabbed some key dialog from Episode V to make sure that we had the signature moments (like the hyperdrive malfunction). Once again, we are thrilled that you feel the magic of this very special project, and we hope that we have the chance to deliver more re-imaginings of classic vehicles as the years unfold, as long as fans show their support by making the Falcon (and AT-TE) a success.
(And now onto this round's questions...)
SSG: Understanding that schedules are subject to change on these sorts of things, could Hasbro give us an idea of how many waves and figures are scheduled for the '09 line, and roughly how many figures are from each source?
Hasbro: There are currently eight Legacy waves scheduled for 2009, one from each movie with Empire getting a second late wave at the end of the year. There is one EU-focused wave. The EpIV and EpVI waves have eight new/refresh figures (and would come with Astro droids), and the rest have six new/refresh figures (and would come with protocol droids). In Clone Wars, there are about 36 new/refresh figures across 8 waves.
SSG: Will we be getting any Battle Droid variants in the Clone Wars line, like Commander, Security, Pilot, etc.? Would it matter if the design didn't show up right away in the cartoon? After all, we know what the markings of a Commander droid look like already. And what about a Clone Wars Battle Droid figure that can hold its rifle 2-handed?
Hasbro: Yes, we do have some planned variants coming including some who are just "off-screen." As for a BD with an articulated wrist (or different wrist position) there is not one in the lineup but it's being looked at for 2010 as a possibility.
SSG: On August 1st, we got a few answers that didn't seem quite complete, and are sacrificing one of our precious question slots to get clarifications for these 3 little bits & pieces that we previously asked about:
A) what points of articulation are on the upcoming A New Hope Obi-Wan Kenobi;
B) will the Titanium Series Cylon Heavy Raider that Hasbro previously announced be released before the license expires; and
C) when you said to us that the Tonnikas were the only figures that you couldn't touch, but told another site that the Holiday Special was something you "couldn't approach", did that mean the Tonnikas answer was incomplete or are we misunderstanding what you mean on the Holiday Special? Thanks!
Hasbro: Sorry we missed these last time. This happens sometimes due to the overall crush of the Q&A since many sites submit multi-part questions... sometimes we do miss parts in our need to get to everyone. To answer your questions.
A) Obi-Wan has ball and socket shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, along with swivel wrists and waist.
B) This one was planned, but we never got enough reference to start the vehicle design so it was dropped from the plan.
C) There are a couple types of "off limits" figures here. Some Lucasfilm has asked us not to pursue, and some are self-imposed. The Tonnika Sisters are an example of the former, and the Holiday Special is an example of the latter. Lucasfilm's stance on the Holiday Special is well-articulated, so it would be a waste of time work up concepts for the characters from this series. If the characters do not appear in any other media there is little chance of them ever getting done (even Boba took a lot of work to make happen, but it was worth it). On these two areas, it doesn't do any good to petition/vote/pleadů. no amount of fan requests will change our opinions.
(Editor's note: er, we hope Obi-Wan also has head articulation too. -JT)
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And the questions at ActionFigs.com:
- With the Indy line, when Hasbro says that that Mutt Williams in jacket is very popular with the kids, how is that determined, is that based on what retailers order? Because both basic Mutt Williams figures seem to be the by far the most over-abundant figures left on the Indy pegs usually, sometimes in the dozens. While empirical and anecdotal evidence is not fully scientific, when consistent enough it does paint a very particular picture to collectors, in this case that Mutt Williams is a major pegwarmer doing his best to choke the line to death, even with his snazzy jacket. Obviously there is disparity between Hasbro's take and collectors' take on this, and if collectors are right, then Hasbro's focus on Mutt would bury the line up to its neck in quicksand, so any thoughts where that disparity comes from?
- Might Hasbro look into extending the range of motion on the ball-hinged elbows and knees? The current range is only around 90 degrees, while in the movies the elbows are often seen very closed holding weapons close to the chest or face, so the joint often should go around 135-150 degrees to represent that. With the inclusion of ball-hinged wrists and ankles, and now even hips on a few nifty Jedi, the amount of expression that these figures can produce is bordering on truly realistic, so isn't it time that the elbows and knees go there too?
- With the '09 Indiana Jones figures, you say that their future is the hands of how the line does over the upcoming holiday season. Assuming that the '09 line does not make it to retail, what would become of those figures, would they become exclusives perhaps through HasbroToyShop, or not produced at all? That has come up with canceled Star Wars items too, where the question is the same: if those molds were not to be run at all, how would not running the molds make a return on the investments of whatever finished but unused tooling exists? Wouldn't making part of its money back on a smaller run of product be more help defray those already-spent tooling costs better than ensuring no possible return on the toolings' costs?