The first Q&A after San Diego Comic-Con. It's Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for August 10th, 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 August 10th
SSG: There's been a great focus on troop-building with prequel- and Clone Wars-themed battle packs, especially lately, with even more on the way. Reasonable, after all, it is "Star *Wars*". However, this tactic hasn't been done all that much with the Original Trilogy troops, there are no squad packs or anything of that nature (except perhaps for the Tantive IV pack). Understanding that there is more troop-oriented storytelling going on with the Clone Wars era, there are still plenty of kids and casual collectors who want to set up battles with Stormtroopers and Rebel Troopers from all 3 OT films, the battle packs themselves can help do the storytelling to guide play. So why aren't we seeing more troop-building Battle Packs for the OT?
Hasbro: The focus has been on the prequel-era and Clone Wars because the heat has been here in recent entertainment. We also felt some of this need went filled with some of our Evolution sets this past year. One of the challenges with OTC-themed battle packs is the need to put recognizable characters in with them to ensure that they succeed; it is unlikely that just trooper-themed sets will suceed on their own. That said, next year is a special year with the 30th Anniversary of EpV and we do have plans for a couple surprises next year. Stay tuned!
SSG: Having worked on the modern line for some time now, you've no doubt had to look back at the original Kenner line's grand history many times when deciding what the future of the modern line will be. So you've seen it all and made yourselves familiar with figures, vehicles, accessories, cards, boxes, and even baggies from the '78 - '85 Star Wars line. With that in mind, what does the current team consider some of the most oddball, head-scratching entries from that original Kenner line? What types of things do you guys look back and you can't even imagine doing with the modern line? (And should we give Mark Boudreaux a free pass since he actually DID work on that original line, or pull a "Sophie's Choice" and make him take sides?)
Hasbro: Thanks for the interesting and different question. It actually required some thought to get the answers since we have nothing but respect for the Vinatge Kenner line! When it comes to the 3-3/4" figure line, we actually don't have any obvious head-scratchers, just a few things that were a bit odd. Everything seemed to be very well thought-out and blended nicely into a coherent system of play. We did ask Mark what he thought, and he had a few comments, not surprisingly all figure-related since he worked on the vehicles! "I always felt that the wrap-around labels for astromech "deco," as well as vinyl die-cut figure capes, were all odd design choices even though they were standards for the time." In addition, Mark thinks the original 5-point Kenner articulation was a curious choice at the time, even though it became the Kenner "standard" for years afterward. A couple team members singled out the 3-3/4" Rebel Transport as an oddity. Neither a very good vehicle and an awkward carrying case due it's size, it's one item that seems to not really hit either mark. Oh yeah - one of our designers singled out something else from the vintage Kenner line that almost made it out but got cut - the unproduced Luke and Leia fashions for the 12" figures. Those designs were crazy funky (especially Leia's giant clear tarp!).....a shame they never made it out just for the sake of novelty.
SSG: Recently, pictures surfaced of a few Clone Wars two-packs based around specific episodes, including characters from "Ambush" and "Rookies". While these look to be great ways to expand episode-specific collections, they also cover existing or already-planned ground. Why were some one-off clones like Thire and Echo chosen for inclusion in these sets when they're also being released via other avenues? It seems like it would make more sense to keep these characters unique to one release so that collectors wouldn't have to choose between releases. Will we be seeing more of these screen scene-type 2-packs, and will they be covering more types of characters beyond just clones? Out of the 4 two-packs we've seen so far, the only non-clone is Yoda.
Hasbro: It came down to need. Due to our retailer relationships, we actually needed to create multiple clone-focused 2-packs for a promotional window, and we had exhausted all other clones from Season 1 when we made the selects. Additional 2-packs will cover different sub-themes and characters, as this format is expected to continue into the future.
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And our questions at CollectionStation.com:
- C-3PO needs new figures from across the saga, it's sad but true. The original Ep I Threepio figure was quite good, but he needs knee and ankle joints, perhaps the ability to hold the Anakin Skywalker podracing flag, and a little more accurate deco with yellow eyes and slightly toned-down wires. Episode II Threepio's removable parts gimmick hampered this figure's design, and since then we've gotten the fantastically-sculpted U-3PO Build-a-Droid figure, so that mold could sport the Ep 2 Threepio deco. And then there's the OT Threepio, which you've recently said is hampered with vac-metal bodies because LFL is stuck on the concept over a painted look. However, your team has produced some great-looking shiny silver protocol droids lately without vac-metallizing, and Hasbro's Marvel Universe team has been able to produce 2 different tones of shiny, metallic-looking gold colors on a few Iron Man figures, which are still super-articulated. Is something of those qualities still not to Lucasfilm's approval, or might we finally be seeing a truly super-articulated Threepio soon?
- Are there any plans to make an R6-series Astromech Droid, either as a build-a-droid or a basic figure? This would be the realistic-styled droid with the unique head, not the Clone Wars version that's visually just another R2. We currently have R1 through R5 and then R7, but no R6. The only new tooling for R6 would be a new dome, as the body is the same as the R2 and similar. And while we're on the subject, what about R8 and R9 droids?
- This might seem like an odd request, but would you re-issue the old Kenner X-wing, specifically the POTF2 version, with some modifications? There's no X-wing at kid pricing anymore, the only OT vehicles at the Starfighter pricepoint are lonely TIEs with nobody to fight, and that classic X-wing had some decent sculpting, strong wings, and was fun to whoosh about. As well, the POTF2 version had a pretty decent deco (though pre-applied stickers would be nice), and that version also had the best sound effects in any X-wing (aside from the Power FX X-wing, but the sacrifices there are numerous), those sounds alone would sell another batch to collectors. To modernize it a bit, the ship could use a tune-up on the cockpit interior, the canopy exterior, the dedicated R2-D2, and the blaster cannon tips need to be reoriented to the proper upright position to get it ship-shape. Don't you think the kids today deserve an awesome X-wing fighter?