It's kinda a shame that the Funeral Pyre Vader figure never made it to retail.
Podracer vehicles have a lot of disadvantages:First thing that popped in my mind when you said there were no marketable ideas in the Bail Organa thread: Podracers. Did they add much to the movie? Not really. Done right, though, these would have a ton of play value and do pretty well.
We've only had two actual podracers released, both in 1999, both woefully outdated now. There have been a handful of pilots, but widely spread out over the past twelve years (thirteen if you count Ben Quadinaros next year). For the 3D re-release of Episode I, we're getting two new pilots (one being a WM exclusive) and a TRU-exclusive set of previously-released pilots.
Imagine if, perhaps starting late this year and continuing to the end of next year, there were two new podracers, with pilots, released every 2-3 months. Start with Anakin and Sebulba. Re-do the podracers from scratch, throwing in stupid missile launchers and other play features that are easily masked or removed for display. Toss in a new pilot figure, once who doesn't look like crap when he's not in the pod. Also include a pit droid (or C-3PO for Anakin) with the racer's flag. Go through the podracers that have been picked for production in order of coolness and popularity, keeping earlier ones in the mix.
- they don't do much in the movie but race around so they don't have all that much "play value";
- they don't interact with other characters or vehicles except bumping into each other occasionally so there's no co-selling figures to them;
- their pilots aren't so much characters as throw-away aliens;
- they aren't repeated anywhere in the saga so they can't be repainted or reused;
- they aren't all that "aggressive" (they have no weapons);
- they are part of a section of the film that folks felt was exceptionally slow and detached from the story;
- each one requires a whole new set of specialized, expensive tooling (or actually, 2 whole new sets of tooling if you take this "throw in a figure" tack);
- every single iteration of podracer product has performed poorly at market - Hasbro's own 2 vehicles, Galoob's multiple lines (Micro Machines, Podracers, Build-a-Podracer, Action Fleet, Action Fleet deluxe wind-up);
- what you're suggesting goes well over the $25 pricepoint with multiple figures, flags, and features.
So the idea that more podracers is a "marketable" idea seems a tad overly short-sighted and head-in-the-clouds. Were you considering investing in the idea with your own money, would you go for it? I know I wouldn't.
Plus, we have 21 Padme figures from the realistic line at this point and none of them have been strong sellers, so it's not for lack of trying, it's for lack of interest that we don't have more figures from that.
Model railroading isn't a very good business model to argue from. That hobby is excessively expensive because its market is microscopic. Imagine paying 10 times what we currently pay for figures with less features, and then some you have to paint them yourself - could Star Wars support that? Hell no. Attakus tried, there was no market. The question isn't where there's a microcosm, the question is whether there are good marketable ideas left on which to draw. Just because 10 people might buy a figure doesn't make them a small market if the line's business model requires selling 5,000 units to be marketable.This is where Jocasta Nu and Cliegg Lars come in. For the diorama builders who are much like the cantina or Jabba the Hutt scene fans, and want everything. In some waves with high volume "movers" like Vader, the obscure collector figures like Hermione Bagwa or Queen Jamilla get inserted. There is a smaller market for them, granted, but there is a market. Thus aren't they marketable? I would say yes.
Hasbro also has a "model railroaders' group of fans of authenticity" in the hobby that want such characters such as Tey How.
Clearly we don't both understand, because you consistently argue from the point of view that a product with zero chance of making its money back is worth risking simply because you want it, that somehow its blatant failure won't affect the rest of the wave, much less the rest of the line. You may as well be suggesting that every figure come with a gold ingot, because that's essentially what it'll be, each figure will come with the additional cost of the burden of supporting a figure Hasbro knows will take a huge loss - each figure's budget affects the other figures in its wave, and each wave's budget affects the line overall and especially the next year's budget. Think of Star Wars figure planning as a big net, each figure's success raises its part of the net, each figure's failures drag its part of the net down, but every figure is in the net together so each failure drags not only itself down but the figures around it, and there hasn't been a figure so successful that it's ever raised the whole net - Hasbro's business model is merely to hope that they can keep the net raising in tiny increments, but mostly just from sinking to the bottom of the sea.There we certainly both understand and agree.
When I post my desire for an Anaconda Farr figure, and include Bail Organa, etc - I am not looking for a whole wave of just these figures:
Skeletal Remains of Aunt Beru
Skeletal Remains of Uncle Owen
However, I'd like to know all of these which many fans as would support being made, have a running list of them, and get one or two every once in a while.
You may not have noticed, but almost nobody in SW collecting has done anything but "barely buy Star Wars figures anymore", the line has gone through horrible times the last 9 months, there's been almost no Clone Wars figures, almost no vehicles, almost no TVC figures, not even many Saga Legends - the line has been on life support. Were it not for TRU's 2-for-$11 sale last week, I wouldn't have bought 6 more AOTC Clones, otherwise the number of figures I've bought this year has been staggeringly low, 9 total characters, and the high pricepoint keeps me from buying more casually the way I used to.You know, I barely buy Star Wars figures any more? From the current wave, I've only bought 5 Bom Vimdims and 2 Bariss Offees and I don't think I'm buying any more Star Wars figures until another wave comes out.
Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.
"We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.
Collector-friendly vehicles with totally BS cannons and rockets and stuff
New and re-released figures (including an excuse to make oft-requested things like a Padme resculpt)
A marketing campaign, including some sort of cool contest for kids
Tie-in to the re-release of The Phantom Menace
If possible, a Clone Wars tie-in (Honestly, do you think the folks making that show care that Anakin and Sebulba had a rematch in an excellent series of books they seem determined to crap all over? And do you think they aren't itching to have that very rematch on their show, involving as many extraneous fanwank cameos as possible?)
If they can make the GIJoe 25th Anniversary and Pursuit of Cobra lines work (which, insane poorly-done distribution that leads to one or two pegwarmers killing the line aside, they both did) with absolutely no media support, I think they could pull podracers off. Adults think they were extraneous to the plot. I've yet to meet a kid who didn't say that was his (or her) favorite part of the movie.
So I went looking around the other sites to see what their polling lists showed as the figures the collecting community wants from the prequels this year. Leaving out resculpts, as we're supposed to be looking at what's "left to do", not what could they do again, there is the following:
Aehrrley Rue – helmeted denizen, Mos Espa (I have no idea who that is even after looking at the photo)
Ann/Tan Gella (Girls who give a massage?)
Ark “Bumpy” Roose – podracer (I have never heard of this podcacer)
Elan Mak (Kam Nale) – podracer (never heard of this podracer)
Kitster (human child, they'd probably do better to release a new Anakin)
Wald (iconic alien, but a child)
R5-X2 (Jabba’s box) (I guess this could work, but they just sold R5-D4)
Tey How (sat there, made comments)
PK Droid (maybe a good packin with something)
And that's the Phantom Menace. Pretty slim pickings. The R5 unit is probably the most marketable of those choices. I know that the collectors are probably asking for figures they'd like, not necessarily saying what is marketable. But this is what the collecting community as a whole believes is "left" from Episode I.
Cliegg Lars (mostly exposition)
Corde (died and apologized for dying)
Dorme (female figure in a fancy dress, might as well do another Padme)
Hermione Bagwa – waitress (I really think this is the most sloppy costuming in Star Wars history. It looks like they
bought this outfit at a mall. I hate that scene for making Star Wars seem less otherwordly and
seem like a zany version of our own, but this character really looks like she wandered out from
behind the counter at Spencer Gifts or something.)
Jocasta Nu (librarian. And there again, remember when in Star Wars the next step on the road was interesting.
the Jawas led the droids to Luke, Yoda taught Luke the force. Now if you want to get to the next
phase of the adventure you literally go to the library to be scolded by the lady in charge.)
Onaconda Farr/Dar Wac (Rodian assistant) (this could work, but you could also take the Rodian from Jabba's band
and use it couldn't you. The marketable idea is different aliens in Renaissance fair clothes?)
Queen Jamilla (might as well do Padme)
Rogwa Wodrata (Separatist) (you have to pause the movie to see this alien)
Gilramos Libkath (Neimodian/Rune Haako) (can't you just use your Episode I Rune Haako figure?)
Sar Labooda (arena background Jedi) (this is a Jedi, but the Target arena sets had random Jedi and they didn't
seem to be a terribly marketable hit)
Sarissa Jeng (arena background Jedi) (see above)
Padme – Lakeside (the number of outfits Padme wore where she just talked to someone is so over the top)
Padme – Loyalist Committee
Padme – Picnic
Padme – Packing (Really, look at this. People want the figure where Padme went to a picnic or was PACKING! In
the original trilogy Han and Leia were going through asteroid fields and encountering mynocks in a cave that
turned out to be a worm. Anakin and Padme talked by a lake, ate a pear, went on a picnic, and sat by
a fire. It's like every bad romance novel cliche in one movie, like that's what Lucas perceives as what it
should be like when two people REALLY, REALLY fall in love. And we want action figures of this?)
Sephjet Josall (background Jedi) (see above)
Tikkes (Separatist) (same as with the Rodian)
Toonbuck Toora (Separatist) (Used to be with Star Wars aliens they were tough customers in a bar, or bounty
hunters, or fighting Luke on a sail barge, now we can watch them govern!)
And that's Episode II. The Jedi are probably the most marketable, but I'd worry about them pegwarming if they were carded figures.
BD-3000 Luxury Droid (where is this in the movie?)
Merumeru (another Wookie would probably be a good choice)
Emperor Palpatine (Foundation of Emperor) (a main character, but in a non-dynamic scene)
Padme (Anakin’s Return) (she has Leia's hairdo so it's probably the best choice for all the Padmes left)
J’oopi She’ (Klaatu Jedi) (obscure, but an alien Jedi might sell, see Target analysis above)
Padme (Declaration of Empire) (sitting and talking)
GH-7 Midwife Droid (MIDWIFE DROID!)
EW-3 Midwife Droid
Mon Calimari Water Dancer (interesting concept art, but a Star Wars ballerina might not be the best idea)
Padme Funeral (she's DEAD!)
Padme Peacock Dress
Senator Fang Zar (is he from the cut scenes?)
Whie Malreauz (Padawan Learner)
A few more Jedis and Wookies might sell to the kids. They might fit in with the Clones Wars mindset.
So my opinion remains the same, even with the intense market research of the collecting community, there isn't much that's marketable. The only main characters people list as choices in the poling results are Padme and Palpatine.
I still say Erdan would be hella marketable as far as TPM figures go. He might do nothing, and might have to come in a multipack, but a giant dude with black and white facial tattoos, led on a leash by Warwick Davis (as Weazel? this still ain't clear)? That's gold there. Gold.
As to the main point of this thread, I think there are still a number of good ideas to be made from the prequels (I'll include a list sometime soon). There are a few vehicles (both all-new tools and simple repaints) that I'd like to see for the TPM re-release, since I don't know when else they'd be able to do them. Since the prequels ****ed off a lot of fans, I think they'd be best to focus on the elements that resonated the most with the most fans instead of going for remaking or re-releasing everything, and they seem to be doing this so far (with things like picking Jedi training Anakin over slave Anakin, and adding Quinlan to the line, and so on).
Really, though, they did a pretty great job of covering all three, thanks mostly to the intense marketing pushes when the films came out. As has been said, figure-wise there's not a lot of ground left to cover, but that can really also be said with the originals as well. All the heavy hitters have been done and re-done countless times, so now it's mostly background and expository characters from all six left to do without getting into resculpts.
I haven't heard of those characters, though I know Warwick Davis was in the movie. I'd like a figure of him, but it doesn't strike me as marketable. I seriously doubt that they would include the leash. It doesn't seem real PC.
I've been thinking over the marketable question. I think that gift sets for each movie might be marketable, perhaps at the time each movie comes out in 3D, if they all come out in 3D. But these are certainly rehashes.
If they'd use old sculpts or kitbashes so that they kept it to $5 a figure, less than $50, I could see parents buying them for their kids, kind of an "all in one swoop" kind of thing. But then if you did this, it might hurt the carded line. "You already have all those figures."
But I could see:
2. Padme (or the Queen)
5. Darth Maul
6. Jar Jar
9. Battle Droid
It could be a starter kit.
6. Jango Fett
8. R2-D2 with his stupid flying rockets
9. A Clone Trooper
4. Darth Sidious
6. Gold plated C-3P0
8. Mace Windu
9. Clone Trooper