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  1. #1

    What good MARKETABLE ideas are left to do from the prequels?

    Hasbro has covered a lot of prequel ground over the last 12 years, to the point where almost every iteration of every character has a solid, modern-quality representation. However, their Star Wars brand is an ongoing business, it still runs the figure line from the entire saga, and in doing so, Hasbro attempts to cater to the whims of younger fans who grew up with the prequels and recognize Star Wars from that, along with hardcore fans who want high quality figures of everything - all while making sure that the mainstream markets don't ignore the product for being too specialized. It's a delicate balance, to be sure.

    So the question becomes, is there a reasonable abundance of good, MARKETABLE ideas left for Hasbro to mine from the prequels, or has the last few years pushed out nearly everything that could need to be done? Cite examples and we will discuss.
    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.

  2. #2
    We still have some gowns for Padme that needs to be done.

    We still need better versions of some of Senator/Chancellor Palpatine's robes.

    We still don't have Jar Jar Binks in the outfit with the epaulettes from Padme's apartment.
    Hell, we still need a version of his Senate robes that isn't Disco Dancing.

    A lot of the early TPM figures that haven't been remade could use some new more articulated versions.

    We still have plenty of Pod Racer Drivers that haven't been made in plastic yet.
    Hell, we're finally getting Ben Quadrinaros. A character who was on the very first Fan Choice poll.

    We don't have all of the members of the Seperatist Council from AotC. Where's Rogwa Wodrata?
    THE SPY. THE SPACEMAN. THE GODDESS. THE ROBOT. THE GORILLA.

    AGENTS OF ATLAS - Returns in Early 2009.

  3. #3
    Beast, though I think those are figures they might make, I don't think there's a very marketable one in there.

  4. #4
    Sure there is. Because the kids are more interested in Clone Wars. And the movie stuff appeals more to adults.
    THE SPY. THE SPACEMAN. THE GODDESS. THE ROBOT. THE GORILLA.

    AGENTS OF ATLAS - Returns in Early 2009.

  5. #5
    Just took another look at it, and if you look at our two first major polls on still to be made figures, our two lists from the last Hasbro sponsored Fan Poll, and Hasbro's final list from their last Fan Poll, there are still 13 prequel figures left from ALL of those polling lists. The results show not only how obscure what is left is, but what a good job Hasbro did of making figures people wanted from the prequels. They are, in alphabetical order,:

    1. Birthing Droid (SSG polling)
    2. Cliegg (Hasbro finalist)
    3. Corde (Hasbro finalist)
    4. Dorme (Hasbro finalist)
    5. Jocasa Nu (Hasbro finalist)
    6. Kister (Hasbro finalist)
    7. Padme (Palpatine’s office AOTC) (SSG)
    8. Padme (ROTS in Leia hair buns) (SSG)
    9. Queen Apailana (Hasbro finalist)
    10. Queen Jamilla (Hasbro finalist)
    11. Tey How (Hasbro finalist)
    12. Tonbuck Toora (SSG)
    13. Wald (Hasbro finalist)

    Not ONE of those 13 figures was shown holding a blaster or lightsaber in their particular scene. 7 of the characters are human women who stood around talking. Two are children who stood around talking, though Wald is an alien of an iconic Star Wars species. Tey How is from a poor selling alien species and pretty much sat in a chair making announcements. One is an old man with a lot of dialogue while sitting in his chair. One is a VERY obscure alien. One is a maternity droid.

    Now any one of these figures is just as justifiable as others that have been made in the line. But when making an analysis of if there is a lot of marketable choices from the prequels the answer is a resounding no. Their best best is getting people to buy new versions of something they already have or to get people to buy their first Darth Maul or Jango Fett.

    Update: If you look at the nominees Hasbro has offered or the finalists in ALL other Hasbro polling, the only other two that I didn't mention as part of the 13 above is the Twil'ek Masseusse and DEAD Padme. I don't think either of these two figures bolster the argument that there are a lot of marketable ideas left.

  6. #6
    And it's not like they're going to release all those characters in a single wave.

    Hasbro is pretty good about balancing new versions of main characters with obscure wild cards.
    THE SPY. THE SPACEMAN. THE GODDESS. THE ROBOT. THE GORILLA.

    AGENTS OF ATLAS - Returns in Early 2009.

  7. #7
    Part of the problem is the way they release one or two items at a time. I'm not saying the whole line needs to focus on one thing, but it would really help if they coordinated releases of related items. You think it might've helped sales of the Hoth-related vintage stuff last year that one could easily buy (assuming they'd not all been snatched up) Hoth Leia, Echo Base Han, two different Endor sets (what were these called? not Battlepacks, IIRC), the AT-AT, and the Snowspeeder (and I think there may have been one or two Battlepacks as well at the same time).

    There are also collectors who only collect the OT stuff. I doubt there are many, if any, collectors who only collect PT stuff. So it has to be promoted and coordinated, or it will fall flat.

    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.

    Meanwhile, coordinate with the Vintage and Legends lines to release new and older figures related to the podrace regularly through the year. A new desert Padme, Shmi, and Qui-Gon would be no-brainers for the Vintage line. They don't have to take over the lines, just one or two per wave.

    Coordinate it with a marketing push, maybe a silly contest. Maybe get the classic Racer game finally released for the Wii Virtual Console (and other consoles, too--I only mention Wii because it was an N64 game). TV ads. Some sort of Dark Horse tie-in, maybe... heck, even get those fanwankers at The Clone Wars to integrate a rematch between Anakin and Sebulba while Lobot officiates and Boba Fett shoots at both of them and then Wicket shows up for no reason except to sing a duet with Ahsoka Cyrus.

    Same thing with the Battle of Naboo: the problem isn't so much that kids don't want the toys, but that the toys are released over such large spans of time that kids will get one thing and outgrow playing with the toys before the next one comes out. They don't need to go with theme waves; that's overkill. But having a ton of toys from a given movie that have little relation to one another aside from being from the same movie is, uh, underkill.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Part of the problem is the way they release one or two items at a time. I'm not saying the whole line needs to focus on one thing, but it would really help if they coordinated releases of related items. You think it might've helped sales of the Hoth-related vintage stuff last year that one could easily buy (assuming they'd not all been snatched up) Hoth Leia, Echo Base Han, two different Endor sets (what were these called? not Battlepacks, IIRC), the AT-AT, and the Snowspeeder (and I think there may have been one or two Battlepacks as well at the same time).

    There are also collectors who only collect the OT stuff. I doubt there are many, if any, collectors who only collect PT stuff. So it has to be promoted and coordinated, or it will fall flat.
    Hasbro says they try to coordinate stuff like pilots and vehicles, obviously it still needs fine-tuning. That said, they also have said that without a big event to coordinate on, that releasing too much of 1 theme at a time makes it difficult on buyers who can't afford to get everything at once. And the reality is that the market no longer supports having some product on shelves for 2 seasons, everything is about rush-rush-rush with retailers.

    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.
    Podracer vehicles have a lot of disadvantages:
    - 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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Droid View Post
    Beast, though I think those are figures they might make, I don't think there's a very marketable one in there.
    Your other posts are really good, but this one is the one I have to voice agreement with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beast View Post
    And it's not like they're going to release all those characters in a single wave.

    Hasbro is pretty good about balancing new versions of main characters with obscure wild cards.
    That isn't what we're talking about though, we're not talking about 'obscure wild cards', we're talking about product that is marketable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tycho View Post
    Jocasta Nu?
    Cliegg Lars?
    Separatist Tiikes?
    Separatist Wogra Woodrata?
    Leading Lady Padme Amidala in how many outfits from AOTC and ROTS - especially Senator ones since that's what she is?

    Apparently, these are missing. See my comments that contrast with yours below before you take this to be the whole of my answer to you because there's a point missing. I think I address it immediately below.
    Hi, crazy person, you just quoted my statement and started highlighting at the word "almost", then ignored it - as in "almost every iteration" and "almost every character".

    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.

    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.
    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.

    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
    Smooshed Jawa
    Scrapped CZ-9
    Dead Ewok
    Shot Greedo

    etc.

    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.
    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.

    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.
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Battle Droid View Post
    I'm still waiting on a transformable Droideka.

    It can be done, they've given smaller figures near SA.
    But not on thinner parts. I have the Hasbro transformable Droideka from the Mega Action line, it cheats by transforming backwards and it bulks up the chest to get those joints to move the way they need to. It might be possible without those cheats, but it'd need a LOT of joints at the "neck" and "chest" and "spine", and another problem would be that the "face" retracts into the head and then is strong enough to support the weight of the droid, but on a figure that would be too thin to do so. All that for a droid that doesn't sell that well in general. It's a bad recipe unfortunately, as it'd probably cost too much or not pass Hasbro safety, but we fans would like to see it done right (I'd like to see the regular Battle Droid done right at the neck and arm articulation, but apparently that's also never going to happen).


    Quote Originally Posted by Beast View Post
    It's kinda a shame that the Funeral Pyre Vader figure never made it to retail.
    Unfortunately, it seems to have gotten caught in the "marketable" aspect of things, retailers I guess don't believe it'd sell, and I can't say I'm entirely surprised. Heck, the first thing I heard someone say to Hasbro when they showed us the prototype in person a few years ago was "I was expecting it to have the music from the scene" (licensing costs are high for the music), so even die-hards think it could be better.
    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.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    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.
    If I were Hasbro and had their resources at their disposal, yes. Keep in mind that what I was talking about involved:
    Year-long support
    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.

  10. #10
    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
    Ma’kis’shaalas (Jedi)
    Mon Calimari Water Dancer (interesting concept art, but a Star Wars ballerina might not be the best idea)
    Queen Apailana
    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.

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