With Hasbro's Q&A program seemingly dead, we're going to repurpose this thread into questions for us to ask Hasbro at conventions this year. Voting is not needed, Steve and I will make the final editorial decisions of what gets asked, so just suggest REASONABLE questions - the kinds of questions you'd be able to say in public to another person - and I'll add the ones that seem most ask-able to this list. I'll likely also eventually rewrite them to a more conversational style, but the clearer you make it, the more likely I'll be to understand it.
If you'd like to voice support for an existing question, feel free, I'll definitely take any support like that into account, but we're not going to make this an official voting thread anymore.
- - The Force FX lightsabers are targeted at adult collectibles, for a group who generally desire accuracy in their prop collectibles, and yet the latest ROTS Obi-Wan's lightsaber with removable blade suffers a big inaccuracy due to the blade needing to be securely anchored. However, with your removable-blade designs, you've started using dummy parts to fill in the removed blades, and we wonder if you'd consider for future thin-necked lightsabers like Luke ROTJ and Obi-Wan having the removable blade take the entire thick "neck" with it and having a more accurate thin-necked dummy design replace it. That much weight anchoring has been accomplished before in the thick metal coupler for the Maul saber halves that screwed together, on these thin-neck sabers the neck could screw down to the top part of the grip. That would let collectors have their cake and eat it too by giving an accurate hilt prop display with the thin neck, while still having the light-up blade play using the thick neck. So has there been any consideration for that sort of thing, and might it be seen in future Force FX sabers when needed?
- - The 2009 Count Dooku with Speeder Bike figure featured a fabric cloak with a sculpted plastic clasp, meaning he had the free range of motion provided by the cloak with the accuracy of the clasp. Recently though, instead of a plastic clasp, your TVC General Lando Calrissian figure has a thick elastic strap that doesn't really look anything like the fabric braid the character wore in the film; it seems like that is a case where a plastic clasp would have been preferable. The plastic clasp holding closed a fabric cloak solution could also be a possibility on future Darth Vader figures, or movie-based Count Dooku figures, or other figures where appropriate and the material allows it. Will the plastic-clasp-and-fabric approach be taken more in the future? Why wasn't it with TVC General Lando?
- - In the foreseeable future, can we expect to see the Neimoidian Separatist Shuttle released, seeing how it's appeared in three films, and in 12 Clone Wars episodes so far? It has a unique shape and certainly seems as useful as a Mandalorian Shuttle, which got a release.
- - Concerning the Clone Wars Battle Droid figure, will you ever release a regular infantry version that sports the Firefighter Battle Droid's extra-articulated arms, and the Class 1 Fleet Separatist Speeder Pilot Battle Droid's extra-articulated legs, so that we'll have a more articulated animated Battle Droid?
- - The issue of characters appearing in the Saga Legends line around the same time that they appear in The Vintage Collection is something that in the past Hasbro said they were trying to avoid, but lately has changed gears on. For the Saga Legends figures under the TVC line, out of 32 figures 15 of them were repeats of TVC figures on shelves around the same time, such as Anakin, Obi-Wan, Luke ESB Pilot, the AOTC and ROTS Clones, the Stormtrooper, C-3PO, Vader, Grievous, Jango Fett, Mace Windu, and the Super Battle Droid (who is identical aside from a slight change in deco, and a pistol). The Saga Legends versions are often $2 cheaper than their TVC counterparts, and sometimes are even superior in some ways - look at the helmet situation on the TVC Episode III clones compared to the properly-sized, never-green, correctly-painted Saga Legends clone that's also cheaper and comes with a stand. We understand Saga Legends is being replaced by "Movie Heroes" line, but the question remains for that as well, we have already seen that your plans seem to have multiple versions of Qui-Gon, Ep 1 Obi-Wan and Maul in different lines at the same time. What is the cause of those counter-planned characters, and are they cannibalizing sales from each other as we suspect? Is there any concern that having the same figure out in 2 movie-based lines accelerating its market ceiling being reached?
- - what's up with a few years of "animated figures only in the animated line," then, suddenly, all figures being Vintage.
- - Speaking of cancelled items, whatever happened to the second Utai and Imperial Scanning Crew figures?
- - I'm a bit curious why there have been "discount store" lines for many of Hasbro's boy lines (Marvel driver figures on single cards, reissued Transformers, reissued Joe VvV figures and now the repaint line), but nothing for SW. Is it entirely a licensing thing?
- - We've had a number of Knights of the Old Republic releases to date now, including, Revan, Malik, Bastila, and HK-47, is there any chance we might seeing a multi-pack collecting these figures? Perhaps for the upcoming 10 year anniversary of the game in 2013?
- - Following the release of 2 (repack) Titanium Series waves at the beginning of the year, we haven't seen any new ships since. In the last Q&A, Hasbro hinted at new releases for the Fall but we haven't seen anything about them. Also, the "Shadow Squad" 3-pack appears on Wal-Mart's website (which includes a new TIE Crawler tooling, apparently) but information is limited and it hasn't seen release, either. So, what's going on with this line, and the Shadow Squad?
- - Is Hasbro aware that many TVC figures are still not ringing up at the registers at some Walmart stores?
I picked up a Wedge Antilles when I was at Walmart and a friend of mine bought Nom Anor and Aayla Secura. The store's computer didn't recognize any of the figures. Fortunately I had two 2011 R5-D4s with me that the cashier was able to use to ring everything up. However, that store's computer now thinks it sold 5 R5-D4 figures even though there were only two in stock. That has to cause some problems somewhere.
I just find it a little bothersome that we're now 6 months into 2012 and Walmart's computers still don't recognize the new merchandise.
At the beginning of the year, when the Deleted Scene wave first showed up, we had the same problem and I used an old Qui-Gonn figure to let the cashier ring up the new figures. So, that store reported selling 5 Qui-Gonn figures in one night, even though there was only one Qui-Gonn in stock (it listed each figure as Qui-Gonn Jinn on the receipt) and that Qui-Gonn went right back onto the shelf when I was done buying the new figures.
I understand that Hasbro is going to say that this is an internal issue at Walmart that they have no control over, but it seems to be artificially inflating the sales numbers of figures that aren't actually selling well.
- - According to certain sources, the running change made to Kithaba's bandana color (from brown to red) was specifically requested by Lucasfilm to make the figure appear more accurate. Is this true? It seems that this change was made pretty late in the figure's production, because the red bandana versions are very difficult to track down. Was there a similar request from Lucasfilm about Dr. Evazan's scar or was that a change that you guys decided to do on your own? From a collector's standpoint, while it is cool that Lucasfilm will step in occasionally to ensure accuracy in the line; it's also a little perplexing that they would focus on a minor character like Kithaba while allowing you guys to put sleeves on Jedi Luke's cloak for the Deleted Scene figure released earlier this year. You would think that they would be more focused on the accuracy of the main characters above everyone else. Or do they just let major screw ups like Luke's cloak slide because they know it will give you guys an excuse to sell us another Jedi Luke at some point down the line? Also, are you guys aware that neither bandana color for Kithaba is the correct color for the character? It should be closer to a deep burgundy red, rather than a bright red or dark brown.
- - What’s the idea or theory behind the most recent Battle Packs? There’s severely reduced articulation, done to save money and appeal to very young kids (who can’t manipulate the articulation without getting frustrated), plus reduced paint for the same reasons (plus “they’re supposed to be an homage to the vintage figures!” given as a reason). But then, the head sculpts are some of the best the line has ever seen – across the board (with Obi-Wan and Darth Maul having also been released in Movie Heroes). So, what was the actual initial reason for creating these figures? If it was cost – would or wouldn’t it have been cheaper to just cast figures from the late 1990s or early 2000s, as you already were doing in the line as of January 2012? If it was to give something to the kids – same reason as before? If it was to offer the best sculpts of these figures ever, was the lack of articulation a conscious desire (to get rid of unsightly ball joints - but then there are those massively ugly T-crotches in the Naboo set)? And why weren’t any of these amazing new heads released on the pre-existing Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon bodies?
- - Will we see the Hoth Luke released with an alternate scarf/head to recreate his look for the majority of the time in the film? Perhaps in scarred and unscarred versions? (Such a pack – like an AT-ST/Ewok-style Special Action Figure Set two-pack – with a Han that could ride the Tauntaun a la the version in the Target exclusive Search for Luke Skywalker set pack but with his hood sculpted up, which already exists on several versions, could be a real hit.)
- - Why is TVC Tarkin so green? Yes, sometimes the film lighting causes the gray outfits to look a little green, but the figure takes it to another level and looks significantly more green than any other movie-based officer figures ever have, and he looks out of place next to them. Will you be releasing a gray-suited version at any point?
- - Is there still hope for much more new stuff from The Phantom Menace, now that its second (and most likely final, until the line license expires) big push has come, or was the 3D release kind of the last big chance? If it was, does this mean we might never see a Bongo, or a Kitster and Wald two-pack?
- - how has the TPM 3D release affected your plans for future 3D releases?
- - Some figures have had wires in their capes to help with posing – mostly in the 2008 Target exclusive Order 66 packs. We haven’t seen much of this since then, but Darth Malgus has this feature in the neckline of his cape. Will we see more of this at all, or has its time basically gone? Why haven't we seen more of this?
- - Speaking of robes, when will we see an Attack of the Clones Anakin with his unique sleeveless robe from that film? The first attempt was on the 2003 Secret Ceremony figure, which was sculpted to look like it was blowing in the wind. The only other option that comes close is the 2005 deluxe Anakin to Vader figure, but it is enclosed at the top and not quite right. Could this be included with the new AOTC Anakin in time? (And perhaps those aforementioned wires could give it some shape so it doesn’t just fall right off?)
- - Now that we have an ultimate Pablo-Jill figure coming, will we see his head retooled/repainted/resculpted to become Coleman Kcaj, the only remaining Jedi Council member not yet made?
- - Why is Jar Jar always so expressionless? Both the Movie Heroes and Vintage Collection figures, as well as the majority of previous versions, are stone-faced and serious. Is this to appeal to the Binks haters out there, or something? Might we see a smiling, scared, or slack-tongued Jar Jar at any point? They could easily reuse one of the new bodies and just replace the head.
- - Will Droid Factory feature any straight repacks, like the Greatest Hits figures from the 2008-2010 Legacy lineup that were done to give buyers an option who perhaps didn't want some of the new figures but still wanted the piece to complete the droid? Or will the pieces all be specific to one figure and one figure only, as seems to be the case so far (with quite a few repacks/repaints in the line already)?
- - What’s with the huge helmets on the newest Revenge of the Sith clone troopers? The helmets are just reused, and the AOTC version shows that you are clearly capable of sculpting a better-fitting, more accurate, less rubbery one, and yet we've already gotten all the big ROTS units in this big-helmet style.
- - The availability of single figures on HasbroToyShop is bizarre this year, with TVC waves 1 and 2 online around the time they hit retail, but wave 3 not hitting until late July/early August (and Movie Heroes wave 2 listed as "Coming Soon" with no sign of post-wave 1 Clone Wars). The entire cases have been available, but that doesn't really help people who don't want (or can't afford) all 12 figures, especially when most case assortments have more repacks than new figures. With retail distribution so horrible, why can't collectors count on going directly to the source anymore?
- - The upcoming Legacy Collection “Backstabber” TIE Fighter Pilot figure is actually inaccurate – the character in the film has Imperial logos on both sides of his helmet, but the figure only has one, as it was seemingly based on a still photo of the character that obscures the right-side logo in shadow. Will this be fixed?
- - What is your involvement with the Disney Droid Factory station? Did you just license the molds, as seems to have been the case for R2-MK? Will we see the unique R6, R8, and R9 heads coming in the main line or as Droid Factory pieces (presumably without the hole for the hats)?
- - With the new Emperor’s Wrath Darth Vader, we finally get an accurate damaged arm. Will we see this body re-released with the three-piece removable helmet? The peg on the Emperor's wrath version is much larger than on the removable helmet version, so fans can't really make this version properly. This version would look great with an unmasked Vader image on a vintage card, if/when the line ever returns.
- - In A New Hope, R5-D4 is shown to have red panels on his back. We've gotten three molds of this figure (plus a current repaint/re-release of the 2006 version in the Target exclusive sets), and none of them have these panels - though the 1978 figure did. These ones are only good for his brief AOTC appearance. Why hasn't this been addressed in the modern line, and when will it be?
- - Oh, and if Hasbro doesn't bring up the Amp'd line again (as it was conspicuously absent at Comic-Con), I'd like to know the status of it. I don't really want anything from it, I just want to know if it was cancelled and why.
- - At Comic-Con, Jeff told another site that the MTT's performance will significantly dictate how the 2013 line views another large vehicle launch. The MTT is not an exciting vehicle in general, it's slow and doesn't shoot in the films, it's not that "aggressive" style that Derryl has looked for in the past, the toy is built around a very specific gimmick which may only have limited appeal, it's higher-priced than the other big vehicles that size, and it was released half a year after Ep I in 3D came and went in theaters with little resonating impact. In short, the MTT was a risky choice and if it doesn't do well, why should its specific shortcomings be an indictment of big Star Wars vehicles in general?
- - could the more high-demand figures from the last Vintage wave be re-released on whatever card they're doing next? I'm thinking that Emperor's Guard figure is going to be a pain to get, being an army builder and all.
- - Hasbro corporate policy requires retailers to order monthly minimums to start with Hasbro, several thousand in purchases a month supposedly, which favors high volume retailers over small and niche retailers, and by doing so that limits the types of items Hasbro likes to focus on, going for mainstream audiences over smaller audiences, non-collectors and such. Force FX lightsabers have become an icon in our society, they're well-known with fans who would never buy a Star Wars action figure or toy of any kind, and those people buy from places that wouldn't move a lot of Hasbro product so they can't get wholesale orders from you. Some of those stores can go through Diamond for distribution but others aren't comic shops - mall video stores used to be a good place to buy FX sabers, for example, but now they are not able to get in on the marketing which limits Hasbro sales and limits Force FX's exposure outside the hardcore fan view. Is there anything that can be done for small-market-focused items like Force FX beyond buying them from a 3rd party distributor, or is the Hasbro business model simply too rigid to allow that?
Thanks for participating!