Hasbro Q&A Roundup - Week of May 9th, 2008 - PART 2MOUSEDROIDQUESTION:
How many Astro Droids and Protocol Droids do you predict we will see in the Droid Factory series in the 2008-09 line up? Who comes up with the design? Does Lucasfilm have a huge file that the developed during the preproduction of the prequels, that you can reference, or do you get to make the designs yourself and then Lucasfilm approves them. If the latter is the case, would you like to see your designs end up in the television shows?ANSWER:
The idea behind Droid Factory is to get out there some exciting droids that have never before been produced in a cool new collectible way, as a "bonus" to the figures that we all love to collect.
We current have lined up about 18 different droids that would take us through the end of 2009…that is, if all waves go according to schedule (if there is anything we have learned, it's that there *will* be change). Of this total, there are 10 Astros and 8 protos in the lineup. All of the concepts have been drawn from continuity or concept figures developed by Lucasfilm (such as the R7 model). This includes EU sources as well such as games, comics, and novels. None of them are Hasbro creations, and all of them are approved by Lucasfilm before we begin development. Thanks for the question! QUESTION:
Are there any plans to retool the Imperial Officer, Death Star Trooper, or AT-AT Driver? so they do not have those awkward looking swivel elbows? Or are these figures on a long term list to get the whole "SA treatment" sometime in the near future?ANSWER:
Yes, we do have plans to update these guys within the to SA versions at some point. Imperial Officer would be first, in 2009. The AT-AT driver would come later and might be 2010. Death Star Trooper, though, is someone we might save for a Vintage line and probably wouldn't be in the mainline per se. QUESTION:
Yoda is one of the few smaller characters that you seem to be able to do as a single carded figure, and not as a 2-Pack. However, due to his less active role in the series (and lack of costume changes) it seems that accessories are a way to make him seem more appealing. Having said that, what are the chances of us ever see a Yoda with the Holographic Communication Table he uses on Kashyyyk to communicate with the Jedi Council ANSWER:
We'll take that into consideration for a future possibility for the Legacy line. For all of our Clone Wars Yoda figures, though, we will most likely continue to develop accessories along the current path - good kid-feature accessories like launchers.
RAVING TOY MANIACQUESTION:
Will there be a price increase for the Star Wars figures like the recent one for GI Joe figures?ANSWER:
As a policy, we don't discuss pricing as that is the decision of our retail partners.QUESTION:
Are there any plans of releasing blank Mighty Muggs through the Hasbro site?ANSWER:
The Mighty Muggs team is right in line with your thinking. Look for both black and white blank versions at HasbroToyShop.com this Fall!QUESTION:
Which versions of Han Solo and Chewie come with the Millennium Falcon?ANSWER:
Han Solo is a straight repack of the '07 TAC (30th) Han Solo in flight gear figure, and Chewbacca is the one from the '05 Early Bird mail-in set.
I am a big collector of the Jedi Starfighters. I like to display them with their pilots and the accompanying astromechs. First I would like to thank you for the upcoming Droid Factory sets as I see many astromechs and pilots paired together. My question is 2 fold:
Do you have plans to produce any more Jedi Starfighters what with The Clone Wars coming out?
Second, are there any plans to do an updated R2-D2 figure using the standard R4-G9 mold as you utilized it for Vader's R4-K5 as well as Mace's R4-M6?ANSWER:
We're glad you enjoy the Starfighter - we certainly do too.
This is a sidebar - but we also have good news to report for those who felt that stickers should have been included with the Aayla Secura Starfighter (even though as it is, it is deco-accurate to the comic). We will be producing a sticker sheet for the vehicles that can be obtained by contacting our Customer Service department on the Hasbro web site. The stickers are being worked on now but will take several weeks to finish. We will advise 'Scummers on when they will be available, and they can then contact Customer Service. We'll send a pic when ready.
Now back to the question at hand...
Yes indeed, Starfighters will continue at a good pace with The Clone Wars animation. While we won't abandon the iconic EpIII version, the focus will be on a new, slightly-modified Delta 2 to match the animation. This new one will be out later this year. As more Jedi are revealed to us in the animation, we hope to be able to match future Starfighters to them as well. Whether we do more deco versions of the "classic" Delta 2 and EpIII Starfighter has yet to be seen, but we will be keeping the main ones in rotation in the Starfighter collection. If we do more "new" color versions of these ships, we may use these as exclusives as we have for the last few variants.
On R2-D2 with standard R4 body - We will be looking to get this version out eventually. We just have yet to figure out where to slot him in. QUESTION:
In the past, you have said that the more visual material you have on a character, the better the chance that character has of being made into a figure. So with this in mind, how much longer do we have to wait for a Jedi Master K'kruhk figure? He has been in the Republic comics, Jedi Council Acts of War miniseries comics, Dark Times Comics, Legacy Comics, and the Clone Wars micro-series, how much more material do you need? If he is not on the short list, is it due to the cost it would take to make him, due to his size and butt-kicking ability? ANSWER:
You will very much enjoy what will be coming next year with one of our own favorite as-yet-unmade Jedi. We won't offer any more details other than "he's coming!"QUESTION:
In an earlier Q&A session, you talked a bit about the character selection process for the upcoming Saga Legends line for this fall. But I'm also curious in how the Star Wars team selects the characters for a full line of basic figures. Are there any "must have" characters that you feel need to be included? For instance, which main characters are considered a "shoo-in" each year? How do you choose secondary or background characters like Cantina aliens, droids, senators, second-tier Jedi, troopers, etc.?
Also, with over 50 Q&A sessions behind us, how much do these sessions influence your selection process, considering the many requests for characters?ANSWER:
Well that is a great question that goes to the heart of our 3-3/4" strategy. While we have touched on it a little bit in past Q&As, we can elaborate a bit more.
Before we go in, we will say that the Q&As are extremely enlightending in a few respects. First, there are threads and questions that often validate assumptions we have had, about certain characters or classes of figures that strike a chord, and to which we need to make sure we are looking into even if it means adding characters to the famous "parking lot."
Second, there is good insight into what can make a character new and different in some cases that does influence our thinking; this feedback of course is also found in forums on many sites, but we can't get out to sites often enough and in the depth we want to get a comprehensive view of what fans are saying. From this standpoint, the Q&A helps us greatly in the sense that the best questions/comments rise to the top and are submiited to us, often independantly by a couple sites, and as such are a good representation of the top level of wants/desires/questions/concerns.
Now as to how we approach the basic figure line. The key here is that since Star Wars basic figures have a dual audience of kids and collectors, it is imperative that each and every case pack has figures that are relevant for both audiences.
We will start our yearly planning sesion right around late Summer, to get ready for the next planning year. The process takes a couple months from start to a working line plan, with a couple rounds of lively discussion with our team and Lucasfilm before we arrive at a plan we all agree on and start to schedule against. We start with a brainstorm/planning session that uses both our Parking Lot as well as homework that folks have done. We look to both make sure that we have enough heroes for the year, and at the same time lay out wave structures that make sense and spread the coverage around to at least all the films, with usually 1 wave of EU to bring in some high-demand characters we can't fit in elsewhere.
To anchor our waves, we have a strict short list of characters that we consider our star hero characters, and we make sure that we have some of these characters in every wave, and at the same time we try to make sure these characters are in the basic figure lineup every year. These top-level heroes are informed by historical sell-through data, so it is fact-based, not an emotional list.
So we will start by building waves around new takes on the core characters. Depending upon how many stars we have we then look to add strength to the wave by looking to a second level of well-known characters that are not in our top-tier but are key Saga characters nonetheless. The actual list of characters who don't make that "first cut" may surprise some people...but again, we try to be fact based as much as possible, and the more stringent we are the better the line will perform and the more we can keep doing.
Once we are convinced there is enough iconic strength from these two tiers to give traction to the wave from a kid standpoint, then we turn our attention to the much more subjective, emotional, argumentative, political, deal-forged, exhilarating, and dissapointing part of the selection: the collector figures! We are kidding about most of that, because it is really a fun part to be able to plan and slot in "wish list" figures for the first time, so there is a little deal-brokering going on ("OK, I'll give you Willrow next year if we get Yarna in this year," etc). This is where we need to make sure we have enough tooling to do what we want, and that's why updates to core characters not only keep the line healthy but allow us to develop more in the way of interesting collector offerings.
This part of the process is subjective in the sense that we consider personal wants and fan wants, paying attention to the sub-categories of collecting interest that have emerged, including in no particular order new troop builders, Cantina denizens, aliens (which includes Cantina), Jabba's Palace denizens (ditto), Separatists, Rebels/pilots, Imperials/officers, senators, Ewoks, vintage updates, Padme versions, Mandalorians, droids, updates to secondary Jedi/new Jedi, and figures derived from non-comic source material (games & novels). With so many categories to choose from, and only so many slots to go around there is no wonder that a lot of folks feel we aren't going as deeply as they'd like. That's why we preach patience...we're in it for the long run too, just like you guys.
It's during this line planning, and leading up to the subsequent delivery of figures, that sometimes we feel like the luckiest people alive to be able to really dig and work magic to bring new aspects of Star Wars to life in figure form.
There are a couple of versions and characters of the Force Unleashed characters we don't have: PROXY, Shaak Ti, Juno Eclipse as a rebel and a few Stormtrooper variants. Can you confirm how many figures from TFU we are getting in 2008-09? Other than the ones we know about, of course.ANSWER:
There are no more TFU figures in 2008 beyond those that have been announced/shown already. The final ones will be the previously-announced but still unreleased basic-carded Stormtrooper Commander (retail partner and sell-in strategy still TBD) and the Wal-Mart exclusive 3-packs featuring some unique trooper deco. For 2009, we are loking at one additional figure and that is it for our plans for now for TFU. As we see and play the game ourselves, we are sure more ideas and favorites will spring forth, but those will have to come further down the road.QUESTION:
Originally we were told that TAC '08 would begin shipping in March. But in early January, we started seeing these hit the shelves. Your explanation was that they were ready early so you shipped them early (and I'm sure most of us didn't mind that). Now my question is this: if the Clone Wars toys are ready early, will you ship them prior to the July 26th date? And if not, do you have anything coming out between then and now to hold us over? That's still almost 3 months away, and it's been at least a month since we've gotten anything new!ANSWER:
We will not be shipping anything in the new blue/white line look early,including Clone Wars or The Legacy Collection. All products will be held for the 7/26 launch date. Given the excitement of the Clone Wars launch, the debut of the Droid factory basic figures, and the amazing new Millenium Falcon and AT-TE among other segments, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting launches in Star Wars history.QUESTION:
The Basic Figures this year look great! But there is a lack of Original Trilogy in it, other than Legacy Wave 1, an ANH Wave, the Hoth BP and some Droid Factory figures. Is this due to some shifting that we have heard about?ANSWER:
Yes, the perceived lack of Episodes IV-VI is not by choice, but a matter of schedules sliding around and shifting the EpV wave out into 2009. Otherwise we would have had one wave from each of the three this year. However, we think OTC fans will be happy with some of the other things we have coming, including the Evolution packs, the new Millenium Falcon, and the exclusives line-up. Stay tuned for more details around Comic Con on the rest of the lineup through the end of the year.
SIR STEVE'S GUIDEQUESTION:
Are there folks today at Hasbro who were working on the Star Wars line back when it was reborn in 1995? Was there any clue behind-the-scenes back then that the Star Wars toy line would garner such a huge adult collector following? Were adult collectors considered at all on any level back then when forging the line's beginnings? What do you folks think of the extensive adult collector enthusiasm for the line today, 13 years later? ANSWER:
Interesting question! There are indeed folks who were with Kenner back when the line was relaunched, who are also an important part of the nucleus of the team today. While we do not mention names here in the Q&A, the faces should be familiar to those who attend or view any of our panel presentations from Celebration or Comic Con. The answer to your question is that yes, when the line was relaunched, consideration was taken as to who the audience would be and what their wants and desires would be to collect the modern line. This shaped the complexion of the line at relaunch and also has been a continuous influence as it has moved forward. This consideration is seen most importantly in three ways: 1. The 3-3/4" scale was chosen as the "default" scale for the relaunch (despite there being no 3-3/4" line in the market at the time and the trend in other lines was moving toward 5-6" figures); 2.The choice to keep the nostalgic 6"x9" basic carded format, which has now been the "heart" of the line now for 20 years inclusive of Vintage; 3. The vehicle designs and approach selected during the relaunch and afterward. Regarding the last point, it was felt that since a portion of the audience would be adult collectors, and that many of them already had the vintage vehicles in their collections, that newness in feautres and electronics was needed to make them different and move the brand forward. This important priority on vehicles, while it has waxed and waned, has never left the line and has been taken to a new level this year with two of our biggest vehicles - the Millenium Falcon and the AT-TE. We should note that there is also a fantastic backstory to the making of the new Millenium Falcon that will be revealed as time goes on....stay tuned! QUESTION:
With a wave pushed out of this year making way for another repaint wave, does this give Episode I fans a chance to buy some figures in 2008? There's the oft-requested Holographic Nute Gunray, or perhaps a different color variation to the Post-OTC Queen's Handmaiden (Rabe) figure. This could compliment nicely next year's Ep 1 wave that you've already confirmed, so, what do you say? ANSWER:
There won't be any EpI figures slotted into the lineup for the redeco wave. QUESTION:
With The Force Unleashed videogame being pushed back to mid-September, will TFU product be re-released to coincide with the game's release? ANSWER:
Aside from the two Wal-Mart 3-packs, scheduled to launch with the game, and one basic-carded Stormtrooper Commander whose release is being managed by LucasAsrts, there are no other major re-releases planned. A couple select figures (including Vader) will be re-released for the Legacy/Droid Factory waves, but that's it. This is simply because of the logistics of the launch and the need to bring in the rest of the figures this Fall. It will be something we watch going forward though, and it's possible we could look to re-release some of the more popular figures as time goes on, but it will not be synched up to the fall release
To be continued.