Hasbro Q&A Roundup - Week of May 23rd, 2008
First off, a message from the Star Wars brand team:
We have noticed on some boards that some collectors are deciding to wait until the Target-exclusive Order 66 sets go on sale before pouncing. This year, Target has advised us that the Order 66 sets will not go on sale when they come off the checklane endcaps and will extend at regular pricing in the planogram. We think that those fans waiting may be disappointed when the ones they want sell out. If there are certain army builders or characters that collectors had their eyes on, they might not want to wait...
Starting first at home:JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVESQUESTION:
The Republic Gunship has seen a number releases since it was introduced back in 2002. It's seen releases in support of Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith along with 2 Clone Wars related releases. One of the first things fans saw leading up to the new Clone Wars movie and television series was once again, the Republic Gunship. Can we expect another Gunship release in support of the new TV series and movie? And could it potentially feature new deco like the nose-art seen in the first clips shown at Celebration 4? Additionally, could we also see any mods to the existing mold, like fully closing doors (as seen in the footage) or the ball turrets? ANSWER:
Yes, you will see a re-release. However, it will be deco only, and will not come with fully closing doors or ball turrets. We are looking at ball turrets for a future Battle Pack, however, but we have no details on when that will be slotted in. QUESTION:
A number of fan generated figure wishlists have been calling for REVENGE OF THE SITH style Palpatine/Darth Sidious figures that have the high levels of articulation that we see with many Jedi figures. Does this particular character pose a serious challenge to articulate given the intricate nature of the costumes? ANSWER:
Not necessarily - it's just a matter of time before we turn our attention to this version. We have been eyeballing when to slot him in and it should be before too long.QUESTION:
The B-wing like shuttle that's been shown in clips of the upcoming Clone Wars movie & series appears to play a prominent role. Is it being considered a contender for the vehicle line? ANSWER:
As big at the AT-TE is, that ship is one big ship! As such, we are not in development with anything. As more of the Clone Wars animation unfolds, and we see more of it and see how it "acts", we're sure that we'll be wanting to take a look at it.
And now continuing through the collecting community!ACTIONFIGS.COMQUESTION:
In the past, Hasbro's had a fairly good ability to get new Star Wars waves and lines onto shelves in a timely fashion within the prescribed dates Hasbro claimed. However, a few lines recently have suffered delays, such as the Saga '03 line, TAC twice (wave 1 and 4), the General Grievous starfighter wave, and now the announcement of the preview Captain Rex mail-away figure not coming out until July (thus negating the "preview" aspect). Why has it been getting more difficult to get new Star Wars products released on time?ANSWER:
We plan schedules far in advance and with an "ideal timing" mindset, and then usually other factors such as sculpt development time or tooling times affect our schedule in unanticipated ways that throw us off what we would ideally want. So when things slip from their original intended schedule, or gaps occur, we try to deal with it the best we can. We think the bigger picture - our commitment to Star Wars and to delivering great Star Wars consumer experiences - is the important thing to keep in focus, and not necessarily the gaps between waves which can and sometimes do shift. For Captain Rex - our delivery of the figures was always on the schedule it is on; it was the lightning fast production and application of the stickers in Asia that caught us off guard and redemptions to start to come in earlier than anticipated. QUESTION:
With the AT-TE and Millennium Falcon being released on the same day, while exciting it does lead to a few questions: After years of saying there's not enough interest in large vehicles, how do we get 2 extremely large vehicles at the same time, was there something specific which precipitated this change in thinking? Why release them at the same time, wouldn't conventional wisdom say to release them months apart so they don't detract from each other's sales or retail shelf real-estate? For those collectors who want both but cannot afford 2 $100+ pricetags at the same time, for approximately how long will each vehicle be shipping to retailers? And finally, will these be produced in roughly equal amounts, or is will there be more of one vehicle over the other, and if the latter, which vehicle and why?ANSWER:
Previously we have said that the time was not right for the introduction of large vehicles, and that we would need an entertainment backdrop to give us the confidence to pursue them (i.e. a bigger market because of the new influx of kids interested in Star Wars). The time is right with the Clone Wars for the AT-TE, wheras it has not been the right time for the past several years. At the same time, we have experienced success elsewhere in our Hasbro brands at higher price points for product that really delivers on a great brand experience, and we felt that the Millenium Falcon is just the item that we could have success with if we really built it to match collector desires. Originally our plan was for the Millenium Falcon to phase in later in the year, but retailer interest and a smooth development schedule allowed us to ship earlier than anticipated and so they will both go out at the same time. Both of them should be available through the end of the year to allow collectors time to "reload" their wallets, but we can't say for sure how fast the supply we are bringing in will last. QUESTION:
Will you ever release any Neimoidians & Separatist Leaders in the Galactic Heroes line? How about a General Lando/Nien Nunb set?ANSWER:
We might someday get to the Separatists, so we would not rule them out. Neimoidians especially would be really cute (we never thought we'd be saying that!) in the Galactic Heroes styling. As for Lando and Nien Numb - that is a great suggestion, and while we don't have exactly that pack planned we think you'll be very happy with some GH sets that will be coming further down the road.
COOL TOY REVIEWQUESTION:
I would very much like to know what unique challenges (if any) were presented when developing the Indiana Jones line as opposed to Star Wars.
Your sculpting and tooling techniques have evolved considerably since 1995 and you've managed to come up with some innovative ways to incorporate incredible articulation and action features while keeping the figure or vehicle as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Has moving from a fantasy-based line like Star Wars, with all of it's fantastic aliens, creatures and technology to a more earth-bound line like Indiana Jones been an easier or more difficult transition for your team?ANSWER:
Actually there were three big challenges on the Indiana Jones line: the timing, the need to harness the essence of IJ quickly into a line that captured both kids and collectors, and the selection of a new factory to produce our 3-3/4" figures.
The first challenge was due to the sheer surprise and relative lateness of the announcement that George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford were teaming up again to produce IJ IV...and the fact it was on a fast track at that! We learned January of 2007 and met with Lucasfilm soon after. As soon as we had a deal we were off an running, but it left less than a year from start to finish for the
first waves, which caused many people a lot of late nights to get us there.
Second, IJ is not as easy on the surface to plan out, because the theme of adventure permeates everything and we needed to add special twists like the relics and "Ticket to Adventure", so it took us a while to really get the full lineup of figures, role play, and other signature items.
Finally, because we have kept our principal Star Wars figure factory pretty much in full production across the board, we elected to go with a new factory and there were some learning issues that we needed to work through, especially when it came time to hitting our exacting standards for detail in all areas of scultping and deco. They have really come on fast though and we love what we are seeing...and hope you do too!QUESTION:
Some of the concepts in the Indy line are great! The Deluxe line with mini playsets or double packs and the dios in the vehicle packaging are cool, and well worth the wait to see a return. Will we see some more concepts in between IJ and SW, such as Deluxe Packs and Comic Packs (Indy and Sasquatch from Star Wars Tales, anyone?) in the Indiana Jones line or Deluxe Packs in the Star Wars line? ANSWER:
We like that Star Wars Tales story ourselves..it would certainly be an interesting one to do. We are looking at IJ comic packs, since there are some great stories that have been produced by Dark Horse and some interesting recurring characters in the Marvel issues that are worth a look.
However, we are not certain when we will get those in. As far as deluxe assortments in Star Wars - you won't see an exact analog at that price point, but there are some surprises in store for Deluxe-like
elements here and there in the Battle Packs.QUESTION:
While the new toys are great, and it's awesome to finally get modern versions of Indy toys, some of the figures' paint apps are poor in quality (mostly on figures' faces). Can we hope to see these paint apps corrected for the currently released (and upcoming) figures? It would be greatly appreciated! And speaking of paint apps, will the horse be corrected with a mostly-white paint app? ANSWER:
We have been working with our principal Star Wars factories for years now and the process is well-honed; for IJ, it was a fast development cycle and a new factory, and overall we are pleased with the results and are fine-tuning the process as we go along.
We have had some issues with consistency of paint deco on some figures, but we hope that we have worked through those issues and what you'll be seeing meets your standards. As for the horse, that is the color that we have been directed to hit so we don't see that changing.
Can you give us a full rundown of what we can expect on July 26 So we loons can have an idea of how much scratch we will need that night?ANSWER:
It IS going to be a big day for Star Wars collectors! On 7/26, everything (with very few exceptions) in the new white and blue Clone Wars inspired line look will be available for sale for the first time. This includes everything from the all-new Clone Wars and Legacy/Droid Factory basic figures to the new Starfighter vehicles (V-19 and Spider Droid), Evolutions, and Battle Packs, all the way up to the Clone Helmet, new Ultimate Lightsaber, and AT-TE and Millenium Falcon. In addition, the "continuing" assortments like role play lightsabers and blasters, Saga Legends, Galactic Heroes, and Titanium will have new packaging and some will have new items to go with the carry forwards in new packaging (this is where MOC or MIB collectors will feel the pinch....we apologize in advance, but doing repacks is a necessity in our ongoing assortments). Some of the continuing assortments like comic packs, Star Wars Transformers Crossovers, and Unleashed 2" are trailing behind in the transition to the new packaging look. These will likely phase into the planograms a couple weeks later, although we are doing everything we can to get them there on 7/26. Finally, on 7/26, there will be a number of exclusives...details of which will be revealed as we get closer to the date. Whew!QUESTION:
Now that a "mock up" of the Disturbance at the Lars Homestead Battle Pack has leaked out, is there any comment on what this set may actually contain (rather than the very basic figures in the mock-up)?ANSWER:
It's still too early to divulge any specifics of the set, other than it is not a routine Battle Pack, and that it features an OTC setting. More details will be revealed at Comic Con, if not earlier.QUESTION:
Ackmena (as performed by Bea Arthur, legend, thespian, American Treasure, and former U.S. Marine) does LFL own the rights to this character from the 1978 Star Wars: Holiday Special? (No, we're not asking you to make her, just asking if you have the right to do so in any event.)ANSWER:
We answered this question last week, Adam. But just so you stop asking this one, we have decided to put her into the basic figure lineup. Just kidding, we didn't, but if we tell you that will you please stop asking? ; )
Isn't it about time for a new super articulated Gungan army builder? After all, clones weren't the only army that the Battle Droids had to face. Please make a new Gungan Warrior! ANSWER:
We do think that it's time we went back to the Gungans with, if not a newfound respect for their decidedly different approach to warfare, at least an appreciation for the fact it's been a looong time since we last turned out atttention to them in the mainline lineup. Look for at least one new Gungan in 2009. As we get farther out, we have plans to do some more exploration of Episode I as well. QUESTION:
Seeing you have stated we are getting Lumiya next year (and you have even included a second head for her, which I cant wait to get) what other Marvel Characters do you have planned, are we likely ever to see Cody Sunchilde, Jaxxon and Amaiza done in realistic colors or the funky colors you claim we like
(which we dont). ANSWER:
Highly unlikely. While we will continue exploring the Marvel run, that era of post-movie storytelling is, we think, a pretty low point in the EU and don't have plans to go there. QUESTION:
Seeing as we now have ultimate versions of Han Solo in all of his different outfits from the movies (with the exception of Bespin), how do you plan to keep putting fresh versions of this core character into the lineup year after year? Re-releases? More concept art Hans? EU versions from the comics and novels? I would also add cut scenes from the movies, but with this year's awesome sandstorm Han, I think cut scenes have now been covered! I'm sure there are already some great plans in the works, but could you please just fill me in a bit on which direction you may go? ANSWER:
It is true that Han has gotten some thorough coverage over the last few years, but we feel there are still some great Hans to be done, including vintage-style Bespin Han and a few other variants that could use updating. Next up for Han though is the Stormtrooper disguise outfit, slated for basic figure cards with a wave late this year.
In the new Clone Wars trailer, we see Ahsoka Tano standing on the nose of the AT-TE (see image below if your not familiar with the scene). Will there be a foot peg or something allowing kids to re-create this scene with the toy?ANSWER:
There will not be a footpeg on the front nose of the AT-TE.QUESTION:
Jabba the Hutt seems to play a large role in the upcoming Clone Wars movie. What are the chance of seeing a Clone Wars version of this character and some type of Jabba's Palace or Sail Barge toy?ANSWER:
Jabba as a character, yes, eventually. The playset or vehicle you describe - no plans.QUESTION:
With the upcoming Force FX Lightsabers, will you be offering a version with removable blades and what will be the price point on these in general?ANSWER:
The FX Lightsaber lineup consists of the same lineup that Master Replicas was producing. We have not yet announced any additional lightsabers beyond that but are working on some additions to the lineup. We anticipate that the retail price will be around the same as it was it years prior.
Knowing how long it takes for a product line to be developed, have you discussed anything with LucasFilm about the live-action TV Star Wars series, and if not, when do you expect those conversations to begin?ANSWER:
We have not had any discussions with Lucasfilm about the show and don't know anything more than what has been announced publicly. Right now we have our hands full with Clone Wars, but can't wait to see what the live action brings!QUESTION:
The first wave of Indiana Jones figures from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' seem to have taken a step back in terms of sculpt and also paint application. With the great work you're doing on the Star Wars line why is this?ANSWER:
We are working with a new factory on the IJ line, so there are some differences there in the translation from sculpt to tooling, as well as getting used to our exacting standards when it comes to deco. While we were happy with the first wave, each wave has become more dialed in as we go along.QUESTION:
UK fans are hoping that the new Wal*Mart Droid Factory twin sets will make it over to these shores - can you tell us if we will and if so when and where?ANSWER:
It will indeed be offered in the UK, although the retail partner has not been announced yet. Stay tuned
To be continued.