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« on: March 20, 2009, 10:40:36 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF MARCH 20th, 2009


Thanks for dropping by and checking out JTA's roundup of all of the Hasbro Q&A sessions from around the web.  This week's answers come in a little late as Hasbro has slid back the time to answer.  The roundup is continually updating as we get more and more responses posted at the participating websites.  If you know of a site that's participating in the Q&A's but isn't represented in our roundup, please drop us a line with a hyperlink to that site's Q&A.

You can check out each site's postings by clicking on the website title.  And please do, as some of these websites need the traffic.  The Star Wars Q&A's are posted alphabetically.

Also be sure to check back as we distill the Q&A's down to the real nitty gritty with out Q&A Headlines.  That is where we give you real news that comes out of the Q&A:  newly confirmed items, assortments, exclusive details, etc.  And feel free to post about what Hasbro is saying in the Q&A process here in the Jedi Temple War Room.

That being said, let's start of at home:


JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES


QUESTION:  The Clone Wars figures on the new cardbacks that were shown at Toy Fair included Mace Windu, the ARF Trooper, Super Battle Droid Sergeant.  But there was also an Obi-Wan Kenobi that was originally released as 2008's CW02 on the new cardback, but with a CW01 number.  Is that new cardback accurate to the new line's numbering scheme?  Additionally, will Hasbro be re-releasing some of those 2008 Clone Wars basic figures as refreshes when the line relaunches this August in the new packaging?  And if so, what would those refreshes include?

ANSWER:  There will be many refreshes in the new red & white line look; quite simply, kids cannot get enough of the excitement of Clone Wars, and their demand persists for the main characters.  We would not want to drop them from the line when they will continue to be the best-selling figures.  The package you saw was a placeholder; the 2008 Obi-Wan figure will be released as CW19 later on in the assortment after we have run the space-suit Obi-Wan for a while.  Other re-release figures will also be coming, but we do not have a final list.


QUESTION:  One of the staples of the Basic Figure line over the years has been Darth Vader.  He's the most iconic character of the Star Wars saga.  But he was noticeably absent from the Toy Fair exhibit and presentations.  

Be that as it may, the modern figure aesthetic has given us a tremendous new version of the Dark Lord with the release of 2008's BD #8 Darth Vader.  That begs the question, where does Hasbro believe there is room to continue to innovate with future OT versions of Darth Vader?  Might we see Darth Vader relegated to Greatest Hits type of assortments?  Or could we possibly see a new REVENGE OF THE SITH version, perhaps with the trademark Sith eyes and cloak?

ANSWER:  Darth Vader will continue to be a huge figure for us in the  Legacy and Saga Legends basic figure waves.  We are always looking for ways to bring new takes on him to future waves and your suggestion could be interesting. Thanks!


QUESTION:  Noticeably absent from the Hasbro presentation at this years Toy Fair were the Clone Wars figure & droid 2-packs that are starting to appear now at retail.  How extensive can we expect this line to be, and will it consist of refresh figures only, or will some new figures be appearing in this line of 2-packs?

ANSWER:  The figure/droid 2-pack lineup will not be extensive, and all will be repacked.




And now to continue through the Star Wars collecting community...


BANTHA SKULL

QUESTION:  Could we get a photo of the gunner inside the turret of the Geonosis Assault Battle Pack from the Toy Fair coverage? If no additional turret, can we expect some additional clone gear/weaponry in the set?

ANSWER:  Unfortunately, we do not have a picture at this time of the Clone inside the turret. The fit is not that tight - it's pretty roomy in there actually. There will be no additional weaponry besides their helmets and basic Clone blasters.


QUESTION:  Will the vulture droid be repainted into episode 1 colors? And, how about a picture of the vulture droid in walking mode?

ANSWER:  Eventually, we might repaint it into alternate colors drawn from previous entertainment but right now there are no plans. Here is a pic of the droid in "walking" mode.



CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE OF SUPER VULTURE DROID IN WALKING MODE


QUESTION:  Any update on the cantina bar dispenser or any other extra bar parts? It’s been a while and a lot of people really want to complete that cantina.

ANSWER:  Unfortunately, we were not able to develop the dispenser after all. The piece was simply too deep and complex to be delivered as an accessory in the basic figure assortment. It's possible that someday we could do this accessory in an exclusive pack, but right now there is nothing on the drawing board.




COLLECTION STATION

QUESTION:  Right now, based on what you've said and shown at Toy Fair, the 2009 basic TLC waves look like this: February (ANH), May (ESB 1), September (TPM). We know the '09 EU wave got pushed into '10, but according to your prior answers that still leaves 4 more TLC waves crammed into the last part of the year. 2008 suffered pacing issues and delays in part because the Hasbro SW team was focusing on Indiana Jones, but this year there is no such sidetrack, so why the pacing problems and slowdowns? Does the fact that so many other movies are getting Hasbro toy lines (GI Joe, Transformers 2, Wolverine) slow the flow of SW toys? Will all 7 remaining '09 waves actually make it to market in this year, or will all those waves on top of each other in the last 3rd of the year cause another push-out and all-repaints wave? As per your Dec 10th Q&A correction, will ROTJ and ANH 2 waves get released between May's ESB wave and September's TPM wave?

ANSWER:  Indiana Jones, nor any other movie, had (or has) nothing to do with the issues we have had on Star Wars with regard to schedules. Star Wars has a dedicated team assigned to it, and our schedule issues have been due to simply trying to cover a great deal of ground at once. Between Star Wars basic figures, Clone Wars basic figures, Comic Packs, exclusives, and our design to add newness to everything we do, it's an unprecedented level of support for Star Wars. A line the size of Star Wars is challenging for design, sculpting, engineering, and packaging, and any delays for any of these, or delays in securing Lucasfilm's approval, can cause disruption in the pipeline. The system was stressed, but we're back on track again and should be straightened out for this Fall and beyond. Right now, all waves will indeed make it out this year with the last wave likely to be Dec or Jan at the latest, following by the EU wave. There will be no repaint wave planned because there are quite a few regular waves falling into line. Had we been able to react to the delays this Spring, we would have activated a repaint wave this Spring but could not get one done in time and we held the final Spring wave (EpVI) over for the red/white line look rather than cutting it short in Spring.


QUESTION:  What are the requirements that a retailer must go meet to get a Star Wars exclusive, do they have to be a certain size company, make a certain number of Hasbro orders a month, etc.? Is there some sort of process that a retailer has to go through to get an exclusive, do they work with Hasbro on what item to produce, or is it out of their hands?

ANSWER:  Our retail partners are just that - partners in Hasbro's overall business. To be considered for an exclusive, a certain level of overall support needs to be met. Some retails are specific in what they would like to see, but the majority defer to the team to deliver exclusives that meet their needs and target the consumer base we are both looking for (i.e. kids or collectors, or both).


QUESTION:  With the Titanium Series line, how much influence does Lucasfilm put into it? Have they ever asked for a specific ship to be included in the line when it otherwise wouldn't be? Have they ever requested a feature be added to a vehicle, or even possibly a potential feature removed? Is the LFL approval process fairly smooth with this line compared to something like the action figure line, have they ever sent a Titanium Series vehicle back to the drawing board or even canned it altogether?

ANSWER:  Lucasfilm reviews each line plan for overall approval, accepting the majority of concepts but occasionally rejecting some and proposing alternates in their place. Features are a less important feature of the Titanium line, but are a big topic of discussion for other vehicles, such as the Starfighter 3-3/4" Vehicle assortment which is much more feature-oriented. In general, Titanium vehicles have a smoother approval process than 3-3/4" figures, simply because there is less subjectivity involved in the interpretation of things like faces and fewer deco issues. Incidentally, 2009 will be the last year for the Titanium vehicle series. It will be put on hiatus after this year.




CREATURE CANTINA

QUESTION:  Having seen the Toy Fair coverage on various other websites, I was just wondering how 2009’s exclusives will be handled for overseas markets and customers.  With a month or less left to go on Stateside distribution for some of the exclusives slated for this year, like the three Wal-Mart Comic 2-Packs or Jabba’s Rancor with Luke, is there any projection for getting more of these exclusives released abroad?  The main reason I ask is because I <i>still</i> haven’t found a European website to carry the “Lucky Lekku” Gunship, or Battle of Christophsis and Battle at Carkoon Ultimate Battle Packs, so I have to pay through the nose to get them shipped over from an American online dealer, and I don’t want to have to do that too often this year if at all possible.  (Not because of the Credit Crunch, but because I’d rather spend the money on army-building.)  I’m a bored collector with little to buy, and I want to hand your corporation money by the shovelful without getting too many middlemen involved.  How can we make this happen?

ANSWER:  We have offered every item in the line to retail partners in Europe so far for 2009, but not every item has been accepted, which poses problems for getting to the manufacturing minimums needed for some of the items.  We are trying to work through these issues.  The goal is to have complete distribution, at least in the U.K. and Germany, for every item.  Unfortunately, the reality is that this will not be possible, and the Rancor is one of those that has not been selected to be supported in Europe.


QUESTION:  Why does Hasbro love the re-pack? Is it simple economics or are your sculptors part of a Commie union and lazy?

ANSWER:  We rely on repacks because we would not be able to do Star Wars without relying on our vast library to help offset tooling costs. To put it in proper perspective, the "completist" collectors who would like us to do every Cantina alien, every Separatist, every Pod Racer, every one of Jabba's denizens, comprise a relatively small user base. Some collectors may find this hard to believe, but the vast majority of Star Wars figures that consumers purchase every year are from core, recognizable, characters along with clones and other high-profile figures. The tertiary or background characters are released in much smaller volumes, yet consist almost entirely of new tools. The business model for the obscure characters is thus "upside down." If we had to rely on 100% new figures to propel the line, we would only make the core heroes because it makes the best business sense to develop what most people want to buy. We don't want to do that, however, because collectors are an important part of the consumer base for us (and we are fans of the tertiary guys ourselves!), and doing smaller-run figures is an important way to keep everyone engaged and interested year after year. We have to carefully manage how many we do, however.  We hope that clarifies why repacks are, and will continue to be, a vital part of our strategy.


QUESTION:  Since we’ve already gotten several different Clone-, Storm-, and Rebel Trooper army-builder multi-packs (which seemed to sell well), is there any chance we could get similar multi-packs for the various multi-hued Battle Droids and their ilk (Super Battle Droids and Droidekas, for example), or for Podracing-livery-themed Pit Droids?

ANSWER:  We do not have plans to do Battle Droid-themes Battle packs, although droids will be a prominent theme in the Deluxe assortment that will be relaunched this Fall.  We would not do a Battle Pack centered around Pod Racing; that topic is too niche to be of general interest for a successful Battle Pack.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 05:36:03 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2009, 10:48:07 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF MARCH 20th, 2009 - PART 2



GALACTIC HUNTER

QUESTION:  Many collectors are eagerly waiting for more information regarding the upcoming Return of the Jedi wave. Our evil spies report that you intended to show the wave at Toy Fair, but that it was not possible due to time constraints. Is there any chance that you could share pictures with us when it becomes available? We are all very excited to know more about the Death Star II Luke Skywalker, the 'innovative' "Slave" Leia , Skiff Guards, etc.

ANSWER:  We did indeed intend to show the wave, but did not get the hard copies done in time. We still don't have great photos of this wave, but will send along one of the images we have - for the Nikto Skiff Guard.  Enjoy!



CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE OF NIKTO SKIFF GUARD


QUESTION:  Hasbro, you obviously keep the molds used for figures and vehicles, where and how are they stored? I'm picturing the government building in Indiana Jones right about now.

ANSWER:  That's about what it amounts to.  Generally, each tool is stored on a pallet and stacked up on large heavy duty racks. We have a vast amount of tooling spread out across the various factories in China, and even some (although doubtful any Star Wars) in Rhode Island.  Periodically, we have to go through and scrap tools that we do not plan on using again, although on Star Wars we try and keep just about everything.  You never know when it will come in handy...


QUESTION:  Finally, with everything shifting pretty heavily toward the latter part of the year, a few of the products heading our way feel a bit like "placeholders". In particular, I'm interested in asking about the Mini Rigs that were mentioned at the Toy Fair presentation. Can we safely assume that even if certain products (the Battle Droid and Tank) don't sell gangbusters, we're still going to see NEW Mini Rigs vehicles on our shelves in for the "back half" of the year? Also, just to calm (my) shaking nerves, is the maestro of the orginial Mini Rigs line (Mark Boudreaux) heading up this very honorable extension of a beloved vintage favorite?

ANSWER:  The Mini Rig type concepts will be coming in 2010 for the most part. We don't plan on going too long with the assortments this Fall so we will be in a good position come Spring when the newly tooled ones arrive. Of course, if the whole assortment is a disaster for some reason (which we doubt), then all bets are off.  Our preference for this assortment is to work with on-screen vehicles from the Clone Wars, but the number of choices we can make in the "personal craft" size is still unfortunately limited.  So we needed to take some liberties (just like the original Mini Rigs) and Lucasfilm liked our suggestions.  Mark is indeed involved in the new Vehicle/Figure assortment.




HAN'S HIDEOUT

QUESTION:  The Comic Packs Lumiya figure - knee articulation or no? Some folks see a knee joint in those Toy Fair pictures, but others don't (and frankly, due to information overload at Toy Fair, I can't remember myself what type of articulation she had).

ANSWER:  Yes, Lumiya will indeed have knee articulation.


QUESTION:  The Clone Wars Nikto Bounty Hunter figure - we know he's not coming in the Jabba Battle Pack anymore, but can you confirm that he will make it out at some point in the near future? He's such a great figure, we'd love to get him sooner rather than later!

ANSWER:  Right now he does not have a home, but because he is tooled it is guaranteed that he will eventually come out either as a basic figure or part of an exclusive. He's a great figure, we're just looking for the best way to get him into the line.


QUESTION:  Just to clarify a point that has come up on your 10th Anniversary Eopie Mail-Away - will the "Mark of Maul" stickers be found only in Phantom Menace wave or will the stickers be found in other toys/figures as well?

ANSWER:  Currently, only the Legacy/Droid Factory fist waves of figures will have the sticker. We looking at whether we can carry the stickers across all basic figures. Even if the other figure SKUs (Clone Wars, Saga Legends) do not have the sticker, all basic figures will be eligible for the mail-in promotion.




JEDI NEWS

QUESTION:  First of all, it was really good to see a Yuuzhan Vong figure revealed at Toy Fair.   Does Hasbro plan to release any further EU figures from New Jedi Order such as Jacen and Jaina.  Also, are there any plans for a Zayne Carrick figure either as a Comic Pack or Legacy Basic figure release?

ANSWER:  Yes, there are plans for Jacen and Jaina at some point.  As for Zayne, there are no plans right now.  His was the very last pack cut from the list before we nailed down the 2010 line plan.  He is a strong possibility for a 2011 comic pack, however.


QUESTION:  Can you please clear up the issue regarding the Battle Pack with Gun Turrets - this has got people very confused and annoyed.  Please can you confirm how many Fun Turrets we're getting in the Battle Pack - is it one or two?  If it's two then great, if not, why are we paying for a Battle Pack with two figures and one Gun Turret - when this was originally released as a figure from Episode II we got a figure with Gun Turret for the cost of a Basic Figure - now we could be expected to pay three times the cost for a lot less!

ANSWER:  Originally, we designed this set to have two turrets and two clones. 

However, we could not get costs from our factories to fall in line with the cost targets we needed to hit.  As a result, there will be one turret in the pack.  The choice at the end of the day was quite simple: one turret and two clones, or to not produce the item at all.  We obviously feel that it is a nice addition to the world of Star Wars and hope that fans show that our intuition and passion for items like this was not misplaced.


QUESTION:  There were reports of a Galactic Heroes AT-AT with electronics (apparently this was seen at the UK Toy Fair) but this wasn't mentioned or seen as part of the US Toy Fair Coverage.  Can you clarify the position on this item and when and if we're likely to see it?

ANSWER:  The item will not be released in 2009; it is being considered right now for 2010.




JEDI INSIDER

QUESTION:  Since we are getting more large vehicles these days, what is the chance of ever getting a large vehicle/playset of the Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser. As a kid I always wanted a cool Star Destroyer toy and since the Cruiser was in the movies and featured regularly in the cartoon it seems like a logical pick to get some plastic love from you guys?

ANSWER:  There is very little chance of this. The Cruiser (and star Destroyer) are simply too big and not exciting enough to be considered.


QUESTION:  Last year you all pulled a major surprise out of your hat before SDCC with the BMF Falcon and I know t Toy Fair you all said there would be no other large vehicle this year other than the Turbo Tank, however I was wondering if you are planning anything that will be on par with last year’s summer surprise later this year for fans that you could tease us with?

ANSWER:  There will be no surprises on par with that. There will be a lot of product news at Comic Con, but it will be against the remaining Fall mainline waves and some tasty exclusives.


QUESTION:  Any plans to expand the 'Build a Droid' concept to something beyond just droid, like a Build a Alien or 'Build a monster/creature' figure?

ANSWER:  There are no plans to expand the buildable mechanic beyond the Droid Factory concept.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 05:36:52 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2009, 09:55:44 AM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF MARCH 20th, 2009 - PART 3



JEDIDEFENDER


QUESTION:  In the recent Toy Fair slide-show, we saw that the Japanese RC droids are coming to Target. The Remote Control R4-P17 wasn't on the slide. Will he be included, and if not, will he be available at any time domestically?

ANSWER:  We only brought four of the 3-3/4" RC droids to retail, because that is how many can be active at once on different frequencies. It's possible that, if this run is successful, we will sequel the program again at some point with additional droids. If we do that, it's highly likely that R4-P17 would be among them.


QUESTION:  Thanks to the recent Build-A-Droid series the list of movie droids that still need to be made is dwindling fast. What are the chances of any of the following seeing the pegs over the next few years? R5-X2 (Jabba's red/white unit from the podrace), R2-A5 (the white/green droid in Mos Eisley), the R3 and R5 units from the Rebel Briefing scene in Return of the Jedi and last but certainly not least a vintage update of the Lars Family Power Droid (Gonk Gonk).

ANSWER:  None of those figures are in the works for the buildable figures in the Droid Factory lineup, but that doesn't mean that we won't be pursuing them in other formats (basic figures down the road, exclusives, the occasional Battle Pack). We do like to turn our attention to the droids we haven't done, so they are in our "Parking Lot" for the long haul.


QUESTION:  I'm impressed with the Build-a-Droid figures, and I was wondering if you consider the quality of the fully assembled figures to be on par with figures released in the basic line-up? For instance, would you consider releasing some of the Build-A-Droid figures in the Legends Line at some point? That Dark Trooper coming this year is begging to be army built by collectors, if he were to be released in the Legends line some day (hint hint!).

ANSWER:  While we like the buildable figures, and believe that we have put in hooks to enable them to be seen with the same quality lens as the regular carded figures, we don't have any plans to release them on the basic cards. It's possible that the bodies themselves could be used later for basic carded figures, but as the basis for new figures not as straight re-releases. So the only way to get these specific Droid Factory figures will be to collect the pieces. As for the Dark Trooper - it will be far too big to ever put on a Saga Legends card!




MOUSE DROID

QUESTION:  My son and I love the Clone Wars voice changer helmets. He has the Blue and I have the plain white. They are really great items with excellent electronics and very durable. Yet we have been thinking...as Boba Fett is a favorite character of his (ours)...is there a chance at a Boba Fett Voice changer helmet in the future? You could even make a Jango Fett plus an entire Mandalorian range in different color schemes.

ANSWER:  We're really glad you like them. A Mando helmet is a cool idea, but we would only consider it if there was some form of additional current entertainment support for a Mando-type helmet. Being relevant to kids is the only way to make an item like this viable (look how long we waited to do a Clone helmet!).


QUESTION:  The articulation in your figs keeps getting better and better but sometimes some of the figures have swivel elbows rather then the ball jointed elbows.

My question is will you guys phase out the swivel joints and completely replace them all with ball joints? Also is there any talk about a new way of doing the hips? Perhaps ball jointed hips?

ANSWER:  Thanks for the comment. It's unlikely we'll ever phase out swivel arms, as they remain a viable alternative for us as we can't simply produce every figure with super-articulation due to extraordinary costing challenges. We are happy with our current hip designs, and don't feel the need to go to ball hips as a universal solution.


QUESTION:  This is more of an idea for "down the road", but one I was wondering if you had ever considered. 2-Packs seem to be popular among collectors, and can make great display pieces when the packaging is interesting.
So, have you or would you ever consider do a series of 2-packs featuring the Animated version of a charcter along with it's Legacy version? It would be an interesting way to perhaps celebrate the Animated series and the SW Legacy at some point down the road. Now, I know that not every character could be done as not all characters in the animation appear in the Live-Action. Obvious choices would be Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Padme, Clone Trooper, Grevious, Dooku, Commanders Cody & Gree, C-3PO and R2-D2. What do you think?

ANSWER:  At the present time, we would not consider this sort of combination. The simple reason is that it would narrowly appeal only to those collectors who appreciate both styles of figures. While more and more collectors are getting into Clone Wars, not everyone collects both styles nor would want to be "forced" to collect the other style to complete their collections.




RAVING TOY MANIAC

QUESTION:  How about a Queens of Naboo Evolutions 3-pack? Use an as yet unproduced version of Queen Amidala from Episode I, Queen Jamillia from Episode II, and Queen Apailana from Ep III.

ANSWER:  There are no plans for Evolutions to return, at least for the next few years. If we ever did look to reactivate the concept, your concept would certainly be an interesting one.


QUESTION:  Toy Fair was great, but we're an impatient bunch. Can you give us a tease to something that we can hope to see at Comic Con?

ANSWER:  Sorry - but we revealed so much at Toy Fair that we are guarding all of the remaining concepts for Comic Con. We promise that we will have some great news regarding things that folks so far have not uncovered... assuming the spies don't ferret them out before then. Stay tuned!


QUESTION:  Considering the "crazy" price rises on most of your ranges of toys how come you religiously maintain that items such as Comic-packs have to be designed to a price-point. Hence the fact that we have "SECOND FIGURE SYNDROME" whereby the other figure in a pack is usually a disappointment/total waste of time. eg; the recent Asajj Ventress. Why not just give fans what they want, two fully articulated figures and price accordingly?

ANSWER:  Once we set a price, we have only so much flexibility to increase the price; retailers have a tremendous say in what they will support. So sometimes, it takes steps to get where we need to go. Since Comic Packs were originally designed to be something of a value pack, including two figures *and* a comic, it limited our flexibility on what we could include and the amount of articulation we could afford overall. We have reacted to your (collective) comments though and are doing our best to ensure both figures are of commensurate articulation with the rest of the line.




REBELSCUM


QUESTION:  First our compliments on what was a far better display at this year's Toy Fair, most all of the new products looked great, and were a great deal better than what was shown at TF08!

That said, the old school collectors have a bone to pick. Last year - about this time, you announced that we would FINALLY be getting a new Luke Skywalker as he appeared on the second Death Star, and that the new DS2 Luke would be appearing in a ROTJ wave in the Spring of 2009. Granted that was with the caveat of "if the schedule holds." So while we understand that schedules change - the Original Trilogy fans can't help but feel like the OT continues to get pushed back in favor of PT and CW waves. We're sure that there are valid reasons for all of this, but when, oh when are we finally going to see the ROTJ wave? This delay seems especially silly considering that over time you've revealed the name of EVERY figure in the wave!

Can you tell us when this will be released? And while we know that there's a bunch of love for the OT coming (in the form of additional Empire and A New Hope waves). With the current schedule, we can't help but be concerned that once again "the good stuff" got pushed into next year. Help us understand how the final four waves of the year will be released between September and December. Your own slide presentation corroborates the numbers that all four are still expected this year:

46 figures translates to:

1st ESB Wave - 6 figures
AOTC Wave - 6 figures
TPM Wave - 6 figures
ROTJ Wave - 8 figures
ANH Wave - 8 figures (technically the second ANH wave, considering the ANH wave currently in stores)
ROTS Wave - 6 figures
2nd ESB Wave - 6 figures

Add those up and you get 46 figures. You've gone over the waves in Q&A's recently - so we have to assume that things haven't changed that much. Please help re-assure the OT fans that they will be taken care of, and that perhaps we won't have to wait all the way until SDCC to get something shown for us to get excited over!

And BTW - if you HAVE to kick a wave into 2010 - move the ROTS wave, we've had four straight years of ROTS releases, so it would be okay to finally take a break!

Thanks Again!

ANSWER:  The EpVI wave will be the second wave in the Fall assortment. We'll be leading with the EpI wave because the red/white packaging is timed to start with the Qui-Gon Jinn & Eopie mail-in promotion, but after that there will be a flow of OTC goodness, we promise. 2010 looks great as well, as long as schedules hold of course...


QUESTION:  Could you give any more details about Mighty Muggs becoming TRU Exclusives? What will this mean for future waves? If you see the line ending, will you try to pump out the highly requested Muggs like Jedi Luke, young Anakin, Darth Malak, TIE Pilot, Sandtrooper, Jawas, Galen Marek, etc?

ANSWER:  After Spring (from August on), Mighty Muggs will be found exclusively at Toys 'R Us. Right now there are no plans for additional exclusive waves of Muggs beyond what has already been shown.


QUESTION:  I absolutely love the multitude of rebel pilots as of late , but I have one questions- Are we EVER going to see a grey squadron y-wing pilot from ROTJ, and if yes, when? This is a figure that has never been done in any line, vintage or modern.

ANSWER:  We'd love to see a Gray Squadron pilot or two ourselves, especially a Col. Salm or Lt. Telsij. The former would be a likely candidate someday for a comic 2-pack if the line continues for a long while.




To be continued.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 05:30:18 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2009, 07:08:51 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF MARCH 20th, 2009 - PART 4



SANDTROOPERS

QUESTION:  How does a new paint job and box justify a $30 price increase on an "exclusive" that just came out in December (the ARC-170)?

ANSWER:  Now we understand - thanks for clarifying. We're not sure where the $30 increase comes from, as the ARC-170 was marketed at $44.99 last Fall. But the answer to your question really lies in what our commitment and hope is long term for this vehicle SKU.  As we articulated at Toy Fair, we plan to run a limited number of ARC-170s to set the shelf while we work to get in the new exciting Clone Wars Y-Wing as quickly as possible. That is the reason this vehicle assortment exists at the price it does.  Without the ARC-170, this assortment would not exist as it may not make it out to retail until Sept. or Oct - later than retail would tolerate.  Thus, the Y-Wing exists because we were able to bring the ARC-170 out and the pricing for the assortment reflects the new tooling. Hopefully this assortment will be a success and we can look forward to continuing it in 2010 as well.


QUESTION:  With all the remakes and upgrades you've done over the years on insignificant characters, is there any chance that we might ever see a new improved Admiral Ackbar figure anytime soon? He's only about the most important strategist that the rebellion has...

ANSWER:  We do have our eye-stalks set on an update of the dear Admiral. Hopefully, he will debut before the end of 2010, if not, then he will be in the 2011 lineup.


QUESTION:  Hasbro's newly revealed pilot/gunship turret pod battlepack comes with 2 pilots and one turret and looks AMAZING! To completely outfit 1 gunship, kids and collectors will need to purchase 2 battlepacks. Will we need to buy ahead and purchase extra battlepacks in anticipation of future gunship releases? Or will Hasbro release this battlepack in conjunction with any and all future gunship repaint/repack releases?

ANSWER:  Excellent question.  This pack is designed to have a limited run - likely less than 12 months, as the Battle Pack format will change in Fall 2010 back to the original thin depth we used from 2006-2008.  This means that any of the sets developed for the deeper design will remain out of circulation, unless demand is so hot that get them back out as exclusives. Even then, it will likely take some time and there is never a guarantee they will come back out.  So best buy 'em when you see them...


QUESTION:  Over the recent years we are finding at retail that figures packs are being returned to stores tampered with. In this case the actual figure and accessories have been swapped out but will keep a retailer from restocking because they believe they have actual product. Is it possible to use tamper resistant tape instead of the clear tape Hasbro uses?

ANSWER:  We have looked at tamper resistant tape, but it is unusable for our needs. Luckily, the vast majority of collectors are upstanding citizens and the cases of tampering are rare.  Any collectors who see tampered product can return it to the customer service desk and notify store personnel, who can then report that tampered toy as damaged goods and effectively remove it from circulation and inventory.




SIR STEVE'S GUIDE

QUESTION:  Hasbro has shown great confidence in the Mos Eisley cantina scene, recognizing that the iconic scene has great mileage with both collectors and kids, and pledging to complete the roster of background aliens. With that in mind, might Hasbro be interested in expanding that to include Ket Maliss, Cebann Veekan, Myhr Rho, Y'bith, Thorp, Kelbo, the Tin Tin Dwarf, and/or Kal'Falnl C'ndros - characters who are "just off camera" and yet appear in various sources from behind-the-scenes materials to the Decipher's CCG and the Holiday Special? Many of these designs fit well with the in-film Cantina styled characters and all have precedent in or around that area, they could certainly be passed off to casual collectors as being part of that element, just as was done with your recent Bane Malar figure.

ANSWER:  First let's get something out of the way - Cantina aliens, and the scores of characters like them including the Jabba's denizens, Senators, Pod Racers, female characters, and other tertiary and background characters are interesting only to collectors. It's very important that we not produce too many of these characters, and be careful about how many we produce (can anyone say Yarna?) or else the line risks being imbalanced and unproductive for retailers. Now for your question... the short answer is, probably not. With the Cantina, there are still a solid number of on-screen characters that we would look to do first before we go off-screen even thought there are some very cool choices in the ones you suggest (the Y'Bith is awesome, as is what appears to be the first Nikto in any entertainment - Kal'Falnl C'ndros [editor's note: Hasbro likely meant Kelbo rather than Kal'Falnl C'ndros, who is a large ostrich-type alien whose legs were seen in ANH -JT]). Thanks for the entertaining look at this interesting group.


QUESTION:  Titanium Series has suffered another indignity by not being included at New York Toy Fair. With recent significant price increases, a continued focus on pointless repaints, a general feeling of lack of support from Hasbro for pretty much the life of the line, canceled and displaced molds (some shown at the '08 Toy Fair), what is happening with Titanium Series? Fans keep asking about the line, and Hasbro keeps saying they will give it more attention at the next venue, only to get shorted again. What does the future hold for this line that is in many ways the only outlet for most Star Wars vehicles in toy form? Are sales at least solid enough that Titanium collectors can relax their fears a bit for the foreseeable future, or is the line considerably weaker than the 3.75" figure line and thus vulnerable in these uncertain economic times?

ANSWER:  Titanium is indeed a much less-collected sub line that the 3-3/4" line. In the first year of Titanium vehicles, the line showed promise, but the audience never materialized to grow the collecting base. Since them, we have struggled with the amount of new tooling the line could justify along with the extraordinary number of new/refresh items the line needed to stay productive at retail (an outcome of the smaller batch sizes). While we feel that this year we are giving it some great attention and some exciting new tools, this will be the last year for Titanium. The line will be put on hiatus after 2009.


QUESTION:  Will we be seeing any episode-specific Battle Packs for The Clone Wars? This would be a great way to get several of the individualized clones, battle droids, or astromech droids from any given episode without spreading them over a long period of time into the basic line, especially when they're only minor retools or mere repaints or kitbashes.

ANSWER:  There will be episode-specific packs, but they will mostly be drawn from existing figures (for instance, there will be an upcoming Battle Pack for the episode "Holocron Heist" but there will be no new figures in it). It's possible that 1-2 episode-specific packs will be coming out as exclusives that will have new characters as you suggest, but those have not been confirmed yet.
[editor's note: in case you're wondering, the episode Hasbro mentioned has not yet aired, its novelization won't even be released until September. -JT]




SNOWTROOPERS

QUESTION:  With the re-release of certain SAGA/TAC 5 figure battlepacks in Legacy packaging, could the TAC Battle on Mygeeto battlepack which was hard to find in the US/not released in Canada be re-issued as a Legacy item? If not could we see the figures released individually in the Saga Legends lineup?

ANSWER:  We don't have any plans to re-release that one in particular, nor do we have plans to release the figures on Sega Legends cards except for the Tri-Droid, which is currently out in the Saga Legends line (in the original TAC colors as opposed to the Battle Pack colors).


QUESTION:  Will we ever see the release of new Mighty Muggs in Canada?  Wave 5 shipped in the US back in September, never found this side of the border.

ANSWER:  At his point, it's highly unlikely.  There are no plans for new Mighty Muggs after this Spring, although TRU will continue to carry and re-order the existing Muggs as needed to continue their business.


QUESTION:  I believe and trust that Hasbro will eventually do a figure of every single Cantina Patron and all of Jabba's cronies, including the human ones, before the license runs out.  However, do you think Hasbro will ever get to the citizens/extras from the streets of Tatooine or Bespin?  As a diorama builder, some citizenry would be great, perhaps even like the less articulated three packs from the Saga/Clone Wars era?

ANSWER:  Honestly, it's highly unlikely we'll ever do generic citizens (Willrow Hood is about as far as we'll commit to going!).  We certainly hope to continue to cover a lot more Cantina patrons and Jabba's denizens, but it all depends on collectors' supporting the ones we are bringing out in order to continue. We know the economy has challenged some collectors wallets lately, but it's exactly these collector-specific figures that are most "sensitive" to folks staying on the sideline.  When you see the more obscure figures, make sure you take them away with you to ensure the healthiest flow of these crazy-cool creations.





SW ACTION NEWS

QUESTION:  Recently you made the Spacetrooper figure from A NEW HOPE and included the likeness of A NEW HOPE concept artist Joe Johnston under the helmet.  How much back and forth is there with Lucasfilm licensing regarding what faces you can put under the masks of Stormtroopers?  A Jango Fett head here or there makes sense given the descent from clones.  But when you do things like the flip-up visor Scout Trooper or this Stormtrooper, what is the approval process?

ANSWER:  It's pretty simple.  If we know we are going to do a unique head, we decide what reference we'd like to do and sculpt it up for approval.  In some cases we may use employees for reference since it's always easier to do a sculpt when there are ample photo references available.  When there is a special figure such as the Joe Johnston homage, we'll discuss that with Lucasfilm before proceeding to make sure they're on board with the direction.


QUESTION:  In a recent magazine article it was revealed that we would be getting R5-H6 as a Build a droid figure later this year, with the associated text going on to identify this droid as being present at the pod race on Tatooine in Episode 01. The problem is, at least as far as we collectors know, that red and white droid was actually R5-X2. To our best knowledge, R5-H6 was a grey and purple background droid from Episode 02, a very different looking astromech. Can you please clarify which droid we can expect to see as a BaD release and can you say whether or not the dome has been newly tooled to reflect the unique appearance of all the prequel trilogy R5 style droids?  Or is it a reuse of the same R5 dome sculpt that is currently available on the yellow R5-A2 Mos Eisley BaD toy?

ANSWER:  The figure we are releasing will be R5-H6 and he will have a head that is re-decoed from the R5-A2 tool.  There will be three additional astromechs coming in future waves in 2009 and they include R3-O1 with a clear dome along with R3-A2 and R4-P44.


QUESTION:  Recently figures have taken another price jump at retail, hitting fans, collectors and kids hard in these tough economic times.  I can't find a less blunt way to put this, so here goes - who's to blame?  A lot of people are shaking their fists in Hasbro's general direction.  But is this stricly 100% set by retailers?  Did WalMart and Target just coincidentally decide to jump prices?  Or did some other factor come into play? 

ANSWER:  We will not go into the details of what it takes to manufacture a toy and and the costs associated with that.  But you probably already have a good understanding of the different aspects.  It has been well documented in public statements that Hasbro has pursued price increases to offset the higher costs of goods coming out of factories.  What retailers choose to market figures at is additionally up to them and we do not have any control or influence over that.




To be continued.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 05:34:27 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2009, 12:07:46 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF MARCH 20th, 2009 - PART 5




SW COLLECTOR


QUESTION:  With the new $60 vehicle price point, are we going to see a Nu-Class Shuttle from the Clone Wars? It would serve as yet another incentive for collectors to troop build!

ANSWER:  That would be a great vehicle to do if the price point continues, which we certainly hope it does. At present though, we have no plans - we need to take it one vehicle at a time.


QUESTION:  There are pics circulating of a rumored upcoming Wedge Antilles X-Wing, which is very promising. But there is a concern that his astromech is not be decoed accurately. In cockpit shots of Wedge in ANH, it is plain that his R2 unit has a red dome with white panels (similar to R3-T2), while in ROTJ you can see that he has a white-domed R2 with black markings. Since onscreen accuracy is of paramount concern to collectors, can we be sure it will be corrected before any release of this vehicle? -- pod

ANSWER:  We took our direction from Lucasfilm on which droid to include. There does appear to be conflicting reference, but we have to defer to the official source on this one.


QUESTION:  Based on questions answered in previous sessions, I believe we're getting two ground-based Clone vehicles in the Starfighter assortment this year. With the TX-130 announced, can we get confirmation of the Swamp Speeder? -- Galactic Hitchhiker

ANSWER: We're not sure we ever confirmed a Swamp Speeder for this year. In any case, it is not in the Starfighter vehicle assortment for 2009.




THE JAWA


QUESTION:  Will the Amanin that's in the upcoming comic pack ever be released on Amanin battle (and without ending up with dozens of dirty Sunbers).

ANSWER:  There are no plans right now to release the Amanin on a basic figure card, but it's an interesting idea.  We're thrilled that folks like this guy - he's quickly become one of our favorite figures!


QUESTION:  I'm glad to hear that the 'build-a-droid' series will be continuing on into 2010 and that you are using it as a chance to put some obscure droids into the figure lineup that might not otherwise make it. I hope there are lots more to come! On that note, have you given any consideration to two of my most wanted droids, Boba Fett's droid BL-17 from the Droids cartoon and Z-X3 from Marvel Star Wars 47?

ANSWER:  We are glad you like the Droid Factory concept.  You might have missed our Toy Fair presentation where we announced that BL-17 will indeed be coming out in the Wal-Mart Droid Factory 2-pack assortment that will feature the Dark Trooper buildable figure (look for that in July).  Z-X3 was on our short list but did not make the cut.  It is possible that we could do him as a future comic pack someday - that chest blaster is pretty wild.


QUESTION:  Could Hasbro make it a point to include the ladder with all of your future X-Wing releases? Or to include the ladder again with another Yavin hangar battlepack so collectors can pick up a few spares to go with their existing X-Wings?

ANSWER:  If/when we release more X-Wings, that would indeed be a good accessory to include. Right now there are no plans for more Yavin hangar packs, but if we do any more we'll keep your suggestion in mind.





THE PRIVATE UNIVERSE

QUESTION:  You have mentioned more Legacy comic packs coming, any chance we will be seeing the Ghost of Luke Skywalker or a Han Solo figure in one of the packs? I think that would be a great way to continue to tie the Legacy characters with the Original Trilogy.

ANSWER:  We don't have plans for the ghost of Luke, but it is one that we really want to do at some point. No plans right now for a new Han, but that could change depending on what is in the new Dark Horse NJO-era comic.


QUESTION:  With the live action Star Wars TV series looming on the horizon, I presume Hasbro is already working on figures for it, so are there any plans on what we are likely to see and will it be included within waves or will it have it's own collection like TLC or CW?

ANSWER:  We have not begun work on live action. Lucasfilm has yet to announce a schedule, but when they do we look forward to getting reference material as soon as it's available.


QUESTION:  There appears to be a lot of the stuff shown at USTF that are not making it currently to the UK and with the loss of one of the UK's biggest high street toy buyers Woolworths, it looks pretty bleak for UK Star Wars collectors. How does Hasbro see the UK market now and how will it make sure that UK collectors can still buy from within the UK?

ANSWER:  Almost everything offered in the U.S. "mainline" will be available in the U.K. We are working hard to get all exclusives distributed in Europe as well, as least in the U.K. and Germany. That has proved challenging as some retailers have decided not to carry them, which have caused some items to be dropped.




YAKFACE

QUESTION:  Price hikes. We hate them. We also realize they are sometimes a “necessary evil” when it comes to retail sales.

In the past you’ve stated that you don’t directly set retail prices but Hasbro is the “M” in MSRP and retailers agree to that MSRP. Now with the prices in oil going down, the country in a recession and the dollar not going as nearly as far as it did, how can retailers (who are hurting) charge nearly $2 more now per action figure, comic pack, titanium, battle pack* and vehicle?

The natives/collectors are restless, can you clarify this point further for them since they helped to make the Star Wars brand the #1 license for 2008 (before the price hikes)?

*I thought the drop from the 5 to 4 figure battle pack format was supposed to stave off a price hike for this assortment?

ANSWER:  A drop in oil prices does not mean that prices drop to produce toys. That is just one factor of many that affect bringing toys to shelves. Rather than discuss in detail here, we suggest that anyone interested in reading further seek out Hasbro's statements to investors regarding our prior public comments on pricing.

YF:  With that answer, we won't be asking pricing related questions in the foreseeable future.


QUESTION:  Recently, preorder info has been made available online for the large Clone Wars Octuptarra Droid. What further details can you provide (size, FOBs, cost) regarding this?

ANSWER:  We can provide no further details. An announcement will be forthcoming at Comic Con.


QUESTION:  The new TPM and AOTC Obi-Wan figures are fantastic, thanks for finally updating them. But can something be done at this late stage about the lightsabers included with them? The Episode II figure is shown with the complete wrong saber, and the Episode I saber is the correct one, but chunky and inferior to not only todays standards, but you have already made a saber that not only looks more like the screen used saber but has the "energy flares" coming from the emitter like all current sabers. It was included in 2003's deluxe Obi-Wan on Kamino set. Any chance of this perfect looking saber coming with these two perfect looking figures?

ANSWER:  The EpII Obi-Wan lightsaber in the cross-sell images is not the lightsaber that is actually included with the figure. Currently they both come with the same accessory but your suggestion of switching to the saber that came with the Deluxe figure is a good idea. We will look into this as an option for a running change and also look to improve the decoration.




YODA'S NEWS

QUESTION:  My question is in regards to the recently revealed upcoming packaging for the basic figures. The cardbacks have a unique shape that looks like they will be very different from previous Star Wars packaging. I noticed that the top trapezoidal area (SW logo & character face) has some heavy shadowing underneath it. Will the top trapezoidal area be placed as an additional piece of cardboard on top of the bubble, adding a three dimensional aspect to the packaging? Or, is that just the way the card looks and the bubble will be on a flat card as in the past? Please review the attached moc-up images I made illustrating my concept. Thank you!

ANSWER:  The card back will in fact be flat, with the logo on the same cardblank as the rest of the card.


QUESTION:  A previous Q & A revealed that the battle droid from the Galactic Heroes Jedi Starfighter Cinema Scene was dropped due to costs, hence the incorrect packaging image on the rear, but the ones I am seeing on the shelves now have the battle droid figure included. What changed? And why do some people feel like they have been cheated out of a battle droid?

ANSWER:  The droid was dropped, but since the packaging was released with the droid in there, we felt that we should include it after all and reinstated the droid. Unfortunately, it could not have been from piece 1.


QUESTION:  We were doing a second look at Hasbro's powerpoint and we noticed that on the slide for the Force Unleashed Stormtrooper, it states: "Available and Hasbrotoyshop.com and StarWarsOnlineShop.com". We assume you meant StarWarsShop.com because if you take a visit to StarWarsOnlineShop.com, it isn't owned by Lucas or Hasbro (from what we have seen) and even has pop ups flagged by many anti-spam pop up blockers.

ANSWER:  Yes, we meant StarWarsShop.com. Thanks for the clarification.




Please keep checking back as more sites continue to file their Q&A sessions through the weekend.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 05:35:05 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 10:19:28 AM »

FOUR SITES ADDED - JEDIDEFENDER, RAVING TOY MANIACS, SW COLLECTOR, YAKFACE
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 10:28:00 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2009, 04:58:38 PM »

UPDATE - Added SW ACTION NEWS
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2009, 05:25:01 PM »

Hasbro has posted their official Q&A roundup HERE.

Two sites added - Creature Cantina & Snowtroopers
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