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Jedi Temple Archives: Hasbro Q And A - MORE Of Your Questions Answered!

Posted by Paul | August 26, 2012 at 06:26 PM ET

You read the first part to our Q&A, here is the MUCH LONGER second part! Click through to read it all. But before you do, I just want to publicly say thanks to Derryl DePriest (and Bryan too) for spending hours with JTA answering all of our questions. (One night they even stayed 2 hours after the day officially ended.) They wanted to know ALL feedback our readers had so we read them off all of the questions no matter how positive or how negative they were. And they did their best to answer them all. I would like to let our readers know that Derryl is passionate about the Star Wars line and he's done more than you know to protect it. The collector-focused line could have been gone already, but he's fought to keep it alive. It's a bad time for the line in general still and it's honestly time to accept that certain parts of it are designed without collectors in mind, in an effort to bring in revenue to support the line. In this day and age we don't have anywhere near as many collectors and chronic distributions issues that are out of Hasbro's control are tearing it down further. We offered some suggestions which Hasbro seemed to appreciate and they even jotted them down in their notepads, so hopefully something good can come out of our heart to heart discussion. We know bring you to the final part of JTA's Q&A with Hasbro. Enjoy! Oh, and we have two new figures that Hasbro let slip are forthcoming. You know what to do!

Dear Hasbro, will Darth Vader's TIE Fighter finally be getting the same retooling treatment as the normal TIE Fighter? The 1997 body and cockpit of the Fighter is looking very tired now, as is the 1978 re-tooled to fit Wings on the Fighter. It would be fantastic if you went back and re-tooled the Cockpit and blaster cannons like you did with the new TIE Fighter and maybe refresh the body of the Fighter too to make it look more accurate? also scrapping the retractable rocket launchers that every collector hates? The worst part of the 1997 Vader TIE is that you just re-used and re-tooled the original Kenner Vader TIE Wings to fit the 1997 Vader TIE which makes the Darth Vader TIE Fighter look like an EU Universe 'Ugly'. It would be smashing if new accurate Wings were also tooled to match a new sleeker more accurate body structure? You know we collectors all want this Hasbro so hows about giving us something we really want for a change, like the Vader TIE on the recent toy boxes (but without the hideous retractable missiles!)?

Darth Vader's TIE fighter is on Hasbro's list to revisit and all of the things you've mentioned are on tap to be revised. Hasbro can not give an approximate availability of this item, but it's on the shortlist to revisit.

Fighter Pod squinkee things are being pushed, and I understand why. Kids are falling out and need to be drawn back in, all without losing precious retail space. Collectors are waning as well. Will any of the 3 current 3 3/4 inch lines be put on hiatus/cancelled? Has there been discussion?

Fighter Pods absolutely will NOT take away any retail space away from basic figures or affect the lines. Sales will determine that. Derryl DePriest explained that Hasbro's number one goal is to be the #1 global action figure brand, but in order for this to happen, other things must happen first. Hasbro needs to bring what they refer to as "incremental opprtunities" into the Star Wars brand. Bringing new stuff to the table (stuff that big collectors may not like) that is successful will enable Hasbro to draw in revenue that will pad budgets for stuff the "big" collectors want to purchase. It's really a simple concept. Hasbro needs to develop a thick bottom line so that there is a budget to produce the things readers of Star Wars fan sites are interested in for their collections. Hasbro reiterated again that The Vintage Collection (as well as EVERY main basic figure line datinbg back to 2007) has been the poorest seller of all their Star Wars products. Derryl has personally fought to protect figure lines like The Vintage Collection and have put other things on the chopping block to protect it. Battle Packs and Comic Packs are two examples. it's not that they weren't selling poorly, it's because the main line was being protected. Even in drab distribution, The Vintage Collection, the Legacy Collection and other main lines have been the poorest selling thanks to major collector drop off and things of the like. (Editor's Note: This is scary of course, but we should be supporting the line anyway we can. If you see a figure, buy it! Buy it for a friend or buy and extra for yourself. Don't leave them hanging on the pegs.)

What can we expect for the rest of 2012 at retail with regards to TVC? Will some of the older waves get put out more for the holiday rush, like the Deleted Scenes, or Malgus waves? Or will things just skip ahead to the "Lost Line" wave and that's what will be available?

JTA personally asked Derryl about this question too and made the suggestion that Hasbro should try to get all of these TVC cases (as well as any TPM 3D packaged stuff) to HasbroToyShop and Derryl actually lit up like a light bulb and wrote that down in his notepad. He admitted that it's a fantastic idea. Derryl did explain that they want HTS to function like a last resort for the collecting community in an effort not to steer sales away from retail. BUT…. with the obvious distribution issues this year, Derryl admitted that is was a fantastic idea to get this "rotting" product to HTS to move it out and hopefully reach collectors. This even includes the Naboo Starfighter vehicle wave. (Derryl said ZERO case assortments made it to brick and mortar and he's completely frustrated by it.)

I recently heard that the larger toys (such as vehicles) will be made in the states. When can we expect the transition, and will Hasbro do something special for it? To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a domestically-produced Star Wars toy, so it would be very exciting to see specially-marked product (which should also improve sales). Also, does Hasbro believe this transition will generate new jobs for our unemployed workforce?

Hasbro wished they could answer this question, but these topics are proprietary information.

The Mandalorian Gunship why did you cancel Entertainment Earth's orders? It was said at a convention that their orders would be fulfilled, which turned out to be untrue. Is there any way you can go back into production on this as a Hasbrotoyshop.com exclusive? You spent a lot of money on tooling, and it ends up at discount stores only in Canada...

Hasbro is frustrated by EE's cancellation of this order. It's on the top of their priority list to get out again in 2013. And thhey even let it "slip" that is may even come in TVC packaging since it would have to be an exclusive release since the Class II assortment has reduced scale now. Hasbro mumbled something amongst each other about trading it out for another exclusive (we should really say TVC-packaged) vehicle. This sounds exciting doesn't it? We will have to watch this one like a hawk! They did say that they are working very hard to get it back out.

Star Wars - The Clone Wars line, will it ever be picked up again?

Hasbro and JTA didn't really understand this question. The Clone Wars line will continue to see a decrease. They'd like to move the line completely into realistic style eventually once The Clone Wars TV show ends (which is inevitable at this point). The Clone Wars has been changed to the Saturday at 9:30 AM death slot this season. In fact, per our friends at SWActionNews.com, Arnie told us that Season 5 is being written in story arcs so that the show can be closed without any cliff hangers out of fear that there may be a mid season cancellation. It goes without saying that the toy line will be affected by this.

Hasbro, why should I care anymore?" I can't find any new product on the shelves, and nobody at any of the retail stores I visit seems to know anything about why or when new product will arrive. Why should I continue to bother trying to support any future lines when I can't even find the ones from the past?

The Phantom Menace 3D didn't live up to its expectations. Hasbro has prepared well for 2013 because they've learned from their mistakes.

Are the prices going to keep going up and if so why?

AND

Do you think Kids will want to continue to collect Star Wars if Figures are too expensive?

Hasbro doesn't want them to go up any more than they are. They are looking for ways to reduce the cost of Star Wars figures.

Will stands be available with the Droid Factory Figures?

Stands will not be included in the Droid Factory line.

Why isn't a huge company like Hasbro able to find a way to market playsets or dioramas in the 3.75" when Imaginext is able to make many successful playsets for kids, and Sideshow is able to make many successful dioramas for adults? If you go all out like you've been doing for the "big one" vehicles, we think you'll see the market welcome them with open arms - especially when you have such a big foot print with the Star Wars brand.

It's a tooling expense that would wip out the budget on new action figures. There are too many different elements that make up a play-set that make this very difficult to budget. It's not economically feasible for the play pattern they offer. Tooling budgets are allocated based on what certain item can bring the biggest bang for Hasbro's buck. Playsets are not this. Hasbro believes that collectors would much rather see new action figures than playsets. But Hasbro will continue to look for ways to get them out. They did tell JTA that the collector market didn't support the Disturbance At Lars Homestead TRU exclusive and that was a test market to see how well-received the play-sets concept would be. They are however open to find ways how to bring something like a Cantina playset into the line. It doesn't mean it's coming, but they are seeking ways to make it a possibility. Right now it's not even close to happening. Years ago there was indeed discussion with Sideshow Collectibles about this and they quickly found out how it was going to be feasible for their tooling budgets as well.

Why doesn't Hasbro make helmets for the phase 2 clones look better like they used to do? The removable ones are just too big and look silly, which is keeping a lot of people from army building like we used to.

JTA spoke to designer Bryan about this and I walked him over to the Episode II Clone Lieutenant and Episode III Shock Trooper and I explained that the phase I helmet was new and the phase II helmet was carried forward from 2005's Evolutions sets. He agreed that the phase II helmet is too big and will work on trying to update that if another phase II clone is in the work in the future. (I suppose it's just an issue if they remember this point and visual comparison or not.)

Hasbro, can you explain the price increases on 3.75 inch figures and vehicles? Figures are now $10, Figure with a Vehicle is $18-20, and vehicles are $30. I just bought a Playmates TMNT vehicle with includes a 4 inch figure ($9-$10 value) all for $19.99.
Is there anything you can do to keep prices down? Playmates priced their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures and vehicles to what we would have paid 5 years ago.

AND

Can you ask hasbro to reduce prices on all their items next year.

Hasbro is doing everything they can to reduce prices for kids and collectors.

Have you ever thought of doing senators like Lott Dod, Padme, Bail and Mon Mothma?

None of these figures are on tap for updates. Hasbro feels that they have some solid sculpts on many of these figures, even if the articulation isn't that impressive.

How about 'Ending the Vintage Collection? ARE YOU INSANE? IT IS THE ONLY LINE THAT SELLS. Oh and what happened to the Vintage packaged Slave I ? I is it still happening? Has it been moved to next year?

Whoever asked this question, Hasbro has asked you "Does he/she know that Movie Heroes outsells The Vintage Collection"? Hasbro pleaded with Lucasfilm to keep TVC going as long as they could. But 2013 has been directed by Lucasfilm, Ltd. again. (Lucasfilm, Ltd. also told Hasbro to call in the Legacy Collection again. That's shocking isn't it?) Lucasfilm's rationale is that they want to keep Star Wars fresh and new and not have TVC wear out its welcome. Obviously collectors (like us) would never tire of this line, but they just don't want people to walk into a store and be bored and not invigorated by seeing a TVC figure. Lucasfilm Ltd. also said that they wanted Legacy Collection back because everyone knows about it since it was popular. It seems as if yera by year we will be flipping back between TVC and LC.

Can we please NOT have any more US based online exclusives? It makes them nigh on impossible to get for foreign collectors.

Exclusives are absolutely necessary for some products to be released at all; otherwise they would never get made.

And will wave 16 be rereleased down the track in differing packaging so said foreign collectors at least get to pick them up in some form or another?

Hasbro didn't know this answer.

When will the Vintage line return?

TVC will return in a couple of years probably.

Over 60 were released individually, which made the line skyrocket, yet slowly plummet in 2011 due to poor distribution which eventually led to poor sales because of the distribution!

The Vintage Collection was the poorest selling line to date at Hasbro. Yes, distribution is a major problem and we are working to correct it, but so have there been Movie Heroes and The Clone Wars line distribution issues yet they still outsell TVC.

Will a standard (non-red-painted) Scuba Trooper be released individually like with the Aqua Droid?

No.

Will Mon Calamarian warriors and Quarren Warriors from Season 4 be released?

No.

Will Pong Krell and the Clones of the 501st be released? (What would be cool is seeing Appo, an AT-RT driver, or a standard 501st Phase 2 Clone released with a 501st-painted AT-RT walker as a vehicle pack!)

Hasbro would like to get this figure out but right now it's not planned.

Will improved Captain Rex and Commander Wolffe Phase 2 Clone Wars figures be released? Will more Clone Wars figures that was almost impossible to find and hard to get after originally being repacked get reissued? (Such as: Commander Jet, Cold Weather Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, Commander Bly, Even Piell, CW44 Ahsoka, Cato Parasiti (missed out on her), Embo (missed out on him), and/or C-3PO (never was able to find him after he was reissued in the Capture of the Droids battlepack)!

Reissued basic figures will diminish over time. Hasbro will look for ways to get these out in other formats.

Will the Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka live-action Clone Wars Vintage figures also be released with Captain Rex in the new, reintroduced Build-A-Droid line?

Hasbro needs to save every last bit of space in the main line for all-new figures. They are looking for ways (most likely through exclusive multipacks) to get hard to find and poorly distributed figures out to collectors again.

How about including battle damage/fluid leak stickers for the vehicles like what came with the AT-AT?

If Hasbro decided to include something like this on the vehicles, it would be part of the paint operations.

How about a set of blank BAD astromechs like the Mighty Muggs a while back? a set of 4 with one each of the different domes with a few paint pots and some decals for customizing?

This is not something Hasbro would do.

Please limit new figures in a wave to 6 with two of each in the case

It's very difficult to double tool figures in this day and age since there is a reduction in availability of toy plants where the action figures are produced. So for a few exceptions, you probably won't see two of each figure again in a case assortment.

Please plan to release the carry-forward figures over the course of the year, not in back to back to back cases which creates pegwarmers and slows down all following waves preventing new product from selling. We understand the need for them but please spread them out with a few months between releases.

Hasbro is looking for ways to improve case assortment ratios. Keep in mind that the cases purchased online weren't intended for direct to market. They were intended for brick and mortar which caters to a completely different population.

Please understand that the reason the Clone Wars line is faltering is for several reasons: the reduced articulation at the same price point, the reduced deco detracts from the looks of the figure, the over-saturation of the hero characters, the lack of anti hero characters for the heroes to battle. the relentless inclusion of main characters in the Battle Packs that have only one new character when a generic clone trooper or enemy character would be preferable the lack of Separatist Droid repaints. for example, on the show there are many variants of the TX Tactical Droid but we have been offered only 2 with one of those coming in a deluxe set, the many variants of the Battle Droids we have seen so far, as well as several color schemes for the Commando Droids. Please refrain from having the same sculpt of a character on 3 (or 4) different card backs at the same time. Please revamp the Movie Heroes line to include older figures that are actually wanted, such as Imperial Troops and various harder to find figures like some of the EU waves from the TAC and Legacy lines

While collectors may consider themselves the main supporters of the line, it's a very near-sighted outlook. Here is the low down. The Clone Wars and Movie Heroes lines are for kids. Hasbro will no longer be making them with collectors in mind. For collectors, The Clone Wars characters (for collectors) will be eventually worked into the realistic style. Hasbro expressed to us that we wouldn't believe the angry feedback they've received from angry parents asking them why they make such "crappy" figures. For example, Hasbro got a lot of flack over the clone trooper figures with swivel wrists. They kept breaking off when kids played with them. That is why wrist articulation has been removed from the figures. Kids also get frustrated when trying to place guns with their arms because shoulder and elbow articulation made it impossible for the arms to stay still to place the gun. Again, while collectors think that The Clone Wars and Movie Heroes line are for kids, it's the furthest thing from Hasbro's mind. There are perspectives that collectors are not seeing (or just unwilling to see).

Are they actually going to get old cases out this fall or are we doomed to just keep finding the same TPM peg-warmers every single time we go to any retail store.

Hasbro is looking to get out the cases just sitting in the warehouse right now. (Editor's Note: They're currently just sitting there in CA right now if anyone lives nearby!) :)

Are there any tentative plans for an exclusive mail-in figure offer during the 2013 run of Legacy/Droid Factory or one of the other lines?

Not at this time. Jawa and the Emperor will most likely be saved for The Vintage Collection.

We've noticed a distinct absence of brand new Count Dooku figures in the last few years, with no brand new Dooku being released in the Vintage Collection or in any other lines since the old Legacy line and the Geonosis Arena 2-packs. Can we expect a new Dooku to tie in with AOTC 3-D after getting nothing fresh for several years now? He can certainly stand to have an "ultimate" update.

While a Count Dooku is possible in 2013, Hasbro will be sure to get Count Dooku in The Vintage Collection when it returns. A new sculpt will probably not be done however because Hasbro is proud of the latest versions released. Paint operations would be updated however.

Are 2013 Movie Heroes figures going to be a lot fresher and more interesting than the selection in Wave 1 of the 2012 figures? Can we expect much more recent and better articulated repacks so that the line can have a second chance at some sort of success and popularity?

Movie Heroes have done very well for Hasbro and it's the ideal line for kids. That is their position on this topic. (Editor's Note: We need to move along from this. Hasbro feels they're not for us. We either have to accept them for what they are or just not buy them.)

The idea of concept art figures seems to have proven itself highly popular starting with the McQuarrie Stormtrooper Fans' Choice figure in the Saga '03 collection, then hitting it's stride with a whole subline of McQuarrie Signature Series in the 30th Ann. line of '07 including several exclusives and continuing with some extremely hard to find concept figures in the Legacy lines of '08 &'09. What are the chances that you might revisit this theme, either with additional McQuarrie conceived characters honoring Ralph's legacy or expand to some of the other conceptual artists of the Saga such as Joe Johnston, John Mollo, Doug Chiang, Iain McCaig, Dermot Power and others?

Hasbro would love to do new concept art figures, but none are planned in the immediate future.

Are we ever going to get Fives (or Echo) in his ARC trooper armor?

It's unlikely.

Will figures from the Royal Guard/Ahsoka wave ever be released at retail?

Etail yes, brick and mortar no.

Is there any chance of getting a Darth Plagueis figure? He did pretty well in the Fan's Choice Poll.

Darth Plageuis is in the parking lot.

Why add new vehicles to later assortments and risk having them not get released because of the back-up due to repacks. (Like the Class II assortment this year.)

This is part of Hasbro's new outlook for the 2013 line and moving forward. There wasn't enough notice from Lucasfilm, Ltd. after they announced that all licensees had to prepare for the 3D release of The Phantom Menace. Hasbro had to play catch up and the only option to get any product out at all was to do some quick repaints. In a perfect year with adequate planning we would have put the Naboo Starfighter in wave 1 (as well as the repainted Fighter Tank). The Phantom Menace has really screwed up the Star Wars line in so many ways. Rushed decisions, bad planning and impossible deadlines from Lucasfilm made this the disaster it is.

Walmarts computers are telling them inaccurate information because wave 2 of The Vintage Collection (the deleted scenes) wave UPCs were never in their computers and they were put under dummy UPC codes as miscellaneous at the register. Is there anything you can do to bring this to their attention and let them know that their inventory count is severely skewed. We bet this has played a major problem in the back-up of product.

Hasbro is aware that this happens periodically, but Walmart has a relatively quick fix that is pretty much "instantly" made known at the corporate level. So while some may have gotten out of store without the proper UPC registering, it was fixed quickly. If it wasn't fixed, it was a freak thing and Hasbro would like an example of where this may have happened.

Can we expect at least one more wave of Target Vintage 3-packs during the course of next year, possibly more? There are still quite a few more to go before Hasbro finishes replicating all the original ones from the late '70s and beginning of the '80s.

Fellow fan sites: Please link your readers to this Q&A instead of revealing this secret on your page to your readers. Thank you in advance!

There are no more on the horizon. But Hasbro would like to complete the rest. The problem is that the remaining sets need so many figures that require new tooling to be more modern and up to date. And Hasbro cannot afford to include two or three all-new sculpts in these types of exclusives. If new figures needed to make up these three-packs can get released in other ways first and only include one all-new figure, then yes, Hasbro will finish them up. (Editor's Note: Hasbro "let it slip" that tooling has both been sculpted and approved for Momaw Nadon (Hammerhead) and Lobot, but they are trying to figure the best ways to get these figures out. Because both need updated for the preferred The Vintage Collection release, it would make the most sense to release them then, but right now no decision has been made.)

Also, Hasbro has confirmed that the Wolfpack Ultimate Gift set is a Walmart exclusive for November 2012.

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