Do We Need Sub-lines In The Black Series?

10/20/2018 Hasbro The Black Series

We are five years into Hasbro's The Black Series 6" line and are very happy with the quality and the constant improvements made to the figures. We've seen the photo real face printing technology being added and we've just recently seen the first figures with an improved neck, which allows for a wider range of head movement. The quality of the figures is fantastic, they look great on display and the line is a ton of fun to collect. 

Currently The Black Series is a mix of characters from all Star Wars entertainment without a dedicated sub-line to place an exclusive focus on current Star Wars media. Hasbro is trying to make everybody happy across the board by covering as much ground as possible by mixing in current media into the basic Black Series assortment. By doing that however, many of the side or even main characters (in different outfits) will not get produced or take a long time to make it onto collector's shelves. 

DO WE NEED DEDICATED SUB-LINES FOR CURRENT STAR WARS MEDIA?

Let's take a look at what Hasbro has released and what we'd still love to see from recent movies:

When Solo: A Star Wars Story was released in movie theaters we only saw a total of three Black Series figures on store shelves (Han Solo, Lando and the Range Trooper). The following weeks gave us three more figures with Qi'Ra, the Target exclusive Chewbacca and Enfys Nest with Swoop Bike. It took several months after the movie's release for Beckett and the Target exclusive Moloch to be available, and finally after five months of waiting we are close to getting the rest of the main cast with Val, Rio Durant, L3-37 (all currentlly up on EE) and two additional Imperials with the Patrol Trooper and Mimban Stormtrooper (both have shown up on store shelves but not in our area yet). Han as a Mudtrooper and Dryden Voss will be out next year. This then will bring the total of UNIQUE Black Series 6" figures for Solo: A Star Wars Story to 15.  

We'd love to see different outfits for Han (especially the Vandor-1 furcoat version to go along with the Target excl. Chewie), members of Enfys Nest's gang, Beckett in Skiff Guard disguise, Lando in Hawaii'an shirt from the end of the movie, some aliens from the Sabacc game, some droids from Kessel, some Pykes and of course Lady Proxima. There were a ton of interesting characters in SOLO (Therm Scissorpunch *cough *cough).

Let's go back to the end of 2017 and look at The Last Jedi. A SAGA movie, out for the prime Holiday shopping season, it certainly demanded a bigger focus than Solo: A Star Wars Story, or did it? Almost one year after The Last Jedi came out in movie theaters we've seen a total of 25 figures in The Black Series to support the movie (if you want to follow along, here you can sort figures by movie, and use the drop down to filter by scale). Out of the 25 figures, three of them were Kylo Ren, five were Rey (with 4 of them looking identical in the Jedi Training outfit), three were Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and two were Snoke figures. Even though there were more figures released for TLJ than for SOLO, when we count unique characters we end up with 13 figures (Ackbar, FO Officer, DJ, Elite Praetorian Guard, Finn, Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron, Porg, Rey, Rose Tico, Stormtrooper Executioner and Snoke. Granted, you could count each Praetorian Guard, plus one more Porg, and add one more unique Rey (Island Journey) to it, but the number wouldn't be far off). The only other announced figures for this year and next in The Black Series from The Last Jedi are battle damaged Captain Phasma (not yet released in the U.S.) and Vice Admiral Holdo. This then will bring the total of UNIQUE Black Series 6" figures for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to 15. 

Think of the movie what you want, but we would love to see Luke Skywalker (Exile), Luke Skywalker (Crait), Princess Leia (Crait), some Caretakers, Crystal Foxes, Lieutenant Connix, Admiral Canady, Force Ghost Yoda, Paige, C'ai Threnalli or even any of the new BB units. 

Let's go even further back and look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Almost two years after the movie's release we've now seen a total of 17 figures (incl. the K-2SO variation) with several of them being Jyn Erso in the same Jedha outfit.

We are still missing key characters such as Bodhi Rook, Saw Gerrera and Galen Erso. The Yavin Rebel Base featured legacy characters such as Bail Organa and Mon Mothma along with memorable new Rebels such as General Draven, Admiral Raddus and General Merrick.  Saw's hideout and the streets of Jedha were filled with great alien characters which we'd love to see as well. 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been out for three years.

Maz's Castle was filled with great characters (Grummgar *cough *cough), and even though Hasbro has released the Guavian Death Gang member, we are still missing their leader Bala-Tik or any of the members from Kanjiklub. Jakku had a wealth of fantastic characters such as Unkar Plutt, Teedo and Jawa-like creatures along with many others.

Those are just recent movies, but there are more Star Wars stories being told through novels, video games and comic books. 

Electronic Arts reported sales of 9 million units for the Battlefront II video game for 2017 alone which is an income of over 540 million (if not more because there were deluxe and premium versions sold of the game which cost more than the typical $60 for the basic edition). In comparison, Solo: A Star Wars Story currently stands at below 400 million at the world-wide box office. We see many toy companies support video game properties with collectible figures, and Hasbro has done this in the past with their 3 3/4" line and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for example. We'd love for Hasbro to show more support for Star Wars games through The Black Series (they've only released two figures, one for the first 2015 Battlefront game and one for the 2017 Battlefront II game).

The Battlefront II video game featured Inferno Squad, led by Commander Iden Versio and her crew Agents Gideon Hask and Del Meeko. The single campaign also featured Luke Skywalker, a very cool looking hologram of Emperor Palpatine, Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia and Han Solo with beard. There were quite a few characters in the game which would have been great to see in The Black Series, including classic heroes/villains.

Will we see the main cast from Star Wars Resistance in the Black Series 6" line (we are still playing catch up with Star Wars: Rebels)? How about the main cast from The Mandalorian next year (10 episodes mean 10 hours of new Star Wars content filled with new exciting characters). Is there enough room in the main line? I don't think there is. 

With more and more Star Wars content being released by Lucasfilm every year it's going to be increasingly difficult for Hasbro to keep up. Once a Star Wars movie is out, it's on to the next, or next TV show, or next Star Wars video game story, or novel, or comic book etc... We understand that it's impossible to produce it all, but at the same time we think that there is room to do a bit more. 

How About This?

  • Keep the Black Series 6" basic assortment and release figures from previous SW entertainment
  • Keep the Black Series 6" Archive series (starts next year) for classic/hard-to-get figures
  • Keep the Black Series 6" XL line next year for bigger, more expensive figures
  • Add a sub-line to the Black Series 6" line specifically for Episode IX for Fall 2019 to get a bigger variety and more characters out
  • Add a sub-line to the Black Series 6" line specifically for The Mandalorian
  • Add a sub-line to the Black Series 6" line specifically for the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game (scheduled for Fall 2019 currently)
  • Keep the Black Series 6" vehicle assortment

What do you think? How about sub-lines for current Star Wars media in its own packaging similar to the main line with different colors and limited availability, all while keeping the basic assortment going? Or would it be too much?

 


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