Hasbro Star Wars Brand Team members Patrick Schneider and Sam Smith held a Google Hangout group chat today where they took questions and helped clarify details about up-coming Star Wars action figures. The group chat J.B. was on also included fan sites BanthaSkull.com and CollectorsCantina.com. We recorded the audio but are not allowed to publish it, so here is a loose and shortened transcript of the Q&A.
Collector's Cantina: What is the reason for the price increase for The Black Series 6" and Vintage Collection figures? (you can read our report about it here)
Answer: Hasbro couldn't comment on it, but they mentioned that the global PR team will be releasing information about this soon.
Bantha Skull: Do you anticipate any Episode 5 vehicles and adventure playsets in the Vintage Collection for next year's 40th Anniversary Of The Empire Strikes Back?
Answer: They couldn't announce any specifics yet, but they were excited about it and thought everybody will be happy.
J.B.: Will the figures revealed during the European Convention tour for the Vintage Collection be updated with photo real?
Answer: Yes, all figures will be updated with Photo Real.
Refresher: Hasbro has announced following Vintage Collection figure re-packs (but upgraded with photo real) for 2020, click on the links to see the original figure entries:
Bantha Skull: Will those figures be available at regular retail stores or the fan channel only?
Answer: The goal is to not have the pegs clogged with those figures and they will only be available through the Fan Channel. There were reports from people who have found the previous waves at retail, but that is not the intention for those figures.
Collector's Cantina: Will there be Retro figures for the Empire Strikes Back?
Answer: Nothing that can be shared at this time, but the team is very aware of the success of the Retro figures and "it would be a disservice to not follow up with something".
J.B.: Will the announced Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) for the Vintage Collection be released with the alternate card back where Luke peeks around the corner?
Answer: It will be a straight re-release of the previous figure, so it will be the walking version of Luke just like before.
Bantha Skull: The 5" super articualted Galaxy Of Adventures figures have a lower price point than the 3.75" Vintage Collection figures, could you explain the reason?
Answer: The team mentioned that there are several different reasons, the tooling is more efficient, they use fewer paint operations and the larger scale is easier to assemble. The biggest driver are orders from retail partners. Galaxy Of Adventures is the kid-oriented product line for the 2019 Holiday season so retail partners order more kid-oriented toys than from The Vintage Collection or The Black Series. All those factors combined bring the price down.
It was also mentioned that assembling a Black Series 6" figure is about equally difficult to assemble than a Vintage Collection figure due to the complexity of the joints inside. A Galaxy Of Adventures 5" Star Wars figure uses about 18 paint operations, a regular Vintage Collection figure uses about 60 paint operations and a Black Series 6" figure is closer to 90 paint operations.
Collector's Cantina: What inspired the Gamestop Gaming Greats series?
Answer: Hasbro a great partnership with Gamestop and they were looking for something which was more ownable as a retailer. There will be more in this series and "there will be a lot of newness in this line".
J.B.: Could you clarify what's going on with Darth Revan which was announced for the Vintage Collection? Is he cancelled or postponed? If he's postponed is it because he will be re-done?
Answer: He's cancelled and there are no current plans to release this figure anymore. This is based on fan feedback and the out-dated nature of the sculpt (it was released in 2007, 12 years old at this point). The team mentioned that he's a great character however which is a fantastic candidate for a future release.
Bantha Skull: Can we anticipate any Haslab news for 2020?
Answer: It was mentioned that there is a lot of potential and they are hopeful that there will be another Star Wars HasLab project in the future.
Bantha Skull: Is HasLab risk-free?
Answer: It's not, there are months and months of development work invested into prototyping and research about what the right product will be at the time. Hasbro takes this very seriously, before a product is being offered through HasLab it goes through the design and engineering departments, it has to be sculpted, it has to be preview printed, and ultimately Hasbro has to make sure that the proposed item is within cost.
Collector's Cantina: Is the Purge Trooper Black Series 6" Figure available to Gamestop for pre-orders only?
Answer: The figure is exclusive to Gamestop, but how they are selling it is up to Gamestop.
J.B.: The canellation of the 5POA basic assortment left a void when it comes to smaller vehicles and creatures, how are you going to compensate for this? Will we see more figures, creatures or vehicles in TVC (compared to 2018/2019)?
Answer: It's something that the team is talking about, the Galaxy Of Adventures line is the kid-focused line now which will move forward. It was mentioned that they'll see how the Vintage Collection line will do this Fall at retail and if there is a great response we will likely see an increase.
Bantha Skull: Will there be a Return Of The Jedi Palpatine in the Vintage Collection?
Answer: The Emperor is a great character and they are very excited to see that he is relevant again in new entertainment, he would be a great candidate for an update, but there are no immediate plans to release him yet.
Collector's Cantina: How was your Triple Force Friday experience, was it what you expected? Did it fall flat?
Answer: It was great overall, but the team learned that two events (Frozen 2 and Star Wars) is a lot for retail partners to set up at the same time. There were some misses on both sides. It was exciting for them to get out and go look at new product.
J.B.: Will the announced 2020 Black Series 6" Anakin Skywalker (Episode II), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episode II) and Kit Fisto come with soft-goods robes?
Answer: They will not. For Jedi robes there is a lot of premium stitching required which drives up the cost. It was more important for the team to work on soft-goods for Count Dooku who has a different cape and secondary inner color, and for Plo Koon who is never seen taking his Jedi robes off.
J.B.: More a statement than a question, the cancellation of the 5POA basic assortment left a void not only for kids but also collectors. It was the only way to get figures such as Quay Tolsite, Moloch, Qi'Ra, Beckett, Val etc...
Answer: We went into a direction with Galaxy Of Adventures which was best for the kids, but we are aware that there is a lack for the adult collector. We are discussing ways how to address that.
Did you know that you can sort all the figures on J.B. by head sculpt and angle with a drop down on the top of each toy line page? It's fun, check it out: