This article was inspired by J.B. reader Ross Thomas (thank you!) with a post in our JBC - Jedi Business Community group on Facebook. If you collect Star Wars figures, you should join our group!
Currently the only 3.75" Star Wars action figure toy line is The Vintage Collection. The quality of the Vintage Collection is fantastic, but the lack of newness is of great concern and the low number of figures released from The Rise Of Skywalker (7 total so far) left many of us speechless. We are still missing crucial characters from every sequel and spin-off Star Wars movie. For example from Rogue One we are missing K2-SO, Bodhi Rook, Saw Gerrera, General Merric, General Draven, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma or how about Darth Vader or Tarkin on a Rogue One card?
The list of missing characters in The Vintage Collection is long, but we didn't care much about falling behind because we had a basic 5POA 3.75" action figure line which filled the void.
It's tough to give examples because each list would be quite long and each movie would deserve it's own article, but here are some examples of missing figures in TVC: Dryden Vos (also missing in the 5POA line -> and that's the main villain in SOLO!), or how about any version of Han and Leia from the sequels? The Vintage Collection has seen one figure so far from the Mandalorian TV series (Klatoonian Raider), with only four other figures announced for this year (Mando, Cara Dune, Remnant Stormtrooper, The Child). We are also still waiting for realistic interpretations of the main crew from Star Wars Rebels, along with countless other great characters from the sequel trilogy and spin-off movies in particular.
The cancellation of the basic limited articulation 3.75" Star Wars action figure line for The Rise Of Skywalker (and for figures from all SW media) left a big void. We are not only missing main characters, but aliens and droids, new ships and creatures!
Even with three years in-between movies (the next one is still scheduled for the end of 2022) there won't be much time to catch up if Hasbro doesn't bring back the basic 3.75" 5POA assortment to supplement The Vintage Collection or doesn't focus on new never-before-done characters in TVC.
2020 will be the year of the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, we get another full season of The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian. There isn't much time to breath, and in 2021 we'll likely see the Cassian Andor and Kenobi TV shows, together with the launch of two or maybe even three rumored animated TV series (rumors indicate that there might be a Luke Skywalker animated series, a follow-up to SW Rebels and a Dr. Aphra animated show).
Again, there is not much time to breath and to catch up with figures. We need a basic 3.75" 5POA action figure line to supplement TVC, or we need TVC to step it up and focus on never-before-done figures much more.
With the Kenobi, The Mandalorian and Cassian Andor TV shows being set in the Original Trilogy time period, Hasbro could utilize a TON of molds which they have already created. Stormtroopers, Death Troopers, Biker Scouts and Speeder Bikes, Darth Vader and Tarkin might show up in the Kenobi show?, astromechs, protocol, mouse and pit droids, some Jawa and Salacious Crumb repaints, how about a EV-9D9 bartender droid or a repainted R5-D4? Tusken Raiders were in the Mandalorian TV series as well! How about repainting that E-Web Heavy Repeating Cannon from the POTF2 days (now in the Mandalorian), put the Dewback back out with a different saddle and paint job and pack-in a Mandalorian figure, we'll probably see more TIE Fighters and X-Wings as well. Hasbro, you already have tools for Mandalorian warriors, let's get those back out with updated paint decos!
As you can see, there is a lot of development time and money which Hasbro could save by re-using existing tools and still give us collectors what we'd like to see.
Now, let's take a look at Ross' post and what would have been so great to see from Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker.
Ross posted "Let’s pretend Hasbro didn’t cancel the Force Link line and they had done a Force Link 3.0 line for The Rise of Skywalker - what products would you have liked to have seen? I’ll start off..."
The list included following figures, with additional entries added by other JBC members:
Now come on, who wouldn't like to see a Dark Rey, Zombi-type Palpatine, a Hermit Lando, a young Luke and Leia training? Or, how about Poe and Finn in their TROS outfits?
Looking at the list above just shows how much fans of the 3.75" have missed out on. Again, the Vintage Collection is great, but with so few new characters in this line and so few releases in general, we are falling behind and we won't be able to catch up until the next trilogy hits us in 2022. There were no Vintage Collection figures on store shelves before and after the release of the Rise Of Skywalker, the ones which were released on Triple Force Friday sold through instantly! Poe's X-Wing Fighter was not on store shelves either except for Barnes'N'Noble and Luke's X-Wing fighter was MIA completely. How much money did Hasbro loose from parents right before Christmas?
The 3.75" line is NOT figural like The Black Series. It's a different beast, it is about world building, about speeders and spaceships, creatures and playsets. It's about droids and background aliens to build out the fantasty world! That's what has made the 3.75" line so great and fun over the past 40+ years!
Let's hope Hasbro finds a balance for the 3.75" line, because the way things are currently leaves a lot of 3.75" fans unsatisfied.