During the first few hours of Star Wars Celebration, we were given the opportunity to interview Hasbro in regards to their current and upcoming Star Wars action figure lines. Now prior to the show, Hasbro made it clear that they were unable to answer questions about any unannounced product scheduled for Fall 2015 or beyond. Below is our Q & A and at the bottom we have provided links to other Hasbro Q & As conducted by other members of the action figure collector media.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Jake Stevens here From4-LOMtoZukcuss.com. I’m speaking at the Hasbro booth here at Star Wars Celebration and I have the privilege today of speaking with a couple members of the Hasbro Design team. Would you mind introducing yourselves?
Hasbro: Sure, I’m Joe Ninivaggi, Jeff Labovitz. We’re with the Hasbro marketing team.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Sorry, I said design!
Hasbro: We’re not talented enough to be designers but we were gonna take credit (laughs).
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Yeah, I was giving you credit! So thank you for agreeing to meet with us here and take a couple questions about your action figures and your toy products here. The parking lot, it’s been something that we have followed quite a bit over the…well, we are at the 20th anniversary of Star Wars modern action figures. We don’t hear a lot about it anymore, do you guys still maintain a parking lot of characters?
Hasbro: We do, we absolutely do, its one of those laminated pieces of paper literally and that’s something we play close attention to and its seems to always be growing the more figures we get to it seems the list never gets shorter, as something always gets added on. I mean we were just talking to a gentlemen who wanted us to do a 6” Willow Hood in The Black Series. That would be really interesting! And a 6” scale AT-AT. So yes we still have the list and we’ve got a short list and a list of things we desperately want to do and will get to, it just may take us some time. So yes, we actively pay attention to what’s hot on the boards, what folks want and what we think is the best thing to get out the door.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Now I am excited to see here at Star Wars Celebration that you guys have in your display cases, new packaging for the The Black Series. We see not only one but two signs saying in both 2015 and 2016. I guess the question would be, and I know you can’t talk about that [other] line, but why the color red?
Hasbro: Why the color red, um, it’s a great color (laughs)! You know one of the things we do every year is, we sort of optimize the packaging to make figures pop the best, to make it sleek and clean and what’s awesome about The Black Series, is the red color really pops off the background. It lets that light in which is really great and also it has a nice tie-in with the overall line we are gonna have in fall ’15.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Fantastic!
Hasbro: Also its so signature Star Wars! Red, blue, the orange of Luke’s jumpsuit. We’ve got the fantasy in mind when we are choosing these colors and bringing in what we have nostalgia for.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Well it looks great! Now I have seen a certain trailer, a teaser trailer, for a certain movie coming up here in December; a couple of years ago you guys put out a test piece of the funeral pyre of Darth Vader. Is that on anybody’s mind anymore?
Hasbro: Its funny you should say that because we just talked about it this past year, about how we did put that out there and it would still make a great exclusive, a great item, so its in that parking lot that we have talked about and it would be a good time to do it leading up to the new movie but no real specific plans for it yet.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Now we noticed that next Black Series wave that is coming out has a pretty heavy Clone Trooper focus and we know overall we kinda are trying to skew more toward an Original Trilogy focus, so what was the reason to add, what do we have, three clones in the upcoming wave?
Hasbro: We love them, its great entertainment! And its like you can never have enough clones! The season that was partially released was so phenomenal and we love our clones.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: There is one thing I have seen that has popped up a few places that people are discussing already, I know you guys probably have multiple sculptors working on the line. There seems to be some scale differences between some of the clones, which you know is ironic because they all are supposed to be the same the same clone. Any thoughts on why maybe I think it is Commander Wolfe is about a head shorter than Thorn or Rex?
Hasbro: We’ll have to look into that you know its not something we have talked a lot about with our folks so we’re gonna need to talk to our team and see whats going on.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Perfect! In the past Hasbro has provided some nuggets, some kind of previews, some tips on what is coming out but it seems like in the last year or two maybe even three [Hasbro is] a little more tight lipped. Is there a company policy that’s changed?
Hasbro: No company policy, we’ve been pretty active with our reveals and I think this year is unique in that you know a great new movie coming out and there is a lot of secrecy and we wanna make sure that we are in lock-step with Lucasfilm on what we are and not showing and we want everyone to be excited for when this stuff comes out! And so you know, its not a new corporate policy for us, its just there are a lot of things we can’t talk about as there is a new movie coming out.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Sculptors in the past have played around and added little Easter eggs into figures which we absolutely love; can we maybe expect more of that, maybe in a new toy line or upcoming black series?
Hasbro: Yeah absolutely but we can’t say them, then they wouldn’t be Easter eggs (laughs). Yes absolutely, you know the same team that developed a lot of the figures you see in the cases and you’ve been seeing for years are the same teams that are developing the figures for the next movie and all the entertainment to come. So it’s the same team with the same interests and they are fans at heart and so you can bet they’ll have plenty of Easter eggs in there. Maybe not literally eggs but you get the idea.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Now we’re glad to see Ahsoka is already on display with her clear sabers, its really awesome and that was gonna be a question on whether she was going to get that change…
Hasbro: Nailed it (Joe and Jeff high-five each other)
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Realistic Rebels someday?
Hasbro: That Ahsoka Tano 6” is realistic! So she’s going to be phenomenal and we are really excited, we have had Dave Filoni come by yesterday who’s so excited on how she turned out and yep she is the first of more to come.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Love to hear that! More rebels figures in 3 ¾ animated to come?
Hasbro: Well we can’t talk about ’15 but yes!
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Can you talk abut ’16?
Hasbro: No (in unison, laughs) now you’re pushing it!
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Hasbro’s 20th anniversary, like I mentioned before, is this year, was there any plans to ever do anything for that, to celebrate the license for 20 years? You guys spurred action figure love because before you guys it was the dark ages for figures.
Hasbro: No real plans, I mean technically with Kenner we’ve been here since the very beginning! So we are always celebrating every year. Yeah it’s always a celebration for us.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Why did we see the cancellation of a few Saga Legends figures, particularly Darth Maul, Mace Windu and the 501st?
Hasbro: So I believe those came out previously and they were going to be repackages in the Spring so it really wasn’t a cancellation. We optimize our waves and we have to get certain figures out so anything that we have revealed has made it to shelf or will be released, nothing’s been cancelled.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Now the Darth Maul, I guess we could say was technically released but it pretty much only showed up in Canadian retailers, unless that is the same Maul in the multipacks, the Commemorative sets, I think it is.
Hasbro: I believe so.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: So that would make sense then. 2002’s Saga Collection series released purposeful variants, different head sculpts for the same the figure: Rebel Fleet Troopers, Imperial Troopers. Could we possibly see a return to that, to give collectors something to go after troop builder-wise?
Hasbro: It’s not something we are actively working on but it’s a good idea. I’ll go back with that note.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: I know you probably can’t say anything but I know there is a lot of collectors out there that would love to see the inclusion of some type of pack-in come in to play with the either the Rebels or The Force Awakens line
Hasbro: You mean like droid piece?
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Droid piece, stand, file, we have had lots of mini-holographic figures, I’m sure you probably can’t confirm anything but just wanted to put that out there. I kinda asked a questing you can’t answer…
Hasbro: No, we love those and there will be a time and a place to come back to a lot of the things Hasbro and Kenner has done in the past. Whether its coins or build-a-droids- or vintage collection all these great things that we all have nostalgia for, we would hope that they will come back at some point, but just when the time is right.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: The Black Series vehicles, is that something we are pursuing?
Hasbro: We like Black Series vehicles. We do absolutely, I mean it’s a Fall 15 question again but you know we definitely love them. We’ve done a lot of really interesting things like the speeder bike and it’s definitely something on our short list.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: There’s a major ship in the television series Rebels that is absent
Hasbro: The Ghost! Yes! Its on our list, it’s on the list!
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: Perfect! Alright Kathleen Kennedy just stated in her Celebration Stage panel that fans are the most important thing to Stat Wars, her words, so what are the chances of the fan figure polls coming back?
Hasbro: I think there’s a really good possibility, yes absolutely! Like Jeff said, we are always on the boards making sure we know what you guys are interested in but fan polls specifically we’re actively engaged with that.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss: That’s fantastic news and again gentlemen, thank you for taking the time, it’s always a pleasure and we look forward for everything to come.
Hasbro: Thanks for your interest! Our Pleasure!
Additional Hasbro Q & As from Star Wars Celebration