Hasbro has a new poll up at their Pulse website where you can vote for one of the next Archive reissued figures for 2021 (you need to create a free account at Pulse to vote). The figure will essentially be identical to the first release except for Photoreal applications if they didn’t have it before. This list was determined by previous voting on fan websites, so it reflects what collectors want.
I think the list could be an interesting window into where SW fandom is now. This list includes 6 prequel/CW characters, 3 OT characters, 1 R1 character and 0 sequel characters.
Now, it’s possible these results aren’t really a function of the characters’ popularity. It could be due to the relative rarity of the original figures’ availability, or perhaps a desire for the character to have a Photoreal upgrade (that’s definitely the case with Jyn Erso).
But recently it’s been discussed in various circles that the generation that grew up with the prequels are now hitting the age of nostalgia, and between that and the popularity of the Clone Wars cartoon (which has gone a long way toward redeeming the prequels), I think we may be seeing some real changes in the nature of Star Wars fandom.
I still think his name is ridiculous and I will never like the prequel films, but the Clone Wars cartoon really rehabilitated the characters and era for me. Hasbro really nailed this figure. Orange slash effect from an old 3.75″ Star Wars figure; lightning is the Tamashii Thunder Effect.
This technology isn’t brand-new; Hasbro’s been using it on their Marvel Legends movie figures for a while now, and Bandai has been using it (with mixed results) on their movie-based Figuarts figures. But it’s on Star Wars Black that the game-changing aspect of this technology becomes clear. It takes SWB’s biggest flaw and turns it into its greatest asset.
This photo is from RoboKillah’s review of the re-released Star Wars Black Death Squad Trooper (now renamed the more kid-friendly Death Star Trooper). The one on the right is the original release, the one on the left was painted with what Hasbro calls “Photo Real,” in which the face is painting using a digital printing process. This technology isn’t brand-new; Hasbro’s been using it on their Marvel Legends movie figures for a while now, and Bandai has been using it (with mixedresults) on their movie-based Figuarts figures. But it’s on Star Wars Black that the game-changing aspect of this technology becomes clear. It takes SWB’s biggest flaw and turns it into its greatest asset.
And you know it’s got to be something big when it drives me to write my first post in over four years.
I would love to see what the older Star Wars Han Solo looks like with this technology. It might replace the S.H. Figuarts Han as my favorite figure of the space smuggler.
Phil Reed of Battlegrip has another post about how he’s seeing Leia and Greedo pegwarming – based on store visits – and therefore Hasbro needs to “save this line before the mass retailers grow tired of your peg warmers and ditch the entire line.” This topic has become one of friendly argument between us, so I felt compelled to respond.
Commentary on a few bits of toy- and geek-related news that interested Poe over the last few days.
Starwars.com revealed a new character from Star Wars Rebels, C1-10P, a.k.a. “Chopper,” a “grumpy” astromech droid. He reminds me a bit of Claptrap from Borderlands, although it should be noted that Claptrap probably doesn’t exist without R2-D2. Chopper is directly inspired by early McQuarrie concept art for Artoo himself (particularly the arms on the head). The video on Starwars.com includes a quick look at Chopper’s 3.75″ figure as part of Hasbro’s Rebels line (static photo here). I’m really everything I’m seeing and hearing about Rebels, and I find myself hoping we see Chopper or the Grand Inquisitor in the SWB 6″ line. Given Hasbro’s tendency toward media synergy, it’s more likely than, say, Kyle Katarn in SWB. On a side note, I love the whole Inquisitor concept, which originated in the Expanded Universe, I believe.
Speaking of, I also hope the rumors of strong synergy between Rebels and Episode 7 are true, and to a lesser extent I hope the Mara Jade rumors are true, because if any EU character deserves to be enshrined in the film canon it’s Mara Jade. I mean yeesh, Dash Rendar is (indirectly through the Outrider) canon.
And finally on the Star Wars topic, here’s the latest leaked list of Star Wars figures for 2014, including Star Wars Black. The list doesn’t differ much from what we’ve seen in previous rumors; at this point, Chewbacca, Jedi Luke, Darth Vader, a Clone Trooper, and a redeco of the Sandtrooper all look like a lock. The upcoming wave with Bespin Luke, Prequel Kenobi, the Stormtrooper and the Han Solo carry-over is listed for February-May, while the June assortment is Anakin, Prequel Kenobi carry-over, Chewie and the Clone Trooper, and a mere month later is Vader, Jedi Luke, Sandtrooper redeco and Chewbacca (carry-over). I’m guessing the Sandtrooper redeco will be white, since black would be pretty boring. Here’s hoping the figure gets a new left hand that can actually hold the blaster cannon. Look, I understand re-use is necessary to keep a line like this going – NECA re-uses its molds more per wave than this line does – but couldn’t Hasbro at least replace the carry-over figures with some redecos? It sucks we get the Sandtrooper redeco and the Chewie carry-over in the same wave, particularly when the carry-over figure counts as part of the case. Why do they even bother with four-figure waves/cases? I’d rather get less frequent waves with four new figures, or more frequent waves of three figures, than this four-figures-including-a-carry-over thing we’ve got going now. I’ve got a few friends’ kids who are going to be getting a Prequel Kenobi and a Chewbacca in the near future.
Okay I lied, one more Star Wars thing: here’s some neat fan art by Li Jia Tan (who did some concept art work for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II) of Han & Chewie working on a mech. Love the crotch-cockpit that looks like a 1930s sedan. It’s interesting to see a mech cockpit there, instead of the head or the torso.
The Four Horsemen have announced their annual Toypocalypse show at Tokyo Kid during Toy Fair next month. They’ll have factory paint masters of some of the Power Lords figures, as well as the “rebirth” of the FANtastic Exclusive project.
A friend of a friend is looking for an experienced customizer to make a Doctor Who custom. Anyone have a rec/referral?
Jeff Cope has a revealing interview with Brian Mariotti of Funko regarding their plans for the ReAction brand. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in the line. I need to do a write-up on ReAction. I have really mixed feelings about the line.
So, at the beginning of 2014, where are we on Star Wars Black 6″?
Before I begin, let me state something: I’m not that worried about the line. I think sometimes collectors overthink this kind of thing. Star Wars is a big, recognizable brand with a new movie coming out in less than two years. The hype will be unimaginable eighteen months from now. Captain America 2 and the Amazing Spider-man 2 will probably not be as successful as the new Star Wars movie (the first one, at least), and both of those films just received a great wave of 6″ figures. Hasbro has not abandoned the format for Marvel, and I see no reason why they’d turn around and drop it for Star Wars when we’re not even a year in.