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.
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.
Quite frankly, I trust Joe Johnston to make a great Boba Fett movie more than I trust Abrams to make a great Star Wars movie.
After first announcing they’d obtained the Microman license way back in July 2011(!), ThreeA has finally revealed photos of the figures (or photos were leaked, I’m not sure). They’re 6″ tall and feature fabric clothes, like most ThreeA releases. They look intriguing, and it’s cool that they’re in 6″ scale, but I’m sure they’ll come with the usual high ThreeA prices and besides, I’m not a Microman fan anyway (well, except for a brief, odd period in 2004). However, I should note that in this particular case, the cloth isn’t what’s keeping me away – ThreeA is the only company whose fabric I like in sub-12″ scale. It’s the license and, presumably, the cost.
Let’s start by pointing out that this all comes from Latino Review. I have no idea what their reputation is at this point, but some of the people I follow on Twitter were very snarky about them, so maybe they’re known for being wrong a lot. I don’t know and I don’t care right now because this is so interesting and I want to talk about it. A lot.
Anyway, Latino Review claims Joe Johnston – director of The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park III, Captain America and oh yeah, the guy who designed Fett’s outfit (with Ralph McQuarrie) – may be in talks to direct the Boba Fett spinoff movie. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and is writing Episode VII, is allegedly in talks to write it. But what gets me is this quote: “To counter-act the prequels, the Boba Fett spin-off movie planned for 2018 has an interesting twist pitched by Episode VII writer Lawrence Kasdan: the spin-off will start with a complete stranger killing Boba Fett and taking his armor, starting a Man-With-No-Name bounty hunter tale. So: someone kills the Boba Fett from the prequels and takes his armor and name. One this is for certain is that Kasdan didn’t like the prequel and wants no Boba Fett Clone in the spin-off film.” Does anyone? Maybe kids who have grown up with the character from The Clone Wars, which is one of several reasons I expect George Lucas to veto the idea if it’s actually at all in play. Can he still veto things? (Side note: Latino Review doesn’t understand Internet Star Wars fans very well if it starts off a rumor about killing off the prequel Boba Fett with “Strap in, a lot of you aren’t going to like this.”)
But here’s the funny thing about that killing-prequel-Fett-at-the-beginning-of-the-movie: I pitched thisexact idea to Nemo Eight in a discussion we had last month. I even argued with him that the killing had to happen at the beginning of the movie and not the end; he liked the “surprise horror twist” of killing Fett suddenly at the end, whereas I pitched a Usual Suspects-type thing where you find out at the end that prequel Fett was killed at the beginning and the guy who you’ve been watching the whole time isn’t prequel Fett. Anyway, chalk me up for hoping this rumor is entirely true.
On another note, that article also states that Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt, who’s now off Star Wars Episode VII, was focused on the story of the Solo kids while Abrams (and Kasdan) felt it should focus on Skywalker. This is yet another example of something that makes me highly suspicious of Abrams. Han Solo was the audience representative in the original films – something that was sorely lacking in the prequels. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I don’t like Jedi that much – this article covers some of the reasons why. I know it’s a geek cliché to claim some showrunner or producer doesn’t “get” a geek property. And Abrams is actually the perfect successor for Lucas in certain ways – they’re both obsessed with effects and mechanics. Abrams’ work has always reminded me of Treebeard describing Saruman: “he has a mind of metal and wheels.” To me, Abrams’s films fall somewhere between Spielberg and Zack Snyder – great overall concepts, well-directed, great action, but lacking in emotion, real characters, or compelling themes. Lacking heart. Even Super8 felt like that to me. Abrams’s Star Trek films were fun but forgettable (and the second had some annoying fan service and lazy writing). Quite frankly, I trust Joe Johnston to make a great Boba Fett movie more than I trust Abrams to make a great Star Wars movie.
Power Con is moving from Anaheim to New York City. That’s big news, but what I’m more curious about is what “transforming back to its core roots” means. Does that mean Ninja Turtles and Thundercats have been given the boot? (You may also be wondering: am I going? Answer: Maybe. Not sure yet.)
In the course of following various Twitter conversations I came across the H Hangar by Wave. It’s designed for Gundam figures, but I immediately saw the potential for Star Wars Black 6″ dioramas as a corner of the Death Star or a Star Destroyer. Because they’re only 6″ tall, you really need two, which I immediately ordered from HLJ.
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.
First off, as always, take this with a grain of salt. This is based on third-hand information. I just happen to find it compelling enough to pass along. While I generally try to avoid rumor-mongering, I think it’s worth giving preemptive feedback sometimes.
The amazing ED-209 by NECA is now in stock at Amazon.
CollectionDX has announced a new convention, Super Robots Giant Monster (SRGM). It will take place in Lowell, Massachusetts on March 29, and I plan to be there. Check out this page for more information. I’ll probably put up a separate post about this later.
Phil Reed of Battlegrip is putting together an unofficial guide to Star Wars Mini-Rigs. This is the future – extreme niche coffee table books. Frankly, I’m psyched. I love coffee table books. I fondly recall whiling away many a study period paging through The Ultimate Guitar Book…but I digress. I actually picked up two Mini-Rigs recently, the MLC-3 and the MTV-7; however, my motivation for picking them up was because I thought they would make great generic vehicles for the Alien ReAction figures. If you’re interested in learning more about the Mini-Rigs, visit your local library. Kidding! Here’s a Starwars.com article about Mini-rigs. But you should visit your local library anyway. They’re awesome. You can read books for free.
The 1980s animation-themed magazine Cereal:Geek has a bunch of issues up for pre-order. I’ve read an issue here and there and it’s always fun reading, if you’re into the subject matter. Which I’m guessing a good number of you are. Because you’re here. Reading this website.
I haven’t gotten on the Instagram bandwagon yet, but I do like the funny “toyselfie” project they’re running.
Alien: Isolationmight be the game to persuade me to invest in a next-gen system…but I don’t know. I’m not really a big survival horror fan. I absolutely hated Doom 3 and what it did to my beloved Doom gameplay. I loved the Dead Space games, but those were pretty action-oriented (and more so as the games progressed). I had hoped for a Dead Space-like Alien game, and Isolation seems close, and yet I find the first-person perspective really disappointing (and rather outdated, frankly). I’ll wait for the reviews before making a purchase decision.
I don’t watch The Goldbergs, a show about the titular family set in the 1980s, because life’s too short to watch dozens of television shows. But Dinosaur Dracula has catalogued the ridiculous amount of 1980s toys that young Adam Goldberg has in his room. Holy crap, is that kid spoiled.