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The Black Series - A Comprehensive Overview

The Hasbro Black Series is fast approaching its fifth anniversary. The line was launched in 2013 and the latest wave of figures for the Solo movie is in stores at the moment. I thought this was a good time now to look at the Black Series as a whole. This comprehensive overview will give you all the details you ever wanted to know. How many figures? How many heroes and villains? Click through for a detailed look at the Black Series!

Star Wars The Black Series

 

After almost five years quite a few figures and sets have been released in the Black Series. Time to see how many sets there really are. Quite a few, actually. Before I proceed one thing: since new sets are about to be released I stopped at the Qi’Ra/4-LOM Solo figures. The Gamorrean Guard or the new Stormtrooper with blast effect sets were not considered. Also, the Centerpiece statues were not considered either.

If someone doesn’t like charts and a more detailed look at some numbers, there’s a summary with the main takeaway at the end of the article!

So let’s move on and talk about sets!

 

The Black Series Sets

How many sets are there exactly? And how many of them are exclusive sets?

The Black Series Sets

The Black Series distribution of sets

The Porg 2-pack is somewhat of an oddity, not a numbered basic set but not an exclusive either, I put them in the “Creatures” category.
As you can see the Black Series has quite the number of exclusive sets!

Total number of sets: 161

Let’s look at percentages:

Black Series Sets Percentages

The Black Series Sets Percentages

More than 1/4 of all sets are exclusives, the bane of Star Wars collecting. Only about 60% are basic figures.

Things get even worse when you look at the actual number of figures.

Black Series Exclusive Figures and Vehicles

Total number of all figures, vehicles and creatures is 192

As you can see more than 1/3 of all the figures, vehicles and creatures are exclusives.

All figures counts the number of all the figures, vehicles and creatures in the sets. That is, the two Porgs, the four Guardians of Evil, Wampa and Hoth Luke etc are all counted individually. And at the time this article is written the Black Series has almost 200 individual figures, creatures and vehicles.

One caveat: I did not include any running changes if the number on the box was not changed. That is, Rey (Jakku) had a running change but the number on her box was not changed. I only considered different sets and the figures in each set. So, the absolute total number of figures with slight changes between them is a little bit higher, but not by much.

And here is a detailed look at the number of humans/aliens, droids etc in the Black Series:

Black Series Figure Distribution

The Black Series is mostly about humanoid characters

*Accessories: these are Han Solo in Carbonite (merely a wall decoration for Jabba) and the interrogation droid IT-O that comes with Tarkin, which I didn’t count as a fully sentient droid.

That makes 194 different figures, creatures and vehicles, including the two accessories.

 

Black Series Figures per Movie / Show

For this category I only counted unique figures (figures include costume variants or repaints) without vehicles, so only the humans, aliens, droids and creatures such as Dewback or Porgs get counted. Not included are the straight repacks (40th anniversary Luke, for example). So, how many of your unique figures could you use for a diorama specific to one movie or tv show?

Blask Series Figures per Movie / Show

Click for larger graphic

The blue bars represent movies/shows made under George Lucas. The orange bars represent Disney Star Wars. A figure can appear in several movies, R2-D2, for example, can be used for any of the movies and animated shows. Yoda can be used for the Prequels, Clone Wars and two of the Original Trilogy movies.

As you can see The Force Awakens actually has the most unique figures available. A New Hope is a close second. Next up is already The Last Jedi. Since Rogue One is set in the OT era you can use quite a lot of figures for a Rogue One themed display too. Hasbro clearly doesn’t like the Prequels. The relative high number of Clone Wars figures is mostly due to the large number of various Clone Troopers who first made an appearance in the movies.

Let’s look at the unique figures per trilogy / show.

Black Series Figures per Era

With fewer movies the Disney era has more figures available for use in displays

And finally the share of unique figures you can use for either the Lucas or Disney era:

Black Series Figures per Era

The Disney Era is largely overrepresented

You can see that the Disney era is largely overrepresented. Mirroring the focus on the new movies. There are only 4 Disney movies and one tv show. But 7 Lucas movies and one tv show. Non-canon movies and shows were not considered.
Even with all the Lucas era characters making an appearance in the Disney era removed, the Disney era is still overrepresented.

 

Black Series Gender

How many female figures are there? Well, let’s see:

Black Series Gender Distribution

One could say the Black Series has a disturbing lack of female figures

I only counted humans and aliens for this statistic, droids and creatures were not considered. For this statistic I used three different categories.

  • Unique Characters: Luke Skywalker has several figures, but he’s always the same character, so all his figures count as “1” when it comes to unique characters
  • Unique Figures: this includes all the different costume variants and paint variants
  • All Figures: including all the straight repacks (in a different box, not including running changes) as well

And to visualize it in a different way here is the gender share for the three categories:

Black Series Gender Share

More than 85% of the figures are male

The Black Series features mostly male figures. Almost 90% of all unique characters are male. Hasbro could choose from a variety of interesting female characters, many of them have interesting designs and costumes, to even things a little bit out. More than 85% male figures seems to be somewhat extreme.

If I factor in the droids things are even more skewed. All the various droids released so far have “male programming”.

Black Series Gender Disttribution with Droids

Gender distribution with droids included

And the percentages:

Black Series Gender Shares

Share of genders in the Black Series with droids included

The Black Series is very much a male centric action figure line, despite the female centric Disney Star Wars movies.

 

Black Series Species

How many aliens, humans, droids or creatures are there? Let’s find out!

Black Series Species

Humans rule the Black Series

When it comes to species, the Black Series is the Empire, humans rule. Even though Star Wars gets so much of its flair from colorful alien background characters, almost none of them have a figure in the Black Series.

Let’s look at the percentages:

Black Series Species Share

Around 3/4 of all figures are humans

Around 3/4 of all the Black Series figures are humans. Since human characters have quite a few costume variants, the share of humans in the “unique figures” category is the highest. The Black Series could feature a few more interesting aliens, there are so many to choose from! Cantina aliens and Jabba’s Palace denizens the obvious choice for starters.

 

Black Series Heroes and Villains

How many heroes and villains are in the Black Series?

Black Series Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains in the Black Series (including droids)

Note: a character can be both a hero and a villain and will therefore appear in both categories: examples are Ep III Anakin and Ep VI Darth Vader.

Since so many hero characters have costume variants the villains are the majority among unique characters. Things even out once you consider the costume variants and repacks. There are slightly more heroes than villains then.

And to visualize it in a different way here are the percentages:

Black Series Heroes and Villains Share

Black Series heroes and villains share in each category

R5-D4 and the Jawa were counted as “neutral”. The various other astromechs were either hero astromechs or villain astromechs.

How many villains are male or female? Well…

Black Series Heroes and Villains per Gender

Women are so good. So very good. Poor Phasma is the only female villain in the Black Series.

Phasma is the only female Star Wars villain the Black Series. Hasbro could choose from a variety of interesting looking and popular female villains to include in the Black Series. Obvious choices, among others, are Asajj Ventress or Aurra Sing. And there are more than enough female heroes to choose from. Mon Mothma is still missing. Then there are various Jedi from the prequel era that Hasbro could make. The most glaring omission here is Padme Amidala who has no Black Series figure at all at the time of this writing (one figure of her is rumored to be coming up).

 

Black Series Troopers

How many trooper figures are in the Black Series? Quite a few!

Black Series Number of Troopers

Black Series number of troopers in each category

And let’s look at the percentages:

Black Series trooper share

Share of trooper figures in each Black Series category

Since there are so many costume variants for the unique characters troopers have a share of almost 43% in this category. Overall, roughly 1/3 of all the figures are troopers.

Since troopers feature heavily in Star Wars this is probably ok. Also, troopers almost never peg-warm, the Flametrooper being a notable exception here.

 

Summary

So what’s the general takeaway?

  • The Black Series has almost 200 individual figures and vehicles
  • 27% of all sets and more than 1/3 of all the various figures are exclusives. This is quite a large share. Exclusives are sometimes very hard to get and for anyone not living in the USA very expensive
  • Humans rule the Black Series
  • Aliens are few in numbers and only account for roughly 14%
  • Females are also few in numbers, they account for approx 14% of the figures. Phasma is the only female villain character
  • Disney era Star Wars almost has the same number of figures as the Lucas era, which shows that Hasbro is focusing on modern entertainment

I hope you enjoyed this detailed breakdown of the Black Series. I suppose no one is really suprised by the results, but still, to actually see the numbers is different from having a hunch or a guess.

My opinion is that the human-centric and male-centric approach of the Black Series should be countered by the inclusion of some well-known and popular alien characters and female characters of note. Star Wars doesn’t have that many female main characters but more than enough secondary female characters. Also, that Padme Amidala is still missing from the Black Series (as of May 2018) is a glaring omission. Female figures don’t need to be peg-warmers if Hasbro just chose the right characters. Nothing against Rose or Holdo, but I can think of countless other more interesting looking female characters that deserve a figure. Would a Shaak-Ti peg-warm? Or some of the other female Jedi and the few female villains of note? Jaina Solo is a very good example of a female figure done right. Asajj Ventress would most certainly not peg-warm.

Also, since Star Wars features so many popular aliens, it’s unfortunate that the Black Series focuses on main characters. Main characters are important, but some colorful alien characters would help a lot in making the collection even more intersting to look at. The soon to be released Gamorrean Guard is a welcome change and hopefully a sign of things to still come.

What are your opinions? Would you like more female figures and aliens in the Black Series? Or are you happy with the way things are now?

Also, should anyone be interested in a similar article about TVC, let me know. However, this would take a while, compiling all the data takes quite some time.

Update: I completely forgot about a lot of Original Trilogy characters making an appearance in Rebels. I updated the section and the graphics! Also, a corrected graphic for the share of Lucas/Disney characters has been added to account for the fact that quite a few Lucas era characters make an appearance in Disney Star Wars.

 

 

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