Battle Droid - Hasbro - Legacy Collection [2] (2013)
Star Wars Collectible News, Photos, and Reviews

SWCA: JTA Interviews Hasbro Star Wars Brand Marketing Team

Posted by Paul | April 17, 2015 at 07:36 PM ET

We did more of an "interview" type of Q&A with Hasbro this time around. As we cleverly surmised almost a week ago, the Jabba's Rancor Pit contains an all-new Jabba the Hutt 3.75" figure. And it's YOUR fault that the TBS6 Leia Boushh is so big. Oh, and if you see orange carded The Black Series 3.75" and 6" figures don't freak out. The stuff is finally making its way out. All this and more awaits you in our SWCA Hasbro Q&A. Click through for more! Be sure to leave your thoughts about this Q&A in our comments! Special thanks to Brian's Toys for sponsoring us this year!

Full Audio Interview: Downloadable MP3

Full text transcription:

JTA: This is Chuck Paskovics with Jedi Temple Archives. If you guys would like to introduce yourselves:

Hasbro: This is Jeff Labovitz with Star Wars Hasbro Marketing.

JTA: Actually, we only have a few questions for you this time. We'll try to keep it short and to the point. Hopefully we can get you to elaborate on the answers. We're trying to avoid getting "yes/no" answers for our viewers here. So, out first question: Now that the beautiful Jabba’s Rancor Pit Toys R Us exclusive has been revealed, can you confirm if that is a new 3.75” Jabba the Hutt inside?

Hasbro: I'll have to go back to the team to make sure, but I believe so, all-new.

JTA: When can we expect that to hit shelves?"

Hasbro: Uh, the Jabba should be rolling out in the next couple of weeks.

JTA: A Death Star Gunner and Han Solo (Hoth Outfit) 3.75” figures have been on your product lists for almost 2 years now. You had even commented that they were coming, then cancelled, then coming, then not coming. Have these been indefinitely cancelled/postponed, or could we expect to see them in the future?

Hasbro: [They're] on our list and we got a very long list to get to. There is so much great entertainment coming with the new movie and Rebels. It's something we'll definitely come back to, but not any time soon.

JTA: Last time we spoke you said that Anakin (Space Suit) was almost finalized but then cancelled. Is that still cancelled or can we expect that one too?

Hasbro: That falls into the same boat. We've got what we call our parking lot and that one was certainly one [of them]. We review it periodically, every couple months. We talk through a lot of these characters and a lot of these vehicles And weapons. And this is one we want to get back to but it's not coming any time soon.

JTA: We know that the Rebels line look is done. Will Saga Legends and Mission Series continue through another medium in the future sometime?

Hasbro: Unfortunately we can't talk about Fall 2015 at this time but we have good stuff to come. (Hasbro brings rep Joe Ninnivaggi into the interview). I am Joe Ninnivaggi. Hey guys, how are you doin'? (Chuck reintroduces himself.)

JTA: It’s been a slow year for collectors, especially compared to previous years during The Vintage Collection run. Will we ever return to a similar momentum of that era, or will things continue in a similar pace as they have been.

Hasbro: Well, unfortunately I can't talk about Fall 2015 and beyond. BUT. I think fans of all ages, including guys like ourselves, will be VERY happy in what the line has to offer. We love The Black Series. It's really a labor of love by our design team. We're all passionate about it. And there's plenty of The Black Series to come in the future.

JTA: Will a movie year allow you to do more things than we see in a non-movie year?

Hasbro: Yeah, I think our line is going to be really robust. It's a movie year. We also have Rebels. We also have other great other content that's coming out. I mean, it's like a fire hydrant right now as far as content, so, that allows us to do a lot of things, so... When you think about how The Black Series started with the 6" figures and 3.75" figures, and and, we've since expanded it to creatures and the deluxe vehicles. I'd say even bigger things could be in our future. (Editor's Note: What Hasbro forgot was that they "sort of" revealed that a 6" TIE Fighter was coming in by saying "that's a good choice" to us at Toy Fair this year.)

JTA: You’re probably sick to death of this question, but it remains a major issue causing dissonance between Hasbro and your buying market. Why is distribution such an issue? Rebels figures didn’t arrive when they needed to, most haven’t seen any The Black Series 6” figures since the Luke Bespin wave (from the orange packaging) and The Black Series 3.75” line is essentially nonexistent. Can you give us three things that would help put this into perspective for us of why it’s so hard to get Star Wars figures out there?

Hasbro: Yeah, the Rebels figures were hard to get out there, the good news is you guys are saying now starting to see more of the figures pop up and that's good. They're working their way through the system. We're constantly working with the retailers to make sure they're hitting shelves in a timely fashion. There was a delay in us getting Rebels out, there was a port strike, we are optimizing how we're getting our figures out there. Sometimes we have some older stock that prevents things from going through like you're seeing with The Black Series 6". We're doing everything we can. We're definitely think by Fall 2015 you'll start seeing things move through a lot more smoothly and we hopefully won't be having the same conversation at NY Toy Fair for next year. (Editor's Note: [sarcasm]We're so sorry JTA "made" you panic for no reason about Rebels figures not arriving on time.... we were SO wrong about that.... [/sarcasm].)

JTA: You have a significant amount of older The Black Series 3.75” figures shown in your display case this year at SWCA. Are there plans to re-release some of these figures going forward because most of us haven’t seen any of those figures since 2013. It’s a bit confusing/deceiving to show them now if they’re not being reissued.

Hasbro: I think, it's like Jeff said, we can't talk exactly what's coming out for Fall 2015, whether or not some of them will be reissued, they're all out there, we have a lot of waves that are going to be hitting now. I think with some of the backlog you might see some stuff that you consider older hitting shelves now. Um, so, we've produced A LOT, so they should be hitting for you guys to buy them... a lot of our newer waves....

JTA: Will they be in the new packaging? Or will they just be left over what's in orange and blue? Or are some of the older figures be repackaged in the red.

Hasbro: I can't say, I can't say. (Editor's Note: meaning they wouldn't say.) If you see it in orange in blue, it should be reaching you in significant quantities.

JTA: Thank you for re-releasing The Vintage Collection’s C-3PO. It may be the single most intelligent repacked figure you have ever done. It’s comforting to know that you finally got it out after 5 years of collectors begging to get it out again. We have been clamoring just as long and as much for Ponda Baba (Walrus Man) and the Emperor’s Royal Guard. It seems that these two figures are much more highly sought after than the Imperial Navy Commander (which for most of 2012/2013 could be purchased at Five Below for $5 and/or Stormtrooper (which has been readily available for years in different formats). Can you please explain why no movement forward has been made with one time released one-per-case Emperor’s Royal Guard and Ponda Baba TVC figures?

Hasbro: Those are also things on our list. We certainly want to get out as much as we can. We know what fans are looking for. We'd like to think we know because we're always checking the boards and checking the lists. So, we always come back to the good ones. We've got a long memory and we've got a team that's very passionate about the products, so, all these characters that are talked about on the boards, we're trying to find a way to get them back out there. Absolutely. We're also going to be re-instituting a Fan Poll too, so look for that in the Fall. So, you guys vote if it's something you want and that's something you get enough people to support. Then like Jeff said, we're always looking and monitoring what you guys are saying. But that will be another opportunity to have your voices heard. (Editor's Note: This is all great news!)

JTA: Is the Fan Poll going to be another collector site poll like you've done in the past, or will it be done on your site?

Hasbro: We're still figuring it all out. We'll definitely make it clear to you how it's going to go down. It's something we want to bring back so we hear the voice of the fans and make sure we are doing the right products.

JTA: Can collectors expect to see Hasbro to continue producing super-articulated Original Trilogy figures?

Hasbro: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, even though we're in a movie year and we have great entertainment, the classics will never go away. You know, there are still figures we want to get to, you know like Jeff says, we have a short and long list, but yeah, of course. We're never going to move away from the Original Trilogy.

JTA: How has the 6” performed for you? Do you see it continuing strongly for the next season of action figures?

Hasbro: The Black Series 6" line is the number one item for us. I mean it has just been performing phenomenally well, so um, it's absolutely going to continue. We see no end in sight for 6". It better not. I have a lot more to collect. We've got a lot more characters to do to fill up our collection. Yeah, there is so much more coming like Joe said with Rebels, the new movies and then they're are still characters to get to with the original entertainment. So, I don't see The Black Series line stopping anytime soon.

JTA: The Black Series 6", right?

Hasbro: Yes.

JTA: All of our readers still want to know if these figures will ever find a home in the 3.75” collector line:
R5-X2 (cancelled BAD)?

Hasbro: Not in the plan. But you bring up a good point with Build A Droid. That's something that we're looking at bringing back. it's not going to be anytime soon. It's not going to be this year, but, Build A Droid is something we'd love to go back to. And that's the time we'd bring back some of these characters. So if we hear about these types of things on the polls, and on the fan boards, it's absolutely what we would go after. (Editor's Note: This is different from the answers received at Toy Fair which is great!)

JTA: R8-B7 (cancelled BAD) is another, but same answer as above? (Editor's Note: It looks like R8-B7 is part of the new 2015 Disney Droid Factory series. Apparently Hasbro has no idea about this.)

Hasbro: Yes.

JTA: A-wing Pilot (2013 cancelled LC figure),

Hasbro: I don't believe that one is in the works, no.

JTA: Captain Rex (phase I) (2013 cancelled LC figure),

Hasbro: No, that falls into the same boat.

JTA: running change Utai (2009 cancelled LC figure). Same boat?

Hasbro: Yeah, same.

JTA: Can you comment on the Leia [Boussh] scale issue?

Hasbro: Yeah, so, it's interesting with the Leia scale. When we did the slave outfit, we heard from the fans that even though she was in proportion correctly, there was kind of a desire for more, she should just have more presence, she should be more plastic essentially. So the Leia Boushh that you're seeing right now, she is definitely a little bit bigger now and um, than Slave Leia, she's not exactly in scale, but we answered the fans, you know, Boussh being that she is mimicking a character that is larger. She's got a little more to her, but we're always trying to strike the right balance between being perfectly movie accurate and also being, you know, correct in terms of "toyetic" so we're aware of it, we've done it on purpose, because of honestly, your feedback, so just keep giving us feedback. You know, I think she is an awesome figure. Personally I think she is the best figure we've done in the 6" line, so.... hopefully you guys like her. (Editor's Note: Did he just blame US for the scale issue?)

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