No matter your level of understanding and acceptance about what Hasbro could and couldn’t show at the SDCC presentation, there was no way anyone could argue how disappointing it is. Most of us are knee-jerk complainers, and that’s something that probably won’t change until we’re dead. JTA reader Michael H. also was angry but decided to engage a Hasbro employee about the state of collecting and why they showed so little. This is all from JTA reader Michael’s perspective. We have no way to corroborate what was said, but we think it’s a fair overview of what transpired. Click through for more.
Hey Everyone at JTA! I wanted to reach out. Yesterday I went to SDCC (after spending Friday rage-commenting because of Hasbro’s lack of new reveals)
Uh… I have to admit I regret a lot of what I posted. I spoke in person with Sam Smith, Star Wars Design Manager, at the Hasbro booth. I want to share a brief report of that conversation with you:
WOW, I was SO upset going into this. Hasbro’s lackluster display was infuriating me. I Met Sam Smith and just started having a conversation about my complaints, and he was actually very friendly and completely changed my mind. First: We (I?) may be giving Hasbro too much crap for something they literally have no control over. Sam explained the direction was from Disney, and it was clear. Hasbro is not allowed to reveal any product that’s slated for the triple force Friday event. Nothing… That kinda puts Hasbro in a really awkward situation: “Hey you guys, you know all that product you have been working so hard on for our HUGE event? Yeah, Don’t show any of it.” I think I almost felt Sam’s disappointment. Like he really WANTED to show the frustrating Fans something cool, but he just wasn’t allowed to do it.
Also, I asked my 3.75″ Lar’s homestead Gonk droid question same as I’ve asked every year prior, but Sam really lit up and Said “I know! I know! We gotta finish the 92! We want to, It’s something we definitely really want to do” He had some talking points as I assumed any professional would, but in a nutshell, He was explaining the huge focus is on triple force Friday and relevant product aimed at that content. It seems Hasbro has been hyper-focused on that and I get the sense they may have been put under some difficult Disney expectations, but he didn’t say as much, that’s my own gut feeling. The difference here is in years prior when I would ask Steve a question, I felt like he responded with very political non-answers and obvious circles into his flat talking points. Sam had a real enthusiastic conversation here and was very open about what he just couldn’t talk about while showing a genuine interest and engagement with me as a collector. I… actually walked away thinking Sam Smith seems like he’s really trying to do a good job with the brand. And while I haven’t seen any proof or product, I’m going to wait for TFF and see what he delivers.
Furthermore, A few notes: The HypeReal line has just Vader and Bespin Luke planned for now. This is a trial run and they are waiting to see how well the product does. There are plans for more if interest is there but it won’t be huge assortments. Think small releases of one character at a time and spaced out. It’s not going to compete with Black Series 6″ and they know that from the price point.
Vintage 3.75″ Sam can’t say anything but he’s really hoping we like what’s in the pipeline, Hasbro worked very hard on it. On the topic of ESB 40th anniversary or ANY product to hold us over until TFF Sam just reiterated the product focus was put on TFF and he can’t go into specifics. (On a related note, I’ve heard from other companies and vendors at the con and informal conversation, Disney is having some concerns about the health of Star Wars as a brand and this year Disney is taking a moment to stop, reorganize, and think more carefully about how things go moving forward. Galaxy’s Edge is appearing not to have made the explosive connection with fans they were anticipating, but you will never hear that statement voiced publicly)
The Black Series Boba Fett Helmet: It’s from the Empire version, not Return of the Jedi. They were able to Study the original prop and “Idealize” it. For instance, intentional damage like the Dent in the top or scratches were preserved, but the brim above Fett’s visor has always been wavy and irregular because the original was sculpted in clay by hand. Those details where something is not quite straight, wavy, curved, the wrong angle, or not symmetrical to the other side were corrected in the model while preserving the intentional damage. Honestly, it looks fantastic in person. The Borden detail is actually real metal, and although the side ear caps are plastic and a little oversized to house electronics, they are removable so I’m sure die-hards may find a way to swap them for aluminum fan-made parts. The rangefinder lowers, and the 2 LED’s on top are functional. Inside the rangefinder, there is a heads up display (like a targeting computer) so when wearing the helmet you can flip it down and look through the target, or you can remove a sliding plate on top to the rangefinder and see right through it like a scope. The Helmet on display was a paint master, not final product but Instead of adding electronic sound effects or hokey lines of dialog they chose to axe those options and put the budget towards the paint job to make it as accurate as possible.
All in all, it seems like Disney has us in a holding pattern until TFF, but i’m no longer thinking as doom and gloom as I was against Hasbro. They are clearly trying, the problems are coming from above.
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