Anakin Skywalker (Battle Damage!) - Hasbro - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
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The Rise Of Skywalker Initiates The Fall Of 3.75"!

Have you fully processed that the Hasbro The Rise Of Skywalker toy line will be the first without a range of 3.75″ figures outside of The Vintage Collection yet? It’s true. And you could say that this means that The Rise Of Skywalker is initiating the decline of 3.75″!

I’ve felt for years now that Hasbro is not reaching its core audience.  Many accuse Hasbro of being wholly disengaged to longtime collectors. I sometimes think that way, but I often agree that they aren’t consistently appealing to the people who still buy their action figures.

To be clear, the loss of 5POA is not the end of the world for me. I am not celebrating its death (and I never will), but to be honest with you I feel strongly that the 5POA format did more damage to the 3.75″ line than help it. We became complacent. We let our guard down. And we began accepting figures in 5POA because we knew Hasbro would never offer them in a super-articulated version. (Hasbro banked on this.) There are many collectors that are content with a 5POA version of an action figure instead of not receiving a super-articulated version. I have to admit that these types of thoughts pass through my mind too. But I will never understand why after time Hasbro doesn’t go back to them and update them in super-articulated status, especially the extremely popular characters. How do we not have a super-articulated Jedi Temple Guard yet? How do we not have a single member of the Ghost crew in super-articulated form yet? Does anyone understand how unacceptably egregious this is at this point in the game? (And I am not even a fan of Rebels and can admit this.)

If The Vintage Collection picked up the slack of the cancellation of the 5POA line, I probably wouldn’t care much. But it’s not the case, and I see the backlog snowball getting bigger and bigger. I wouldn’t necessarily have an opinion on the death of 5POA, but we all know that The Vintage Collection right now is not much more than the Walmart exclusive The Black Series [Phase III] 3.75” line made available to the general marketplace. Maybe this wouldn’t be a terrible fact of life either, but the TVC figures never make it to stores’ shelves. If they did, wouldn’t we all have a little more hope that the line is healthy and possesses some fortitude in its longevity? Even when Walmart stores have completely eliminated Star Wars sections from their stores, we have people “defending” it by saying, “Triple Force Friday is only a couple weeks away.” No. We’ve never NOT had a Star Wars section with “holdover” products until the new line released. How can anyone defend the removal of the Hasbro Star Wars line from stores when there are four waves of figures “out there” that should hold us over until the new line look release? (Some people will come to the defense of ANYTHING. It’s ridiculous.)

Why are many people easily swayed to believe bad news isn’t bad news? And why do some defend every last thing Hasbro does? While going with the flow makes one look like less of a complainer, I have to question if they care about the state of the Star Wars toy line. Maybe that’s too much of an accusation, but why is the current state of retail and the nonexistence of all the latest TVC figures a “positive” here? I mean, if you see this as a positive, please explain to me how. We see a consistent decline in the Star Wars brand, and the attitude “oh it’s no big deal” only reinforces the genuine apathy that exists within these defenders. It’s almost if they claim to understand why Hasbro makes the choices they do, despite watching their favorite things die and go by the wayside. I’ve reached a point of relative indifference with the Hasbro Star Wars brand. I am happy when new items are announced (and some great things are coming for TESB 40th anniversary), but the lack of reveals, the lack of TVC figures, heck, even the lack of The Black Series 6” figures are endemic of an unhealthy line. And we know this has a lot to do with Disney, but Disney needs to understand how Star Wars collectors (people with money) support their brand. Reveals, leaks, teasing, and subsequent conversations are the things that stoke interest and discussion and excitement for a brand. NOT SECRECY!

Yet, those who want the line to thrive and are often criticized if they see things a different way, you know, the way where collectors spend money on the brand and support the line. Apparently, many are content to see shampoo bottles and budget role-play lightsabers clog the shelves and look the other way.

And let’s, for a moment, talk about the inconsistency in the toy line and the decisions Hasbro makes. To defend 5POA, Hasbro said over and over that kids don’t like articulation. “Articulation frustrates kids.” Then they said the 5POA line is for collectors as much as it is for kids. Huh? Now they’ve eliminated the standard format (3.75” action figures) for a new 5” line that they’ve also said is for kids. Oh, and who asked for ANOTHER new scale of action figures? Why are you replicating the Disney Star Wars Toybox line? Why? And guess what? The 5” line is super-articulated (or significantly more articulated than the 5POA format). So which is it?

With four or five new figure every 4 to six months (usually available only online and never reaching stores), it seems like the collector line is at a snail’s pace. Perhaps we should all be thankful that Hasbro is expending any energy into a super-articulated 3.75” line. But you have to wonder when collectors (who BOUGHT their toys, not the vocal people who DON’T buy anything) have been clamoring for years that the focus should have always been on 3.75” super-articulated figures. I accept that we’re living through a retail apocalypse, but retailer exclusives could be more finely tuned. If you only knew the story behind the TVC Jabba’s Palace (which I WISH I could reveal), you’d be shellshocked.

Look, we’ve received some INCREDIBLE things in the last 18 months. I will not discount one item. But why did Hasbro stop the momentum on a dime? It shows me they refuse to look at their core audience with disposable income to purchase the things they make one again, consistently going after a market they don’t have instead of the market that never left them. We’re living in a codependent relationship with Hasbro, and I have to wonder if they realize this based on some of the decisions they make.

Hasbro, let’s finish up the Collect All 92! already. I have to move on, LOL. And I need them all done. Oh, and as always, less ST and more OT. It’s the only way to ensure constant engagement and support for the line for the people who buy these figures, exceptions aside.

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