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Star Wars Experience – 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
by Nick LaBate
July 22, 2009 — Preview Night: Hasbro Report
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Hasbro had the next 5 waves worth of TLC RED basic figures on hand for fans at Preview Night at San Diego Comic Con.  There were some expected items and some that caught people by surprise.  But you want the full rundown, right?

WAVE 1 – THE PHANTOM MENACE – In stores 08.21.09
This wave has been well documented since it was unveiled at Toy Fair this past February.  Hasbro displayed the new figures in the wave as well as the Droid Factory Build-A-Figure, L8-L9.  However the refresh figures that are set to be released with this wave were not to be seen.

WAVE 2 – RETURN OF THE JEDI – In stores 09.04.09
This wave has been the subject of much discussion since some of it was revealed in the Star Wars Insider a few months ago.  And this wave has some genuine surprises.
-Luke Skywalker – This version comes equipped so that Luke can be depicted with his tunic flap both open and closed.  He also comes with the binders that Emporer Palpatine discards with ease by using The Force.  The figure was not shown with a lightsaber, but it would be a great surprise if this much anticipated version of Luke Skywalker did not include his ROTJ lightsaber.

-Princess Leia – This new rendition of Slave Leia incorporates a second lower body so that Leia can be posed both standing and reclining.  Leia also comes with a goblet as well as an electro staff.

-Ewoks – Paploo & NoApaak are part of a continuing series of Ewok 2-packs.  Paploo comes with both a knife and a spear.  And NoApaak comes with a spear/trident.  Hasbro has stated that because of the small stature of Ewoks they will continue to be packaged in 2-pack form.

-Nien Nunb – Yes, you read that right.  Hasbro is calling their red suited Sullustan Nien Nunb.  At least on the card in their booth.  There appears to be some confusion about the character, and hopefully it will be cleared up before the figure is issued.  As a point of interest they did label the Ewoks as EWOKS and not by name.

-Malakili – This update to the portly Rancor keeper actually looks pretty good.  Far better than the vintage and POTF2 versions, by far.  This new version appears to have modern levels of articulation and good accessories.  Will it be the pegwarmer that we saw in the late 1990’s?  Let’s hope not.  Hasbro expressed acute awareness at the pegwarming of Yarna d’al Gargan, and they seem determined to not let that happen again.
-Giran – Hasbro confirmed in Q&A sessions that there would be a Klaatu guard in this wave.  And that Klaatu was revealed today as Giran, the assistant to Rancor keeper Malakili.  Giran rounds out the Rancor pit crew with the new Jabba’s palace Rancor, Luke Skywalker pack-in and Malakili.

-Major Panno – Orrimarko now has a companion Dresselian commando.  Major Panno includes a grey softgoods cloak, removable goggles and a blaster.

-Nikto Gunner – The Nikto Gunner looks fantastic!  It features a very high level of detail in both sculpt and paint apps.  The deck cannon was made with future compatibility considerations.  Don’t read it any kind of a Sail Barge just yet!

-Ugnaught (Version 2) – The running change Ugnaught will be featured in this wave.  This one will also feature a carbon freeze chamber control panel, but is essentially an all new sculpt from the version released in the TLC BLUE wave 6.

-R3-M3 – DROID FACTORY Build-A-Figure – This astromech is the first clear domed R3 unit to be made in the Droid Factory ranks.  This astro droid was originally seen in the corridors of the Death Star in A NEW HOPE.

-R5-C7 – DROID FACTORY Build-A-Figure – This droid appears in the briefing room scene on Home One in RETUN OF THE JEDI.

WAVE 3 – A NEW HOPE – In stores 09.25.09
There’s been a great deal of discussion about this particular wave.  Much of that has revolved around some of the Cantina Denizens and more around concept art figures.  But what about the figures themselves?
-Han Solo – This version would most likely be called “Death Star Escape”.  It features Han straight from the trash compactor, complete with messy hair, Stormtrooper armor plate and utility belt.

-Chewbacca – Just when you thought that Hasbro couldn’t come up with a new way to present Chewbacca, they manage to do just that.  This version seems to take some of the features from the VOTC Chewbacca, but adds in a co-pilot headset.  So now you can have Chewie as he appeared while the Falcon was fighting off the TIE Fighters in Episode IV.

-R2-D2 – Call this one Jawa capture.  Hasbro takes their “fried droid” act to this version of Artoo, as he was captured by the Jawas in the canyon country of Tatooine.

-Imperial Scanning Technician – Hasbro took what might have been an otherwise dull character and made him interesting.  Previous versions of the Imperial Scanning tech were rather boring, but this new version offers a modern level of articulation as well as an interesting new accessory in the scanning gear.

-Leesub Sirin – This figure presents one of the first openly female characters from the Mos Eisley cantina.  Sure there were other female cantina characters…if you happened to know that they were female!  And with this figure another of the more iconic cantina characters is struck from the list.

-Hrchek Kal Fas – At long last Hasbro has made one of the Saurins from the Cantina.  This character is very reminiscent of Bossk, right down to the bare feet.

-Jawa & Security Droid – This droid represents the last of the droids from the iconic “Purchase of the Droids” scene in Episode IV.  And to ring in that milestone Hasbro has given this droids pack mate a whole new look.  The Jawa in this set is all new, right down to the softgoods lower robe.

-Concept art Ki-Adi Mundi – This certainly isn’t what you would expect to see in an ANH wave, but this was the best place Hasbro could place this figure.  The design of this battleworn ROTS era Jedi Master was done by artist Derek Thompson.

-Hoth Rebel Trooper (version 2) – NOT PICTURED.  While not in display in their booth, Hasbro reports that the clean shaven Hoth Rebel Trooper will be shipping as a running change.  And it will be in this particular wave.

-R4-P44 – DROID FACTORY Build-A-Figure – This R4 unit reportedly was part of REVENGE OF THE SITH, but was probably more visible in a Behind The Helmet image on the Official Star Wars site than in the actual movie.

-R3-A2 – DROID FACTORY Build-A-Figure – This astromech originally appeared in TESB in Echo Base.  And it was even offered in a SAGA multipack back around 2002/03.  However that droid was scarce and many collectors were searching for it after the fact.  Well, if you buy this wave you can now build your own R3-A2.

WAVE 4 – REVENGE OF THE SITH – In stores 10.09.09
Details about this wave had only begun to be revealed over the past few weeks.  And there are some genuinely surprising features in this particular wave.

-Utai – The ground crew from Utapau finally gets represented with this new figure.  This Utai features a helmet along with a weapon.

-Jeremoch Colton – The pilot of the Tantive IV gets immortalized in plastic with this figure, but there’s something more significant here.  This figure is the first representation of the face of the man behind Boba Fett’s mask – Jeremy Bulloch.  Mr. Bulloch was brought back on board for a short role in ROTS, playing the pilot for Bail Organa’s diplomatic cruiser.  The figure features significant articulation along with a comm headset, blaster and holster.

-Agen Kolar – Images just leaked out of a prototype of Agen Kolar.  And you may have read about this figure’s confirmation in a recent JTA Q&A session with Hasbro.  This figure is meant to represent the ROTS incarnation of Jedi Master Kolar.  However, it does not appear to include the Jedi cloak.  And that lightsaber blade color (green) does not match the color of the lightsaber Kolar wields (blue) as the Jedi Council attempts to apprehend Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in Episode III.  Hasbro comes close to the mark, but misses on some fine details.

-Clone Commander Cody – There were some who complained about the 2006 rendition of Clone Commander Cody.  At the time I didn’t understand their misgivings.  But then I see the 2009 rendition and I see what Hasbro could have done, and it’s really impressive.  This version of Cody still features the blaster, removable helmet and jetpack that the old version included.  But add on to that!  With what?  How about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber hilt?  And best of all, a hologram projector with Darth Sidious issuing Order 66.  And that’s not even getting into the superior sculpt, paint and articulation.  BTW, did I mention the attention that Hasbro paid to Cody’s crewcut?!?!?

-Plo Koon – Anyone who’s been in the toy aisles in the past few months would have to scratch their heads about a new Plo Koon.  There’s been a Saga Legends version warming the pegs, and that sculpt dates back to 2005.  But Hasbro has given this new Plo Koon something fresh and new.  For starters, his breath mask and goggles are removable.  Plo Koon never took this gear off in the films or even the CLONE WARS series.  But there have been instances in Dark Horse comics where he was depicted without the breathing apparatus, and that’s where this rendition comes from.  This version also features the lightsaber gauntlet that was featured in concept artist Derek Thompson’s work for ROTS.  And then add in a softgoods lower robe, and this is a significantly different figure from the Saga Legends Plo Koon that may have been the bane of your collecting existance.

-Concept art IG-88 – This rendition of IG-88 was made from an amalgam of Ralph McQuarrie designs for IG-88 during pre-production.  This version presents a significantly different take on the droid that ultimately wound up in TESB, but offers us an interesting new concept figure to go with those that we got back in 2007’s 30th Anniversary Collection.

-YVH-1 – DROID FACTORY Build-A-Figure – This droid is a total EU construct.  Built by the Galactic Alliance, these droids were designed to strike fear and loathing into the invading Yuuzhan Vong.

WAVE 5 – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK – In stores 10.30.09
This wave presents some cool updates to core characters, a mysterious bounty hunter, some troopers and a guy who could not stand to be parted from his ice cream maker! 

-Luke Skywalker – This is by far the definitive Luke Skywalker in snowspeeder pilot gear.  Hasbro takes some of the lessons they’ve learned with figures like Zev Senesca and Kesin Ommis.  The uniform looks very true to the snowspeeder pilots of TESB.  Luke also has a skullcap and some cool accessories.  You’d expect his lightsaber, but Hasbro also added in the grappling hook that he uses when he takes out an AT-AT single handedly.

-Cloud City Wing Guard – Hasbro offers up not just one, but two new Bespin Guards with this wave.  One of them is the distinctive looking Utris M’toc.  And another is a tip of the hat to the vintage Bespin Guard running change, with an african american guard.  Both figures are significant upgrades to the most recent Bespin Guard…which wasn’t released so recently (if 2001 is recent to you).  The sculpts and articulation look to be up to the modern standard of articulation.  Both feature removable hats, as well as blasters and holsters.  How Hasbro will offer both Bespin guards remains to be seen.

-Zuckuss – The last version of Zuckuss to be released by Hasbro was originally offered back in the POTF2 days.  In the mean time all of the other bouny hunters from TESB have been upgraded.  And now it’s Zuckuss’s turn.  This version features modern sculpting and looks much more at home with the current crop of bounty hunters.  And the lower robe appears to be softgoods.

-AT-AT Driver – A first glimpse at this figure would make one think that this is a reissue of the 2006 AT-AT Driver.  But this figure is actually new.  It features a removable helmet for one.  Additionally the elbow joints on this figure are ball hinges, and not swivel joints.

-R2-X2 – This figure shares the name of a droid that was packed in a 2006 Astromech Droid Pack, and some elements of design.  However, there are significant paint differences between the 2006 droid and the one Hasbro revealed today.  The ’06 droid was black with white markings.  The new R2-X2 features a similar pattern, but the black has been replaced with dark green. 

-Willrow Hood (The Ice Cream Maker Guy) – Let me preface this with words of congratulations to some friends over at  They have been champions for the cause of Willrow Hood, more commonly known in collecting circles as ICMG.  And special props go out to Mr. Scott Pearson, who led the charge to get ICMG made.  Willrow Hood looks true to movie form, and is packed with his trademark ice cream maker.

-Concept art Snowtrooper – This concept art figure is an amalgam of design ideas from artist Joe Johnston for TESB.  It presents a decidedly different look from Ralph McQuarrie’s Snowtrooper, and has hints of the clone’s mandalorian past.

Hasbro has also stated that there are likely to be more figures revealed at their presentation on Friday.  The Expanded Universe wave is set to be among the things revealed in that panel discussion, and was referred to by one Hasbro official as “one of the greatest waves ever!”  So keep checking back at JTA as we continue to cover the 2009 San Diego Comic Con! 

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