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Q&A Concerning The Clone Wars
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KitFisto
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question: Just a few months after he debuted on The Clone Wars, Hasbro released a Chewbacca action figure. We know it takes a year or so to go from concept to retail, so you must be working very closely with the animation team. I think a lot of collectors would enjoy some insight as to the process of developing new characters from the series who haven't been seen by the public yet. Does Hasbro get to see everything in the works and decide who gets the plastic treatment, or do you get a list of characters suggested by Lucasfilm? How far in advance do you start working on items like that?

ANSWER: We work closely with our partners at Lucasfilm and we usually kick off figure development well over a year in advance of entertainment hitting the big or small screen. We first see scripts and then concept art, and throughout this review process we stay in close contact with Lucasfilm to select the major characters from key story arcs.

(From YodasNews - 11/11/2011)
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KitFisto
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Toy Fair 2012:

Q: Are there plans to reissue ahsoka (cw44), the armored savage opress, or commander bly.

Hasbro: Ahsoka (CW44) will NOT be rereleased. The realistic version of her is coming in The Vintage Collection and should serve as the replacement. Hasbro realizes that not enough of that wave made it to retail. Often production of figures changes on the fly and Hasbro had to make quick decisions with this wave at the factory level to ensure that it even got released. What is out there is out there. "Armored" Savage Opress will be rereleased. The availability of the rerelease it TBD. Hasbro realizes that Commander Bly could stand another chance at retail, but they are limited with how many can be slotted per year and right now Bly is not on their radar, but they will keep him in mind for the future.

Q: Will the Scuba trooper be available separate form the sub?

Hasbro: No. You can pretty much bank that a figure released in the Class 1 line is exclusive to that vehicle. It helps promote interest in the line. There are reasons that "new" figures are packaged exclusively with these mini-rig type vehicles.
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Caped Crusader
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KitFisto wrote:
Ahsoka (CW44) will NOT be rereleased. The realistic version of her is coming in The Vintage Collection and should serve as the replacement.
Ummm... What? Even if that "vintage" Ahsoka figure didn't look terrible (and it does), how is a figure from a collector-targeted line a replacement for an animated-style figure in a kid-targeted line? That answer is all kinds of goofy, and I certainly wouldn't take that to mean an eventual second release of that figure is off the table.
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KitFisto
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caped Crusader wrote:
Ummm... What? Even if that "vintage" Ahsoka figure didn't look terrible (and it does), how is a figure from a collector-targeted line a replacement for an animated-style figure in a kid-targeted line? That answer is all kinds of goofy, and I certainly wouldn't take that to mean an eventual second release of that figure is off the table.


That answer is a strange one, for sure. I'm not sure why the rep from Hasbro would think that collectors who are interested in The Clone Wars line would find this "substitute" to be a satisfying one. Just say that you're not going to re-release a hard-to-find figure of a core character, and leave it at that. But hey! You'll get another shot at Sno Plo and the first version of Cad Bane!!! And we're going to repaint the Super Battle Droid for ya! Rolling Eyes

This year just feels like Hasbro stopped caring about the line. I imagine that there are several economic factors at play; but from my stump, it sure seems like that they scalped the line in favor of capitalizing on the movie release. But, they don't pay me to make the decisions. This just means that I'm gonna buy less than what little I had previously planned to buy. I'll be getting Obi-Wan for sure. I think I'll pass on Rex and Wolffe. I may get the target droid just so that Cutup and Hevy have something to shoot at. And I'll get Maul, and Krell (assuming he's even coming in 2012).
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is just another example of what a disaster the CW line has been. I am very excited for the new figures that are coming out soon. Since there are so few, I plan on getting them all, I just hope to be able to find them with all the episode 1 stuff on the pegs...

I mean just this morning at Walmart, they had the Vintage Qui-Gon, Obi-wan, and Maul right next to the Movie Heroes Qui-Gon, Obi-wan, and Maul with the Exclusive Discover the Force (or whatever they care calling them) Qui-Gon, Obi-wan, and Maul just a couple pegs down from them. Not surprisingly, most of the other Vintage and Exclusive figures were gone from the pegs. I understand that collectors know and can see differences in packaging and accessories or whatever, but to the uninformed casual Star Wars fan or parent/grandparent buying a figure as a gift, they all look the same.

It just seems crazy to have so much of the same movie stuff out all at once while the new/fun/interesting CW stuff appears to be on the way out. Don't get me wrong, I love Qui-Gon Jinn as much or more than anybody, but having 3 different (or not so different) versions of him out at the same time is absurd! Now, if they did a holographic, animated Qui-Gon...
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KitFisto wrote:
That answer is a strange one, for sure. I'm not sure why the rep from Hasbro would think that collectors who are interested in The Clone Wars line would find this "substitute" to be a satisfying one.
Especially kids.

KitFisto wrote:
Just say that you're not going to re-release a hard-to-find figure of a core character, and leave it at that.
I thought the scuba figure used a lot more of the s3 tooling than it does when I first saw it. Seeing how little was used for that, I don't buy for a second that she will never be released again. She may not get back out as a carded release, but I'm sure she'll find her way into a battle pack or something.

KitFisto wrote:
This year just feels like Hasbro stopped caring about the line. I imagine that there are several economic factors at play; but from my stump, it sure seems like that they scalped the line in favor of capitalizing on the movie release.
Hasbro answers to the Big Box retailers, and retailers have proven over the last decade that they want toys with movie support more than anything else in their action figure aisles. When they want more movie toys than cartoon toys, Hasbro's only choice is to deliver.

KitFisto wrote:
I'll be getting Obi-Wan for sure.
Like Anakin, I'm perfectly happy with last year's figure.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toy Fair Q&A from JTA (emphasis mine):

First and foremost (and we’re going to rip off the band aid quickly), The Clone Wars line is absolutely on the back burner. And this will be the state of the line for the next six years (until all films have been released in 3D – unless that plan will change in the future – like the cancellation of them due to poor attendance). Back burner does NOT mean dead in the water, but the plans have been revisited so that proper tooling dollars can support the multimedia happening now. The fact of the matter is that STAR WARS is back in the theaters for many years, and Hasbro NEEDS this publicity to make the most of their basic figure lines. This will afford the opportunity to release all-new “big” vehicles into the line, or update other already established large vehicles and repaint them to make them specific to the films. And of course it forces Hasbro to release incredible updates to figures we haven’t seen on shelves in years. Like it or not, it is what it is. We spoke with Hasbro about this. If you recall, many of you had many questions about the status of The Clone Wars line and if Hasbro has plans to release figure x, y or z. We thought it would honestly be a waste of time to ask about specific characters and ask more general ones.... and we made a good decision. We asked some, but looked for general answers for the rest. Here is what Hasbro had to relay to us.

The Clone Wars line will be an important part of the Star Wars line for the next 6 years, but it will function more like a “sub-line” than a “main line”. (This is exactly what we believed the reason for the lack in figures for 2012.) But new action figures (as well as the obligatory repacks) will continue to be released each year. Characters from The Clone Wars line will also show up in exclusives and multipacks, but again, in a reduced scale. Hasbro confirmed with us that the television show has been hit by a reduction in ratings the last few years, and yes, it does effect how much time and tooling ultimately gets allotted for The Clone Wars toy line. This is terribly sad because Hasbro admitted, after our comment to them, that some of the greatest moments are happening in the television show this season.) Hasbro is going to be strict on which characters they will be releasing since the slots will obviously be filling up quickly since the amount of figures have been drastically capped. They will also rerelease some of the “rarer” figures to help meet demand, but figures like 2011’s TCW Ahsoka (CW44), 2010’s TCW Darth Sidious (CW45) and others will basically “NOT” be released... at least no time in the future that can be seen from now. They admit that the amount of figures in those assortments just didn’t go out as they had hoped (number-wise), but there are so many other figures that appeal to a broader audience that they need to get out first. (We didn’t entirely agree with them – feel free to disagree too.)

We can basically expect an average of 20 The Clone Wars figures each year. That number is terribly light in our own estimation. And we have commented for the last one and a half years that collectors who would never even give the line a chance has fully embraced it and actively collecting them now. Perhaps this is what happens when Star Wars fans don’t support a multimedia event like The Clone Wars. We’re sure many of us DVR stuff and that doesn’t count in the ratings, but there are a lot of factors. We know this won’t sit well with The Clone Wars collectors. But we have to tell you, this is exactly how “older” collectors felt when Hasbro ignored so much of the Original Trilogy during the years of the Prequel Trilogy. There may be some light at the ends of the tunnel here. Hasbro has hinted to us that they have some incredible figures on tap for the next year. We believe them when they said that they are going to discriminate which characters will make for the best releases. We’ll encourage you to keep your collective chins up and continue to support the line as it is. Don’t give up because ANYTHING can change on a dime in this hobby. Maybe change your focus for the time being, or something else, but we do believe good things are in store for us.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am somewhat comforted by the information posted by JTA. I may not be super happy with it, but I guess it is what it is.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RPhBob wrote:
I am somewhat comforted by the information posted by JTA. I may not be super happy with it, but I guess it is what it is.


Always in motion, the toy industry is. For example, here is something from the above post which struck my fancy:

"Hasbro confirmed with us that the television show has been hit by a reduction in ratings the last few years, and yes, it does effect how much time and tooling ultimately gets allotted for The Clone Wars toy line."

Compare this to their Q&A from 11/2010:

"Ratings don't affect what we put into the figures, but sales do; more importantly, our understanding of what audience is actually buying the figures is a key factor in what we do."
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the show still gets very solid ratings. In fact, "Deception" had 2.12 millions viewers, the first time an episode broke 2 million in season four. And those ratings don't account for DVR or Saturday morning viewers. Besides, the toys are great sellers, and that's what really matters.

That's often the difference between getting an official answer and recollection of a conversation.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caped Crusader wrote:
That's often the difference between getting an official answer and recollection of a conversation.


I am satisfied that we got to hear what Hasbro has in store for this sub-line over the next several years (official statement or not). Now I can adjust my collecting habits accordingly. I guess I'll re-focus my attention on the realistic lines, and just pick up the small number of new figures each year from this sub-line.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KitFisto wrote:
I am satisfied that we got to hear what Hasbro has in store for this sub-line over the next several years (official statement or not). Now I can adjust my collecting habits accordingly. I guess I'll re-focus my attention on the realistic lines, and just pick up the small number of new figures each year from this sub-line.
I don't think there's a lot of new information in that, though. I mean, we knew the 3D theatrical release was why The Clone Wars was taking a backseat. We knew Lucasfilm was planning to release each of the six films, one per year, in this format. It was a pretty reasonable assumption that Hasbro would plan to continue this strategy during that time. But even if the box office is strong enough for all six to be released, toy sales will determine how Hasbro and retailers approach 2013 and beyond. If movie figures aren't consistent sellers throughout the year, Walmart could certainly tell Hasbro they want more new cartoon stuff for the fall of 2013.

While I feel for people for whom The Clone Wars is the focus of their collecting, there are way too many G.I. JOE toys coming this year for me to be bummed about spending less money on STAR WARS. With a club subscription service that could run over $300, a whole new line of movie toys, and a planned trip to New Orleans in June for the convention, my hobby will be occupying more than enough of my money in 2012.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Galactic Hunter's Q&A (emphasis mine):

Toy Fair! What a show. I mean, I had fun and saw lots of great stuff, but Hasbro's line is in a position where I'm wondering if what we're seeing is just their running down the clock. They did show a number of new things coming later in the year (and NEXT year), which makes me wonder if they might not be showing much at the summer conventions... or might be considering bypassing them entirely.

Overheard but unconfirmed was that they were basically cutting back Clone Wars to under 20 figures a year for the foreseeable future, which makes little sense as it seems that segment of the line is performing pretty well-- even the Battle Packs are outselling the movie counterparts. The focus on the 3D movies is sort of unfortunate, if true this means we're going to see new line launches in January for the next 5 years and, to me, this is the best argument for the 3D rereleases to flop and Hasbro could focus on some other theme.

With the G.I. Joe movie line looking fantastic and having basically already been capped, it seems they don't necessarily know where it's going. With Transformers Prime's recent woes and the announcement of tons of Europe and Asia-only toys at US Toy Fair-- seriously, what the Hell is that?-- the announcement of over 40 "classic" figures in 2013 sounds like we might be in some weird interim period where Hasbro is seeking a new sense of direction and some stuff is going to be DOA. Maybe this is all part of some grand plan, but we're already seeing toys disappear and suffer from significant delays.

What does this mean to us as Star Wars collectors? I'm going to start listening to my gut a lot more. If Hasbro says a figure will be sold as a Walmart exclusive now and reissued on a Vintage cardback later, I have sufficient reason to not believe them. Never put off to Q4 what you can buy today-- it might not see release if Hasbro decides to turn its line direction on a dime, and the quantity of new products being shown speaks of a focus of new smaller market segments which are kid-driven. AMP'D is very 1980s, but will that be enough? Fighter Pods are tiny and perfect for displaying on LCD monitors, but are they worth $1-$2 per figure?

I guess what I'm getting at is this: take everything you see and hear with a grain of salt, and don't be surprised if some items get unusually poor distribution or don't even see production. All of Hasbro's boy toy brands are now old-- old is 2 or 3 years, and we're seeing increasingly old lines. Transformers as a vehicle-driven brand has been around since about 2000, Star Wars has been more or less consistent since 1995, G.I. Joe in its current form has been going since 2007, and Marvel has been doing its thing since 2009.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q&A with Hasbro at Toy Fair (featured at Dewpack Patrol):

1. Any chances of getting more interesting Clone Wars figures in the vintage line in the future such as Rex, Cad Bane, or General Krell (as opposed to humans like Obi-Wan and Anakin)?

Yes, you can bet that those will be coming, maybe not all of those you named but a bunch of them.

8. Any plans to re-release armored Savage Oppress? He was the more popular of the two versions.

Yes, he is coming out again. There will be plenty of Savage Oppress coming out.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caped Crusader wrote:
But even if the box office is strong enough for all six to be released, toy sales will determine how Hasbro and retailers approach 2013 and beyond.


Well, it seems that Adam Pawlus is in agreement about the distinction between a movie doing well in the theaters, and a toy franchise (based on the movie) doing well at retail:

"Words like 'success' and references to the health of the franchise are, unfortunately, not things we mere mortals can measure. I don't know the master plan inside Lucasfilm. Do they see the 3D movie as an advertisement for the various licensed products, where the real money is made? If so, then it doesn't matter how poorly the movies do as long as Hasbro, Comic Images, Gentle Giant, Dark Horse, Sideshow, and their ilk do their thing."
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