The Clone Wars Figures The Clone Wars line is not ending, but it will not be a separate line any longer. Future characters will be represented in a realistic sculpted style and not an animated style. We asked Hasbro if there was any chance of releasing a greatest hits Clone Wars wave, similarly to the Greatest Vintage Collection wave, but the outlook was not very optimistic.
Black Series 6-Inch The Black series 6-inch figures will start with four characters, Luke X-Wing, R2-D2, Sandtrooper and Darth Maul. The six-figure case ratios will be managed to ensure more popular characters are packed in greater quantities. At this time, the plan is to go with 75 percent Original Trilogy to 25 percent Prequel Trilogy character ratio. The focus of the line is fan favorites and best of characters. At this time secondary and tertiary characters are not in the plans, and neither are Clone Wars or Expanded Universe characters, but as the line progresses the possibility to introduce these character exists. The opportunity to introduce beasts (Wampa, Dewback, Tauntaun) and small vehicles (Speederbike) also exists depending on how the line is received by collectors.
Six inch figures will use both soft goods and plastic with the final choice being given to the designer creating the figure. This means some figures will come with soft goods, while others—such as the Darth Maul—will come with plastic robes. Hasbro hinted that a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive will be a Boba Fett with Han Solo in Carbonite two pack, but didn't confirm it. We also asked Hasbro who on the team loves Sandtroopers, since we've seen a lot of them in both the 3-3/4 and now 6-inch scales, and they told us everyone!
3-3/4-Inch Figures The 3-3/4-inch line will be split into two subsets, a collector friendly line under The Black Series and the kid-friendly Star Wars Legends Collection. The Legends line will include reduced five-point of articulation figures that match the look of the Bespin Battle and Duel on Naboo battle packs from last year. It will also include the reduced sized Class I vehicles with Anakin and Obi Wan Jedi Starfighters being newly added.
Prior to release of The Black Series this fall, the Vintage Collection greatest hits will continue, allowing collectors to fill in holes in their collections. The Black Series will include 19 new figures for 2013. Many of the figures from the initial two waves are carried over from the canceled Legacy Collection / Droid Factory line, while the pack-in droids themselves will be released as retailer exclusives (yet to be announced /determined). Case assortments are being adjusted to ensure the supply chain bottleneck at retail caused by overestimates in forecasting are not repeated and new figure waves are on shelves every 6 weeks.
Forecasting, the Supply Chain and Hasbro's Star Wars Future We discussed the saturation of introductory waves of figures at retail, at length with Hasbro. The problem was not a distribution problem, as it's typically misclassified as, but a lack of demand in the supply chain because of an operation level failure in demand planning and forecasting. Distribution was fine—that's why we saw The Phantom Menace figures everywhere for months at a time. The forecast for their demand, however, was miscalculated. Hasbro clarified the lack of new figures at retail was not retailers buying too many cases of a particular wave, but overestimates in Hasbro’s forecasting. Future waves of figures will be scaled back with more appropriate forecasts (based on what they've learned over the last 3-4 years) with the goal being to have new waves of figures at retail every 6 weeks.
Army builder figures are shipped one per case because of tooling costs. Adding the same figure to the case would reduce the number of new figures in the line because it would require a new tooling. Forecasting to include the more popular figures as carry-forward figures is the strategy to ensure these popular figures meet demand without cannibalizing the number of figures in the line.
Finally, Despite rumors, Hasbro's Star Wars license is not threatened, revoked or otherwise because of the change in ownership to Disney. The agreement runs until 2020 and both companies are looking forward to working together for the new trilogy as well as the spin-off films.
Your Questions Answered Some interesting tidbits from our conversation with the Hasbro team include:
The Vintage Collection will live on through retailer exclusives including the Slave I, Ewok multi-pack, TIE Interceptor, Biggs Darklighter's X-Wing and two Imperial Scan Crew multi-packs with one including the missing scan trunk originally intended to be part of 2009’s Legacy Collection line.
The Slave I will include a Han in Carbonite figure.
An Ewok catapult multi-pack will include two never before produced, yet-to-be-named Ewoks.
There are no items planned specifically for the 30th Anniversary of Return of the Jedi.
Cin Drallig will be addressed / we’ll learn more about the character’s fate at San Diego Comic-Con.
Ree Yees is not in the plans for the future, but Yakface could be. We also let Hasbro know a Sy Snootles based on the puppet (and not the CGI) version of the character would be appreciated and it was noted.
A new, never before made cantina alien is coming… but they wouldn't tell us if it was the 15, 16 or 17th alien.
The were no big vehicles shown, but it doesn't mean something isn't in the works. It's worth noting the MTT didn't do as well as previous big vehicles.
The TIE Interceptor will have updated tooling, while Bigg's X-Wing is based on the Death Star Trench Run X-Wing.
Hasbro still wants to give us a way to complete our cantina bar with the distillery and possibly a nook / booth. It's their "dream" to do so and may happen down the road if they can find a way to do so.
There are no plans to make any playsets or dioramas because collectors aren't as interested in them as they are in figures. Hasbro would rather give collectors more figures than divert tooling budget to playsets that not everyone may buy.
Hasbro may bring unproduced items from their vault to future shows such as San Diego Comic-Con.