We had the pleasure of attending the Hasbro Q&A this week where we talked to Hasbro about Star Wars: Ahsoka, The Ghost, and more!
Here is a transcript of our questions but also check out the video for questions from other fan outlets.
TFG: With the new Black Series figures Sabine and Hera based on Star Wars Ahsoka, thigh rotation has been removed, relying solely on the rotation joint above the knee. What was the thinking on redesigning the leg this much? Is this going to continue on all Black Series figures going forward? Will we see that applied to Vintage Collection as well?
Chris: Well I would say that articulation in general is just something that evolves over time. This particular one on these characters – I mean if you think about the way a human leg moves, you can’t really spin your leg around that way anyway – the team made sure that at the hip that there’s a little more articulation there so you get about 20 degrees on the hip with the Black Series figures now. I mean there’s no plans to change anything on TVC currently, and that TVC is a line that benefits a lot from the ability to do partial tools and and create new characters that way, so no plans to do that there. It’s just a step that let us address the details of those characters better, and instead of having cylinder legs on those characters, they’ve got more realistic legs and the details of their outfits and stuff are better represented.
TFG: The last few years, Hasbro’s evolved some joints on Vintage Collection exceptionally well, ball-jointed hips are a favorite, rocker ankles are becoming the norm, and hinged hands look so much better now. Has it been challenging engineering and manufacturing these small-sized parts at Hasbro’s high quality and safety standards?
Chris: It’s always challenging, but that’s what we do and we love those sort of challenges; it’s something our team’s pretty proud of, how we address a lot of that stuff. We’re always trying to evolve it too, so we’re excited to hold on to some of that articulation for new Vintage figures. The tricky thing comes in it’s you can’t exactly apply that to an older figure without completely redoing that figure sometimes, so when we have the opportunities we go back in and we – barbell hips are a good example – we’ll try and update things as we can as the the dollars are there and the figure’s appropriate for it to update things like the barbell hips. We’re prioritizing that sort of thing for newer figures that we do, so we’re not looking to change articulation across the board and go back and redo every Vintage Collection figure we’ve ever done, but as we do more we’ll continue to evolve that stuff.
TFG: Collectors are somewhat aware of what goes into the cost of each Star Wars toy: license, design, tooling, manufacture, deco/paint, assembly, packaging, shipping, and distribution to retailers – we’re sure there’s some other stuff missed in there. Which of those are the biggest factors on Hasbro Star Wars’ price tags today? Kinda fits into what we were just talking about.
Chris: Yeah it does, it’s it is exactly some of that stuff I was just talking about. Because we’ve been having these conversations internally too, deco is has gone up more than other things; everything has been going up in cost – plastic material, labor rates, all that sort of thing – but deco has actually outpaced the other things in its cost, so that’s one that we’re looking at ways to address, how we can still do as much detail as we want to on a Vintage Collection figure, what we can save and prioritize things that way. I mean it’s stuff that’s always happened with the line and with figures in general, as we move in through the years and evolve and try and hold price and where those compromises are – we don’t want to take price up, do we have to take features down or not features but something down? – we don’t want to sacrifice anywhere but at a certain point you’re on the other side of the teeter-totter so. That’s just what it is is dealing with those sort of things and balancing that. I mean if we could do two dollar figures and and have them fully decoed we would do it, because everybody would buy them, but it’s just not possible.
Jing: I do appreciate you listing out like you’ve obviously thought into what goes into a figure and listing out everything that you know we deal with on making sure that we get the product out to you. What Chris is sharing here honestly is just being like really transparent with you guys that deco has been something we’ve talked about in the past but it’s continued to increase in cost versus other things and deco begets like extra labor too so it’s just like something that we’re just definitely always keeping an eye on for sure. And there’s also differences between scale, I know we constantly compare Black Series versus Vintage, but even deco across the scales cost different so for us, like Chris said, if we could get things out two dollars back you know like in the 90s when I used to get like five dollar popsicles, that would be amazing, but you know it’s something that we work and we balance and we’re in the same pain because we’re all collectors and the team is really passionate about as well. So it’s being a little bit more transparent with you guys on what we’re seeing on our side.
Chris: Yeah, and like Jing said, I mean it’s great when you guys are asking questions that are listing things like tooling and manufacturing concerns, because it tells us that you guys, you’re paying attention, that you guys understand that there are a lot of factors here. We’re having those conversations every day trying to drive to a better product at a more efficient cost because, for us, the best thing in the world is if we’re selling a ton of product to you guys and making it nice, that’s great for everybody involved; and we would just want to continue that and make sure the lines stay healthy.
Jing: Alright, we appreciate that.
TFG: I just want to add, you know inflation is up everywhere, right? We do appreciate the transparency, so thank you for that.
TFG: We know this was touched upon at Comic-Con, but for clarity’s sake: why is Haslab’s The Ghost branded with Star Wars: Ahsoka yet coming with Season 3 Star Wars Rebels-carded figures while the sculpting likenesses on Hera and Ezra are based on the actors from the upcoming live-action show rather than the animation-inspired style?
Jing: I mean Ahsoka’s out there so we’re really excited about that, we’ve seen the first two episodes, we’re excited for what’s to come. It made sense to do The Ghost in that new live-action show, but also paying tribute and a nod to the original crew that came with it, which is Rebels. So the benefit of Star Wars is just [it] spans so many different entertainments, and we’re bringing it all together here, and we’ve done that in the past where we do animated figures and we update them with live action interpretation, and we’re lucky enough that with Ahsoka where we have those references in hand, so we use that for Hera and Ezra — since we’ve already seen them in the first two episodes, as you know. So that’s how we kind of balanced the two, but you know we would normally do a live action interpretation anyway.
Chris: Yeah, well we talked about this at San Diego, the ship itself references all the the live action 3D models that ILM built, so the ship itself is really based on the Ahsoka series ship, but those figures in the mural specifically – because we thought that was a super powerful message – like wanted to to have that be more animated and Rebels-focused to kind of bridge the the two shows.
Thanks to Hasbro for allowing us to participate and JediTricks and Mr. JabbaJohnL for their contributions.