Star Wars Celebration Hot Wheels Panel

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Thursday, April 16th, in Anaheim, California, was the Star Wars Celebration panel for Mattel's Star Wars Hot Wheels line. A lot of great info and slides were presented, and here are the juicy details and slides.

Star Wars Celebration

The designer for Hot Wheels Star Wars made a fan film 20 years ago called “The New Trilogy”, 45 minutes long, and it's here in the original VHS. Birth of a Jedi, Vader's Revenge, and The Force, his own episodes 7, 8, and 9. That's how much a fan he is of Star Wars.

After Mattel worked with Warner Bros. and Marvel for Hot Wheels cars, they started looking for the next great idea and came up with Star Wars, didn't think they could get it, but slowly started working on it and made it happen.

Hot Wheels, the number one selling toy in the world based on units sold. The average US boy owns 50 Hot Wheels cars. On average, 10 Hot Wheels cars around the world are purchased every second!

Hot Wheels Cars, Star Wars style, takes existing cars and puts Star Wars-inspired graphics on them, as well as a pop-culture version graphics.

For the San Diego Comic Con Vader car last year, they sold out way faster than they wanted, so this year they've taken up a new cause with the R2-KT character car exclusive and all proceeds are going to charity, Star Wars Force for Change.

The basic Star Wars themed cars and pop-culture assortments are one-time runs, they make them once and then they're gone. Coming this summer, 6 new cars shipped at once, the pop-culture cars have large real estate for graphics. The cars have a retro feel as well.

The basic Star Wars themed cars from last year in the US were Walmart exclusives and are no longer available. The intention with them was to take a Star Wars graphic style that would adapt well to their existing cars, so they had to find decorations and cars that fit well with the movies. TPM was Anakin's podracer, maybe not the first choice for Star Wars fans without context, but worked well together. ANH, the landspeeder coupled with Bladeracer, messing with colors and the striping, it sold the idea.

A sneak peek of the 2015 cars with a theme “Star Wars Factions”, representing the entire group rather than a character, the Galactic Republic and Impavido reminded the designer of the Republic Gunship. The Separatists, they found Sinistra reminded them of a droid and the fleet had the graphics. The Rebels, Enforcer wears the Rebel X-wing helmet graphics. The Empire, Prototype H24, an example of less being more where it's just black with new wheels and done. The Jedi order and Scorcher mixes the earthtones to look more elegant. The Sith, they've already got character cars with Vader and Maul, so picking Scoopa Di Fuego, what makes them different besides just black? Sith lightning. The packaging has a custom card and a representative character. Coming Fall of 2015 are 2 factions from The Force Awakens.

Star Wars Starships, Hot Wheels style, the sneak peek. A starships TV commercial that hasn't aired yet is played. The flight controller has
lights and sounds. Launching May the 4th in the US and Canada. The first 9 ships have the prequels and Rebels as well as the OT, just
representative of what they plan to do, they will do more. What they see as bringing to the table is play value, you want to fly them around
and play with them, big inspiration on starting this line. The ring/stand Flight Navigator comes with every ship, and each has its ship's
faction logo on it. Instead of just a boring display case, a playset display case, the Death Star hanger 327 makes the design, and connects to

The full launch is in the fall. Hoth playset comes, the team is a big fan of ESB. Gives the kid a chance to recreate a scene themselves, change
the height of the flying, change the ship and take out the shield generator.

The flight controller has 2 modes, good guy and bad guy, with specific lights and colors. The controller holds 3 ships total for a squad.

Launching the new movie in fall, lots of ships, playsets, other thing they can't tell us about yet, all launching this fall.

Character Cars and track sets. Bryan Benedict is the lead designer for the character cars, and specifically the Vader car. They see these as the
perfect marriage of SW and HW. Taking iconic characters in pop culture, reinvisioning them in automotive form, personalities, look,
everything in that essence. They didn't want to do a head on wheels, or just a Hot Wheels car slapping graphics on it, but embodying the
character holistically. The chassis will have the faction affiliation on the bottom of every character car. Shown is the original sketh and final
rendering. R2, interestingly, he should be like a hot rod, a tinkerer, he's got his claw coming out of the body working on himself. 3PO has
one silver wheel to denote the lower leg. Han's blaster is the blower, the racing stripe is his bloodstripe. The human characters just wearing
a costume are the hardest to do but come out great. Chewie and iconic aliens are easier. Yoda a wise old Jedi had to be a SMART car. The
Clone had to be a military police force like the old Dodge Power Wagon. Boba Fett needed to be a rat rod, beat up helmet, rough and
tumble. Maul is very sinister looking, the horns on Maul are an example of not just plugging a design on but taking an actual racecar vortex
generator and adapting it. The ears on Yoda car are actually his exhausts. Chopper, being closely linked to R2, they wanted to relate those 2
cars to tell that story, similar to the hot rod but as a tow truck. The Inquisitor car rollbar is serving as his doublebladed lightsaber. Princess
Leia car, wanted to do something sexy like a roadster, later integrated her blaster as the blower, give her a more badass attitude. Wicket has
to be a dune buggy offroading in the forest, a rack on the top with all his simple weapons.

Sneak peek on character cars for Fall 2015, first look at these sketches. Kanan Jarrus. Zeb. Luke ROTJ, their first alternate tool for a
character, exclusively in a track set, Throne Room Raceway, a hot wheels style race between Luke and Vader, if they tie the Emperor gets
knocked off the track. A quick note on Luke Jedi is heavily influenced by the X-wing car, they wanted correlation between those 2 bodies,
like the other car with the helmet removed and different dressing, showing a lot of thought into continuity. Ezra, exclusive to TIE Factory
Takedown track set to destroy the factory. Double Sided car, Anakin prequel design, will appear in a 5-pack in the fall.

One more car will be revealed at the next panel, tomrrow at 5.

SDCC will get another character car, but they can't tell you what and can't tell you why they can't.

In the fall they'll do both TFA and classic characters… and a sneak peek of 2016… General Grievous, Jabba, and one we're not entirely sure

How many this year? Around 25 character cars, basic cars there's a series of 8, and 8 more graphics cars.

They are doing a TFA Stormtrooper car, it will be different.

How much are the spaceships? MSRP is $4.99. This was asked by a 4 year old.

With character car 2packs, will they all eventually be released as a single? They all have a first appearance of a tool, 3PO was the first
release, but they are exclusive decos.

With the character cars, did you look beyond the SW universe? Yes, there was an intentional nod to Lucas and Harrison Ford with American
Graphitti. When tested with kids and moms, the moms got the reference to the other movie right away, it was subtle but came across.

Any more female character cars? Yes for sure.

Difference on 2pack Vader? ANH design, which will also come in a Leia 2pack. Red windows, different cowling paint.

Disney has their own line of cars out, did that play a role, did the Galoob? No, being authentic.

Asking about larger vheicles. They have a line called Hot Wheels Elite not sold at WM or TRU, specialty and hobby shops only, created their
own scale, the pricepoint will be $75 ish and super decast, full diecast and highly detailed paint, opening features.

Brett from Hot Wheels PR brings in a social media question. What about the Jawa car? Definitely in the works.

And that's it from the panel. Check out photos of the slides in our Star Wars Celebration Photo Gallery.

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