Jedi Temple Archives wrote:
The Hasbro Preview Party was indeed a blast to attend. I got to see my friends and colleagues from other sites and catch up with them, but I also made a concerted effort to trail my way to the Hasbro reps to get as many questions answered that I could. It's nice catching up with Hasbro too. After being escorted away from the entrance way (that’s how I got that first image of the Star Wars: Rebels card back art an hour before the party started), at official opening time I went right to the tiny display of newly revealed, but certainly not newly announced, The Black Series figures. I was honestly elated. It was wonderful to see something new and to have the last few figures of our BREAKING NEWS rumor report come to light. And I was happy the first thing I saw wasn't Angry Birds. But after I snapped those quick cell phone pictures for everyone and got them onto Facebook, I took a moment to take in the layout of the room. For lack of a better way to explain it, the products were mostly alongside of one wall and it reminded me of ascending matryoshka/nesting dolls. Sadly, The Black Series 3.75” (or anything adult collector oriented Star Wars stuff) was the smallest of the “dolls”.
It is evident that Hasbro’s attention is elsewhere in the Star Wars brand. The only thing the Star Wars Telepods display needed was pyrotechnics there was so much attention brought to it. The biggest displays were for game-related toys, something that I have yet to fully understand as man who grew up only wanting action figures, not games, even as a child. I know it’s a different world. Everything is “techy” now and that’s wonderful. But it still makes me feel melancholy that the attention is absolutely being turned away from basic action figures. To see the towering Telepods display with flashy lights around it and huge signage and then to compare it against six lowly action figures on a tiny light-up table was sobering and not in the good way. The light coming from the table served as a wonderful metaphor that collectors should be illuminated to the fact that times have changed. What was perhaps even more shocking to me was the eagerness and excitement Hasbro had for this property and the interest the guests to the party had in it. We have to accept it or not and move on to something else.
That being said, one of the first questions I asked Jeff was if the collector line was going away. He said absolutely not. That’s good right? I thought so too. I even smiled when he said that. But then I asked an unrelated question about Star Wars: Rebels. I asked “Will Star Wars: Rebels be collector-oriented or kid-oriented.” Jeff then asked me “What’s the difference?” Collectors are loving the new five points of articulation. Stunned, I lost my thought for a minute until I could regain my composure. At a loss for words, I uttered “collectors still want and need super-articulation and I think Star Wars: Rebels would become a success if you went the route of super-articulation.” Sadly, Star Wars: Rebels will be five points of articulation and the good news is the look of the characters will mirror how they appear in the show. So this is a long aside, isn’t it? I say all this to relay that Hasbro clearly doesn’t take issue with blurring the lines between kids and collectors. This is contrary to what they stated in the past. They would keep the collector line “adult” and the kids line ”under-articulated”. I still believe they will do this, but I feel we’re one step closer to a completely homogenized line.
Everyone wants to know when The Vintage Collection will return. The answer is complex and the reasons to consider are very murky. I flat out asked Jeff “Are we any closer to the return of The Vintage Collection.” He went on to express that The Vintage Collection was only meant to run for a very short time. It went 18 months longer than it should have. The directive to keep TVC short lived was Lucasfilm, Ltd. And not Hasbro. But, it really isn’t a directive at all. Jeff went on to explain that Hasbro has a wonderful relationship with Lucasfilm, Ltd. And that the decision making is mutual in many ways. Hasbro felt that going 18 months beyond the suggested timeframe was encroaching too much past Lucasfilm’s wishes. Hasbro is well within their rights to keep The Vintage Collection going. But they want to maintain that wonderful relationship they have. Basically, it is Lucasfilm’s decision to give The Vintage Collection a rest and that is something Hasbro is honoring. Our discontent should be directed at Lucasfilm. Or, Hasbro needs to relay to them how much the collecting community wants the return of this line.
This conversation led Jeff to ask me a question. He asked me “What do you want to see happen to the basic figure line?” So, selfishly but not greedily I told Jeff the following. I told him I felt The Vintage Collection is the omega collection. There is no need to develop a new line look ever again. It is a line that brought a ton of collectors back into the fold and it is visually the most engaging line collectors have ever been given. I expressed that there are new and innovative ways to bring the line back. I suggested bring it back as the 1985 The Power Of The Force line. Use that card back design and bring back the coins again and compete as many figures as possible in that line look. But I also explained that had The Black Series figures been released in The Vintage Collection packaging that they probably would have been received a whole lot better. Jeff agreed with many of my points and even said that some of them were discussed at the meeting table in Rhode Island. All I can hope for is that my single conversation helped to plant a seed for reconsideration to bring The Vintage Collection back. I think Hasbro realizes that The Black Series line look pales in comparison. I got a sense that it wasn’t their first pick either. I am not complaining about the character choices in the line. After all, had TVC continued, these would have been the same figures released in it.
Hasbro knows that the adult collector population wants to see the return of The Vintage Collection and they want to bring it back. They want to finish off the original Kenner figures too. But right now that’s not happening and until they receive Lucasfilm’s full blessing of freedom, it may not return in the timeframe we want to see that happen. Even though Hasbro has the freedom to bring it back right now, they won’t because of Lucasfilm’s wishes. It’s sort of like a daughter dating a guy that her parents don’t necessarily like. They may not prevent her from dating him, but they certainly won’t give their full blessing to do so. All we can do is nicely prod them to reconsider and to take it back to Lucasfilm to get the green light. Then and only then will we see the blessed return of The Vintage Collection. So please, Hasbro is not the main reason that we don’t see The Vintage Collection today.