Jedi News Asks Hasbro – Group Q&A Session

Earlier today Jedi News took part in a group interview session with Hasbro Star Wars brand and design team members, Patrick Schneider and Eric Franer. Also on the call were FlyGuy, Imperial Shipyards, Fantha Tracks and Victoria’s Cantina and you should visit them to hear what they asked. Each of us got to ask four questions and here is what we asked: –

1. Is the Amazon exclusive Black Series Carbonite block a new sculpt, or the same piece that came with the original 2013 San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) release of Boba Fett?

It is the same block as the SDCC exclusive, but obviously that has not been out since 2013 and it was also to a very limited audience with it just being SDCC exclusive. We felt like the 40th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to bring that figure and stand back, and to be able to get it to a wider market. Especially since not a whole lot of people were able to get it and since he is such an integral big part of one of the most iconic scenes in that movie. We felt like it was really important to get him back out there so yeah especially since he hasn’t been out for so long, but he is a refresh from that item, and we did not make updates to him other than to just getting him back out for the first time in 7 years.

2. With SDCC being cancelled for this year, what is happening with the exclusives from that show, and likewise what will happen if Celebration is postponed or cancelled? Also, will these (and the recently announced Amazon exclusives) be available in Europe and the UK?

Obviously SDCC, we were really bummed to hear about that but obviously they made the right decision, given where that kind of event will be in July and obviously we ultimately respect doing the right thing for safety and for fans, and for workers. We are currently discussing what we can do, you’re right we’ve done SDCC exclusives in the past, and I won’t officially comment but you can assume for this year, and we’re discussing if we do have those items what we do with them here in the US. Then certainly we’re looking throughout the rest of the year, obviously you know SDCC has been cancelled, as you know London Comic Con is in October and there are global conventions in November and December and we’ll see what the world looks like then. If those conventions are still happening and if we feel that it’s safe for fans and for Hasbro employees and we feel 100% there, then we’re excited to support them in the same ways that we have in the past. If not, then we will do everything we can to make those products globally available as possible.

We revealed three Amazon exclusives on our live stream, we are certainly aware that Amazon’s working through that and obviously they are prioritizing essential items which we are totally supportive of and totally in agreement with. We know that, I’m sure this won’t help you but, those went up for pre-order in the US yesterday, and we’re aware that Amazon is working on that in other markets but obviously I’m sure we’re all in agreement that is kind of those essential items that will take priority. There are allocations by market, so I don’t think we have to worry about US fans taking them all and them not being available for other markets. That is not how the process works, and we would certainly work to ensure that that does not happen.

3. It is common practice to make larger figure sculpts (2-up, 4-up etc.) to capture detail before they are scaled down for production. Would it be possible to do the same with Black Series figures and scale them down for the Vintage Collection, effectively getting two figures for the price of one sculpt and appeasing both Black Series and Vintage collectors at the same time?

We do actually utilize sculps between the different scales, so when we develop a figure in Black Series we do take that just so that that’s something team doesn’t have to start from kind of ground zero, and they kind of have something as a base to work off. A lot of work still goes into changing those figures in between scales, it’s not necessarily a 1:1 comparison at least in terms of the development of the sculpt because there are different technical standards between the 6” and 3.75” and we have to adhere to those from a manufacturing perspective, like the mushroom sizes and the joint sizes. Then there is also similar aesthetic things like going down from a 6” scale to a 3.75” where we actually have to change the proportions slightly in order to make certain things read at that smaller scale, so like certain features have to be accentuated and some things seem to be toned down so there’s actually quite a bit of work that goes into the development at least from the sculpting perspective, even starting from an existing sculpt. Then there is a totally separate production investment for those different figures, so the sculpting cost is one thing, but the tooling cost is something entirely different. Tooling is honestly the biggest limiter when it comes to developing figures, so even if we are able to get the sculpt for decently easily between two different scales it ultimately comes down to the actual production of those figures and be able to get those tools out there and created, but it is something that we do practice.

4. Yoda has got a new better proportioned sculpt for the Black Series Luke Skywalker and Yoda (Jedi Training) 2-pack, so why wasn’t the same new sculpt used for the figure on the single pack The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary card?

It mainly comes down to timing unfortunately, if we were to use the new Yoda sculpt it actually would not have been made out in time for the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back figure that we had out. We wanted to make sure we got that Yoda out for The Empire Strikes Back along with all those other figures as he is such a huge part of that movie, obviously his introduction into the universe. We felt it was important to get him out there and we did not want to delay his release to basically have this new sculpt out there. We knew that we were planning on having this as part of the Luke Dagobah 2-Pack, it was something we really considered but we knew that we needed to still get that figure out there in order to get him onto that 40th anniversary card back. So, it really comes down to timing, he would not have made it out in time.

Big thanks to Patrick and Eric for taking the time to do this, and for DeAnna at Litzky for organizing!  Until next time….