« on: February 19, 2015, 07:15 AM »
Overall, I find it REALLY funny that this whole affair was the result of the nonsensical way that things are running over at JTA these days. Hasbro's response to that particular question was certainly glib, but JTA should have pressed for more than a yes or no response. As for the slew of ridiculous questions from the sites readers? Well, it's the result of this mindset over there that all ideas/questions/comments are equal. If you're running a collecting site and are interacting with a Star Wars licensee, it's incumbent on that news outlet to act like the adults in the room. And from what I've seen since my departure there is no sense of sound editorial judgement at work, and little effort to weed out questions from the JTA readership that are pointless, unrealistic or perhaps even insulting to the people at Hasbro. Personally, I'm very glad that I left the site because my own philosophy about running a site was in contradiction with Paul Mancil's (not his pen name of Harrison) ethos of entertaining the whiny contingent of fandom in an effort to drum up traffic. I've conducted this Hasbro Toy Fair Q&A for JTA in the past. And had I done so again this year it would have yielded actual news instead of just stirring up ****.
As for the whole female characters issue? The long standing trend in the action figure business has been that female characters do not sell as well as their male counterparts. Hasbro has confirmed that in the past, and like Jesse said, Hasbro has the sales figures but will not release them. They never will, and consistently cite trade secrets as the reason why. I'm sure if you checked with other manufacturers you could probably find comparable stats.... provided that they would release similar data. But they won't.
Does it come down to character selection? That's probably a major part of the equation. Ahsoka sold VERY well in pretty much every offering: the initial TCW figure was popular, the second version with the two lightsabers was one of the most HTF figures in the CW figure line, and the TVC version is pretty sought after, too. But was she the exception to the rule? Looking at The Black Series of 3.75" figures, female characters made up about 20% of that basic figure line. The TBS Padme figure seem to have sold through reasonably well. As did Mara Jade and Bastila. But Luminara? She sold pretty slowly, despite being a Jedi. And Toryn Farr lingered the longest out of her wave. So this could come down more to character selection.
As for the REBELS figures? I maintain the fact that Kanan and Ezra are the central protagonists in the show. You could even go so far to say that Ezra is the protagonist, with Kanan in the role of spirit guide, much like Obi-Wan Kenobi was a guide to Luke in ANH. Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor are the chief antagonists. That means that those 4 characters have greater importance in the scope of the story than anyone else. Zeb, Hera, Sabine and Chopper? They're interesting, but they're also all supporting characters. Hasbro, Lucasfilm Animation and Lucasfilm Licensing all know this. And that's what steers their choices in terms of filling out the action figure line.
So then the question is how do you roll out those supporting characters in the action figure line? If you approach this from the standpoint of sales demographics for a boys toy line, you're probably going to find that characters like Chopper and Zeb have greater appeal with the core audience for this toy line. And I don't mean to demean girls who are into the REBELS show. My daughter has watched the show with me a little bit. She actually likes Chopper, truth be told. Do I want positive depictions of female characters in Star Wars for her to enjoy? Sure. And I think characters like Sabine and Hera do that for her. Is she into the toys? No, not at her age. Be that as it may, if you look at this from a sales perspective like Hasbro has, I think they're trying to put the potential best sellers out there first. I think this backlash has caught Hasbro somewhat by surprise, and perhaps they'll change their thought process on this going forward. Case in point, the Target exclusive version of the Phantom. That might have been a good way to get Hera out there instead of Kanan. It would have made sense and I would have sought out that version of the ship myself.