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Messages - Nicklab

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Star Wars Rebels / Re: Star Wars Rebels Toy Rumors!
« on: February 23, 2014, 12:56 PM »
Nice to hear that Burns got word of a Ghost release for 2015.  If it's happening then, I'm thinking it would be a Spring '15/Q2 release.  Because the rest of the release calendar for 2015 would probably have Episode VII previews come Q3, and the Episode VII line would launch in Q4.  So perhaps April or May of next year, when REBELS is still airing episodes?

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Guardians of the Galaxy
« on: February 23, 2014, 12:52 PM »
There's a very strong camp factor at work in the trailer.  That's pretty clear by tagging out the trailer with Blue Swede's "Hooked on a feeling".  And if that wasn't obvious enough, then casting Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Starlord makes it abundantly clear that this is a movie that isn't taking itself completely seriously.  Pratt's known more for his comedic chops than for being an action star... Zero Dark Thirty excepted.

Going into this I had ZERO exposure to Guardians of the Galaxy.  And I was wondering if this would be the point where I might need to tap out with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.  But I think that after seeing the trailer I'm more likely to go see this movie.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Super Hero/Comic Book Movies
« on: February 23, 2014, 12:26 PM »
The casting does seem to fly in the face of the established brother & sister relationship of Johnny and Susan Storm.  Michael B Jordan's casting seems more like this was the actor that the filmmakers wanted than anything else.  So now they have to write around the established backstory of the FF in order to make it work.  In the case of Samuel L. Jackson being cast as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that situation was a bit more organically driven... at least for Marvel Studios.  When Marvel Comics killed off EVERYONE and launched the Ultimate Universe, Fury was reimagined to deliberately look like Sam Jackson.  And you have to think that SLJ was pretty flattered by that, because he's now appeared as Nick Fury in 5 of the Marvel Studios films.  Be that as it may, none of these actors really leaps out as a "WOW" bit of casting.  And I get the feeling that Kate Mara has already been in a better Marvel movie, with her very small part in Iron Man 2.

This casting announcement comes across as though Fox can't afford to get a solid core of actors for their Marvel comics partners, whereas Disney/Marvel studios has seen the value in some solid acting talent.  Robert Downey Jr. really has wowed people as Tony Stark/Iron Man.  We've been through three actors as Bruce Banner/Hulk, but Mark Ruffalo rose to the occasion in Avengers and stole the show.  Samuel L. Jackson has played the part of elder statesman/leader in his capacity as Nick Fury.  Chris Hemsworth managed to embody Thor well in three projects when his own credentials might have been considered questionable.  And Chris Evans totally upped his game as Steve Rogers in comparison to his work in the previous 2 FF films.

Inevitably the actors in this FF reboot are going to be compared with their Marvel studios contemporaries.  Do they have the capacity to step up their games for this project?  Jamie Bell seems to have some of the strongest credits, but he doesn't seem to have been cast to type.  The only thing that I can recall having seen Michael B. Jordan in was the HBO series 'The Wire', but he was nowhere near one of the standout actors on that show.  And Miles Teller?  I don't think I've seen him in anything.

There are definitely stronger actors that could have been cast.  But I get the sense that a lot of that talent would probably prefer to be involved in a Disney/Marvel studios production that's part of the larger Marvel cinematic universe.  This FF announcement comes across very much like the situation with the rights for Spiderman and the reboot of that franchise.  Get another movie out in an effort to hang onto the FF rights.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Guardians of the Galaxy
« on: February 20, 2014, 01:07 AM »
Gotta love that you've got people like John C Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz (the original voice of Darth Maul, BTW) playing bit parts in this movie!

The Wookiee Arcade / Re: How LucasArts Fell Apart - Kotaku article
« on: February 20, 2014, 12:34 AM »
This whole "Darth Icky" nonsense reads as beyond ridiculous at face value.  And it really left me wondering about a couple of things. 

First, is the story legit?  Without knowing any of the sources involved it's tough to make that judgement.  If it's all true it has to leave you with some serious questions about just what GL was thinking.

And second?  Is it possible this happened but GL had ulterior motives in judging things?  Because the names alone sound preposterous.  To a degree that it comes across like some sort of put-on.  Is it possible that GL went into this meeting with a totally ridiculous proposal in an effort to judge his own people?  Had he grown in stature to the point that nobody within his companies was prepared to challenge him on his creative ideas?  To someone with a background like his own that would probably seem like he had finally become what he had railed against in his younger days:  a studio apparatus that was out of touch with the work of the people on the artistic front lines.  Lucas's work with Francis Coppolla and American Zoetrope tried to buck that Hollywood system in an effort to do something new and different in film.  And effectively the Star Wars films, with the exception of the first, wound up being independent films.  But Star Wars had grown into something SO BIG that it seems like George Lucas had become the very thing that he had fought against for so much of his career.  It must be an eye-opening thing to be in a position where nobody will speak truth to power, and YOU are the power.

So, witness the sale of Star Wars/Lucasfilm to Disney.  And the fact that GL is going to be putting the bulk of that money towards philanthropic pursuits.  That, combined with the fact that he's stated that he wants to work on small, independent films say to me that GL probably recognized that this thing had grown far beyond even his own imagination, and perhaps it was time to move on since he couldn't find people that would be partners with him in a creative collaboration.

The Black Series 3.75" Figures / Re: Toy Fair 2014
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:08 PM »
Read that bit myself. But I also read another Toy fair note that indicated an edict had come down from Lucasfilm Licensing to Hasbro to focus their effort on REBELS and the Original Trilogy. What does that mean where it pertains to Clone helmets?  We'll see.

More to look forward to with the Funko Game of Thrones line.  These new figures were on display at Toy Fair as seen in THIS FWOOSH POSTING:

-Robb Stark
-Khal Drogo
-Brienne of Tarth
-Danaerys Targaryen (blue dress)
-Jaime Lannister
-Arya Stark

Star Wars Rebels / Re: Star Wars Rebels Toy Rumors!
« on: February 19, 2014, 12:37 AM »
The Twilight was too so I don't think its a lock at the moment...  I think they may wait to see if the shows popular before committing to a big ticket toy.  There are still sdcc and such to go though.  I just could see them go conservative this time around is all.


Even at SDCC we're still going to be at a point where we haven't even seen a single episode of REBELS air on Disney XD.  The series premieres in the fall of this year.  So does Hasbro go for a 2014 Holidays release for the Ghost?  That seems incredibly optimistic for Hasbro to plan the release of a $100 vehicle that's sourced from a TV series that may have only been on the air for 2 months.  If Hasbro is playing things conservatively, would they really take a risk on a vehicle that's pretty costly to develop?

So what are the other options?  Release it in the summer of 2015, after a full season of REBELS has aired?  That release schedule gives the show a chance to gain some traction with viewers and demand for the Ghost to build.  But then there's no direct entertainment support if the show is on summer hiatus.

There's also the matter of the promotional rampup to the release of Episode VII.  Does the release of a $100 Ghost vehicle fit into that scheme?  Or will there be some other $100 vehicle associated with Episode VII that requires that space in the line?

Keeping that kind of strategy in mind makes the release of a Ghost vehicle over the next year or so seem unclear.

The Black Series 3.75" Figures / Re: Toy Fair 2014
« on: February 18, 2014, 01:53 AM »
There are definitely some things from the EU that I'd like to see get explored.  My focus tends to be from some of the Dark Horse comics and video games.  And it still seems like fairly fertile ground from a character standpoint.  But I get this shift in direction.  It's an attempt to keep the Star Wars line CURRENT and moving forward with a sense of anticipation towards the new trilogy.

And then there's the shift in the action figure business.  We've seen a pattern emerge where interest seems to be gravitating away from the 3.75" action figure to collector focused 6" figures and the video game sector.  There have also been some massive failures on some serious movie licensed toy lines.  That's led to action figure lines that are leaner, more cost-concious and more risk averse than they were say, 5 years ago.

For the continued health of the line?  I'm okay with this shift away from the EU.  I understand what's driving it.  It's a compromise that's being made in the interest of benefitting the broader Star Wars merchandise line.

Star Wars Rebels / Re: Star Wars Rebels Toy Rumors!
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:36 AM »
Part of the JTA report indicated that a large vehicle may be in the works for 2015.  Will that be the Ghost?  That's certainly debatable.  But with Episode VII on tap for a December 2015 release, I think that spot in the line may be for an Ep7 vehicle.

The Black Series 3.75" Figures / Re: Toy Fair 2014
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:33 AM »
Given what we've been seeing from The Official Site and other news sources regarding the Expanded Universe in general, I'm not surprised at all that there's a pullback on the Expanded Universe across multiple fronts.  I take issue with the article simply because I find Paul's work focuses far more on hyperbole and nerd rage than substance and thoughtful analysis.  I found that to be the case during my tenure on the staff at JTA and that shift in style was a major part of my reasoning for leaving that website.  But that's besides the point.

The EU pullback is actually very logical from a marketing standpoint.  Look at what's happening:
-Dark Horse's comic license is coming to an end.  That's been a major source of EU material over the past decade plus.
-Marvel taking over the comic license and re-launching the direction of Star Wars comics.
-The announcement of the creation of the Lucasfilm Star Wars story group which will be determining what is canon and what is not.  And notably this will have an impact on the post-ROTJ EU, which will likely have a tremendous impact on the story direction of Episode VII and beyond.
-Focusing Star Wars on the REBELS television series launch for fall 2014.

Getting the Star Wars toy line working along with the other arms of Disney/Lucasfilm to this common goal is something of a no-brainer in the modern world of brand management.  It does have the side effect of impacting some fans of a particular niche in Star Wars.  This is an unfortunate casualty of the new world view for Star Wars.  But it' seems clear that Lucasfilm Licensing is looking at the big picture and trying to steer things towards a greater goal.  That means working towards a successful launch for the REBELS animated series and a ramp up towards the release of Episode VII.  This move away from established EU figures et al really seems to have been inevitable given the overall change in direction for Star Wars.

I've seen the Saga Legends Boba Fett along with Cody and Rex at retail.  But no Lukes yet.

The new crop of Saga Legends really do LOOK good.  The sculpts are pretty awesome.  That Snowtrooper particularly.  And truthfully, I can see how these figures might appeal to a particular niche of army builder.  Why?  There seem to be some army builders who want to build action scenes, and that's where super articulated figures are great, because you can pose them any which way you'd like. 

But I see SO MANY army builders who are doing a massive display of what are essentially troops on review.  Like the scene from ROTJ where the Emporer arrives at the Death Star.  That particular scene seems to have inspired many an army builder in their display work.  The 5 POA Saga Legends Imperial figures seem almost perfectly suited to this kind of display.  They're neutrally posed at attention.  And they're more economically priced for buying in bulk.  Especially when you look at the pricing of a figure like the current TBS Scout Trooper at $9.99 a piece.

Star Wars Rebels / Re: Star Wars Rebels Saga Legends Figures
« on: February 16, 2014, 02:54 PM »
Interesting offerings for this first wave.  And safe.  The reveals of the past week have given us a little insight into who these characters are prior to Toy Fair.  I expect that the REBELS line of Saga Legends is going to be timed in such a way as to not give up too much about the show early on.

In a perfect world I'd like to see some more articulation in the figures.  And with the core characters we'll probably see them in a premium format with movie-realistic likenesses.  But the limited nature of the line so far makes it manageable.  And here's to hoping that the show will be good.

Star Wars Rebels / Re: Star Wars: Rebels - Class II Vehicles
« on: February 16, 2014, 02:48 PM »
Definitely liking the look of Inquisitor's TIE Advanced.  It blends together a number of looks, from Maul's Sith Infiltrator in the wings, to the ROTS era Jedi Interceptor, and especially Vader's TIE Advanced X-1.  That kind of blending continuity is a great thing to see!

The AT-DP looks pretty cool, too.  I would love to see the hatch open, but I get the sense that it's a one man vehicle based on the size of the pod.

The Phantom seems alright.  I wasn't expecting vehices right out of the gate for REBELS, but this is definitely welcome.  Still, it seems like the Ghost is the more important ship in the context of the series.  Perhaps we'll have to wait to see how the show does in it's first season before Hasbro commits to producing a Ghost vehicle?  If they do it, I would expect that Hasbro might have a price target of $80 - $100 for that particular ship.

Also noteworthy?  I think we'll be seeing a REBELS stylized TIE Fighter at some point.  The graphics on the mockup box for Inquisitor's TIE Advanced have a standard TIE on there, and we've seen a number of TIE's featured in some of the pre-production art that's been released.  I think that standard TIE would be a no-brainer for this line.

The Black Series 3.75" Figures / Re: Toy Fair 2014
« on: February 16, 2014, 12:59 PM »
They typically don't show (or talk about) exclusives at TF.

Recently, it would seem.  I've been to a number of Toy Fairs, and they have shown exclusives there in the past.  The new trend seems to be bringing the retailers to the showroom and pitching exclusive ideas for Q3 and Q4. 

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