And the thing that gets me more and more is that they don't just do "ultimate" versions of the main characters and just reship them over time if demand is there....You'd think one figure that can be reused/reissued umpteen times would be more financially sound in the long run, but apparently Hasbro has some book on economics that I don't know about.
I don't know if it is as much economics as it is Hasbro's fear of putting the stake in the ground and saying "This is the final, ultimate version of ___________" (insert character name)
As far as I'm concerned a Tatooine Luke decked out with articulation and accessories as described by DoctorPadawan above would indeed be an ultimate version of this character, there will always be some jerk who thinks that (a) the figure could have more articulation, (b) could have included more accessories or (c) a better sculpt.
You could do this with LOTS of figures and at times Hasbro has shown us that they COULD get there if they wanted to - anytime a figure includes extra arms, legs or a second head, to me that is one step closer to the ultimate version.
Ultimate Luke from ESB --
1 Set in the Bespin Jacket Sleeves, fully articulated and have a removeable right hand
1 Set bare-armed like he was during training on Dagobah, again fully articulated with two sets of hands, one regular to hold things and the other spread out to duplicate the hand-stand pose
1 for the Bespin Jacket
1 for the tan "muscle" shirt seen during Dagobah training
1 set of legs & boots that would be fully articulated with ball joint hips, knees and ankles
1 Head Regular
1 Head with "Battle Damage" from the fight with Vader
1 Head for when you want to put him doing a Handstand
Removeable belt with working holster
Blaster that fits in the holster
Backpack for the "ultimate Yoda" figure
Come out with a 4" SW figure that covers all that and I'd gladly pay $15 - $20 for that figure, but instead if you made that the be-all, end-all of Lukes from ESB (with the exception of Pilot and Hoth Gear) then you could keep re-shipping this figure over and over and over and over again.
Like I said, Hasbro is trying to get there - look at ROTS #50 - the Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar figure - interchangeable Arms and Head just like the OTC Dagobah Luke - but the arms aren't articulated and neither came with articulated legs - so they take some steps to solving the problem and then fall short in others.
There must be a govenor on how much any one figure can cost - if a figure exceeds cost to Hasbro of $1/figure then they must scrap the idea of making that figure altogether. That's the only thing I can think of. As we already pointed out however, if you're shipping that one figure from now until 2018 what's the difference, the more you make and sell the overall cost per figure goes down. Simple econ 101. At least I think it is, but what do I know.