I saw that "80 basic figures" line yesterday too, and thought "yikes". Who knows if it is true, or even if its just a little out of context (maybe multipacks, EE exclusives, etc. are all included in that number). At any rate, sounds like a whole lot of stuff this year. Seeing more new things is always great, but this type of pace might start to wear people out. Its just too much to keep up with. I know I'm already reconsidering what lines to collect from now on, and what to buy, just because I can't keep up with things at the increased price and all of that.
As far as the line go, its hard to say. I could see this being the last "big" year at retail, and things gradually cooling off in 2007. It really depends on a number of things. How good/popular the upcoming TV series is (live action and cartoon), and also how Hasbro handles the line from now on. I think if they really worked on re-focusing their Star Wars product line, and "trimmed the fat" so to speak in getting rid of the lines many of us complain about (Force Battlers, Transformers, Choppers, etc.) and focused in more strongly on the basic figure line it would help a lot. I can understand having something else out there product wise, but I really think that a line like Galactic Heroes covers the kids too little for action figures and Unleashed (7") can cover more of a strictly "collector" market...even though I think basic figures are mainly bought by collectors at this point anyways. If they keep pushing huge figure numbers (80 per year), with half or more being repacks, alongside a lot of throwaway lines, it might push the end up sooner. It of course really depends on retail support too, and without any new movies in sight, I could see WM dropping in the future. It seems like we've started to see more stores carry lines individually in the past couple years, and maybe that is something that will happen. For example, WM wasn't carrying Justice League or Batman stuff (aside from movie) for awhile, with Target and TRU carrying both lines throughout that time. Now WM seems to be picking those lines back up. SuperHero Showdown (Marvel) was just at TRU for a year, now its at all of the Big 3. So, maybe even if WM jumped ship, the other two could pick up the slack. But, in the long run, WM dropping still takes its toll and would probably eventually mean the end at all retail outlets. Who knows, maybe direct to consumer is an option, seeing as Hasbro has done that with parts of the Joe line.