Author Topic: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2  (Read 2204 times)

Offline Brian

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Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« on: April 5, 2007, 09:49 AM »
Sorry to bring this up again, as this is a topic we've discussed before (in the TSC thread), but after reading through the loyalty to Hasbro thread it got me to thinking about it again.  We all know that Hasbro has the license to at least 2018, but I'm really wondering what we'll be getting at that point.  At the current Hasbro pace of at least 60 figures per year, we could have an additional 600 figures released in that time (at least) - if the line continued to go that strongly for the entire time.  Now, I'm not sure there will be quite that much juice to it, but you never know.

I guess - barring TV shows and any new movies (doubtful) - I don't see what they could possibly be making figures of at that point, aside from some sort of "restart" of the line.  Now maybe sculpt/articulation/paint/etc. will improve that much from the current offerings, but I guess I have trouble seeing that.  Many figures (such as the vintage line, and many of the recent basic line offerings) are pretty near perfect and I don't see how they could be improved upon much.  Of course, maybe we said the same things during the POTF2 days ("buffness" aside) - and look how far things have advanced since then.

Just looking at what is being offered this year in the basic line (and last year), there has been a good mix of fairly definitive main character sculpts and some pretty obscure background characters.  You would think in the next few years, most of people's want lists will be pretty well covered.  We'll probably see more TV (toon and live action) figures peppered into the line (or maybe a subline) in the next couple years, and EU (comics/books) are getting more attention than ever now.  Taking all of this into consideration, what do you think the future of the Star Wars line holds?  Do you think it will last until 2018, and if so, in what capacity?  I'm not saying I don't want it to continue, but I can't imagine seeing another 600+ figures over the next ten years.  Will sculpting/articulation/etc. improve that much in another five years?  What do you think will happen to the line in the future?  What would you like to see happen?

Offline speedermike

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #1 on: April 5, 2007, 10:22 AM »
In a way, I actually se SW getting bigger.  If the animated Clone Wars show is any good, it will do very well, and will be a big hit with kids.  In general, TV shows sell more toys than movies.  Sure movies sell all their stuff within a few months and they take over a toy isle, but then they're gone.  TV stays around all year and sells, and sells.

I think Hasbro will take some chances witth other source material, such as Force Unleashed, and stick less closley to the movies.

I think that 10 years from now, there wiill still be SW on the pegs.  However, I think that the charcters/stories will unrecognizable to us.
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Offline David

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #2 on: April 5, 2007, 11:15 AM »
Well they do have every vintage figure left to redo in the premium figure in repro card waves. Then I guess they could tackle PT stuff in that format, time allowing.

The shows should also provide good material. There will aways be video games, too. And everyone said all those years ago after The Last Cruscade that there would never be an Indiana Jones movie again, and now, eighteen years after The Last Cruscade, Indiana Jones 4 has begun filming. Could the same thing happen with Star Wars?

I can think of one hundred figures, no prob, that Hasbro has yet to do. And if every year after 2007 is as good as 2007 has been so far (unlikely  :( ) then I think we are in for a good future of Star Wars collecting.
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Offline Rob

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #3 on: April 5, 2007, 11:21 AM »
Hasbro will definitely need to be creative about their releases, and at some point I doubt we'll be seeing 60 figures per year, but there isn't any reason they can't keep going and going and going especially with EU, playsets, more background characters, resculpts, and the viintage line... there are tons of things left to do.  And if the video game figures do well, you can bet we'll get more of those in the future - even from past games.
« Last Edit: April 5, 2007, 11:25 AM by Rob »

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #4 on: April 5, 2007, 11:25 AM »
I don't see the line ending anytime soon or them having any trouble whatsover filling the line with figures through 2018... or even beyond.  I remember doomsdayers saying the line would end in 2006, it's funny how wrong they were.

Moving forward they will probably continue to offer some new characters here and there, resculpts, rehashes, etc. from the films.  And dip into EU more and more, the TV series, etc.  I agree with speedermike that Star Wars might get even bigger.  But I don't think the characters will be unrecognizeable, at least not all of them.  We'll always see Vader, Luke, Han, Yoda, Kenobi, etc. as the heart of the characters of Star Wars and Hasbro will always make sure there are core characters to the films available each year.

I also see things like Battle Packs as a strong selling point for the line in the future... I mean look at all the possibilities they can do now that they haven't made yet, and so many down the road they can do.  For example, in 2-3 years maybe we get a Cantina Battle Pack with Myo, Gotal, and a few other aliens thrown in.  Just so many possibilities... and remember that the new figures that are out now and over the next few years will be prime material for repacks further on down the road to supplement the new sculpts... Wow, I remember back around 2000 chatting with people saying they should rehash some figures, and people were ADAMENT that Hasbro/Kenner would never do that... and here it is now part of their primary marketing strategy.

I don't really like at times Hasbro, but they do have a plan that has seemed to work and I don't see why they won't continue to do so.

 :P

Offline Since1978

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #5 on: April 5, 2007, 11:28 AM »
I believe we'll keep going strong until at least the end of the live action TV series - which if it starts in 2009, should run until 2013 given the episode count they're talking about - perhaps a year after that we'll see it finally slow down in popularity unless there's something else coming along to keep the interest up - another movie, another TV series, whatever - and given the Lucas empire, I strongly doubt that they'll let it go.

As far as figures are concerned, I think the line will continue to move forward very well.  Seeing as we're now effectively two years after ROTS, sales and release quantities seem very similar, and the interest seems just as strong.  The same could not be said in 1985 when Star Wars collecting previously "died."

What will the figures be?  I think they'll continue with the format for this year (obviously with tweaks and the requisite packaging changes), introducing a stronger dose of TV-based figures over the next couple of years as those productions ramp up.  Considering some of the wish lists that I've seen (my own included) I know there's plenty of remaining movie-character options - my current list is around 250 - so there's more than a third of your "600" figures.  There will always be some minor variation they can do on the main characters to keep those in the line (DS Escape Luke and Han - take the VOTC figures and add Stormtrooper belts or Lando "Ewok Celebration" - for a couple of examples) as well as PUH-LENTY of Cantina Denizens, Jabba Henchmen, Ewoks and random soldiers.

I do believe that at some point they'll move to a true "collector" series type of release where the figures get so obscure, or so long-term collector focused, that they'll have to come out separately from the main line, and likely at a higher price due to lower distribution.  Again, for example, I really want ALL of the Padme outfits that they haven't done yet, and there are something like 25 of them - it's doubtful that ALL of them will make it into the basic line.  So if I have to pay extra to get the "Kohun Attack" Padme because it's in a special collector focused line, so be it.

There will also continue to be a very healthy dose of video game and comic book characters for the EU segment - FU and similar releases will continue to garner more and more attention with collectors - Darth Revan is only the start this year, with any luck he'll be as popular as the polls indicate he will - as that just shows that the EU segment really does have a market and that they can grow it.  Many of you from that "other" board know me as EU hater, but that's only when EU is chosen in favor of movie characters - at this point I look at it a little differently, that the EU is one of the keys that will keep the interest in the line over the next several years, which may keep the movie characters coming - so long as there's interest, Hasbro will keep making them.

I also question the 600 estimate - I think it will be higher by the time you count two-packs, battle-packs, collector multi-packs and similar non-basic releases - so let's bump that to 1000 figures between now and 2018 (IF it continues that long) - I'd guess that it'll break down into something about like:

350 Movie
350 TV & "New Cannon"
300 EU - VG, Comics, Novels

Sure there will be rehashes and re-releases in that mix, but over that 10 year run, there will be a LOT of great stuff.

Remember that 2017 (40th Anniv. to the math challenged) is the year before that "end" and lord knows what Lucas will do around that time, something tells me that somewhere in the back of his mind, is the desire to "remake" Episodes 4, 5 and 6 to make them "fit" better with the PT.  An unholy comment to most here, but he's the kind that constantly meddles, so you can't rule out that sort of possibility.

Then we get to start ALL over again!

Cheers,

'78

Offline Brian

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #6 on: April 5, 2007, 11:37 AM »
Quote
I also question the 600 estimate - I think it will be higher by the time you count two-packs, battle-packs, collector multi-packs and similar non-basic releases - so let's bump that to 1000 figures between now and 2018 (IF it continues that long)

Yeah, I was using a conservative estimate of an average of 60 figures per year, which we know if its anything like this year will be much higher than that once you consider battle packs, Saga Legends, comic packs, etc.  As it was mentioned in one of the GH Q and A's a week or two back, there's already been something like 85 figures released in 2007 all things considered.  A big year, to say the least.  I think you guys are right, Star Wars has plenty of life left in it.  I mean, who would think we would have a 60 figure basic line, plus comic packs, battle packs, Saga Legends, VTAC, etc. in a non-movie year - two years after the last movie release.  More than enough stuff out there, and plenty to keep it going for awhile, I'm just curious what the line will look like 5-10 years from now.  I think it will definitely be there, at least in some capacity, and it will be interesting to see where it goes.  I know my wife sometimes asks me "will they ever stop making this stuff?" :).

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #7 on: April 5, 2007, 11:41 AM »
You know another thing that I really think makes the line strong now - the internet.  Star Wars didn't have that in the early-mid 80s to talk about this stuff, spread interest and excitement, etc.  Plus now there are two markets - kids and collectors.  There's so much more potential for the line these days to keep it going long after ROTS.

 :P

Offline TheBlackDog65

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #8 on: April 5, 2007, 12:09 PM »
I made this point in my post about loyalty to Hasbro.  Lucas did a wonderful thing with the prequels if you love collecting this line. What he did was to raise interest in the line and bring a whole new generation into collecting. Thus as old farts like me, transition out, we are/have been replaced by 2 to 4 new collectors. This should extend the line for up to 8 years if not 10 and by then you have the TV series and the other cartoons.  A combination of both shows the marketing genius of Lucas. The cartoons will bring in kids, and the series will drive new figures and new characters. Overall the health of the line is fine as others have already stated, and I think it will last for sometime, unless something unforseeable at this time comes up in technology that changes the marketplace.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #9 on: April 5, 2007, 12:47 PM »
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Lucas did a wonderful thing with the prequels if you love collecting this line. What he did was to raise interest in the line and bring a whole new generation into collecting. Thus as old farts like me, transition out, we are/have been replaced by 2 to 4 new collectors.

That's a good point.  The prequels were definitely a success from that sales/marketing standpoint, especially with ROTS.  I wonder what would have happened to the figure line post-OT special editions, if the prequels weren't on the horizon.  Of course, part of the reason those were released was to raise interest in SW with TPM on the way, so I guess a lot of things would have been different.

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #10 on: April 5, 2007, 01:27 PM »
I dunno, I don't think the prequels did quite as much as we think.  They really aren't that good as movies, in as much as they won't have the holding power for the imagination like the OT did.  Sure, people started collecting toys because of them, but contrast that to LOTR from ToyBiz.  Great set of movies, arguably a better trilogy than the OT and surely a better trilogy than the PT but the toyline is dead.  Guys are dumping stuff left, right and center. 

Will that happen with the PT collectors (The Next Generation :P)?  I have no idea, but I don't think the newer collectors have the same love of the toys as our generation did.  They're much more fickle and readily move on to new, different stuff as they've been taught to in our disposable society. To use BlackDogs number, sure, 2-4 collectors move in for each of us old farts, but how many stick it out for 20+ years?  Not many, if not zero is my guess.  If the movies had been done based more on plot and actual character development than relying on cliches and CGI, then there might be staying power on the level that LOTR holds.  But I don't see that and aside from the SW brand, I figure the PT DVDs would be in the $5 bin at Walmart. 

Brian's conservative number scares me too.  I'm already questioning spending as much as I do annually on this junk, and carrying it forward for 10+ years?  Yikes.  I'm viewing this year as a desperate grab by Hasbro for cash before people start forgetting the movie hype.  I do agree there's lots of nice product coming but the sheer volume is amazing. 

All I know is I'll stop actively buying lots of stuff well before the line dries up. 
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Offline Artoo

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #11 on: April 5, 2007, 02:00 PM »
The shows should also provide good material. There will aways be video games, too. And everyone said all those years ago after The Last Cruscade that there would never be an Indiana Jones movie again, and now, eighteen years after The Last Cruscade, Indiana Jones 4 has begun filming. Could the same thing happen with Star Wars?
It ahs with SW before. Lucas a little bit after ROTJ said there would be no more (or something like that) then in the 90's we got bored & made the prequels.

I see the line lasting until atleast 2015. Maybe if sales are aren't good with retail it'll move as a collector's only line. There's a crap load of EU characters when we got basically every cool characetr the movies have to offer. As far as main characters go, when we run out of movie costumes, EU has a bunch which will keep kids happy because they can find their Anakin or Han & keep us happy by getting something new.
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Offline Since1978

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #12 on: April 5, 2007, 02:13 PM »
I don't know that I agree with your point there Morgbug - sure the movies weren't as good, but that's from the perspective of a 30/40 something that was young when the first movies came out.  Yes they're better, but some of what makes them better is the nostalgia factor, and the fact that we were seven (give or take) when we first saw ANH.  Many of the kids today may grow up with the same nostalgia and love for the PT, I know I still see kids to this day that run to the pegs begging mom for an Anakin or Obi-Wan, and whenever I see that it gives me GREAT hope!

I think with the upcoming TV series will just continue the wave where ROTS left off.  The fact that we're doing as well as we are two years out is a GOOD sign that it'll just increase when new material comes along.  If anything this year isn't a desperate money grab it's a reaction to last year's surprise.  They had LOW expectations for last year, and the sales greatly exceeded their expectations - I think that's why we kept seeing so many re-mix cases through the last half of the year, as they had to go back and produce more based on the demand that they were experiencing.

As for your comparison to LOTR, obviously there's some flaw - and I think it's the fact that a superior movie doesn't mean that the toys will be popular.  LOTR was arguably a better trilogy of movies, and enjoyed immense popularity while it was out, alas it just didn't click with the toy buying public outside of it's core audience - thus when the movies went away, the interest in the line went away and only the core audience was left, which happens to be much smaller than the audience for SW.  That's a long way to say that SOMETHING about Star Wars just CLICKS with kids, it reaches them on a much more fundamental level than something like LOTR - which was a much more adult story (hmmm, circle back to my comment about *when* we saw the OT).  My wife would tell you countless stories about the boys on the playground at school playing "Star Wars" and fighting over who got to be Anakin - many of them had never even seen ROTS because they were deemed too young (by their parents) to see a PG-13 movie.

Heck, even in a year where there was a HUGE blockbuster in POTC2, the SW toys still maintained their status as the number one boy's toy property.

So while we may not have thought the movies were as good, it doesn't mean that they didn't have the desired effect - setting up a whole new generation of addicts.  The fact that the movie was designed in that regard is subject to a completely different debate, and maybe the fact that they weren't the greatest films is part of what will keep the line moving forward - how's that for a two-edged sword?

'78

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #13 on: April 5, 2007, 04:36 PM »
Here's hoping you're right and I'm wrong. 

I agree about the nostalgia, but part of the nostalgia is a function of the time.  I'm sure kids are playing "star wars" at playgrounds and elsewhere.  I know friends that bring their sons to my house just to see the sheer volume of crap I own and they are in utter awe.  Jaw open, speechless kids look pretty cool.  But they also seem to move on very quickly these days and it's the old movies and their toys versus video games debate.  I just don't know if the "new generation" will have that nostalgia when all is said and done.

With respect to LOTR, I'll disagree with you if you don't mind.  LOTR sales where I am were huge.  Movie attendance was big and it wasn't just adults, there were tons of kids in those theaters too.  They were buying toys and while a sword isn't quite as cool as a lightsaber, I'm old enough that swords were cool before there were lightsabers. ;)  And really, they're the same thing, especially once Hollywood gets hold of them.  So I think the decline in LOTR toy popularity is owing more to "attention span" than a 'click' or nostalgia or anything else. 

Digressing even further, I'm not sure there's still something in the PT that really clicks with kids.  I don't see it quite so clearly.  I think the potential was there, but it was overwhelmed by poor writing/directing combined with too much CGI.  The PT story, (the fall of Anakin Skywalker) had the potential for greatness but it was never quite fulfilled.  Stifling acting in TPM, pointless time wasted on developing a love in AOTC both contribute to that lack of fulfillment.  ROTS was pretty good and did away with a lot of the pointless, wooden dialogue.  But a trilogy that does not make. 

There was also a significant lack of consistency in terms of a villain for the PT.  Oh sure, we all know Anakin's going down the tubes and that's fine.  But kids just aren't going to dig an "evil politician" in Palpatine and Count Dooku was fairly lame too.  I do think there was a classic villain to be had in all this, but they cut him in half at the end of the first movie (in what still is my favorite light saber battle of all time, so the movie isn't without redeeming features).  I just think Lucas and friends did a fine job of making the PT not so classic, not so fundamental that it clicks.  It was just too inconsistent in too many ways.  My contention is that you could show the kids of today the original movie and they'd be playing Darth Vader instead of Anakin, it's still cool, just the modern version won't stick. 

As I said, I hope you're right, not me.  And I do appreciate your comments, they are well reasoned. 
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Offline Since1978

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Re: Future of Star Wars Collecting - v2
« Reply #14 on: April 5, 2007, 05:25 PM »
we could most certainly go down a LONG diatribe about how the PT didn't have any consistency, and what was lacking - I agree with pretty much every point you make, but like I said at the end - I think that's a separate discussion (you pretty much noted the same thing).  I always wish that I could edit together Episodes I and II into a true "Episode I" come up with a true Clone Wars Episode II and then with those two, you can still stick ROTS on the end - with a very few tweaks (mostly in the dialog).  The biggest failing in the villian is that EVERYONE knew that Palpatine was the bad guy, there was no hiding it because it was a prequel...  I could go on forever.

And it's fine to disagree, I appreciate the compliment as all I'm trying to put forward are semi-sound arguements for how the PT can have the same effect on kids - I think ALL of the failings that you and I might list about the PT - bad acting, overly CGI, etc.  made them so "Video Game" that perhaps their very failing as a film is what makes them stick with the current short attention span generation - and could be the same reason that LOTR failed to achieve any longevity.

At any rate, we'll hope Star Wars keeps enough staying power to stay popular until the TV shows get into full swing, and then see what the future holds from there.  For now though Hasbro is doing very well, so I don't see a shift any time soon!

'78