I agree completely - anything over $200.00 is going to be very hard for most people to digest. I'm hoping they go modular... please go modular Sideshow... (assuming these even happen).
I've been a big proponent of modular playsets for years now.
I've posted this on a few other sites before, so I'll add my thoughts here too.
Going with the Death Star playset as it's probably the easiest to do as modular sets. Here is what I have in mind.
First off, each piece will have a way to connect to ALL other pieces in some manner, so we are not forced to buy one set or another to make everything fit together. Doing this also makes it easy for us to fit into whatever space we have available for modular playsets instead of having to make room for them that we might not have otherwise and would have to pass on buying them at all.
Also, these pieces can stack on top of each other. Which is important as there will be an elevator set. Besides, the ability to stack these also saves us room as we can go high instead of wide which most of us have more room for anyway.
There needs to be a few different pricepoints depending on the size of the modular piece.
For this example there are three different pricepoints.
At the $15 pricepoint:
• Short hallway: with floor, wall and curved wall (the "bump" that protrudes on some of the walls in the Death Star) accessory.
• Long Hallway: floor and hallway and some packing crates as accessories
• Curved hallway-floor and inner AND outer walls-either of which can be removed per your needs depending on how you wish to set them up. Comes with a packing crate and mouse droid.
• blast door: is same length as long hallway but with a blast door that is half the length and two short wall pieces, plus a floor of course. By having the short walls, you can place your blast door on the left with the two short walls on the right, vice-versa for the right, OR have a wall on each side with the blast door in the middle. Truly modular, plus the blast door actually opens and closes.
At the $30 pricepoint-small rooms:
• Red control room. Who among us who likes playets doesn't want this set? Working blast door, walls on three sides (as you see it in the movie), corner "closet" area where the droids hid, with working sliding circular door. package crates as seen in the movie (different from the hallway though), workstations and chairs. Good set with plenty of accessories, that are repeated for cost reduction.
• Garbage masher- okay yes we've seen this a few times in various ways, but this one would have a working crank to "mash" the garbage (and figures) together to a point. Walled on four sides, however you can remove one of the end opposite the door, OR one of the mashing walls to view it from a different direction. plenty of soft plastic or foam "garbage" pieces. Cheap stuff mind you, not something terribly accurate, except maybe the pipe that Han holds up.
• Detention Area-includes security stations, wall "cameras" or whatever they were supposed to be, hexagon cell block hallway with four cell blocks-two on each side. ...The hallway can be expanded to be longer by purchasing the "exclusive" hexagon hallway expansion set. Heck, we've got to have at least one exclusive right, besides, it's not really neccessary to complete the set, just adds more to it.
• Elevator area-includes three elevators that go 3-4 levels high. Good for connecting to the detention area...
At the $60 pricepoint-large rooms:
•Falcon Hangar room-great for connecting hallways to, walled on four sides with the wall opposite the hangar opening to be removable. Red control room can be attached on that wall (so long as you have a hallway underneath of that to stack it on, so tht the opening from the red control room can peer out on to the Hangar room-just like in the movie! Cargo crates, throw in a proper scanning crew (2 figs-NEW SA molds-hey, Hasbro has even said they want to remake this fig, so it's the right place to put it into!)
•Emperors throne room-okay this one is not so modular in that it doesn't really connect to any of the others, still the set does include, Throne, security stations, viewscreens, steps, overhead walkways. Basically as you see it in the movie. No need for any moving parts, save the throne which just rotates.
Now these don't all get released at once as that would flood the market and stores and e-tailers both would be stuck with them.
Instead, stagger the different sizes. At first coming out with a $15 set AND a $30 set, then in 3 months a new $15 set, then in another 3 months a $60 set. Repeat the process until all sets are done, keeping the $15 sets a little more readily available as we'd need more hallways to connect sets together more than anything else.
This example is not meant to be all inclusive as there are more ideas for Death Star sets. Rather it's just an example of a working idea with some of the sets presented for examples of pricepoints, size, accessories, and "modularity."