Isn't the point of the vintage style card to harken back to the nostalgia associated with it? Any of the prequel characters EVER appear on a cardback like that? Nope, didn't think so.
Eh... it's the square peg in a round hole thing to squeeze the PT into the classic realm of the OT.
Same thing as slapping ghosty Hayden into ROTJ.
That's probably the perfect analogy for me. Miserable inconsistencies and rewriting good stuff to make the bad fit better is probably what really irritates me the most.
Is the vintage line about nostalgia? Yes and no. All of the similarities with the modern vintage line begin and end with the cardback.
Um, about those characters that have been released on the vintage line cards. Yeah, all of them have been released on vintage cardback in the vintage line during the vintage era. Small technicality.
And even then the cardback is not 100% true to the original style. It's been changed significantly in order to promote the modern vintage line. And it's packed in a clamshell. Another thing that's not true to the original product. Factor in those elements, and it's clear that the integrity of the cardback has not been a major consideration for Hasbro.
Huh. I'm thankful it's been changed to promote the modern vintage line, otherwise every scammer in the Ebay universe would be selling these as AFA95. And at what point does anyone display the cardback regularly? The front of the card is remarkably true to the original. As for the clamshell, take it off and it's no longer an issue. Hasbro's intent for the clamshell was to protect the card/bubble, not to remain true to the original. It helped them jack the cost too. I think looking at the character photos, the cardback style, the lettering etc. on the front and Hasbro's done a remarkable job of staying true while being practical about other considerations. (yeah, I'm defending Hasbro, weird, ain't it?).
Then there's pricing. The modern vintage figure was considered a premium 3.75" figure when it was introduced, selling for at least $10. It was a far cry from the vintage basic figure which most of us would have paid what, $2.99 for at retail? All the while there's still a basic figure line that retails for about $6.99. So we are paying a premium. One that our parents might not been willing to pay circa 1978 - 1983.
Wow, stretching to rationalize here aren't we? The premium price point is Hasbro screwing us over (there, that's better), justified at the time on the basis of the additional clamshell, additional articulation (which we've since see them do in the basic line) and a supposed "premium" cardback. They knew their audience and guess what? We bit. As for your price comparisons, nice selection of the $7 pricepoint of today when the VOTC line came out, pricing was the standard $5, a whopping $2 more than the $3 pricepoint for the vintage line. I'm guessing that's below inflation. So no, our parents wouldn't pay $10 in the vintage era, but at that point toys weren't manufactured to be worshipped on the card in premium casing to be kept immaculate; they were meant to be opened and played with. Toys, not "investments". Apples and cannonballs.
Then let's look at the actual figures. The character choices have been right out of the vintage line. But again, that's where the similarities end. These figures are sculpted to a higher standard than the basic figure line. They include better accessories. And the articulation is at a premium level. However, when Hasbro actually produced a figure in this line with the same number of points of articulation as an actual vintage Kenner figure in the Ben Kenobi figure, collectors railed against it. And now they want a better version of old Ben.
I don't whether to laugh out loud at this or just shake my head. You're suggesting that to be truly nostalgic they should have re-released the old sculpt? C'mon Nick, shake your head. We all clamour for better likeness, more articulation all the time. They give it to us and you can find a problem with it? That's pretty petty and completely discounting what the original Hasbro intent for the line was. Premium cardback, premium clamshell, premium figure with respect to sculpt/articulation etc. That's where the price increase came from. Collectors are petty, that much is a given.
As for nostalgia for the PT cards? Is anyone really nostalgic about that EPISODE I card? Probably not.
So why bother producing them then? There is no nostalgic demand for the figures on a card. They have exactly zero relationship to the original vintage line other than being from the same broad story. The point of the vintage line was to reproduce the vintage line. Not to reproduce the PT stuff which no one is really clamoring for.
I know that I associate the classic Kenner look much more with Star Wars than when I see that red EPISODE I packaging. The same goes for the blue SAGA line and the helmet shaped ROTS line.
But Kenner never had anything to do with the Prequel Trilogy stuff, so it needs to stand on its own. I don't want to see a prequel Palpatine on a vintage style card, I want to see a vintage style emporor on the vintage style card.
Kenner look screams Star Wars much more in comparison to all three of those lines. Now would it be a little bit of a stretch to include the classic Kenner look to include PT characters like Darth Maul, PT Obi-Wan Kenobi or daresay Jar Jar Binks?
Yes, it's a huge and pointless stretch. Sure, those characters are part of the broader theme of Star Wars, but Hasbro deemed they should have their own stylized look. Now they/you are deciding that the Kenner look is better? A little late for that decision, isn't it? If you want nostalgia for the PT stuff it should reflect the original release, not some fickle change of mind that might scrape together a few more bucks. If there's no demand for the original look associated with the PT, don't bother. You can do the SA Maul/prequel Obi or JarJar on whatever the flavor of the day cardback is.
Now did Hasbro and Lucas Licensing potentially goof by not keeping that classic look for the entirety of the prequel trilogy? Probably. It's a classic and instantly recognizable brand look. I guess my big issue with the entire discussion is that I don't consider toy packaging to be that "sacred" in any way, shape or form.
Yup, they goofed. Huge. They "knew" better. But it's not an issue of sacred. There's just no real relationship with that cardback. Yes, it hearkens back to vintage stuff and the original Star Wars appeal but there's no need for the prequel characters to appear on that style of cardback other than to crank out a few more bucks and satisfy Lucas' whims. It's the same as making Greedo shoot first, having Luke scream like a little girl or swapping in Hayden's head. Pointless, stupid and demeaning to the original.