I love how they ask us "should we make this" when this one is a no brainer, if they made the Holo emp Head why not this? (Make it a HTS exclusive.) But they have no problem putting a former $30 vehicle out for $80.00...with nothing new about it other than deco.
HTS sales aren't really all that good, as evidenced by the DTC line of G.I. Joe figures in (if memory serves) 2006. It tanked, even with support of additional online retailers and, eventually, Toys "R" Us. Hasbro got burned good, so this avenue is closed (or so say all their various boy action toy brand managers as of late.)
(And before you bring up Matty Collector, because I would, their goals are very different than those of Hasbro.)
I agree with your assessment and I would not bring up Mattel (I worked there for 5 years so I know their practices well.) HTS profit margins are insane, there is no retailer middleman so that balances out the sales overall and makes it very profitable for their mass product line. I do not think Joe was the best example or idea because they invested in a lot of tooling that could not pay for itself in the long run, plus Joe was really dead at that time which did not help either. I would also venture to say the figures sucked too when you see what they are now.
If they were willing to sell it through HTS they could set up a presell for this item. Once enough orders are placed and they know they can make it with a profit your credit card is then charged. They could proceed to tooling & ship it when it's made 8-10 months later. (If they were really buttoned up, locked down costing and secured a factory they really could ship this in 6 months, difficult to do but not impossible.)
They would not have to worry about reaching out to fans to gauge if we want this made because they would clearly be able to gauge the presales. all they have to do is spread the PR about the item/sale date/details.
I know I would sign up without question for at least 2. I can see this as a Diamond or EE Exclusive but I do not see Target, Wal-Mart, TRU doing this. As someone posted earlier, the fact that this is a cremation toy. It will make this harder to fly with parents but more importantly will this be desired by kids. I do not think so. They would enjoy a ROTS Anakin with melt away skin/body part but not dead Darth Vader roasting with molded on flames. This is the ultimate in direct to collector type of item.