I think it truly has been one of the worst years, if not the worst year, in terms of distribution in the history of the modern line. I've been collecting (again) since the very first wave of POTF2, and the total lack of figures from the main, movie-based line, both from the perspective of not being shipped and not being stocked, is absolutely deplorable.
In 14 years of modern collecting, there is only ONE figure I NEVER saw at retail, and that was Ephant Mon in 2002. There were others (such as the initial release of the SA AOTC Clone) that I only saw once or twice, but, by and large, it wasn't an ordeal to locate much of anything if you looked for it on a semi-regular basis (non-exclusive, wise, of course; the current trend of Target actually stocking and/or selling their exclusives in stores was the complete opposite back in the late 1990's/early 2000's for those of you who weren't around back then). Nowadays, it seems "the hunt" has become much more difficult, much more taxing, and much more likely to result in empty hands than in previous years.
To me, there is absolutely NO excuse for there to be a Saga Legends line if they're only going to repack older figures in the regular, main TLC line as well. If you're going to do a repack assortment, keep the repacks in that assortment, or don't do it at all. If you're going to do a main line assortment of figures, do it with all new figures or don't do it at all. Despite what Hasbro claims (and I tend to agree with the sentiment that the only reason that line is successful in Hasbro's eyes is because they don't have to do any new tooling for it), the SL line is, in fact, keeping new product from hitting the pegs, both from the TLC line and from the animated CW line. I've said it once, I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again: UPC/SKU differences or not, card color or not, character style or not, all retailers and stock people see is "STAR WARS" and it doesn't make a bit of a difference what assortment it is to them. 1000 SL Saesee Tiins are the same thing as 10 each of the last 100 basic BAD/TLC figures that have been released.
To retailers, Star Wars is Star Wars is Star Wars. Sure, Entertainment Earth might be able to tell the difference, but Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target, and K-Mart don't give a flying rat's ass whether it's Saga Legends, Clone Wars, or the Legacy Collection, even if there are separate pegs and SKU/DPCIs for each assortment. If the pegs are full of Star Wars, they don't need to be scanned or stocked. Hasbro can go on and on and on about "What you see at a local level is not necessarily indicative of what is being seen at a national level", but if you walk into any Wal-Mart across this country, what are you going to see?:
About 500 figures, 400-450 of which are Saga Legends, 30 or so animated CW figures, and 20 TLC BAD figures on the white/blue card, mainly multiples of the same characters, over and over and over. If this wasn't the case on a national level, why was Hasbro able to circulate a list to their field reps of what figures needed to be recalled due to saturation of the market?
On a lighter note, would it be possible for someone to let me post a "beating a dead horse" emoticon from now on in these topics, since all of my posts regarding such matters tend to sound like a broken record?