First of all, thanks so much Matt (and everyone else here at JD), for the great reporting from Comic-Con. I think we've all learned so much more, and got a lot of questions we were curious about answered, due to your "one on ones" with the Hasbro staffers. To me, it is quite disappointing to hear how rude you were treated (at least by one rep), and how poorly they seem to see the "collectors". I'm not saying they shouldn't have some figures marketed towards kids, and like some of you said, I don't even mind action features here and there in the movie year, as long as it isn't on every character...and the ones it is on, we get a better version of later. Granted, I don't like them, but if they think the kiddos do, that's fine with me. As long as we get "our" versions too
As to some of the things we've heard about........first off, I'm quite disappionted with the VOTC news. I was really hoping we'd see these stuck back into the line at later dates. We know Hasbro loves the repack, so if at some point they are thinking "we need another Han, Leia, and Vader on the shelf", then why not repack these great VOTC versions, instead of yet another Commtech Han, "new likeness" Leia, or miscellaneous Vader. These aren't bad figures, but we've seen them more than enough, and you know that the vast majority of their market (kids and collectors both) would rather have these VOTC versions. Its just crazy that they wouldn't want to capitalize on these, but it sounds like they were pretty adamant about it. You'd think they would be able to be more profitable if they would re-release them, instead of being such a limited run of figures. Even if they did want to charge a buck or two more, I'd be ok with it, if it meant we could find a few more Stormtroopers, etc. It is starting to sound like these will be as limited as we originally thought, with a 3-4 month window to pick them up. I really hope the ESB and ROTJ waves can at least be spotted at retail like the first wave...and that they aren't all impossible to find.
A few good things, I am glad that they know that super articulation is a good direction to go...and army builder figures are a good place to start with that. It also sounds like they will make sure there is plenty army-building action for the Episode III line, which is great too. I'm happy to hear we'll see a few more new figures before the III line hits, and from the pics we've seen, they don't look too bad at all. I don't tend to get quite as jazzed about prequel figures, but they ones they chose do look nice. And, I will admit, we're about due for some prequel figures again anyways. Also good to hear that they are at least "discussing" modular playsets. I really hope that Death Star set makes its way to us eventually, even if it is 2006. Heck, use that as a chance to re-make the Han and Luke Stormtrooper outfits we've been wanting, and pack them (and some Stormies) into the individual "sets". I'd buy them up I know.
I really hope they do make a return to the OTC-style packaging again too. I didn't figure we'd get it for Episode III, so no big surprise there, but hopefully when they "unify" the line again, they will look in that direction. That is something I guess I give Hasbro some credit for, I know in the years I've been on the boards...we've always talked about hoping they would do "vintage or vintage-style packaging"...or "super articulated, really well done versions of the main characters"...which we're getting a little bit of both of those areas this year. Sadly, it was marred by massive rehashes, as well as now finding out that our "ultimate" versions are going to be "ultimately hard to find...and expensive". That said, I am glad that they did the VOTC line, despite its limited availability and higher cost. These figures are (overall) still quite amazing.
This is long enough, but thanks again Matt (and JD staff) for the great coverage of this event. I'm glad that you did some prodding to find out details on a number of questions we had, and it helps us to get a better idea of the line, its future, and what our buying habits will be for the rest of the year. Great work everyone.