Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 177651 times)

Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #735 on: September 11, 2021, 09:03 AM »
I gotta say, this most recent Star Wars Livestream this week was a bummer. In the first Star Wars reveal livestream in ages, only a handful of new items were revealed, most of them being repaints or resculpts. Meanwhile, feels like there's Marvel Legends, Power Rangers, and Transformers livestreams every week where there are new items revealed by teams that are clearly having fun with the products and invested in their fanbases. I dunno why it's bugging me so much.

You know, I thought the exact same thing watching this week. I still (and always will) love Star Wars, but there just seems to be so little energy in the line/brand lately. Which is strange, because with all the positive buzz with Mandalorian (and upcoming spin-offs), you’d think now would be the time to strike.

I’m also a Marvel fan/collector, and Legends just seems to be on fire the past few years. Something is revealed basically every week, and there rarely seems to be any disappointment. I feel sometimes these days that I’m a Marvel collector who also buys Star Wars things (when there are any). It isn’t as if the products are bad, I think both the Black Series and Vintage Collection have had some great figures, but it is such a slow drip.

Also, and I know this has been discussed a lot, but Star Wars fandom really has become a mine field. I know you deal with that in anything when the internet is involved, but from my experience these days Star Wars might be one of the most toxic. So many splintered groups, many of which outwardly despise what the other enjoys. That goes for the movies, action figure scales, vintage vs modern, take your pick. I know as a fan that enjoys most of it, I am genuinely happy for those who get more of what they like. For example, I gave the animated show Star Wars Resistance a chance. It wasn’t bad, but didn’t necessarily hold my interest, so I kind of stopped watching. Now if they continued making seasons of it, I’d be happy for those that did. It doesn’t take away from the things I enjoy more. The livestream comments section is just ugly, it has to be exhausting.

Although it is there other places, it seems like Marvel, Transformers, Power Rangers are at least somewhat more positive (Joe can be another story, but primarily for distribution reasons), and the fan base seems generally still excited for things instead of the usual “Hasblow Sux” nonsense. Just wish it was a more positive place for fandom now.

Offline Muftak

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #736 on: September 11, 2021, 10:45 AM »
I think the problem with the Star Wars line of late has been the lack of the kind of collector mentality that all of us using these forums built over the years. During the 30th AC, Legacy line, Clone Wars line, and the beginning of the Black Series, the Hasbro Line Lead was Darryl DePriest, a hardcore "army building" style collector himself. When he left it switched off to Steve Evans, a very outspoken and fan-connected collector who barely got a chance to reboot TVC and launch the Sail Barge HasLab before being shifted over to the Marvel team.

From him we switched to Patrick Schneider, who I have not heard is himself a collector at all, in fact I have no knowledge of the man outside of his marketing speak. As far as I can tell from how the Star Wars collector lines have developed the last two years, his strategy for a successful collector line is to mimic the profitable Funko Pops model: leverage repaints in the main line, create new sublines consisting of repaints (or "expressions" as he put it way too many times Wednesday,) and develop new figures and tooling with a priority weighted towards future reuse of the molds in repaints and other "expressions."

I am not saying it is not a viable strategy to continue the Black Series and Vintage Collection lines, but it is very different from the mentality of the previous 15+ years--a period that contains what most of us consider the "golden years" of the modern line.

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #737 on: September 12, 2021, 10:42 PM »
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's zero passion from the Hasbro Star Wars team.  I highly doubt any of them have been toy collectors in their life and I'm still not 100% sure that Patrick and the girl from marketing on the last livestream have even really watched Star Wars.

On Universal Collector's watch along livestream, I mentioned we should start a drinking game every time Patrick said "Iconic".  It was his word of the day!  For instance, I am a huge fan of The Mandalorian....but the only thing in that show that can be considered "Iconic" is Luke Skywalker!  He's using that phrase to describe anything and everything to generate excitement for a line of toys he has no excitement for himself.  It's just sad to be honest.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #738 on: September 13, 2021, 06:33 AM »
There's a dramatic difference between the previous brand manager, Steve Evans, and who Hasbro has running things now.  All you have to do is look at their respective resumes.  Steve came up within Hasbro over the course of 20+ years.  It's been his career.  The other guy?  His position prior to joining Hasbro was in marketing at General Mills.  To him it's just another product that has its own jargon that he's trying to incorporate into the way he communicates with customers.  And I get the sense that's how he views us - as customers more than fans.

That lack of connection to the franchise comes across as obvious with a corresponding lack of appreciation for the depth of the Star Wars universe.  He talks about "world building", but when Patrick says it I get the sense that again, he's trying to use jargon as a way to ingratiate himself to collectors - he's trying to sell the brand along with himself.  Steve didn't have to do that.  His knowledge and passion were obvious.  You can't get that in a crash course on a franchise that's over 40 years old.  I've heard an old saying that seems to apply here:  "A fisherman always sees another fisherman from afar".  I see Patrick, and he's no fisherman.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 06:35 AM by Nicklab »
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Offline Jeff

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #739 on: September 14, 2021, 10:54 AM »
I have great love for Derryl DePriest.  The dude 100% got it.  I mean, he got Willrow Frickin Hood and so many other obscure folks into action figure form because he understood collectors and what "world building" meant.  I didn't always agree with everything they did, but man things were so much better when he was still at Hasbro.

Steve Evans had a lot of that same passion... but he took over at a time where things were already rapidly changing in the "profitability model" that the toy lines needed to meet.  He did a lot but was always sort of limited in what he could offer because of "profit margin goals" and increasing license cost when Disney came on board for the sequel license.  I know a lot of folks hated a lot of the 5POA stuff, but it did allow for some great stuff to supplement the 3.75" SA stuff.

Patrick?  I've never met him or talked with him in person thanks to the lack of cons (and in all honesty the fact that JediDefender doesn't have the "insta" presence needed to be in the "fan site Q&A circle " any longer :().  Watching the live-streams, I kinda agree with Nick.  He definitely comes across like he's selling "iconic" products to consumers and doesn't really understand what "world building" is.

I agree with what Muftak said too - because of increasing cost-controls, profit margin goals, labor costs and more so much of the line these days is "what can we build with the parts we have".  That's like the whole basis of the "Gaming Greats" line.  Where it fails for me is when you end up with a "Gaming Great" figure of 3.75" Purge Trooper.... but you don't have the main character from that game in 3.75" form?  I mean... what is the point?  That's not world building, that's just making a widget and hoping collectors buy it because it looks cool.

I find myself buying less and less each year.  I skip most of the "carbonized" or gimmick repaints.  I have been skipping most of the repacks unless there is something substantially new (parts or deco).  I have started selling off some stuff that no longer brings me joy.  It does make me sad that something that was a HUGE part of my life and led me to so many great people who are now my friends is dying... but I am also keenly aware that I have been doing this for 25 years and all good thing end eventually.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #740 on: September 14, 2021, 12:09 PM »
I agree with what Muftak said too - because of increasing cost-controls, profit margin goals, labor costs and more so much of the line these days is "what can we build with the parts we have".  That's like the whole basis of the "Gaming Greats" line.  Where it fails for me is when you end up with a "Gaming Great" figure of 3.75" Purge Trooper.... but you don't have the main character from that game in 3.75" form?  I mean... what is the point?  That's not world building, that's just making a widget and hoping collectors buy it because it looks cool.

This is something that I took notice of, as well.  And I don't even have a gaming console.  For there to be a Gaming Greats line that does not include the main character(s) of Jedi Fallen Order seems like a tremendous failing.  You make two troopers but not Cal Cestis?  Or the Second Sister?

I feel very much the same about both Derryl and Steve.  Both are very good guys who understand Star Wars and have a deep passion for it.  But the business landscape shifted in such big ways.  How the industry is performing as a whole; the transformation of retail; globalization and the resulting impact on manufacturing.  I suspect that Hasbro shifted Steve over to Marvel because the data indicated there was more that he could do with that franchise given its profitability compared to Star Wars.

I also feel like I'm on a downward slope with things.  Personal considerations are a big factor there.  Feeling like I am inundated with "stuff" is another part of it.  And time just keeps marching on.  I've been selling a lot of stuff over the past few years and there's still lots more to go.  Just reclaiming space in my house has felt like a small victory.  And decreasing the footprint feels good.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 12:10 PM by Nicklab »
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Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #741 on: September 14, 2021, 01:04 PM »
I'm with you guys nearly 100%.  The lack of passion from the Hasbro Star wars team is killing the passion a lot of collectors have.  I love a lot of what the TVC is putting out.  That troop builder pack looks awesome, the new Lobot and Bib Fortuna....they're making new tooling on OT figures for the first time in years!  That give me hope for the line.  I like the gaming greats figures, even though we don't have a Cal Kestis yet...hell I want a figure of him and the rest of the crew from that game!  I'm hoping we hear the announcement for them soon.

If I'm wrong and the TVC is in it's sunset, then it's been a good 40+ year run.  There are some interesting Force FX Lightsabers I could purchase from Hasbro, or my collecting habits might go down a different path....Helmets, and the prop replicas I have are great and could add to them down the road.  My company is expanding into the Florida Space coast and my wife really wants us to move.  She's tossed out the idea of having Disney Annual passes or me buying a boat (Like I couldn't go to Bass Pro this afternoon and purchase a boat).   ;D
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Offline Dave

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #742 on: September 20, 2021, 09:29 AM »
I've been opening old carded figures and toys lately that have been packed away for years and years.  Right now I'm opening The Saga Collection from 2006.

Patrick needs to find these figures, look at this line, and study the whole execution of it.  Its soo perfectly sublime.

Each handful of figures are in a theme (e.g. "world building") that all work so well together.  The first handful are Jabba's palace, then you've got Hoth and ESB, AOTC, and it just keeps rolling.  I know we'll never see it again with the included stand, mini holo figures, and random accessories.  But the way they picked and chose highly articulated figures, kid play features, more limited articulation was absolutely fantastic.

There is still so much unmined material from the last five movies, The Mandalorian, etc.  If Hasbro could find a way to stop the repaints/repacks and get a passionate product manager to world build the right way we might be able to return to something resembling this line.

Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #743 on: September 22, 2021, 02:52 PM »

I find myself buying less and less each year.  I skip most of the "carbonized" or gimmick repaints.  I have been skipping most of the repacks unless there is something substantially new (parts or deco).  I have started selling off some stuff that no longer brings me joy.  It does make me sad that something that was a HUGE part of my life and led me to so many great people who are now my friends is dying... but I am also keenly aware that I have been doing this for 25 years and all good thing end eventually.

Honestly, it is kind of nice to see others feeling the fatigue a little bit. Like you said, after 20-25 years of this, and space dwindling, and prices rising, it was bound to happen.

I have been buying less and less as well, and honestly if I only collected Star Wars it would be a very small buy pile for the year. I don’t really care about the repaints/carbonized/credit or the video game stuff, and I’m selective with Black Series. I want them to “finish the 96”, and will be there for all of it. I also think I’d be ok if they just shifted the line to Mando/Boba/current Disney Plus stuff beyond that. Don’t get me wrong, OT always has/will be my jam, but we’ve gotten a lot of stuff. I still don’t know why the Mandalorian didn’t have its own dedicated line, it is so “toyetic”, and they really missed the boat on this.

All the things everyone has mentioned is true. Just not as much excitement or enthusiasm around Star Wars toys. And a lot of complaining. My other main interest is Marvel Legends, and their brand team is so excited, engaged, and there are new announcements basically weekly. It might be a thing where Disney/Lucasfilm is tying their hands, but I don’t see why we still haven’t seen so many characters from Season 2, let alone Season 1 of the Mandalorian. It is the most excited (United?) the fan base has been in a while, and it has been a slow drip. I know we will see them eventually, but even Hot Toys has shown/teased more of that stuff. The Star Wars line definitely needs a shot in the arm though.

Offline Rob

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #744 on: September 22, 2021, 08:53 PM »
25 years in and an actual NEW figure if an actual NEW character still is a lot of fun for me.

The carbonized and the gimmicks and the prototypes… not so much.  They feel like a chore more than a hobby.  But I’m in too deep and it’s too complete if a collection for me to ever alter how I do things.


Offline Diddly

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #745 on: September 22, 2021, 10:37 PM »
And a lot of complaining.

I will admit I basically only check here, Yakface, and Reddit for toy news these days, but I have to disagree with this a bit. The only complaining I tend to see either has to do with stock/availability, or the fact that we get a ton of repaints now.

I feel like we've come a loooooooooooong way from the days of complaining about action features, screaming headsculpts, 5POA vs super articulation, case ratios and pegwarmers, or the color of Hoth Han's coat. :P
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Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #746 on: September 23, 2021, 09:57 AM »
I feel like we've come a loooooooooooong way from the days of complaining about action features, screaming headsculpts, 5POA vs super articulation, case ratios and pegwarmers, or the color of Hoth Han's coat. :P

Don't forget the carded vs loose debates.
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Offline LandotheScoundrel

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #747 on: September 23, 2021, 05:25 PM »
Free those figures!
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #748 on: September 23, 2021, 05:33 PM »
You’re just not looking in the right places for dumb complaining.  There’s still plenty of it haha.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #749 on: September 23, 2021, 07:28 PM »
You’re just not looking in the right places for dumb complaining.  There’s still plenty of it haha.

One of the newest bits of whining that I heard about is that the new Endor Leia doesn’t have ball jointed wrists.  Have you seen just how small those wrists are????
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