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Messages - Nicklab

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1
Jayson's rumors tend to be better than some people's "facts" or "scoops".  Frankly, when it comes to reporting and a lot of the other collecting sites, Jayson has been eating their lunch.

I'm thinking that Jeff's estimate of the situation is probably on point.  But I'm also thinking that it's possible that the rumored 5.5" line might roll out for Triple Force Friday.  I've been seeing more of the toy line for Avengers - End Game in stores, and I'm seeing more of the 5.5" figures than the standard Marvel Legends scale 6" figures.  Considering how both the MCU and LFL fall under the whole Disney Licensing umbrella, I think it's a strong possibility that the Licensing group might take similar approaches for both franchises in an effort to reach all of the potential customer demographics.  That 5.5" scale is totally geared towards kids.

I also agree that distribution is still problematic.  And that has to do with the decline in brick & mortar retail.  Malls are quickly turning into shells of their former selves.  The main players right now are Target and Walmart, but both seem hesitant to take big inventory positions on Hasbro Star Wars.  And the secondary players are chains like GameStop, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Walgreens, etc.  I think we had better get more comfortable with online shopping at Amazon and the "Fan Channel" concept because that's the way the business seems to be shifting.

As for toy chains?  Toy City looks like it was a seasonal experiment and not much more.  The locations I had spotted already closed following Christmas.  The whole big KB Toys is coming back thing seems to have passed like a fart in the wind.  And TRU Kids seems like they have a significant international business, but they're taking their time in formulating if or how they might re-establish Toys R Us as a brand in the United States.

Personally, I'm wondering how the Hasbro line is going to proceed with so many different entertainment avenues:  The Rise of Skywalker, the second season of Resistance, The Mandalorian premiering on Disney+, and the return of Clone Wars.  It could make for a somewhat schizophrenic line, and that's not even touching upon a toy line that might revisit characters from across the Star Wars saga.

In this regard I understand why Star Wars movies are taking a break:  because there are at least 3 tv projects currently in production with another in development.  And having that much Star Wars entertainment in the pipeline gives the Benioff & Weiss series as well as the Rian Johnson films time to develop.

2
WHY?

Why can't we get a proper colored Luke Jedi cape? ???

And here I thought that was a good point.  To me it seems more representative of Luke when he went to Jabba's palace than the TVC deleted scene Luke we got.  Even though Luke dressed almost entirely in black in ROTJ, the cloak he wore going into Jabba's palace was like a grey/brown.

3
-A holocron.  They can be imbued with the spirits and thoughts of the Force users that create them.  Could a Sith holocron made by Palpatine be among Kylo Ren's most valued artifacts?

This is interesting.

I’ve been thinking about the crashed Death Star and its (fake out?) link to Palpatine?

If Palpatine is alive, or even a force ghost, why would he stay on the crashed Death Star on the forest moon of Endor?  And if he is alive I could understand Rey going to battle him, but not necessarily the whole rebel crew.  I too was thinking there must be something on the Death Star - tech, relic, etc., that was drawing the rebel team there. 

Kylo Ren has been drawn to artifacts, although the movies haven't really beaten us over the head with that concept.  The Vader helmet is a clear manisfestation of that.  And his desire to have the Skywalker lightsaber in both TFA and TLJ is very evident.  A holocron would potentially be one of the most significant artifacts he could desire, especially one made by Palpatine.

The thought of Palpatine surviving being thrown down the tower shaft still comes across as less than plausible, despite the scenarios I spelled out.  But there has also been this ongoing story point about how the First Order emerged from the Unknown Regions of the galaxy.  It's been something of a mystery that has been delved into slightly in the movies and literature.  If Palpatine did survive, is that where he went?  And could it have been to connect with some kind of secret Sith homeworld like Korriban?

4
I loved that they used Leiaís Theme - made my eyes water. Iíve been sort of dreaded the end of the Saga and Leia. Read somewhere that Ep. IX was originally going to be Leia-centric - makes me sad that story is not going to get told.  :'(

+1!  That Leia theme gives you all the feels.  And as much as some people criticize a certain scene in TLJ, when that music kicked in it left me a mess in the theater.  I couldn't help but think about Carrie Fisher in that moment, and that music did it to me again here in this trailer.

I'm with you there about wanting to see how this story might have played out had Carrie still been with us and was able to see it through to the end.  But I'm also glad that the filmmakers were sensitive and respectful enough to not try to force something on us with a completely artificial performance.  Tarkin was one thing in Rogue One.  Leia is at the emotional center of the Star Wars Saga, and a level of authenticity to the performance is important.


As for Palpatine laughing?  Where does that go?  There seem to be a number of paths that are open based on plot points from other moments in the saga.

-Does it tie in to Palpatine's conversation with Anakin at the opera in ROTS?  Has he found the way to cheat death?  He even said it in ROTS as he spoke to Anakin following his turn against Mace Windu - "To cheat death is a power only one has achieved.  But if we work together I know we can discover the secret".  Is this real or an allusion to the Force spirit phenomenon?
-What about the world between worlds as seen in Star Wars Rebels?  Ezra use the portals to rescue Ahsoka from her confrontation with Darth Vader.  And he encountered Palpatine trying to use the portals as well.
-In ROTJ we see Palpatine fall and the explosion, but that's all.  Could Palpatine have escaped in some way using the Force?  The one point where that might not work from a story standpoint is why would he then abandon his Empire?  But we can also keep in mind his line from ROTS to the Shocktroopers after Yoda fell but they were unable to locate the Jedi Master.  Palpatine said "Then he isn't dead".
-A holocron.  They can be imbued with the spirits and thoughts of the Force users that create them.  Could a Sith holocron made by Palpatine be among Kylo Ren's most valued artifacts?

5
The cackle at the end of the trailer was enough for me to preorder this right away.  I've been hoping for a piece like this in the 6" Black Series pretty much from the time that the line launched (it would be nice to get it in the TVC line, too).

6
Glad to see the official reveal on this.  And it would have been even nicer if Kylo Ren's helmet had the new look as seen in the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker.  The dates on the slides in Hasbro's panel indicate that this may be in Disney Park stores some time this spring.

7
Are you saying we might get a trash compactor playset, Jeff?  Or hoping?  Or can’t say?

I positively LOVED the Saga Trash Compactor screen scene that came out around 2002 / 2003.  But even something like that could use an update.  Especially in light of the Jabba's Palace playset they recently announced.


As for the Luke Skywalker Jedi Destiny 3-pack?  It's pretty cool.  I like the Stormtrooper disguise and Jedi Knight versions.  The one head scratcher is the X-wing pilot version.  If the 3-pack is supposed to be a progression of Luke through the OT that isn't even representative of Luke from TESB. 

8
The opening scene looks like it was shot in Jordan at Wadi Rum.  It's a pretty famous film location (Lawrence of Arabia and The Martian shot there), and so was some of Rogue One.  I can definitely see the potential for anyone to think that might be Jedha.  And there was a still that I saw of Kylo in the cockpit of a TIE Fighter from the presentation.  I'm pretty sure it's him in the TIE that's flying towards Rey.

-The snowy mountaintop village with the A-wing flying in looked pretty cool.  Looking at it, I kind of wonder if that might be Battu.

-The burned forest with Kylo Ren and the Stormtroopers has some kind of an odd red sky.  Could that actually be Yavin IV with the gas giant planet making the sky so red?

-I'm also kind of curious about who is repairing Kylo Ren's helmet.

-BB-8 and D-O seem like an interesting pair, but they're together so briefly you can't really surmise much from the shot.

-Good to see Lando at the helm of the Falcon with Chewie.  And it looks like they've got the large sensor dish replaced at long last!

-The speeder chase looks pretty intense, and it looks like that same environment that might be Jedha.  Is C-3PO central to this story as an Anakin Skywalker relic?  Hmmm...

-The medal from Yavin definitely got me.  And that forest reminded me a little of Endor.

-The wreckage of the Death Star?  That elicited a significant "WHOA" from me.  And it left me thinking that was Endor and wreckage from the second Death Star.  Especially with the cackle that followed.


9
That music kicks in at about 1:07 and it gets me.  EVERY TIME.

So much to take in there.  And plenty to speculate about.  Where do you even begin?

10
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Toys R Us (Or: Die, Dinosaur, Die!)
« on: April 11, 2019, 08:41 PM »
Of the three former locations that I pass by on a regular basis, only one space has been taken over and operating as a new chain.  And it's a Raymour & Flannigan furniture outlet.  Another location is set to become a Big Lots, and I'm not sure about the third.

I'm still wondering how things are going to play out with this so-called relaunch of the brand.  I thought we might hear something following Toy Fair in February, but there really hasn't been anything substantial.

11
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Autism
« on: April 11, 2019, 11:56 AM »
As a parent I had significant concerns about vaccines and the possible link to autism when we were getting ready for our daughter to arrive.  So we discussed the issue with doctors as we were preparing to choose our pediatrician.  And it was with a sense of wanting to know more, especially since a boy in our extended family is on the spectrum.  He's a brilliant kid, but deals with some significant challenges.  And I knew that my cousins, his parents, were dealing some very significant challenges with him.  One of my co-workers has a son who is high functioning and able to hold a part time job.  My co-worker is also well past the standard retirement age, but continues to work.  And I think it's due in large part to wanting to know that his son will be provided for in later life.

As for our own attempt to figure things out?  What our pediatrician brought to light was this:  that a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield popularized the belief that there was a link between childhood vaccinations and instances of autism in a paper published in a British medical journal in 1998.  Wakefield also went on to attempt to monetize the scare that he had created when he stated that he would be offering new vaccines that would provide the same immunity as the standard MMR vaccine, but avoid the risk of the onset of autism.  That paper has since been retracted by the authors as well as that medical journal, and Wakefield was discredited professionally and British medical authorities stripped him of his license to practice medicine.  But the damage appears to be done in terms of creating a panic about immunizations.

On a related front, my region is now dealing with the repercussions of a segment of the population who avoid vaccines, because there has been a significant outbreak of measles.  Well over 160 cases have been documented in the county adjoining the one where I live.  Some of that outbreak is attributed to some people who traveled from Israel and may have carried the disease back to the U.S.  And now there are other people at risk because of the anti-vax community.  I'm personally concerned because the MMR vaccine is deemed to be about 97% effective.... not 100%.  Our family history with the disease is significant, since an aunt of mine died from the measles in the 50's and I have some adult relatives who were never vaccinated (the pre-MMR vaccine era).  And I'm worried about the persistence of that illness and how communicable it is.  The potential risks associated with avoiding vaccination are actually pretty substantial given some tragic family history and a very real outbreak that is still in progress.  So for me the vaccination conversation is not one that exists in a vacuum.

At present my daughter is 6 and is in good health.  Should she have a sibling somewhere down the line, my concerns are still there.  One point that was discussed between the pediatrician and us was about  the possible link between (undiagnosed) instances of strep throat in children who are too young to communicate their symptoms and the possible onset of autism.  The theory seems to be that the strep infection may start in the throat and make its way upward, resulting in that infection have an impact on the brainstem.  Other research that I've heard about links the age of a father with instances.  I am hopeful that research will continue to move forward in a diligent, methodical and scientific manner. 

What can I bring to the conversation as a concerned parent?  I absolutely feel for other parents whose kids are living with autism.  I really do.  And in no way am I attempting to diminish or minimize what so many families are going through.  Being a parent is challenging enough.  Parenting a child on the spectrum has to present a whole range of emotions and challenges that no one could have ever foreseen.

While social media has helped bring a lot of concerned parents together, I think it has also propagated a lot of erroneous information from sources that may not be properly vetted.  And I think there are some less than principled people who are taking advantage of the sense of despair that a lot of parents feel.  To that end I think that all parents should try to be supportive to one another:  to parents whose kids are on the spectrum, and helping our own kids to understand and be sensitive to other children that might be on the spectrum.  And I think we need to be supportive of any scientific research that has rigorous peer review, and exercise a lot of skepticism for research that does not have adequate vetting.

12
Isn't that always the case?  We see these really impressive versions that are hand painted for shows like Toy Fair or SDCC or the retail solicitations, but the production versions look less than stellar.

13
I got mine today.  The box was barely large enough to hold the card which was far from mint.

14
I didn't place a preorder, but I was able to pick up a couple at my local GameStop store.

15
Tuesday Morning has the old 3.75" figures if anyone cares. I grabbed another White Walker for $5 yesterday. They also had the Wall playset for $15.

I saw the Wall playset at my local Tuesday morning store.  It was kind of tempting at $15, but I don't know if I can put it to good use for a Hoth diorama just now.

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