Are Fans Pulling A Luke Skywalker And Slamming The Door On Hasbro's Black Series Rancor - Campaign Loses 250 Backers In Under 24hrs

Jay Cochran - November 20, 2021
I think it's safe to say it hasn't been a great week for Hasbro's Star Wars brand team as they have been taking a lot of heat from fans for how they have handled the launch of their latest Star Wars based Haslab project, which is for a Black Series Rancor figure.

The Rancor campaign which first launched last month during Hasbro's big Pulse-Con virtual event is Hasbro's third Star Wars based Haslab project and 7th overall action figure oriented one since they began the Haslab crowd-sourcing site back in February 2018. Out of all of them this is the first time where I have seen the number of backers significantly DECREASE as opposed to increase.

Yesterday Hasbro held their second live-stream of the month which focused solely on promoting the Rancor. Right before the live-stream started the campaign for the Rancor had 5,134 backers. Almost 24 hours later the campaign is down to 4,884 backers. That's a loss of 250 backers after an event that was meant to increase backers. The campaign also lost some backers earlier in the week when they announced the second stretch goal this.

So why is the Rancor struggling so much and looking more and more likely that it could be the first action figure oriented Haslab campaign to FAIL? The only Haslab campaign to actually fail to meet it's minimum goal so far was for a non-action figure oriented large Sesame Street Cookie Monster plush toy they tried to do a few years ago.

One significant factor at play here I think is the number of Haslab projects Hasbro has chosen to do in one year. This year Hasbro already did expensive Haslab campaigns for Marvel Legends and Transformers, both of which ended up being fairly successful. Right now along with the Rancor, Hasbro is running campaigns for a G.I. Joe Skystriker and Ghostbusters Proton Pack. The Ghostbusters Proton Pack while technically not action figure oriented has managed to reach it's minimum backer goal to move forward while the G.I. Joe Skystriker continues to move slowly towards it's goal. Perhaps Hasbro might consider limiting these big expensive items to only a couple a year, rotating which brands they do them for so collectors can allow their wallets to take a bit of a rest. 5 Haslab campaign in one year to me seems a bit excessive when you consider many of us collect multiple brand lines.

Another significant factor at play here I think is what has been perceived by many as lackluster add-on stretch goals. I don't think it's coincidence that each time they showed off the 4 different stretch goals this campaign started loosing backers.

Other than I am sure costs, I don't know what factors go into deciding what gets added as a stretch goal for these things or who ultimately makes those decisions, but whoever made the decisions on this one I think choose poorly. It's hard to image you would do a big elaborate Rancor figure and not include a figure of the one guy who cares for it in the movies. While the Rancor Keeper only had about a minute of screen time in Return of the Jedi, he is pretty well known among Rancor fans, especially those willing to spend $350 for a figure of it. So to me not including a Rancor Keeper figure with the Rancor is mind-boggling. Instead we get a Solacious B. Crumb, Gamorrean Guard and Jedi Luke, all of which have gotten the Black Series treatment before. The Gamorrean Guard is a straight up re-issue with new packaging, Crumb has no real connection to the Rancor and is very small and while the Luke is a completely new figure, I think its easy to assume that one will get a general retail release at least once if not more times down the road. Return of the Jedi has an Anniversary coming up which will likely get an Anniversary assortment and I am sure there will be a version from The Mandalorian series released.

Finally we get a cardboard backdrop which to me could have just as easily been included as part of the packaging and some bone accessories. I hate to be overly critical but honestly I think these have got to be some of the worst add-ons for any crowd-sourcing campaign I have seen to date.

After people saw everything that could actually be including for their $350, I think it's easy to see why so many people have changed their minds about backing this one.

Another factor I think at play here is just the overall appeal of something like a Black Series Rancor figure. While I know there are folks out there who where happy to hear Hasbro was doing one, I have to wonder how many people out there have really been that excited for something like this. I can only speak for myself, but its something I found myself easily willing to pass on, especially with so many other expensive items coming out these days. For the life of me I still can't understand why Hasbro seems to refuse to give us a good 3 3/4" Death Star Playset as one of these Haslab projects. To me that seems like would have been your most obvious choice for something like this.

Finally there is the price factor. Every time Hasbro does one of these Haslab campaigns you will hear people say it's overpriced. I tend to stay away from those debates since none of us really know what these things cost to make. While I agree $350 isn't cheap and I can understand how its hard for some to justify spending that much for one figure, we time and time again see many people willing to do so. Again with so many big expensive items coming out so close to one-another, I think cost does come into play to a certain extent, but I think If Hasbro was giving people a figure and add-ons they really wanted, the cost wouldn't prevent many from getting it.

At the end of the day even with the campaign loosing backers, I wouldn't be that surprised if this one ends up miraculously obtaining at least it's minimum backer goal of 9k in the final days, but whether this one technically gets funded or not, it's hard to see it as a win for Hasbro or Star Wars fans.
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