Hasbro's Star Wars brand team agreed to answer three questions from Jedi Insider fans on a regular basis. Here are this week's questions and answers. This is the 5th round for 2009.
: Question from JI reader Dake
: Dear Hasbro, I imagine you will be receiving a flood of questions about the Titaniumís hiatus. I was surprised to read that it has been a struggling sub line almost from the start. I understand the need for multiple repaints to make tooling affordable, yet that creates a paradox in that people stop buying the third, fourth or more iteration of the same vehicle therefore cutting into the margin. With that in mind, is there any possibility of changing the fundamental property of Titaniumís and make them all plastic? It seems counter-intuitive at first, but it seems that more and more plastic is already being used in the newer tools, and you've stated in earlier Q & As about the fact that metal is a more difficult material to work with than plastic. Furthermore, it would seem that utilizing two different types of materials would increase the number of steps required in manufacturing. Would a shift to all plastic lower costs enough for the line to continue with fewer repaints and therefore more new ships for people to pick up? The "Titanium" name would not have to go away, as it is still symbolic of the standard of quality (silver, gold, titanium) of the product if not of its nature - it's not like they've ever been made of actual titanium to begin with. This line has been such a wonderful opportunity to get ships we would have and probably never will see in larger formats, such as the recent Tie Defender, Virago, IG 2000, and Z-95 to name only a few, and it's a real shame to read of its demise.
Hasbro: We appreciate the fan passion for ways to continue Titanium - the fact that a number of fans have written us with similar suggestions attests to the passion with which fans of the series have approached the news. We have had a lot of heart for the series too - and have kept it going for a long time because of the passion and the desire to see some of the exact vehicles you cite finally see the light of day. We look back on the Titanium Series as a tremendous success, if not in business terms, then in terms of the sheer number of amazing Star Wars vehicles we were able to fit into a 5-1/2 year run. The vast majority of toy lines can't claim to have runs that long, must less claim the variety that was eventually produced. It's exactly for these reasons that it was a very tough decision to shutter the line.
What you suggest is unlikely, for a couple reasons. First, the tools for plastic vs. metal vehicles cost the same to develop, since the two criteria that determine cost are size/amount of steel used and labor. Thus, moving to plastic would not change the underlying issues with the number of new tools needed to keep Titanium going. Second, to start a line like you suggest, it would need to be launched with an extraordinarily deep tooling lineup - a real commitment to the format, or the results will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It would literally be better to restart Titanium using a metal format and using the existing tools, rather than start and all-new one. Honestly, we don't know what can be done for a re-launch since the collector base by itself, as it exists, just isn't enough to keep the line going. Unless we found a way to engage kids in the format, or found a way to broaden out to more consumers, it will remain on hiatus.
: Can you tell us what the 2009 Star Wars SDCC exclusives will be, how much they will be and show us pictures of them?
Hasbro: There will be two basic carded exclusives, both in the new red/white line look on the slightly-smaller new basic figure card size, in protective clamshells. The price on these will be approximately $12.99. The first figure, available exclusively at HasbroToyShop at Comic Con and online, will be version of Luke with the "jubilant" expression when he climbs out of the cockpit after destroying the Death Star in EpIV. This figure is a rework of the Luke originally created for the 2008 Wal-Mart Droid Factory Luke/R2-D2 set, which Lucasfilm rejected because the head did not match out original input. In the end, we went with a previous version of Luke's head in that set for the Droid Factory set. There seemed to be significant fan demand to get this version back out there, so we re-sculpted it and added a brand new X-Wing ladder to the set. It will be a basic-carded figure on the new slightly-smaller card size, in a protective clamshell. The second figure will be a re-release of the Stormtrooper Commander figure from The Force Unleashed, which was very sport distribution last Fall during the release of TFU. This version will be on a red/white card (different from the original release) and will be a shared exclusive with HasbroToyShop distributing at the show, and HasbroToyShop.com and StarWarsShop.com distributing the figure online during and after the show.
: Question from JI reader Alpha 77
: What I'd be hoping to see appear as a Clone Wars or Saga Legends figure would be ARC Captain Fordo, since the new packaging for the figures is dedicated to Fordo, I would believe that there would be a figure for him as well. Is there a possibility of this?
Hasbro: There is no Fordo planned right now, but there's a strong likelihood that we'll get to him someday. Lucasfilm has asked that we not pursue any more of the Clone Wars micro series figures, but given there are a couple important ones still to go, we think we'll be able to get them into the lineup in the future.
If you would like to ask Hasbro a question to possibly be used in a future round, CLICK HERE