Earlier today, Patrick Schneider (Sr. Global Brand Development Manager) and Eric Franer (Associate Product Designer) hosted the first Fan First Friday livestream of 2021 featuring a ton of Star Wars toy reveals. In addition to a renewed (and greatly appreciated) focus on the Vintage Collection line, this year’s releases will also celebrate Lucasfilm’s 50th anniversary.
Patrick and Eric also addressed the major issues people have experienced with Walmart preorders/exclusives, which we’ll get to in a bit. For now, let’s see what was shown that’ll be stretching our toy budget this year starting with the 3.75″ scale Vintage Collection.
Ahsoka Tano (Mandalore/Clone Wars Season 7)
……oh sorry, I stepped away for a minute to preorder this incredible-looking toy (along with the Darth Maul featured below). But seriously, what a fantastic looking figure! I also love how they made sure the skirt was molded with soft/flexible plastic so all of its wonderful articulation can be utilized.
Ahsoka Tano will retail for $12.99 and is available now for preorder with an expected arrival this summer.
Darth Maul (Mandalore/Clone Wars Season 7)
Another instant buy. We’ve needed this version of the character in this scale for a while and it looks like Hasbro absolutely knocked it out of the park.
Darth Maul will retail for $12.99 and is available now for preorder with an expected arrival this summer.
The Walmart Issue
The next three figures are part of a renewed focus from Hasbro to complete the ‘Original Kenner 96.‘ Unfortunately, they are also Walmart exclusives, which brings me to the brief ranting portion of this article (in case you’d like to skip ahead).
Last year, many collectors (including myself) preordered two Vintage Collection figures exclusively sold by Walmart: Din Djarin/The Child and the Incinerator Trooper. A few weeks ago, Walmart randomly canceled most of those preorders only to immediately put them back up online and sell out immediately.
Calls to customer service only resulted in baffled customer service reps and supervisors saying they didn’t understand what happened. One supervisor even flat out told me it would be better from now on to order collectibles when they are released rather than order them in advance. This definitely wasn’t the first time Walmart has screwed up Star Wars figure preorders, but they had never done it to so many customers on such high demand items before.
As you might imagine, people (including myself) were not happy.
At the beginning of the livestream, Patrick stated that the Hasbro Star Wars team was very aware of the issues people had with recent preorders and they were working to resolve the issue. While I appreciate him addressing it, he did not mention Walmart by name…and they are the problem.
No other retailer consistently allows customers to preorder items that they routinely delay (while stocking in store) or arbitrarily cancel. Target may let bots to wipe out their preorder stock in under two minutes, but at least they also put the items on their shelves eventually — and you don’t spend four months thinking you’ve ordered something only to have it canceled and put up for sale again so someone can snag it.
You could assume that Patrick didn’t specifically mention Walmart because of the old “these exclusives wouldn’t be possible without them,” excuse, but that doesn’t make sense, either. Visit your nearest Walmart and you’ll likely discover that they don’t even sell Vintage Collection or Black Series figures anymore. That’s certainly their prerogative, but why does Hasbro “need” such an awful retail partner to make figures with mass appeal like Din Djarin? They certainly aren’t losing anything if Walmart says they won’t sell Star Wars toys in stores sine they basically don’t now, anyway.
The Din Djarin figure also brings me to my final point before I go back to the much more enjoyable world of toy reveals. Unlike a highly recognizable figure from a massively popular/current show like The Mandalorian, these next three Walmart exclusives are definitely more niche. Casual fans and kids aren’t as likely to pick them up, but collectors like me might…or at least we would have from another retailer. All three piqued my interest to varying degrees, but seeing the dreaded ‘Walmart Exclusive’ tag made it an easy decision to save myself the trouble and not buy them–and I know I’m not the only collector who feels that way.
*steps off soapbox*
There are no preorder links for these figures yet (HA!), but they’ll all retail for $12.99 and are expected to hit Walmart (eBay) this summer.
This one has been released with the AT-ST vehicle plenty of times, but it’s his first single carded appearance in the Vintage Collection. The updated photo real deco look fantastic, but not enough to deal with Wally World again.
Good lord, that little guy is adorable. If Tunghori ever puts this one up for retail price or below, then I might have to get him.
The photo real deco doesn’t look nearly as good as I was expecting, but it’s entirely possible that the actual production samples will be better.
Now let’s check out what’s in store for the 6″ scale Black Series. The first three feature modernized versions deco/design the figures had when they were first produced by Kenner in the 1970’s. They are also Amazon exclusives, which means you should be able to get them when they come back in stock.
I’m no fan of Jeff Bezos, but that greedy bald bastard knows how to run a supply chain.
Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
You gotta love how great they madesomething that ridiculous look good. Also, the photo real deco is so great that Alec Guinness’ ghost might file a lawsuit.
Ben Kenobi will retail for $19.99 and is (maybe) available now for preorder with an expected arrival this summer.
While I appreciate the dedication to accurately portraying the original figure, I’m not paying $19.99 for that.
If you want to, however, the figure is available now for preorder with an expected arrival in May.
I might for this, though. Definitely has more flair than my original Black Series Greedo.
The figure will retail for $19.99 and is (maybe) available now for preorder with an expected arrival this summer.
The next group of figures will be packaged on Phantom Menace cardbacks (no commtech sadly) and are exclusive to Best Buy.
Not sure he’s much of an improvement over the 2015 version.
If you think he is, though, the figure will retail for $24.99 and is available now for preorder with an expected arrival this spring.
This head sculpt for Mace might be worth shelling out some coin, though.
Just like before, the figure will retail for $24.99 and is available now for preorder with an expected arrival this spring.
Jar Jar Binks
If you’re going to insist on overpaying, you can skip the “deluxe” version of the figure and overpay for this one without even getting the shield.
Jar Jar Binks will retail for $29.99 (!) and is available now for preorder with an expected arrival this spring.
Yeah…I’m not paying $24.99 for a Battle Droid. You can here, though.
The final product reveal is from the upcoming Bad Batch animated series.
Elite Squad Trooper
Do I know exactly what this character will be: No, although I assume/hope he’s part of a Jedi hunting task force led by Commander Cody.
Did I already preorder two of these incredible looking figures: Yes.
You can do so on Amazon now (unless it’s sold out). The figure retails for $19.99 and is expected to arrive this summer.
Patrick and Eric closed out the livestream by revealing some Black Series and Vintage Collection figures that are in the works for later this year.
- Tech (Bad Batch)
- Aurra Sing
- Zero (The Mandalorian)
- Koska Reeves (!!!!!)
- General Lando Calrissian
- IG-11 (The Mandalorian)
- Lando Calrissian (The Empire Strikes Back)
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