Fantastic newness! With a lot of oldness. With Star Wars Celebration VI just around the corner in Orlando, Hasbro didn't show a heck of a lot that wasn't announced at Toy Fair or "leaked" to the web over the last few months. While numerous new exclusives were shown like Ewoks, a Yavin Pilots gift set, and Target's Darth Maul Returns 3-pack, there's really nothing new for Vintage, other than a minor technicality. Jocasta Nu was announced as a $24.99 exclusive for Brian's Toys, which sports an exclusive "proof" card as a pre-order bonus. While this figure no doubt satisfies numerous fan demands, this release also holds the dubious honor of being the most expensive single figure released in the line so far. The long-rumored new Speeder Bike was shown with an opening engine and a clear stand which lets it hover nicely in the air, and it seems as if it might also be packed in with a new AT-AT.
Droid Factory will return in early 2013 while Vintage goes on hiatus. 16 figures were announced, including new versions of Anakin Skywalker, Padme, Mara Jade, and others, but the only new characters in the mainline are seemingly the build-a-droids, keeping the lack of freshness we've had more or less nonstop since Vintage kicked off in 2010. To make things even less interesting, The Clone Wars has been reduced from 19 to 18 figures this year, with the final one-- Commander Fox-- being released weeks before its announcement, letting this year's line selection go out on a dusty whimper with no new character announcements on deck. That is, at least not this month. With no new TV, movie, or video game characters, it really doesn't seem like the most exciting time to be a fan and in many respects feels like we're going through the motions.
With buzz of no new mainline large vehicle in 2013 and the newest biggest upcoming vehicle being an AT-AT repaint, fans like me have high hopes that we'll have our collective socks knocked off in Orlando next month. Of course, things aren't all bad-- a new version of Pablo Jill looks like a nice upgrade from the 2005 version, plus a Clone Trooper Sergeant in the brownish (rather than greenish) stripes finally debuts in the Hasbro line. New Fighter Pods and Kmart Endor Action Figure 2-Packs should be exciting as well, there were a lot of attractive items but after thousands of releases, it's increasingly difficult to get excited by convention debuts-- particularly when some of them were sold at Target two weeks prior. Stay tuned for more in Orlando, folks!