What's Going On with Star Wars? This is the most commonly asked question these days, and not only am I not sure, I'm not sure if Hasbro is either. Numerous figures are going to go unreleased in North America as the "Yoda line" got the axe, and the Droid Factory figures are being rebranded as a 3 3/4-inch The Black Series sub-line. To confuse matters, Hasbro is also releasing a 6-inch, Marvel Legends-esque series with the exact same name. Why? I have no idea. The line should be a hit, although separate names could probably help fans down the road when it comes time to make trades or search on eBay.
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After years of insanely large lines with a quantity of products well out of the range of all but the most spoiled of children (or adult collectors), far fewer products were shown. Many new exclusives were announced in the slide show, including new Vintage-boxed X-Wings and Slave Is which were most likely developed for another client before ending up at Amazon.com.
For fans looking for The Clone Wars, it appears a few of those axed figures will make their way into the new Mission Series figures. These roughly $10 2-packs are primarily new sculpts with 5 points of articulation each, done in part due to the increasing costs of manufacturing in China. While the articulation suffers, these and the new Saga Legends have sculpts that seem more accurate to the film and poses which are truer to the toy lines of the early 1980s. It's also worth noting that absolutely zero new, previously not-a-toy characters were revealed.
The "mini rig" vehicle assortment is going on hiatus, but the new mini Starship line will continue. The Fighter Tank, Slave I, and Episode II Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter are in stores now, and they will be joined by Episode III-derived Starfighters for Obi-Wan and Anakin later this year barring another surprise axing.
One reissue should delight fans. The hard-to-find Galactic Heroes Jango Fett Slave I will be getting a fresh coat of paint in the Jedi Force line, giving fans another shot at this expensive vehicle. The Star Wars Angry Birds program will continue as well.
While I figure the Black Series should delight the usual crowd of fans (and the 6-inch figures may bring back lapsed fans), it's the Saga Legends line-up I find to be the most interesting. Hasbro has not placed an emphasis on designing figures a) cheaply or b) to be compatible with its vehicles in quite some time, so seeing the big cut joints in the robes are a sign that maybe, just maybe, the line still has a chance to be toys instead of collectibles. As a kid, I grew up with a Luke Skywalker figure that could sit in the landspeeder with no problems. Modern kids deserve the same thing.