SDCC 2018: 9 Things We Learned from the Hasbro Star Wars Panel

All the new reveals from the Black Series, Vintage Collection, and more, plus behind-the-scenes details from Hasbro's action-figure masters!

From the Star Wars: The Black Series to Micro Force, Hasbro had enough reveals to fill a space cruiser at San Diego Comic-Con yesterday. In a lively and engaging panel discussion — including Design Director Steve Evans gifting his own pre-order for the massive HasLab Jabba’s sail barge vehicle to a young fan — the toymakers pulled back the curtain on lots of new releases, talked about design processes, and much more. We learned a lot, and we’re already making room in our collections.

1. We’re excited about HasLab’s Jabba’s sail barge, and so is Hasbro. “Oh my God, we did it!” shouted Joe Ninivaggi, director of global brand strategy and marketing at Hasbro, of the fan-backed project. Jabba’s sail barge, a.k.a. the Khetanna, will be the largest Star Wars vehicle ever produced once released, and it is a game-changer for Hasbro’s toy development. “You guys did this. This was a huge leap of faith,” Ninivaggi said. “This is a reality. After 40 years we’re finally going to produce the Khetanna.” Chris Dern, senior product development manager, is amazed by what he’s seen. “It is incredible. It is simply amazing, the detail that this team captured.” Jabba, and Hasbro, would have nothing less.

2. Micro Force is taking off. Literally. Hasbro revealed new vehicles (!) for its line of adorable tiny figures, including TIE fighters, X-wings, and walkers. “We really wanted to emulate the essence of the figures into the vehicles,” Mason Fiske, senior designer, said. “So [we’re] thinking about that disproportionate, angular, chiseled aesthetic, but still thinking about that cute factor, which is not a word we toss around too often out here.” The craft all have an energetic, stylized look — and also have a secondary Easter egg functionality. Fiske offered up a hint for his favorite: If you get Rey’s speeder, be sure to have a Micro Force BB-8 ready to go with it.

3. The prequels turn 20 next year, and you can celebrate with lightsabers. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, and Darth Maul’s The Phantom Menace Force FX lightsabers are coming in 2019. But that’s probably not all. “Keep an eye out for all those new conventions,” Evans said, “and you’ll see some interesting reveals. Notice I use the word ‘reveals’ in the plural. Lots and lots of really, really cool stuff coming for the prequels.” So to quote Count Dooku, “This is just the beginning!”

4. Black Series Ezra Bridger! The Star Wars Rebels Padawan is coming to the Black Series in his Season One design, bringing us one step closer to a complete Ghost crew. “This guy has a three-ball-jointed neck,” Steve Bono, Hasbro’s senior design manager said. “So you get a little extra articulation and subtle posing.” Ezra will come with his Imperial cadet helmet and original lightsaber. All we need is a Zeb for him to annoy. But for now, we are also getting what many consider the MVP of the Ghost family…

5. Black Series Chopper! Yes, our favorite cranky droid is joining the Black Series, and he looks incredible. Chopper’s arms collapse into his dome, he has fully-functioning wheels, and an alternate (and beautifully sculpted) blast-off display base. Even Chopper himself would be excited, which is saying a lot.

6. There are lots of Black Series figures on the way — new and classic. Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s Rio, complete with four arms, is in the works, as are figures based on the original trilogy and newer films. Particularly exciting, however, is that some Black Series greatest hits, long out of print, are coming back. Hasbro is introducing a new sub-line called The Black Series Archive, which will re-release four to eight hard-to-find figures per year, all in new packaging. First up: Boba Fett, Bossk, IG-88, and the first Black Series figure ever produced, rebel pilot Luke Skywalker (sporting new Photo Real paint applications!). “We have figures in our vault,” said Patrick Schneider, senior manager, global brand development and marketing for Star Wars at Hasbro. “You want them, we want you to have them, so we’re going to put them in this line.”

7. The Vintage Collection strikes back. The fan-favorite 3.75-inch line has returned in grand fashion, and Hasbro plans more figures in 2019 than 2018, including the Scarif stormtrooper, Gamorrean Guard, and Knights of the Old Republic‘s Revan. Revealed at the panel, we’re getting a new stormtrooper that Bono said is “the ultimate stormtrooper,” made from the best parts of previous releases; Lando from Solo, complete with a charming smile (“Every single bit of reference we got from Lucasfilm, he has that expression,” Bono said); the Elite Praetorian Guard from The Last Jedi; and the Death Star Gunner from Rogue One. Plus, Photo Real face deco is coming to the Vintage Collection. “It’s gonna look amazing,” Evans said, noting that figures with the new painting technique will start rolling out in 2019. So to say it simply: more Vintage Collection is coming and it’s going to look better than ever. Buckle up, baby.

8. Who wants some Star Wars: The Clone Wars figures? The news that the beloved animated series is returning has sent shockwaves through Star Warsdom. While nothing was announced, Hasbro is just as excited as everyone else and gave a definitive answer about whether new Clone Wars products will be made. “Absolutely,” Ninivaggi said to applause.

9. HasLab is just getting started. The innovative new platform bringing big ideas and niche products to life got off to a big start with fans successfully “backing the barge.” The possibilities for where HasLab can go now are seemingly endless. “Anything’s on the table, and we are absolutely going to continue HasLab,” Ninivaggi said in response to a fan question. “You let us know what you want to see.”

See below for more figures, vehicles, and playsets revealed during the panel and throughout SDCC!

 

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

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