StarWars.com talks with Hot Wheels designer Charlie Angulo and Lucasfilm’s Chris Dern about bringing the adorable alien to Mattel’s popular toy-car series.
For Star Wars and Hot Wheels fans, this could be the ultimate bounty.
Just revealed by Mattel at Comic-Con@Home, the Child -- the super-cute being from Disney+’s The Mandalorian -- is coming to the Hot Wheels Character Car line. The popular toy-car series launched in 2010, combining the classic Hot Wheels line with some of pop culture’s biggest heroes and villains, resulting in truly creative and imaginative designs. Mattel’s Hot Wheels take on the Child, launching February 2021, looks like it will carry on that tradition in clever fashion. As seen in the concept art below, the Child cautiously and curiously peers out from its hover pram -- with features from each element blending together and forming what could be the galaxy’s most adorable car. StarWars.com loved the design so much, we collected our bounty pucks and tracked down Mattel’s Hot Wheels Character Car designer Charlie Angulo and Lucasfilm’s senior manager of product development Chris Dern to discuss crafting this high-octane version of a Star Wars favorite.
StarWars.com: This is such a fun design, with the Child's expressive eyes acting as a windshield, and the hover pram as the body of the car. What can you tell us about the design process?
Charlie Angulo: When starting to design a new character car, we like to do our research by watching the content it is based upon. It helps us understand the personality of the character and what their environment is like. Just like characters, cars have different personalities and purposes, which helps us choose a vehicle that best fits the character -- in this case, small and cute. From there, we explore different ideas on how we can implement the character's features as best we can, to make it a vehicle, but still very recognizable as the character. We sometimes add Easter eggs in and around the vehicles for fans to enjoy…
Chris Dern: It’s also important for us to consider where we have been before, or the history of the various Star Wars Hot Wheels Character Car designs. We have to ask ourselves, "Do we have any Character Cars that we need to be mindful of that may or may not appear similar?" If so, we need to ensure details are very distinct and unmistakable. I believe we have achieved a great point of differentiation in this latest creation and a truly fun design.
StarWars.com: Was incorporating both a character and a vehicle into a car design more challenging than, say, an X-wing?
Charlie Angulo: In this case, throughout the show, we see the Child in this hover pram for the most part. It's almost an essential part of the character as it gives many traits to the Child. It shows that the Child needs protection, safety, and that it needs help transporting itself, so it's assumed to be fragile and innocent. Having the pram included actually helps us define its traits and complete the character. Plus, fans are so used to seeing the Child in the pram that it is expected to be a part of the design.
Chris Dern: This question causes me to immediately picture the Star Wars Hot Wheels X-Wing Carship in my mind. Honestly, taking one of our beloved vehicles and turning it into a race car -- they were designed for track performance, too -- was quite challenging. The Hot Wheels Team has such a great formula for their Character Car designs, which is really a credit to the talented crew at Mattel. It is always exciting to review the Character Car concept proposals for the first time. The team really has an amazing sense of design, including the ability to capture the smallest details that make the Star Wars Character Cars so fantastic. Perhaps it helps that they are quite the Star Wars fans themselves.
StarWars.com: What I really love about this is that it's true to the Child's curiosity and cuteness -- its character, essentially -- and it still fits in with your line of Character Cars.
Charlie Angulo: Yes! It was important that we translated the cuteness and curiosity of the Child without going too literal. There are some character details that helped us capture the character's personality into the design. For example, the Child is curious yet somewhat timid in the show, and to represent that in the Character Car, we decided to have its head tucked into the body -- but peeking out just a little bit to show its curiosity. The way it walks, you never see its feet. So having the wheels inward and covered mimics the way we see the character on the show. Such gestures and habits are really important in getting the essence of the character.
Chris Dern: We really love the overall design and we are excited about it, as well. Capturing "cuteness" was an essential part of the design process, as was asking ourselves key questions to help dial in the overall concept by using some of the most important character details. “Can we exaggerate and increase the size of the fins to represent the character's ears? Would it be possible to enlarge the windshield area to better represent the character's big eyes? Can we tuck the cab into the body of the vehicle to better reflect the Child's robe and puffy collar? Can we apply a cool mechanism that we have never added to a Star Wars Character Car before to make this even more compelling?” What? We can? Fantastic! Yes, there is a really, really fun feature that I was thrilled the Hot Wheels Team was able to execute. It is possible I was not supposed to tell anyone about that. We are so excited for our fans to add this little Character Car to their Star Wars collection.