October 11-14, 2011
Story & Photos by Nom Troop-or

 

AT LAST WE SHALL HAVE REVENGE!
Face it, if you're a Star Wars toy fan, this is the panel that you've been waiting for. Hasbro got their team together to reveal the latest and upcoming toys in the action figure scale, the return of some older toys, and also announce a brand-new lines of Squinkies Fighter Pods which is targeted to fans of things that are cute. 

First up, in case you didn't know, The Phantom Menace is coming back to the big screen,,, this time in 3D. So naturally, the focus of the majority of the product lines will be based on characters from this movie. The major character is of course Darth Maul, who will be on the packaging, in the movie, and apparently the Visionaries tale is now cannon, because he is about to be revealed to be coming to The Clone Wars TV animated TV show. There will be three action figure lines in 2012. 

The first line is a new line called "Movie Heroes". This line will include "action features", something not seen since 2005's Episode III line, and most something many collectors hated about 2002's SAGA line. It seems that whenever there's a movie out, Hasbro brings this back out. And the strange part is, many of those 2002 and 2005 characters will be in this line. 

The lineup includes: Darth Maul (from 2002), a Battle Droid (unknown which version), Qui-Gon Jinn (from 2008), Super Battle Droid (from 2002), Phase 2 Clone Trooper (possibly from 2005...hard to tell), and an all-new R2-D2 with over 30 new "phrases" (really, whistles), a Destroyer Droid (from 2002), Obi-Wan Kenobi (2009), General Grievous (from 2005), Clone Trooper (Episode III deluxe jetpack), Darth Vader (2002), Yoda (2005 spinning figure), Obi-Wan Kenobi (new light-up), Qui-Gon (new light-up), Darth Maul (new light-up), Anakin Skywalker (Podracer...comes with big backpack), Jar Jar Binks (new with cannon), Padme in battle outfit (looks new). The characters with lightsabers will light-up by pushing a button hidden in the belt buckle. Original Trilogy characters will be coming in later waves, and there was mention of a light-up blaster in the works.

Although Movie Heroes replaces "Saga Legends", that line is not truly gone...at least in theory. That line was intended to be 100% repackaged figures, and Hasbro is still cranking out a lot of repacks. A LOT of repacks. Well, to be fair, some are repaints. Maybe. 

Case in point: the Class 1 vehicles are going to include more realistic figures that before, once again featuring characters from The Phantom Menace. Darth Maul & Sith Speeder will be back, a Clone Trooper & BARC Speeder, a Battle Droid & STAP, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is now piloting a Naboo Royal Fighter, which was a cool ship that previously included an animated-style Anakin Skywalker pilot. over in the Class II vehicles, look for repaints of Anakin's podracer, Sebulba's podracer, Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator, a retooled Armored Assault Tank, a repainted Republic Fighter Tank, Anakin's Jedi Starfighter from The Clone Wars, and an all-new Naboo stafighter that is a little bigger than the 1999 version.

Moving over to "The Clone Wars"....not much new was shown. Most of the figures are currently still in stores, or are about to hit, depending on your area and luck. The only "new" figures announced were a Phase II Clone Trooper (which might come with a jetpack), and Clone Commander Cody gets the same propulsion pack that the new Captain Rex has...only in orange deco. The very hard-to-find Aayla Secura is coming back, and there are new versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Captain Rex with his phase II helmet (not removable). But the most exciting figure was Republic Commando Boss...which obviously means we will see the rest of Delta Squad at some point. 

 The Battle Packs are a line that was a great concept when it was first introduced in 2005. However, the line has been given the shaft over the yeaers, so now there are only 3 figures in each set. There were three mainline sets shown: The Clone Wars Republic Troopers (Hardcase, Bomb Squad, and Cutup), Rebel Heroes (C-3PO, Chewbacca, and Han Solo), & Geonosis Battle Arena (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jango Fett, and Battle Droid). These include stands, die and cards. Good for the kids or new fans, but bad for longtime collectors who want something new. 

If it's NEW you are looking for, then "The Vintage Collection" is for you. The first wave for 2012 is a big wave that includes characters from The Phantom Menace. These were all shown at San Diego Comic Con, so no real surprsies here. Wave 2 will include "Blu-Ray Deleted Scenes Figures" which were also shown at SDCC. 

So what WAS new? Luke Skywalker (Hoth Gear), which is an all-new sculpt that allows him to fit on the tauntaun. An Imperial Navy Trooper, with better legs than before, and the first of the long-rumored "realistic Clone Wars" figures: Anakin Skywalker. Darth Malgus from The Old Republic is also coming, plus another version of Darth Vader from A New Hope that is said to include more articulation that before, but not a removable helmet. 

After that, the delayed wave from 2011 will be slotted in. This includes Aayla Secura, Nom Anor, 501st Clone Trooper, Dr. Evazan, and Kithaba...plus the return of Wedge. Or really the DEBUT of Wedge, since he never really was available in 2011. There was also a lot of attention given to wave 6 coming back out, as well as the much-requested Gamorrean Guard. There will be several others in this line as well...to be revealed at toy Fair. 

Jumping back to the Class II vehicles again, there is something interesting here. Prequel Trilogy ships put out in vintage packaging. The AT-AP, V-19 Starfighter, and Obi-Wan's Starfighter are coming in Vintage-style boxes. Definitely something unique about this...it will be interesting to see the fan reaction. 

Titanium Series gets one more chance to shine with 3-packs of vehicles from a certain theme. So, there will be 3 vehicles from Episode I, 3 vehicles from Episode III, and 3 vehicles from The Clone Wars. 9 sets are planned, but it's not clear if these are straight repacks or new deco. 

In role-play, Darth maul is getting a double-bladed lightsaber, something that kids will want for sure. The Force FX line Hasbro acquired from Master Replicas will get a Darth Maul lightsaber as well, and Darth Maul gets a facemask made in his likeness, complete with sounds and phrases. Interesting, since he barely spoke in the movie. 

The focus then shifted to the all-new line called Fighter Pods. This is really tiny non-articulated figures that are super-deformed and really cute. They are also part of a game that seems to be a lot of fun...if you are 4 years old. Of course, if you ARE 4 years old, then these might pose a choking hazard! Anyway, a whopping over 130 figures are planned for this line, plus vehicles in all shapes and sizes, and they can be used in these round pod things that basically are big bowling balls designed to knock down the figures like pins. These are very much in the same playful style as the Galactic Heroes line, and the Hasbro team spent a lot of time talking these up. Hey, they are trying to sell them of course. 

Speaking of successors to Galactic Heroes, the new smaller version of the Jedi Force was shown next. This line is still small and cute, but they don't seem to have that same Galactic Hero appeal. Anyway, the new sets shown are once again focused on The Phantom Menace with Darth Maul and Sith Speeder and a Obi-Wan & Qui-Gon 2-pack. 

Finally, we got to see some of the exclusives that are going to be offered. The biggest is a Walmart exclusive line which has been dubbed "Discover the Force". These are realistic style figures that will include 3D glasses. Here it gets a little confusing...some of the initial figures for this line will ALSO be made available in The Vintage Collection, and some will not be. In addition, some of The Vintage Collection and Movie Heroes figures will be brought over to this line. So really, it's all about the packaging! 

Several battle packs are also coming to Walmart, Mos Espa Arena which includes Anakin, Sebulba (now we see why they weren't included with their vehicles this time), 2 Pit Droids, and C-3PO. Pax Bonkik is shown in the photo, but apparently he's not in this set. The Royal Starship Droids are getting a 4 pack of astromechs with R2-D2, R2-R9, R2-B1, and R2-A6. These will be added to the booth tomorrow. The Dewback and the Vulture Droid are also coming to Walmart, and there is some type of 3-D packaging involved with them. 

Over at Target, they are getting a pair of themed 2-packs of older figures, similar to the TRU sets from 2010. Anakin Skywalker (Naboo Pilot) & Darth Vader, plus Darth Sidious & Darth Maul. Target is also getting a set of the Darth Vader mask and lightsaber. 

Oddly enough, the Kmart-exclusive B-Wing fighter was shown, and that's been out for some time now....however, the Landspeeder & Tauntaun were conspicuously absent. 

Toys "R" Us is getting the Podracers set, with 5 repacks: Dud Bolt, Mars Guo, Clegg Holdfast, Gasgano, and Teemto Pagalies. This brings back almost every podracer figure ever made coming back into circulation. This set will also include the flags for each character...as will the other set above. 

Then there was the obligatory "See you next time" slide, which in this case... is Toy Fair in February 2012. 

After the presentation, there was a Q&A session, where fans could asked some questions, but Hasbro didn't really get some of the points, so they gave odd and often inaccurate answers. The highlights include the new BIG vehicle will be announced at Toy Fair, the Concept Series figures seemed like they are being considered, still no plans for Ziro the Hutt, one fan wanted Jocasta Nu to be made so fans can stop asking for her, the "squishy" Fighter Pods are in no way related to "Squishies", and the batteries in the Movie Heroes lightsaber figures are not removable. Look for more figures to be added to the booth tomorrow.

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo galleries check out the action from Thursday and Friday!