If you follow action figures at all, I find it almost impossible you didn’t hear about a little article published in USA Today this morning. Hasbro will be debuting a six-inch scale line of the legendary Star Wars franchise, labeled Star Wars Black. The article claims the line will focus on the original trilogy so naturally the first wave will feature Darth Maul! What? You were expecting Vader?
The first series will contain X-Wing Pilot Luke (and since the toy industry is so in love with the “buck” system, expect Biggs and Wedge in the second wave), R2-D2, Darth Maul, and a Sandtrooper. The expected price will be $19.99 each and they are expected to debut in August. Excited yet? I’m still not sure …
Obviously if I walk into a Toys “R” Us and see a six-inch Sandtrooper on the shelf I have a 99% chance of buying it. Hasbro is also making A LOT of people happy, and I think this is where I have the problem. It’s not necessarily the toys, I think they are more collaterally damaged by my feelings about Lucasfilm being sold to Disney.
It’s all rooted in pleasing everyone. George Lucas never set out to please everyone, he certainly set out to get all of our money but did it his own way. George was so set in doing things his way he literally made an industry out of people bashing him: Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Redletter Media, etc. In having an industry based on bashing Lucas and his creations, Disney now has ten years of free test audience feedback to base all property decisions going forward. Disney being Disney will take something that at one time was innovative or ambitious, play it safe and market the everliving shit out of it.
Did George Lucas market the everliving shit out of Star Wars? Of course he did. He literally made three additional movies to keep the toys and merchandise flowing for years to come. So why should I be annoyed with Disney for doing the same thing? Disney isn’t the innovator. They buy innovative products and use them and their people to make a lot of money, but they didn’t make Star Wars. Lucas built the empire. You’d be hard-pressed to find filmmaking technology used today that Lucas didn’t have his fingerprints on in some way or another.
Disney is doing everything right and that is what bugs me. They hired the flashy “in” director that turned around the other space opera. I’m sure he’s going to make a beautiful looking movie that will address all the concerns people had about the last three films. But it isn’t going to be a risk, it’s not going to be what George set out to do thirty years ago. It’s going to be fan service for a base that has been here for thirty years. I’m sure it will be fun but much like The Avengers it will be fluff. It will do nothing new or innovative but just tack onto a franchise that has kept relevent for thirty years. People will walk out saying that this movie is what Lucas should have done all along.
Star Wars wasn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, but we always had a face behind all those decisions whether we liked them or not. Now we can look forward to flashy directors and actors, possibly even a “reboot” if things don’t test well.
Star Wars six-inch action figures are a great thing for collectors as they have been asking years for this. However the reason I am annoyed is it comes at a time when Disney is playing the “make everyone happy” card. Star Wars was never about making everyone happy, most of Lucas’ decisions made people furious and I’m going to miss that.