Star Wars Posts

Rise of the Return of the Attack of 11 Star Wars Collectibles from 11 Episodes

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

With the final chapter of the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies about to hit theaters, let’s look back at the history of the franchise in terms of Star Wars collectibles. Which character (and related collectible) was the most significant from each movie? It could be the most popular, the rarest, the most controversial, or the most ground-breaking. Also, let’s look at these in the order you’re supposed to now watch them, instead of when they were actually made.

Star Wars collectiblesEpisode I – The Phantom Menace: Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s Jar Jar Binks. It has to be Jar Jar. Fans of the original trilogy (or the middle trilogy depending on how you count) had some trepidation about reviving the franchise for a trio of prequels. And much about Episode 1 was not received well when it hit theaters. History has been a bit more kind to the movie in the 20 years since its release, but poor Jar Jar was hated then and his persona has aged even worse. Some sort of talking Jar Jar figure has to be it. Perhaps one that dances as well?

Episode II – Attack of the Clones: “Boba, I am your father!” Boba Fett rivals several other characters for coolest rogue in the universe (Apologies to Han Solo and Lando Calrissian). This film concerns Jango Fett, Boba’s father. Well, Boba is his clone, so “father” is a loose term. Either way, Someone from the Fett lineage had to make this list, and since they’re genetically identical, it’s Jango time!

Star Wars MerchandiseEpisode III – Revenge of the Sith: Remember that plucky kid who won the pod race in Episode I? No spoilers, but it turns out he becomes the baddest of the bad, Darth Vader himself. If you watch the movies in order, this is the first on-screen appearance of Vader. This movie doesn’t have a lot of strong collectible contenders contemporary with the film’s release, so let’s go more modern with this diorama of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi dueling for the first time.

Episode IV – A New Hope: Over 40 years after its release, this movie has held up impeccably well. The entire cast of characters and the spaceship designs haven’t lost any of their magic over the years. This was also the dawn of the modern collectibles age, and the studio was not at all prepared for the popularity of the movie or the toys and other products it would inspire. One thing they did get right at the time… The Marvel comics adaptation of the saga. When the movie hit theaters, “Star Wars” issue #1 was not far behind. Lessons were learned, memories were made. Issue #1 combines everything great about the movies plus the world of comics. And there are some rare variants, too.

Star Wars ToysEpisode V – The Empire Strikes Back: In the first movie (or fourth?) Princess Leia was kind of a MacGuffin, a damsel in distress in a frumpy gown. But in this installment, she busts out a laser rifle on Hoth, and then gets several chances to be the hero in ways viewers never saw coming. And let’s face it, the scene with Jabba the Hutt and Salacious Crumb is memorable for so many reasons. So, this Funko Pop set with Leia, the giant space slug and his jester works.

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi: By the time the third installment (or sixth by this count) arrived, toy companies and collectors were becoming savvy on how to deal with collectibles. Tons of action figures were sold, and many of those were preserved in their packaging, so many of them are not all that rare. On the other hand, a pre-production glitch created one unintended collector’s item. Early versions of the movie poster referred to the film as Revenge of the Jedi, but for various reasons, Lucas decided to change the title to Return. So original posters with the early title are worth a lot more than the official version. (Just make sure it’s not a reprint!)

Star Wars collectiblesEpisode VII – The Force Awakens: A lot of folks saw this film as something of a reboot/remake of the first Star Wars movie (or the fourth… you get the idea.) Our hero Finn impersonating a Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren wearing a black mask and cape (nowhere near as menacing as Darth Vader ever was, though), and Rey… okay, not a damsel in distress, but a fierce fighter right from the get-go. But the movie, from a collectible standpoint, belongs to BB-8, especially the remote control version!

Episode VIII – The Last Jedi: No spoilers here, but it’s neat to see Luke Skywalker again, especially with Han Solo and Leia in short supply. Let’s just say Rey really owns this movie. So any figure where she’s wielding a lightsaber fits the bill here. (Not that she’s the Last Jedi referred to in the title or anything. No spoilers, remember?)

Episode IX – Rise of Skywalker: Baby Yoda isn’t in this movie, is he? Since it doesn’t come out until this weekend, we can’t be sure. So far, the available collectibles haven’t revealed any apparent spoilers. Regardless, it really feels like nothing in this movie can’t possibly top Baby Yoda.

Bonus episodes:

Rogue One – A Star Wars Story: This is a strange entry into the Star Wars Canon… it’s a prequel to Episode 4, but not part of the three other prequels. So there are a lot of characters who were never heard from before or after. So let’s give this to K-2SO by default.

Star Wars toys

Solo – A Star Wars Story: Not a character, but it’s gotta be young Han Solo’s Speeder, right? Sure the Millennium Falcon is the coolest spaceship of all time, but what piece of junk did Solo pilot before that piece of junk? Also, the rocket engines in the back look like the taillights of a 1960s Ford Falcon. That’s the kind of loving detail that makes the Star Wars saga so great.

If you have other suggestions for the most significant collectible from any of these movies, please let us know in the comments!

Baby Yoda From a Toy Industry Perspective

Thoughts of Richard Gottlieb from Global Toy News
Richard Gottlieb is the Founder and CEO of Global Toy Experts, the globally recognized consultant to toy industry leaders. In addition, he is the Publisher of Global Toy, the toy industry’s independent voice.  Richard is also a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

Whether you call him Baby Yoda, or “The Child” as the Walt Disney Company would prefer, he is the best thing to come along for the toy industry this Christmas season……except that he didn’t. At least not as a toy. That will come later, much later.

It is crucial that we study Disney’s decision to postpone licensing until after it introduced Baby Yoda. It teaches us in the toy industry some valuable lessons: We don’t count as much as the entertainment side of the business, and Disney may have just launched a whole new paradigm in how studios introduce new characters.

The Walt Disney Company chose to delay the introduction of Baby Yoda because it a) wanted to create a sensation with its new Mandalorian franchise and b) more importantly, it wanted to generate a frenzy of interest so that consumers would subscribe to the new Disney+. In doing so, the company was willing to forgo the resulting revenues from consumer product sales. They saw the loss of consumer product dollars as an investment in what was a larger target, launching their Disney+.

The Walt Disney Company’s decision certainly made sense to its senior management team, but it was an unmitigated disaster for the toy industry. Think of not only the missed Baby Yoda toy sales but the loss of incremental revenue that any hot toy brings as people invade the toy department in desperate search of the latest hot toy.

Yes, Disney will capture some sales later but the demand will be satisfied far more quickly. To paraphrase an old saying: Time waits for no man, and it doesn’t wait for the Walt Disney Company either.

But what comes next? Has the Walt Disney Company created an alternative paradigm for launching new characters? Will content producers in television and movies feel that keeping a secret about a new character or plotline outweighs the incremental value of toy sales? We will have to wait a few months to get that answer.  Or what do you think?

This post was initially published here.

Anthony Frandsen Showcases His Nerf Collection on hobbyDB

Anthony Frandsen, who lives in Pottsville, PA (home of Yeungling Beer), has added his growing collection of Nerf shooters, weapons, whatever you call them to the hobbyDB database. Blasters is the preferred term to the Nerfing Community,” he says. And yes, you also just learned that “Nerfing” is a thing. Besides his Nerf Collection, XyberDAWG, as he is known on hobbyDB, has close to 500 items in his hobbyDB Showcase and counting.

nerf showcaseThe Showcase is a relatively new feature on hobbyDB. In the past, collectors could add items to the database even if they didn’t actually own a particular item. Then they could mark items they actually do have in their collections. But with the Showcase, it’s possible to publicly display your collection without having to dust your shelves every now and then.

nerf star warsIn the interest of providing soft-serve spongy toys for relatively harmless fun, the earliest Nerf blasters were usually single-shot, air-powered devices to launch foam projectiles with either suction cup or rounded rubber tips. Like all the kids, Frandsen prefers the newer models with their rapid-fire action. “My collection’s main focus is the clip-fed ones, actually magazines, but Nerf calls them Clips,” he said. “Along with attachments (scopes, Shoulder Stocks, barrel extensions, etc.)… of course, I have a passion for the Star Wars related Nerf Items as I am a huge Star Wars geek.”

nerf nitronIf you’ve been to a kid’s birthday party over the last decade or so, there’s a good chance a Nerf battle may have erupted. Heck, it’s likely attendees were asked to bring their own blasters as the main theme.

Frandsen enjoyed playing with Nerf toys as a kid but didn’t really consider himself a collector.  “As a boy, I loved them, but didn’t have many, just one or two at a time,” he said. “But it’s something my boys like as much as I do. So about a year ago, I started building a collection for my sons.”

nerf rapid fireSome of his inventory predates that one year period, though. “My Rapid Fire 20 is the oldest item,” he said, “but the gun I have owned the longest is my yellow Switch Shot EX3 I purchased with the Wii Game Nerf N-Strike, I bought that 10 years ago before I even thought of collecting.”

nerf switch shotHe currently doesn’t have any interest in thinning out his collection, but might someday. “ I tend to not sell, I’m a hoarder,” he laughed. Nonetheless, he decided to add his collection to hobbyDB and set up a Showcase. “I wanted to find a suitable place to build an online collection of my Nerf Collection as I couldn’t find anyplace already set up, short of a text list on the Nerf Wiki. The Showcase is a great way to do all that.”

nerf video gameOf course, Frandsen doesn’t limit his interests to one area. He also dabbles in movies, music CDs, video games (and yes Nerf video games exist!), comics, books, Skylanders, and Lego sets. “As I’ve been adding to the database I spill over into many other areas,” he said. “Then I find myself cleaning up and correcting items unrelated because the way the database is so interconnected as you are fixing one thing, it’s easy to just follow the crumbs and clean up other areas.”

The Showcase is automatically created when you set up a profile on hobbyDB… you can go there and add a cover image, then add to your collection and watch it grow. And of course, if you have an item that we don’t have in our database, as always, please add it!

 

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

Furby Finds a New Home in hobbyDB Furbies Database

furby gameboy

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

In another big step towards becoming the definitive source of info for anything and everything collectible, hobbyDB has added Furby to our database. As in every single variant of Furby ever made. The Furbies Database includes over 200 of them. The talking ones, baby ones, video games, and accessories.

Furby first appeared in 1998, just in time to become THE holiday toy craze of the year. Furbies are sort of a cross between a hamster and an owl in colors both loudly whimsical or inspired by nature.

furby first generationThe big appeal, of course, was that they not only talked but learned and interacted with the owner and other users. In fact, despite their partly invented speech (called Furbish), they were programmed with a real vocabulary, translated to 24 different languages worldwide. Over 40 million of them were sold by Tiger Electronics in three years. Baby Furbies appeared in 1999 with higher voices and an increase in cuteness.

furby gizmoThe National Security Agency banned them from government offices, however, fearing they could be used as recording devices, even though they didn’t have that capability. (So in a way, Furby predicted Alexa and other modern household devices). Also, the makers of the Gremlins movies sued them over the design at one point. They managed to work things out doing a special Gizmo themed Furby at one point.

And then in 2000, they just sort of stopped. But not for long.

furby second generationfurby chewbaccaHasbro revived the brand from 2005-07, with some upgraded features. They began speaking only Furbish, but “learned” new words in English (or their new native tongue depending on where they were sold), and replaced the old with the new. They also had more expressive facial features due to more sophisticated robotics.

One of the great things about the Furby listings on hobbyDB is that our database connects them with other brands and characters, such as the Furby-powered Star Wars characters or Garbage Pail Kids cards.

furby generation 3Furby has since come back in 2012, this time to stay. Hasbro once again upgraded the expressiveness through eyes (and ears) that could show additional emotion, as well as an expanded vocabulary. There is also an online component, which is the sort of thing the NSA once again raised their eyebrows at.

The current run of Furby is the longest in their two-decade history. We have them all online at hobbyDB, and we (along with all of you fans) will keep it up to date with new developments.

Of course, we know there are always collectors who might know just a bit more than we do, so if you can think of one we haven’t listed in the Furbies Database, please add it for us.

Peter Mayhew: Celebrating the Giant of the Collectibles World

The galaxy lost an icon of gargantuanly hairy proportions on Thursday with the passing of the “big, walking carpet” that was Peter Mayhew.

Peter MayhewMayhew was known for his roles on the screen, his voice-over skills off it, and was an accomplished author of children’s books. But he was best known as the man who crammed all 7-feet, 3-inches of his gangly frame into the larger-than-life character Chewbacca of “Star Wars” lore.

Chewbacca was the first alien to teach us that extra terrestrials can be lovable, loyal, brave, huggable, fallible, funny and, dare we say, human. Every cosmically impossible entity — from Harry of “Harry and the Henderson’s” fame to Groot and all affable oafs between — owes a nod to the Mayhew’s portrayal of the Chewy.

Chewbacca legacy reaches across many galaxies, especially in the collectibles industry where he made his debut in 1977 as part of Kenner’s original set of action figures.

Peter Mayhew

Chewbacca looks to evade some mynocks in the belly of an exogorth (giant space worm).

How popular was Chewy as a collectible 42 years later? Chewbacca is the featured character in Funko’s Star Wars Smuggler Bounty box this month. Its subscribers receiving their boxes via Amazon the day of and before Mayhew’s passing.

Chewy’s likeness has come along way since the action figures and metal lunch box days. You can find him on just about everything from bath robes and chewy dog toys to Furbaccas and life-size film-ready heads.

Get a good look at the diverse world of Chewbacca collectibles on hobbyDB, including the Space Punch soft drink

What’s your favorite Chewbacca collectible? Tell us in the comments below.