Given that the Star Wars film franchise is between movies at the moment, it wasn't surprising to see Hasbro's offerings for the Star Wars Black series dialed back just a bit. The Last Jedi is still 10 months away, and with Force Friday II coming in September, it's going to be a few more months until we learn everything about this year's Star Wars Black plans. However, 2017 is the 40th anniversary of the celebrated sci-fi franchise, and Hasbro isn't letting that go unnoticed.
Star Wars Black
Just one week after the special midnight events surrounding the release of Star Wars: Rogue One toys and merchandise, Hasbro's Star Wars Black team was on hand at New York Comic Con to give a glimpse into the future of the line. All eyes are on the upcoming film, and that's where the dominant portion of the new reveals were focused. After the whirlwind of new figures shown off at San Diego Comic-Con and Star Wars Celebration, it's a wonder Hasbro had anything new to show at all. It's a good thing there were a few more tricks up those sleeves.
There are Jedi that you know, and then there are Jedi that you love. Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is about as treasured a relic of the Clone Wars as there is. It helps that he's one of the only two surviving Jedi in the original trilogy, but through the prequels, the Clone Wars and beyond, Old Ben has persevered as one of the greatest Force-sensitive heroes in the Star Wars Universe not named Skywalker. It's a wonder then why it's taken so long for the classic Alec Guinness version of the character to get a Star Wars Black Series figure.
Sure, we've had a Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan to tide us over, but before he was attacking the Sith, Obi-Wan was a weird old desert wizard. Thankfully, Hasbro finally got its act together and brought Ben Kenobi to life in the Black Series as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive. While he'll be available everywhere down the line, this special edition of the figure comes with the first interactive accessories in the Black Series, making it one of the gems of the line.
The toy-collecting world may have had its fill of Kylo Ren this past winter when the leader of the Knights of Ren and wannabe Sith Lord was one of the few characters you could find in abundance at retail, but the character is still too important a part of the new Star Wars trilogy to completely ignore. That's why this fall, he'll be returning in the latest Star Wars Black Series wave in an unmasked version that shows Ben Solo as he truly is beneath the helm.
Of course, if you happened to be at Star Wars Celebration Europe or San Diego Comic-Con this year, you had an opportunity to get a hold of this new Kylo Ren early in a deluxe package. The new figure was part of Hasbro's cheeky convention exclusive plan to offer two Bens --- one being the original Jedi Knight, Ben Kenobi, and the other Han and Leia's jerkface son, Ben Solo. Though many Black Series collectors and Star Wars fans likely already have a Kylo Ren on their shelves, this one is actually the best of the bunch so far.
We first saw Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso action figure at Star Wars Celebration Europe, where the lead actor was also given her first look at her plastic miniature. At the time, the only way to get the figure was to wait for this September's Star Wars Black Series wave to arrive. Jyn would join the likes of Sabine Wren and Princess Leia, among others, in the most female-focused Black Series wave to date. But Hasbro wasn't content to make everyone wait out her fall arrival, and following its own lead from SDCC 2015, made Jyn Erso an early release exclusive at this year's convention.
Jyn's inclusion in Hasbro's SDCC 2016 plans actually came as a bit of a surprise, as much of the company's exclusive content was revealed well in advance of the show. There was also no indication even at SWCE --- which was just a few days prior to SDCC --- this was going to happen. Still, Jyn Erso was a welcome addition to the show, and like the First Order Stormtrooper before her, gave fans eager for anything to do with the latest Star Wars cinematic hotness something concrete to enjoy before the movie's December debut.
Lando Calrissian is finally coming to the Star Wars Black Series. Sure, it's with a sculpted cape, but hot damn, we are getting the smoothest son of a gun to ever fly the starry skies. Hasbro may not have had many reveals for the Star Wars Black Series at Star Wars Celebration the week before San Diego Comic-Con, but there were more than a fair share of new items on display this past weekend across the entire Star Wars brand. From Rogue One to Rebels, to the original trilogy and prequels, Hasbro has got you covered when it comes to Star Wars.
Joining Lando in the wave --- which follows the one with Jyn Erso, Sabine, Revan and the rest --- will be a Royal Guard, Tusken Raider, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Hera Syndulla. All five figures are characters fans have been asking after since the Black Series launched, but Lando in particular has been on wishlists almost since the line was first revealed. The Royal Guard and Tusken Raider make some nice use of fabric elements, which makes it all the more puzzling that Lando does not. His cape isn't as small as Captain Phasma's, nor does it need to hang in any particular way off his shoulders like hers does. It's not a deal-breaker, but it will make Lando a bit harder to pose with the cape on.
With San Diego Comic-Con basically on top of us, it's time once again for the annual Star Wars Black Series fan vote. After the success of 2015's first annual event, it makes perfect sense for Hasbro to return down this road once more. After a week or so of lead-up wherein fans could submit nominees on a number of Star Wars and collectible websites, the final six were narrowed down to a variety of characters from all over the Star Wars Universe. Now it's time to choose which of them is worthy enough of getting their own 6" action figure.
This past year has been a massive one for Hasbro's Star Wars lines. From the collector favorite Star Wars Black Series to the 3.75" figures and everything in between, you can hardly find a Hasbro aisle anywhere in the country that isn't jammed with figures from a galaxy far, far away. While at Star Wars Celebration Europe this past weekend, we caught up Steve Evans, design director for Hasbro's Star Wars figures, to talk about what's new, what's coming, and how Hasbro plans on keeping the line fresh headed into Rogue One later this year.
We also have some new images of the upcoming Black Series wave, due to arrive later this fall, along with new 3.75" figures and vehicles featuring your favorite Star Wars Rebels characters.
It didn't take long today during the Star Wars Celebration Europe Rogue One panel for Felicity Jones to get a chance to see her very first action figure. While many of us in the collecting world had assumed the protagonist of this winter's first Star Wars film to take place away from the Skywalkers, Hasbro had never confirmed it for certain. It is official now however, and Jyn Erso will join the ranks of the Star Wars Black series when the next wave launches this fall.
There's no exact release date for the upcoming wave, which also includes Leia Organa (A New Hope), Sabine Wren and unmasked Kylo Ren (and more), but if last year's Force Friday event in September is any kind of indicator, better mark you calendars for that first Friday now. What's more, Jyn joining this wave makes it the most female-centric Black Series wave since the line launched. There has never been a wave with three female figures in it before, let alone two, so this fall is going to be home to all kinds of firsts.
Summer is here and that means it's time for convention exclusive items. Both the bastion and the bane of many collectors, convention exclusives present us with collectibles we may otherwise never see at retail with the caveat that they'll be next to impossible to track down if you aren't actually at the show itself. Heck, sometimes you can be at the show in person and still miss out on a sweet limited item. Fortunately, Hasbro's Star Wars Black Series is offering up two exclusives this convention season which should double your odds of acquisition.
Last year, we saw the debut of the First Order Stormtrooper, as San Diego Comic-Con was the first place you could get your hands on any toys from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This year, Hasbro isn't just sticking with the latest film in the franchise, though the Force Awakens will be a part of the plan. A new Kylo Ren Pack, featuring Ben Solo's finely coiffed portrait, will be offered exclusively at Star Wars Celebration Europe. Additionally, the original trilogy will get some love in the form a an Obi-Wan Kenobi pack, which will be offered exclusively at SDCC and Fan Expo Canada.