Hasbro’s Star Wars Figures Bring Darth Vader Back in Black [NYCC 2016]
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.
At the center of it all were the first Black Series figures for Baze and Chirrut. We still don't know a terrible amount of details about these Rebellion sympathizers, but based on the trailers we can certainly say their figures turned out rather nicely. Big sculpted guns are never my favorite thing at this scale, but that massive blaster is a big part of Baze's loadout it would seem a mistake not to include it. The sculpt looks strong otherwise, though his being predominantly in armor certainly helps.
I really like the use of fabric goods with Chirrut. Making the lower portion of his cloak fabric definitely adds some dynamism to his figure, and allows you to get a bit more creative with posing. If that was all sculpted, you wouldn't be able to present the character's agility as it was represented on film. It's a smart choice, and a style that I'm glad to see Hasbro making more use of more frequently.
The same could be said of the upcoming A New Hope Darth Vader, which mixes more fabric element in beyond the cape and skirt. Already with a figure in the Black Series, this new Vader has a different sculpt --- most notably the helmet is all one piece. You'll also notice it's got a slightly different paint app, too. The helmet actually recreates the prop used from the original film so exactly, there are paint flourishes on the cheek to make Vader's face, which were initially there to help the helmet stand out more on camera. That doesn't mean it was an easy choice to return to Vader again so soon.
"It's easier in a way doing the new ones because there isn't the context there," said Star Wars Black design director Steve Evans. "You'll always compare and contrast against the ones that have gone before. Case in point, Vader. We did the Return of the Jedi version with the removable helmet, which was great, but we heard the complaints about not wanting the removable helmet. We did the 'Emperor's Wrath' as an exclusive, which is a moment in cinematic history that's really important.
"To go back and do a Vader, I know everyone is going to really be scrutinizing this figure. Everyone knows Vader, they've seen him before in stuff we've done. It's a bit difficult going back and revisiting and redoing older characters. There's more responsibility I think."
It's also not always an easy thing for Hasbro to show off figures in such an early state. The Darth Vader we saw in New York was a prototype, and Evans pointed out a few things they were hoping to tighten up before release. There's also the factor of Lucasfilm keeping a tight lid on its properties until the right moment. Still, when they can, Hasbro likes to reward the fanbase with these glimpses, even if the final products are months away from release.
"We can't show a lot, but we try and show what we can," Evans said. "We know that fans and followers like to see new things. Sometimes we show stuff, and it might be a little bit too early. I think it's healthy to have the feedback to know when we have to go in and correct stuff. Whether its a paint apps in Rey or the deco in Leia; I make no apologies for going in and righting things where we can right them.
"We listen to fans, we're on forums; we take this seriously. It's very useful. No one is perfect. We're all human and running at 500 MPH, so to have someone point things out like that, it's fine. It's part of the process."