Over at Entertainment Weekly, Solo‘s Jon Kasdan and Alden Ehrenreich discuss the movie’s Millennium Falcon and how it evolves with each owner, from Lando’s “party vessel” to the grimy version we meet in A New Hope. Also at EW, a look at the movie’s Hasbro toy line.
→ StarWars.com has added/updated some databank entries for The Last Jedi. They’re pretty vague!
→ Behind the scenes footage of The Last Jedi will be among the Disney movies featured in one of those before-the-showing reels.
Force Friday officially begins in only a few hours, and today was a sheer flurry of announcements about the toys and other products that are coming out as we head towards the release of The Last Jedi.
The Last Jedi toy leaks have begun! We have our first look at Kylo Ren’s starfighter, a new TIE variation. There are also various signs of what toys we’ll be getting in the early waves, including what seems to be two versions of Snoke.
We only see half of it at the link, but John Burns did a painting based on MSW’s previous report of the fighter; Check it out under the cut.
Jaina, the oldest child and only daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo in decanonized Legends timeline, has had at least one figure from Hasbro in the past, plus a Bishoujo-style statue from Kotobukiya. The new figure will take some time: The fruits of last year’s poll – Darth Revan and Sabine Wren – aren’t expected to hit the shelves until late this year.
This week was a great deal quieter than the last, likely because we’re barreling towards Celebration Europe, which begins on the 15th. We got two panel announcements for the con, the ‘Future Filmmakers’ with directors Rian Johnson, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, and ‘Ahsoka’s Untold Tales’ with Dave Filoni and Ashley Eckstein. (Pablo is moderating both, of course. Because Pablo.)
→ Of course Star Wars’ biggest secret keeper, aka Mark Hamill, isn’t running around spoiling Episode VIII.
→ Unboxing Star Wars is now Star Wars Story Talk!
What we didn’t get to
→ Samuel L. Jackson thinks Mace Windu survived Revenge of the Sith, and George Lucas is okay with it, apparently.
→ DK’s Star Wars Year By Year and Star Wars: Complete Locations are getting updated versions this fall.
→ Hasbro reveals two new 6-inch convention figures at Entertainment Weekly: A helmetless Kylo Ren (with melted Vader helmet) for Celebratiopn Europe, and A New Hope Obi-Wan Kenobi (with hologram Leia) for San Diego Comic-Con.
Entertainment Weekly has revealed Hasbro’s Maz Kanata action figure, which will debut at Toy Fair this weekend.
Sadly, for the established collectors, Maz won’t be available on her own. She’ll be released this spring as part of a “Takodana Encounter” playset along with Rey, BB-8 and Finn, for $19.99. Two female characters in one pack? Hasbro, you’re trying!
Here’s some good news for fans hungry for more ladies in the toy aisle – There’ll be a Princess Leia figure based on her Rebels appearance from Hasbro. The 3¾ figure will be in stores this fall.
In less happy toy news, there’s a new report that lays the cause of the lack of Rey toys at the feet of Lucasfilm themselves. A purported insider described a January 2015 vendor meeting with the company to the blog Sweatpants and Coffee:
The insider, who was at those meetings, described how initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently. At first, discussions were positive, but as the meetings wore on, one or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products. Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider.
“We know what sells,” the industry insider was told. “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”
Hasbro is releasing more toys with Rey and other female characters, like Leia, aren’t being left out entirely. (And note that while there are certainly far less Rey items, she wasn’t totally excluded from the first wave of products.) But the report does show there’s a lot of work to be done at every level.
We’ll be seeing the first The Force Awakens reviews on Wednesday, December 16th at 12:01am PST. Plan accordingly. In Hollywood, things are shaping up for the Monday premiere, which will have “Academy Award levels” of security and crowd control.
→ The Force Awakens will be featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, and in the preview video we get to hear some of John Williams’ new score.
→ Today’s best bet: Samuel L. Jackson and Gwendoline Christie chat for Interview magazine.
→ Costume designer Michael Kaplan on Kylo Ren’s helmet for Time.
Fast Company has a profile of Hasbro Star Wars design director Steve Evans, focusing on The Force Awakens rollout. Of special interest to us, some words on the changing market:
“I’m actually very, very fond of the three-and-three-quarter inch Rey figure,” Evans says. It’s an appropriate choice, and not just for the fact that Rey is one of the main characters in the next Star Wars chapter. That figure symbolizes a radical shift in the action figure market—and the Star Wars toys market in particular.
“It’s because of what it stands for,” says Evans. “Just because of the way it’s embracing girls into the brand more. I have a son and two twin daughters and my girls are infatuated with Rey. They think she’s brilliant.”
Back in the ’70s and ’80s Star Wars action figures were thought of as something to be made just for boys. But Evans says that’s all changed now. And not only are the artificial gender action figure barriers are coming down, now they’re designed to appeal to people of all ages.
As for The Force Awakens, “as we lead up to December 18, there’s a certain amount that gets released,” says Evans. “There are certain surprises from our product line that no one knows about, that we’ll release leading up to the movie, at the movie, and beyond the movie.”