Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Episode VI

This is the sixth column in a weekly series from The Rock Father James Zahn. Check back Fridays for the latest in what’s happening in the galaxy far, far away.

When it comes to collecting, the word “exclusive” can elicit an emotional response that runs the gamut from joy and excitement, to disappointment and even outright anger. This is something not limited to a single fandom, but a phenomenon that Star Wars fans have been dealing with longer than most. The name says it all—limited quantities of an item that many will want, and by design some people will be left out… excluded from the fun. In the recent Funko documentary, Making Fun, it’s noted that exclusives are a nightmare for completists, those who desire to have a complete collection. With something as expansive as Star Wars, complete collections are a rare thing, most easily accomplished by focusing efforts on a specific character or vehicle, as opposed to an entire line. With summer upon us, the “convention season” exclusives are starting to be revealed, and that means a lot of Star Wars that will be hard to track down.

When Hasbro formally announced the return of “The Vintage Collection” (TVC) last year, collectors were excited for a return to what many feel has been the best Star Wars action figure line of the past 40 years. At the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York, we got our first look at some of the new stuff in the pipeline, and for the first TVC exclusive it’s all about a fan-favorite: Doctor Aphra.

The STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION DOCTOR APHRA COMIC SET reaches into the adventures of the STAR WARS comic universe with a trio of 3.75-inch-scale figures including DOCTOR APHRA, 0-0-0 (TRIPLE ZERO), and BT-1 (BEETEE). Each features premium deco across multiple points of articulation and design inspired by the Doctor Aphra comics published by Marvel.. Includes three figures and three accessories. Making its debut at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), limited quantities will be made available at select conventions and select online retailers after the convention in the relevant market including hasbrotoyshop.com.

The second notable SDCC Star Wars exclusive comes from Gentle Giant LTD, and like Hasbro, they’re throwing it back to the vintage look of the Kenner era. To celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, they’re releasing the ROTJ edition Jumbo Boba Fett. This new figure continues a tradition started in 2010, one that’s seen vintage 3.75” Kenner action figures scanned and sized-up into the 12-inch Jumbo scale. To learn more on how to get one of these if you’re not attending SDCC, check out the Gentle Giant site.

Personally, I’m not a fan of exclusives for a lot of reasons (long lines, scalpers, disappointing people), but they are cool to have. At least with convention exclusives there tends to be the added element of supporting your favorite toymakers, where retail exclusives are often pushed for by individual retailers—though on the flipside an exclusive might be the only opportunity to offer something that fans want, but mass retail wouldn’t support. It’s a complicated issue.

As a kid, some of my best memories are tied to the old Kenner exclusives—like the Sears Cantina Adventure Set. That famous play set retailed for $8.77 in the 1978 and 1979 Sears Wish Book catalog. A loose set in 2018, including the cardboard backdrop and four figures—Greedo, Walrus Man, Hammerhead, and the infamous “Blue Snaggletooth” typically sells for around $500. In a sealed box? Those average $3,000 and can go higher if the set is graded. Mine is long-gone, but I loved this set so much that when Funko made a set of Kenner-inspired POP! Vinyl figures (itself a Walmart exclusive), I made a reproduction of the original cardboard backdrop on computer paper for as a display.

Speaking of Funko, expect some SDCC exclusive reveals from them very soon!

FURTHER UPDATES ON THE FANDOM MENACE:

After touching on a growing disturbance in The Force in last week’s Transmissions, things took a turn for the worse this week. Following months of harassment on social media, actress Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico in The Last Jedi) deleted all of her Instagram posts. Her faults in the eyes of the wrong? She’s female and Asian. This disgusting behavior from certain “fans” (they really shouldn’t even be called that) is what also led Daisy Ridley (Rey) to retreat from social media in 2016, later stating in interviews that social media is bad for mental health.

Cover art for Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader Annual #2. Cover by Mike Deodato Jr. Written by Chuck Wendig.

Similarly, author Chuck Wendig found himself “down a weird rabbit hole of shitty Star Wars fans” last week, explaining in an epic Twitter thread that he’d been tagged in some kind “boycott” of his upcoming Darth Vader Annual #2, slated for release by Marvel Comics on July 18th.

This disruptive and unacceptable behavior is growing rapidly and needs to stop NOW. Following my column last week, The Hollywood Reporter, Wired, /Film, EW, Vulture, SYFY Wire, Daily Beast, The Guardian and more have weighed in on the issue. In the meantime, memes presenting Star Wars fansites represented by the infamous battle of rival newscasters from the movie Anchorman have started circulating—an example of just how idiotic this is getting. Stop acting like children, folks.

FURTHER TRANSMISSIONS FROM ACROSS THE GALAXY:

  • There’s a ton of Easter eggs in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and this week’s episode of The Star Wars Show looks at the ones inside Dryden Vos’ study.
  • We previously reported on the forthcoming Han Solo Season of EA’s Battlefront II, and now there’s a new trailer showing off all the sweet new content from Solo that’s coming to the game.
  • Tickets for Star Wars Celebration Chicago are on-sale now. The event takes place next April, and the $850 VIP tickets sold-out immediately. Word is that tickets for the event, put on by Lucasfilm and ReedPop, is selling faster-than-usual.