This week, Star Wars News Net was invited to join the Hasbro Star Wars team for a roundtable. We were joined by Patrick Schneider (Senior Manager, Global Brand Development & Marketing) and Emily Cantelupe (Senior Product Designer). We discussed the latest announcements from their Fan First Wednesday, the challenges they’re facing with the supply chain, and more.
Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:
Star Wars News Net: The Bib Fortuna Throne Room set adds to the awesome lineup of playsets that continue worldbuilding for Star Wars collectors. How do you decide what to include in the playset?
Emily Cantelupe: Picking the pieces is absolutely part of the fun. As we look into the content one of the things is going to become what pieces does the story revolve around, and do the characters interact with. For example when we did our Bespin freezing chamber, it’s all about that area where the carbonite piece drops down inside – that was the moment that made you gasp in the movie – so those elements that drive the story are some the key areas of our playsets. Other than that, I would say what can your figures interact with, what you pose with your figures is really fun. In this set it’s the spotchka bottle that Fennec Shand is leaning on the throne with, and it’s the coin purse that changes hands so many times, then all these chalices that all your denizens can all hold. So yeah, what lights up the story, what lights up the play.
SWNN: Supply Chains have continued to cause major delays and problems for the toy industry, have these delays caused your team to pivot plans for Star Wars releases? Has anything been cancelled?
Patrick Schneider: Nothing has been cancelled – certainly nothing we’ve revealed publicly and shared with the world. The goal is to get all the product out that the community wants as quickly as possible in a sane manner. We certainly have pivoted where it makes sense, but no plans at this point to cancel anything.
SWNN: With exclusives and items spread out across multiple distributors, it’s been noticed by fans that items are shipping at different times. How is Hasbro working to fix this issue?
Patrick Schneider: In the past it was a pretty straight forward process. The product would all arrive generally at the same time, and we’re just not seeing that now. It’s not just Hasbro, it’s across the entire industry. It’s not just the toy industry – it’s everywhere. It’s just a lot of unpredictable shipping issues and curve balls. That’s not the goal. We want the community to have a unified, positive experience, so we’re working on things like that. That’s why we’ve moved at one point to revealing and not preordering, and there were some difficulties with that, so we pivoted back. We’re always trying new things to make the experience positive and we’ll continue doing so, but feedback like this is helpful in doing that.
SWNN: It was really unfortunate that the HasLab Rancor didn’t reach it’s funding goals. During The Book of Boba Fett we were introduced to a new rancor, how do you guys handle those new things that pop up? Patrick you’ve mentioned your team didn’t know about Luke in The Force Awakens until he appeared. How do you react to those appearances, as fans have often commented on the time from when we see a character on screen to when we see them in figure form?
Patrick Schneider: I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone that experienced Luke at the end of Episode VII or the child, Grogu, appearing – that took the world by storm because no one knew it was coming. So we trust Lucasfilm (Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni for The Mandalorian) implicitly – like they’ve proven it out. And if it means we don’t get product later, that’s something we’re happy to do to have the strength of that impact as Star Wars Fans. So how did we feel when we saw the rancor in The Book of Boba Fett? Obviously as a fan – it was amazing. We’re always evaluating what we’ll do in the future based on what we see on screen, but yeah, we do see some of those things at the same time – and that’s the way it should be.
SWNN: One of the coolest parts of being a Star Wars fan is going to the stores looking for figures or events like Triple Force Friday. Now Triple Force Friday was a release event that coincided with a movie release, are there any plans to host events with tv series premieres?
Patrick Schneider: We can’t comment on any future plans, but of course we did in 2020 “Mando Mondays” – and we had a lot of fun with that program. You mentioned Triple Force Friday, those are fun because they’re in the moment, but then they pass and you’re like “oh what’s next?”. I love “Mando Mondays” because it was a two or three month long period of excitement and news, and keeping up with the show, and seeing things in the show and then seeing them released in products. That was a lot of fun and it certainly can provide a model for the future, but yeah we’re excited to see what comes from that.
We want to thank Patrick and Emily from the Star Wars Hasbro team for taking the time to chat with us. Stay tuned to Star Wars News Net for the latest updates from Hasbro! Did you miss their Fan First Wednesday announcements? You can find them here.