SWCC 2019: 7 Highlights from the Collectibles Panel

StarWars.com

A museum-worthy bust of the queen of Naboo, lightsabers so intricate they look like you could ignite them at any moment, and a towering replica of Chewbacca were just some of the highlights during a collectibles panel hosted by Lucasfilm’s Brian Merten Friday at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

We also learned not to mess with Merten, who seemingly Force-choked a heckler before giving fans a closer look at the most exciting new treasures coming your way in 2019 and beyond. Here are seven of the panel’s biggest highlights.

A new collectible featured during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago collectibles panel.

1. Lladró is giving Queen Amidala the royal treatment. Lladró, a maker of homemade porcelain art from Valencia, Spain, is making its debut in a galaxy far, far away to honor Queen Amidala — and other heroes like her — with the Born to Rebel series. The collection will eventually include characters like Leia, Amilyn Holdo, Rey, and Ahsoka, in honor of each rebel’s willingness to fight back against the totalitarian oppression of the Trade Federation, the Empire, and the First Order. Featuring color, a pristine glaze, and a gold luster, the handcrafted figurine celebrates the 20th anniversary of Padmé Amidala’s introduction in 1999’s The Phantom Menace.

A new collectible featured during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago collectibles panel.

2. EFX Collectibles unveiled several glorious replica helmets. Bryan Ono, CEO and president of EFX, announced a new precision-cast Episode V Boba Fett helmet based on the original castings used in The Empire Strikes Back. The mask of Fett — meticulously painted to match the screen-used costume — is available to pre-order now. Ono also showed off a jaw-dropping “Concept Stormtrooper” helmet paying tribute to the original sketches and production paintings of visionary artist Ralph McQuarrie.

3. Darkness rises, and light to meet it. EFX Collectibles is also producing limited-edition prop replicas of two iconic designs from the entire Skywalker saga: the lightsaber hilts of Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. The hilt of Luke’s blue legacy saber has been lovingly reproduced from the one Mark Hamill used on screen in The Empire Strikes Back. The intricately sculpted Kylo Ren replica hilt matches the one seen in 2015’s The Force Awakens.

A new collectible featured during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago collectibles panel.

4. Lots and lots of statues and busts are on the way from Diamond Select. Diamond Select Toys, which recently acquired part of Gentle Giant Ltd., is looking to continue the tradition of artful busts and statues like Star Wars Celebration 2019’s con-exclusive “mecha-leg” Darth Maul. “Vision-wise, we’re going to try to continue what Gentle Giant did best,” DST president Chuck Terceira said. Diamond Select will soon open pre-orders for Chewbacca and Han Solo (Corellia) busts based on their appearances from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Other upcoming DST collectibles include a set of porg bookends, a 1/7-scale Darth Maul statue, a pair of matching Rey and BB-8 statues that comes with a magnetic base for easy display, and a bust modeled after Luke’s Force-projection appearance on Crait.

A new collectible featured during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago collectibles panel.

5. More samurai-inspired designs are coming from Bandai. Collectors of Bandai’s awe-inspiring samurai statues have plenty more to look forward to this fall. The company showed off its recent “Honyaku Karakuri” interpretation of C-3PO, which holds a ceremonial fan emblazoned with the iconic crest of the Rebel Alliance, and also gave fans a glimpse of three all-new creations: a First Order stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, and Captain Phasma. 

A new collectible featured during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago collectibles panel.

6. Kotobukiya’s Rey and Kylo Ren statues bring balance to the Force. Japan’s Kotobukiya plans to launch a new ARTFX Artist Series, which kicks off with a pair of statues by manga artist Kamome Shirahama, who’s done a number of gorgeous variant covers for Marvel’s Star Wars titles. “Rey, Descendent of Light” is a 1/7-scale interpretation of Rey as she appeared on Jakku in The Force Awakens. “Kylo Ren, Cloaked in Shadows” shows the son of darkness holding his own mask, staring into the darkness of the face he’s hidden behind for so long. Kylo’s mask accessory can also be swapped out for the burnt, twisted visage of Darth Vader.

A new collectible featured during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago collectibles panel.

7. Let the Wookiee in. There’s also a massive Chewbacca bust and full-sized, furry statue of the mighty Wookiee coming from Regal Robot. Need we say more?

Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Fangoria, Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

SWCC 2019: 7 Highlights from the Collectibles Panel

SWCC 2019: 6 Things We Learned from the LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary Panel

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Not only does 2019 mark the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Celebration, but that of LEGO Star Wars, as well. A full playset of LEGO Star Wars creators assembled on the Galaxy Stage at Star Wars Celebration Chicago to share reminiscences, insights, and a couple brand-new announcements. Here’s what we learned.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

1. The return of the Tantive IVFor many LEGO fans, the best moment was the announcement of a re-imagined Tantive IV vehicle set. The new and improved creation sports 1,768 pieces and includes six minifigures, including Bail Organa and a brand new Princess Leia sporting a rare skirt element rather than the traditional legs. Limited sets will be made available here at Celebration (some fans at the panel left before its conclusion to jump in line) and will be available to the public on May the 4th.

2. The man who knows every brick. Jens Kronvold Frederiksen — LEGO’s design director for Star Wars — is truly at the heart of the LEGO Star Wars creative process. He’s been there since the beginning in 1999 (his first Star Wars creation was the Y-wing fighter).

Frederiksen stresses the creative solutions to LEGO design problems. Rather than produce a brand-new piece, Frederiksen and his team try to discover a new way to use an existing LEGO brick. “You can build everything out of bricks you have at home,” he explained.

Chris Gollaher — Lucasfilm’s director of product development — is a longtime collaborator with Frederiksen, and recalled that during one challenging phase of re-designing Sebulba’s podracer for new release, Frederiksen was quickly able to identify the best existing brick to fit the need. Gollaher remembered thinking, “This guy has every LEGO brick memorized.”

3. First steps into a larger world of games. “We’re actually getting paid to do our hobby,” commented Jeremy Pardon of TT Games, which produces the animation for the LEGO Star Wars video games. “We’re remaking and reimagining some of the most beloved movies and TV shows of all time,” added Douglas Reilly, head of Lucasfilm Games, “but what LEGO gives us is the opportunity to take serious moments and flip them on their head with humor and and whimsy.”

Reilly remembered how the early LEGO Star Wars games were presented without dialogue from any characters; thus Darth Vader demonstrated his relationship to Luke Skywalker by attempting to show him polaroid photos of Luke and his sister Leia as children. “It takes the edge off,” Reilly continued.

More than one person noted that for many young fans in recent years, the LEGO Star Wars games have been their entry point to a galaxy far, far away.

The Freemakers from LEGO Star Wars.

4. The stories behind animated Star Wars adventures. In addition to the iconic toys, LEGO Star Wars creators from the world of animation joined the panel. “All of us at LEGO who work on Star Wars are huge Star Wars fans,” explained Executive Producer Keith Malone.

Writer and director Michael Price picked up the lucky assignment of producing fun-filled animated adventures including The Yoda Chronicles and The Padawan Menace. He later worked to adapt new feature film projects such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We had to write things not knowing what anything was,” he recalled, citing the limited reference material then available.

Lucasfilm’s Michael Price — director of live action & animated series development — was among those behind the creation of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, “a big step forward in LEGO Star Wars storytelling,” as he explained, showcasing wholly original characters.

5. The greatest battles are built by you! When asked what project had been their favorite, LEGO Senior Marketing Manager Theresa Eleonora Christoffersen answered, “what I am doing now,” which involves a rare opportunity for fans at Celebration to participate directly in a LEGO Star Wars story.

In an initiative called LEGO Star Wars Greatest Battles Built by You, fans here at Star Wars Celebration are getting the chance to narrate their own LEGO Star Wars adventure. LEGO filmmakers are gathering audio stories from fans young and old, hand-picking their favorites, and adapting them into brand-new LEGO Star Wars animated films set to debut at special anniversary festivities later this year.

6. Creativity passed down. What has made LEGO Star Wars so enduring? For Christoffersen, it’s that “the essence [of Lucasfilm and LEGO] is creativity. It’s what brings us together.” Frederiksen would add that “we have these stories being passed from generation to generation, and now the toys are being passed down in the same way.” It all adds up to inspiration. “We’ll go another 20 years,” as Frederiksen concluded.

See more images from the new Tantive IV set below!

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

Visit StarWars.com’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago hub for all the latest Celebration news.

Lucas O. Seastrom is a publicity writer at Lucasfilm. He grew up on a farm in California’s Central Valley and is a lifelong Star Wars and Indiana Jones fan.

Site tags: #SWCCPanel, #StarWarsCelebrationChicago2019

SWCC 2019: 6 Things We Learned from the LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary Panel

SWCC 2019: 7 Things We Learned from the Hasbro Star Wars Panel

StarWars.com

From a fan-favorite animated character brought to life in the Black Series, to a mind-blowing prototype, the reveals from Hasbro’s panel at Star Wars Celebration Chicago made one thing clear: the company is changing the way we think about Star Wars toys.

In a panel discussion today, Patrick Schneider (senior manager, global brand development & marketing, Star Wars), Sam Smith (product design manager, Star Wars), Vickie Stratford (director product design and development, Star Wars), Chris Gollaher (director, product development at Lucasfilm), Sarah Carroll (director global brand strategy & marketing, Star Wars), Mark Boudreaux (senior principal product designer, Star Wars), and Eric Franer (associate product designer, Star Wars) discussed the latest in the Hasbro Star Wars galaxy, from upcoming releases to some surprise announcements. Here are seven things we learned.

1. The 6-inch Black Series is coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Three sets of exclusive figures are on their way to the upcoming Star Wars-themed land. The First Order 4-pack includes an existing Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre (the first Star Wars Resistance character brought to the Black Series), the Mountain Trooper, and an MSE (or mouse) droid. “The inspiration, the authenticity that we see in Galaxy’s Edge, we can bring in here,” said Chris Gollaher. And of course, the mouse droid has rolling wheels.

The Droid Depot 4-pack features C-3PO with articulated elbows and updated thighs, an existing R2-D2, BB-8 with more screen-accurate weathering, and DJ R-3X, or Rex — the former Star Tours pilot who will be spinning tunes at Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “Renaissance droid,” Patrick Schneider quipped, also noting Rex is his favorite droid.

Finally, the Smugglers Run 4-pack includes Jedi Training Rey with Photo Real deco (for the first time), cheerful and sad porgs, an existing Chewbacca, and the shifty pirate, Hondo Ohnaka. The reveal of Hondo, a fan-favorite from Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured prominently at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as an animatronic, drew particularly huge cheers from the crowd. “He’s got a new look exclusive to the [Disney] Parks,” said Sarah Carrol, adding that Ohnaka comes with translucent goggles and his iconic blaster.




2. The packaging for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge figures is in-world. As the land is a real Star Wars locale — Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu — most product packaging will fit seamlessly, appearing of the galaxy. Hasbro’s offerings will be no different. “You’ll notice there’s no Hasbro or Disney logo in the front of the pack,” Schneider said. “This is supposed to be a product you can buy in that world, so there’s nothing to break that fantasy on the front of the pack.”



3. You’ll soon be able to channel your inner Luke Skywalker thanks to an amazing new helmet. The Luke Skywalker Black Series Helmet — the most requested roleplaying helmet according to Schneider — looks to be a brilliant blend of sound and light effects for play, mixed with screen accuracy. “Visually, this has been the most labor-intensive helmet that we’ve ever done,” Sam Smith said. “This is the most deco we’ve ever put on one of these Black Series helmets, and we did our best to match the original prop.” The helmet features interior padding, an adjustable elastic chip strap, synchronized LED lights and three speakers for surround sound, along with lights to recreate flare from TIE blasts, chatter from R2-D2, and much more; you can even switch modes between Battle of Yavin and Battle of Hoth. Red Five, standing by.


4. The Emperor returns to the Black Series. Based on his appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, this new take on Palpatine includes three alternate (including gloriously evil-looking) heads, lightning, and a throne. “We’ve updated the soft goods,” said Smith, which is important for our Emperor. Unlike the earlier iteration of the Sith Lord, this new version can fully bend his legs thanks to a fully cloth cloak, allowing him to do something simple but iconic: sit down. And because of this, Hasbro created something extra for the figure. “To celebrate the fact that he can sit now, we’ve included his throne,” Smith added. You want this…don’t you? Good news: The Emperor will be an Amazon exclusive, available for pre-order tomorrow.


 

5. Luke fans, this is for you. The Luke Skywalker Jedi Destiny 3-pack in the 3.75-inch Vintage Collection features iterations of the farmboy-turned-Jedi from every film in the original trilogy, each with a new head sculpt utilizing Photo Real printing, and other improvements. The legendary Mark Boudreaux, who has helped make Star Wars toys since 1977, sees this set as something of a tribute to a central figure of the saga. “We really want to…use our timeless brand, the Vintage Collection, to give you a new look at Luke,” he said. The Jedi Luke figure, in particular, looks to be definitive, from new soft goods to gloveless hands. “We’re getting it right,” said Smith, emphatically. Look for the set at San Diego Comic-Con.

6. New creative, colorful convention exclusives reference the toy-making process — and Star Wars toy history. The retro prototype Darth Vader, revealed at the panel, features random pops of color — the way a prototype might. “You can get a ton of different color combinations on these,” said Eric Franer, who also noted that the packaging has been designed to match the spirit of the figure. “We modified it to make it brighter, poppier, more Andy Warhol-esque from the 1980s.”

Boba Fett, too, is going retro. The 6-inch Black Series version of the bounty hunter — in celebration of the coming 40th anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back — is getting a release in the original 1979 Kenner deco. The packaging is based on the original Kenner cardback, as well — featuring a Star Wars logo. You can pick up both figures at San Diego Comic-Con.

7. One more thing… Hasbro cut the lights and showed off a lightsaber — just a prototype with no plans for release as of yet — that actually ignites a beam of light. As Vickie Stratford said, it’s the latest in their efforts to develop “the ultimate Star Wars lightsaber.” No photographs or video were allowed, but based on what we saw, it’s safe to say they’re on their way.

Visit StarWars.com’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago hub for all the latest Celebration news.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsCelebrationChicago2019, #SWCCPanel

SWCC 2019: 7 Things We Learned from the Hasbro Star Wars Panel

SWCC 2019: LEGO Breaks Guinness World Record with an Army of 36,440 Stormtrooper Minifigures

StarWars.com

With this many stormtroopers on Endor, the Empire probably would’ve won.

To open Star Wars Celebration Chicago and celebrate the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, LEGO has gathered an entire legion of its own best troops, and in historic fashion: the company has achieved a Guinness World Records title for largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures — featuring an astonishing 36,440 stormtroopers. Now available for fans to see on the show floor, the minifigures are arranged in the shape of a massive stormtrooper helmet, requiring 12 LEGO employees working 16 hours to place.

“We really wanted to something that would be memorable,” says Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations at LEGO. “A lot of times we build really large things with our master builders, so we thought that we might change it up this time and go small scale [Laughs], and really focus on the minifigure. The minifigures have really become one of the most iconic parts of LEGO Star Wars over the years. There have been over a thousand different versions of Star Wars minifigures, so we thought it was great way to mark the milestone.”

LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen places a final piece on the largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures ever at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen places a final piece on the massive display at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

LEGO has broken Guinness records before, but this was the company’s first attempt at a minifigure assembly in the US. Before it could be attempted, however, LEGO had to find out if they had the inventory. “We put in the emergency red phone call over to our colleagues in the Czech Republic, and they checked our central inventory of minifigure parts,” McNally says. “It turns out we had enough of the stormtrooper minifigure parts to break the record.” Plus, the version of the stormtrooper used is included in one of the five commemorative sets — the Imperial Dropship — launching this year for the 20th anniversary. “So it’s a nice nod to the anniversary, as well,” McNally adds.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator, Christina Flounders Colon, counts stormtrooper minifigures in assessment of the LEGO Group’s attempt to break the record for largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures at Star Wars Celebration at McCormick Place in Chicago, April 11, 2019. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

Guinness World Records adjudicator, Christina Flounders Colon, counts stormtrooper minifigures at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

Michael McNally, LEGO Group senior director of brand relations, right, accepts a certificate of achievement from Guinness World Records.

Michael McNally, LEGO Group senior director of brand relations, right, accepts a certificate of achievement from Guinness World Records. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

The model builders had to put each minifigure together the way you would when purchasing a set, and the overall helmet layout added an extra design hurdle. “The last time the world record was attempted, they were just lined up on base plates, straight in a row with no real formation,” McNally says.

That's a lot of stormtrooper minifigures.

That’s a lot of stormtrooper minifigures. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

It is an impressive sight in person — and a steady stream of fans have been taking photos in front of the display since its unveiling. “Really, it’s about surprise and delight when it comes to any kind of Star Wars activation that we do,” McNally says. “It was really about creating a visual that would stop fans in their tracks and remind them, Wow. Twenty years of LEGO Star Wars.” On those grounds, we’d say these stormtroopers accomplished their mission.

If you’re attending Star Wars Celebration Chicago, be sure to check out the stormtrooper minifigure display and visit the LEGO booth (#1616) for more surprises.

Visit StarWars.com’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago hub for all the latest Celebration news.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsCelebrationChicago2019, #SWCCNews

SWCC 2019: LEGO Breaks Guinness World Record with an Army of 36,440 Stormtrooper Minifigures

Thanks to HasLab and Fans, Jabba’s Barge, the Khetanna, Sets Sail

StarWars.com

Reclining on his throne aboard the Khetanna, Jabba the Hutt gripped his microphone and growled the final death sentence for Luke Skywalker and his friends hovering just above the Sarlacc pit. But moments later, the execution turned into an escape, leaving the mighty Jabba dead at Leia’s hand and his opulent sail barge imploding in the sands of the Dune Sea.

A close-up of Hasbro's HASLAB Jabba's sail barge toy.

When Jabba’s sail barge, HasLab’s first crowd-sourced project, hits doorsteps early next month, the painstakingly detailed Hasbro toy vehicle will allow fans of all ages to recreate this scene in Return of the Jedi, right down to a series of hinged shutters perfect for Threepio to peek through.

It’s been just over a year since the project was first announced, a proposal to make the nearly 4-foot-long toy barge a reality for the first time ever with the help of dedicated backers supporting a 5,000-piece manufacturing run.

A close-up of Hasbro's HASLAB Jabba's sail barge toy.

Since then, less than 10,000 have rolled off the assembly line, a delicate balance of plastic tooling and handcrafting that captures the minute details glimpsed on film and builds upon the legend of Jabba’s opulent ship with new details and immaculately crafted, functional parts. For Chris Dern, Lucasfilm’s senior manager of product development, the project demonstrates the dedication of the toymaker’s design team, a longstanding partnership and collaboration with Lucasfilm, and the love of the fans, who had clamored for years to see Jabba’s sail barge join their motley crew of action figures.

A close-up of Hasbro's HASLAB Jabba's sail barge toy.

Look at the size of that thing!

Weighing in just shy of 14 pounds, and measuring at 49.35 inches long, 14.64 inches wide, and just over 17 inches from the base to the tips of the sails, the barge is an impressively massive piece of merchandise.

“The size of this thing is incredible,” Dern says. “From a manufacturing/tooling perspective, this is quite an undertaking. The tooling just to create something at this scale, with such an amazing level of detail, is a remarkable achievement.”

Designers captured ornate, cinematic details, like Jabba’s microphone, trophy heads, and other sculptures, then took it to a whole new level, imagining other necessities for a crime boss’s floating yacht. “The designers went into this really thinking of functionality and playability,” Dern says. “Our goal in our role here is, how accurate can we get? Whether it is scouring for an old set of blueprints, utilizing archived models, published materials, and/or entertainment footage, all of which helps guide us in our decision making and ultimately to the final result.”

Designers surmised that Jabba would need a kitchen to keep the serving trays of pesky astromech droids and the bellies of the barge guests full, so they created a galley kitchen, complete with fresh-caught meats. Transporting prisoners required a jail, including one forgotten Ithorian, now little more than a pile of bones in a cell, and an armory.

Every detail was accounted for and made for active play, Dern says. The prison cell, for example, includes a tiny set of chains that can be used to secure an action figure of your choosing. And there are plenty of other trap doors, hidden compartments, and removable pieces.

“What I’ve always liked about any vehicle that Hasbro or Kenner has developed,” Dern says, “is the detail that they capture and then the functionality of it. What opens? What little trap door does it have? What little space can we capture to have secret hidden compartments? It makes the experience much more fun, compelling and allows everyone to immerse themselves deeper into the fantasy.”

A close-up of Hasbro's HASLAB Jabba's sail barge toy.A close-up of Hasbro's HASLAB Jabba's sail barge toy.

Handmade with care

Each of the 250 individual parts were molded by factory machines, then pieced together by both machine and human hands, Dern notes. “All of these little, hinged shutters — there’s quite a few on here — somebody had to piece those together.”

To capture the weathered, used look that dominates the design aesthetic of nearly every ship in the Star Wars galaxy, the paint deco was painstakingly applied in layers, a mix of molding, airbrushing, and handpainting that makes each individual barge unique. “You can see the brush strokes,” Dern says, and every nick and ding. “Star Wars is full of that, right? George [Lucas] and all those designers did such a great job of making things look lived in and old and beaten up. It made it more real. So we take great care in trying to best match that.”

A close-up of Hasbro's HASLAB Jabba's sail barge toy.

The team even flipped the vehicle over and decorated the underside, Dern notes. And textures incorporated into the plastic capture the roughness of the cockpit seating and the delicate appearance of frosted glass panes.

900 pounds of (I hate) sand

Along the way, HasLab has documented the creative process like never before, giving fans and backers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the massive toy. “There’s a lot of behind-the-curtain here, which is kind of a first,” Dern says. “That’s a big deal and quite unique in this industry to share design, development and even manufacturing processes. We hope the fans truly appreciate the efforts the team put forth.”

For instance, to capture the glamorous vintage-inspired box art showing the barge in full-color glory, 14 Hasbro employees spent 120 hours on the photoshoot, which included bringing in 900 pounds of sand to recreate the Dune Sea and the creation of one custom, posable Sarlacc.

The ship is delivered with a 3.75-inch scale Jabba the Hutt, with detailed paint deco to match the grandeur of the Khetanna, and a special Vintage Collection Yakface figure. A carded version of the figure will be available for the mass-market release.

Dern, who had the privilege of being the first to receive a final production barge at his office in San Francisco (for final product review purposes) is excited for fans to finally get their hands on their own sail barges soon. But he’s hard pressed to identify his favorite aspect of the finished vehicle. “As a toy designer I appreciate this grand undertaking from a pure design, engineering and manufacturing toy perspective. The amount of deco and level of detail is absolutely incredible on this. It’s a bit of a showstopper. Wait until you see the size of the box this arrives in!”

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Jabba's Skiff

Other new items, including Jabba’s Skiff, above, and various other figures from Hasbro’s The Vintage Collection, below, were recently announced at Toy Fair, and will soon be available in stores.

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Tatooine skiff set
Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard

With the sail barges now shipping, HasLab, the crowdfunding platform that helps put dream products in the hands of eager fans with their support and pledges, is expected to announce its next collectible soon. But Hasbro has plenty of other exciting new Star Wars toys heading to store shelves this year, including everything recently announced at Toy Fair in New York.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Thanks to HasLab and Fans, Jabba’s Barge, the Khetanna, Sets Sail

Hasbro’s Star Wars Lightsaber Academy Will Train Younglings in the Jedi Arts

StarWars.com

It’s time for younglings of all ages to take their first steps into a larger world.

Last week, Hasbro unveiled Star Wars Lightsaber Academy, an innovative app-and-lightsaber-toy combo that will teach aspiring Jedi how to wield the most elegant of weapons. Here’s how it will work: download the official Lightsaber Academy App, choose from one of five of the best masters in the galaxy (Jedi or Sith, depending on which side of the Force you lean toward), and begin your journey to becoming a lightsaber expert. The app syncs via Bluetooth to Hasbro’s new line of lightsabers thanks to Smart-Hilt technology, which tracks the lightsabers’ movements to evaluate skill, scores, and progression. The experience includes character voices, sound effects, and each Star Wars Lightsaber Academy lightsaber includes a kyber crystal at its core. There’s even a two-player component for when two friends decide to go the Obi-Wan/Anakin route and battle it out. Star Wars Lightsaber Academy ($49.99) arrives on Triple Force Friday, October 4, and it sounds like a wonderful evolution of what lightsaber toys can be. StarWars.com caught up with Hasbro’s Michael Ballog, senior director, global brand strategy and marketing, Star Wars, for some master-like wisdom on the making of the innovative toy. Here are his greatest insights.

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy blue lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy green lightsaber

On developing technology to create a more immersive way to play: 

“Consumer insights create the foundation for our brands and products, and we will continue to invest in the areas we know consumers will be excited about and develop technology that enhances their play experience. In this instance, all the great technology that we have built into Lightsaber Academy translates into an experience that feels magical for kids. The Smart-Hilt technology is tracking their movements and communicating via Bluetooth to the app — but a kid isn’t focusing on this technology per say. They are focusing on the fact that their lightsaber ‘knows’ when they make a move, can give them feedback, and react as a they train with Jedi or Sith masters and then battle with friends. This allows them to put themselves into the Star Wars story with their very own personalized lightsaber experience!”

On crafting Jedi and Sith combat techniques: 

“For the lightsaber moves, they need to be true to Star Wars while also being fun, attainable, and with the right level of challenge for a kid as they progress through training and battling. We work closely with the team at Lucasfilm and Disney to ensure that each Star Wars item created meets the high expectations of the passionate community and franchise standards.”

On the upcoming release of Star Wars Lightsaber Academy: 

“We’re beyond excited about this new offering and have had a blast creating (and playing with) it! We think fans will be just as thrilled, and we’re looking forward to following along on their Lightsaber Academy journeys once it hits shelves in fall 2019.”

Hasbro will also release additional series of Star Wars Lightsaber Academy lightsabers, including Extendable ($7.99) and Electronic ($19.99) editions that include a scannable code to access training and character content in the Lightsaber Academy app. Check them out below!

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy green lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy red lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy blue lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy red lightsaber Star Wars Lightsaber Academy clear lightsaber

See below for images of all Hasbro’s Toy Fair reveals, including The Black Series, Retro Collection, and much more!

Star Wars Hyperreal 8″ Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Star Wars Retro Collection

Hasbro Retro Chewbacca

Hasbro retro Chewbacca

Hasbro Retro Darth Vader

Hasbro Retro Darth Vader

Hasbro Retro Han Solo

Hasbro Retro Han Solo

Hasbro Retro Luke Skywalker

Hasbro Retro Luke Skywalker

Hasbro Retro Princess Leia

Hasbro Retro Princess Leia

Hasbro Retro Stormtrooper

Hasbro Retro Stormtrooper

Hasbro Retro Star Wars Game

Hasbro Retro Star Wars Game

Hasbro Retro Star Wars Game

Hasbro Retro Grand Moff Tarkin

Star Wars The Black Series Star Wars Celebration Exclusives

Hasbro The Black Series Darth Maul in packaging

Hasbro The Black Series Darth Maul

Hasbro The Black Series Darth Maul

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan in Pack

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan

Star Wars The Black Series

Hasbro The Black Series Battle Droid

Hasbro The Black Series Dryden Vos

Hasbro The Black Series Mimban Han Solo

Hasbro The Black Series Imperial Jumptrooper

Hasbro The Black Series Luke Skywalker

Hasbro The Black Series Mace Windu

Hasbro The Black Series Padme Amidala

Hasbro The Black Series Vice Admiral Holda

Star Wars The Vintage Collection

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Clone Trooper

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Praetorian Guard

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Han Solo Stormtrooper

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard in packaging

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Stormtrooper

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Jabba's Palace

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard Jabba's Palace

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Jabba's Skiff

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Tatooine skiff set

Star Wars Micro Force

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2 packaging

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2 packaging

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Hasbro’s Star Wars Lightsaber Academy Will Train Younglings in the Jedi Arts

Rey, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and More Join Hasbro’s Galaxy of Adventures — Exclusive Reveal

StarWars.com

A lonely scavenger in search of belonging. A vulnerable and vengeful child in a mask.

The next wave in Hasbro’s Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures action figure line will introduce the next generation to even more of the saga’s heroes and villains, including Rey and Kylo Ren. Joining the stars of the sequel trilogy will be figures of: Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Master who trained the future Darth Vader; Darth Maul, the Sith apprentice who murdered Qui-Gon Jinn; General Grievous, the brilliant Separatist cyborg strategist from the time of the Clone Wars; and the fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Get your first look at the new wave below ahead of Toy Fair 2019 next week, then watch for them on toy shelves this spring!

A Rey action figure, part of Hasbro's next wave of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures. A Kylo Ren action figure, part of Hasbro's next wave of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures. An Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure, part of Hasbro's next wave of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures. A Darth Maul action figure, part of Hasbro's next wave of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures. A General Grievous action figure, part of Hasbro's next wave of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures. A Boba Fett action figure, part of Hasbro's next wave of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures.Each pack contains one 3.75-inch scale Star Wars figure, a mini comic, and a code that can be activated with a smart device to unlock more stories online.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Rey, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and More Join Hasbro’s Galaxy of Adventures — Exclusive Reveal

8 of Our Favorite Star Wars Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments Through the Years

StarWars.com

Most Star Wars collectibles can be found on the shelves and desks of Star Wars fans all-year long, but some collectibles spend most of the year under wraps — only emerging as a holiday treat for a few weeks out of the year. Since 1996, Hallmark has made Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments based on beloved characters, vehicles, and creatures. Here’s a look at just a few of our favorite Star Wars ornaments Hallmark has made over the years.

1. You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? The first Hallmark ornament brought the fastest hunk of junk of the galaxy to your Christmas tree. The Millennium Falcon was one of the most identifiable designs from the original trilogy, which made it the perfect choice for one of Hallmark’s initial creations. Since this ornament’s debut, the story of the Falcon, as well as her pilots and crew, have only continued to grow and expand.

2. A couple of clones. Attack of the Clones debuted in theaters in 2002, and in 2003 Hallmark released a duo of Clone Troopers.

3. A Dark Lord of the Sith. Darth Vader made his Hallmark ornament debut in 1997 where he is shown ominously holding a lightsaber, but a Vader ornament in 2005 actually brought a scene from a Star Wars film to life. No Star Wars fan could forget the first time they saw Darth Vader hold out his hand to Luke Skywalker trying to lure his son to team up in The Empire Strikes Back. This ornament not only combines an iconic character with a classic film location visually, it also plays dialogue from the film in between Vader’s breaths.

4. SkyGuy and Snips. By 2009 Star Wars fans had been introduced to a variety of new characters in the TV series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Artists Kristina Kline-Gaughran and Robert Hurlbut brought Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan Ahsoka Tano to life for this ornament set. Other Hallmark ornaments released this year included A Deadly Duel – which recreated the lightsaber battle between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of The Phantom Menace.

5. A smooth scoundrel. Some Christmas trees need something a little extra to stand out. For holiday shoppers looking for a little sparkle and a lot of style, this 2010 Lando Calrissian ornament worked like a charm. The lights on your tree reflecting on the gold lining of Lando’s cape will surely make him the envy of his fellow ornaments.

6. A cantina patron. Alien species and creatures have always been a big a part of the Star Wars universe and Hallmark has created many ornaments to celebrate them. Ewoks, Chewbacca, Bossk, and the Max Rebo Band have all gotten the ornament treatment over the years. In 2012, Momaw Nadon, the Ithorian who appeared in the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope, made his ornament debut, complete with a blue beverage.

7. “On my command…” Captain Phasma is impossible to ignore in any scene where she appears, on film or in episodes of Star Wars Resistance. Phasma’s ornament was released in 2015, the same year The Force Awakens debuted, and her chromium armor is also quite the attention grabber.

8. R2-D2, it is you! It is you! R2-D2 is surrounded by porgs in one of this year’s new Hallmark ornaments. It’s a whimsical and lighthearted combination of a classic droid who has appeared in Star Wars stories for decades and the adorable creatures that debuted last year in The Last Jedi.

What Star Wars ornament would you like to hang on your Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments below.

Amy Richau is a writer, lifelong Star Wars geek, and diehard Denver Broncos fan. You can find her on Twitter @amyrichau and more of her writing on FANgirl Blog.

8 of Our Favorite Star Wars Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments Through the Years

Introducing the Magic of Star Wars Toys to a New Generation

StarWars.com

Toys have always been a big part of experiencing a galaxy far, far away. They allow children to tell their own stories, to expand the Star Wars universe as they see fit, to connect with their favorite characters in an imaginative way. So it makes sense that for Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures, Lucasfilm’s new series of vibrant animated shorts celebrating iconic moments from the saga, Hasbro has created a collection of toys purely for those just discovering Star Wars.

“Our Galaxy of Adventures line is a great entry point for kids to get into Star Wars,” Sarah Carroll, sr. brand marketing manager of Star Wars at Hasbro, tells StarWars.com. “The product focuses on the key, iconic moments in the Star Wars storyline in a fun, kid-friendly way.”

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Luke Skywalker figure.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Darth Vader figure.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Chewbacca figure.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures R2-D2 figure.

Wave one, available now at Walmart, includes Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and R2-D2; Princess Leia, Yoda, Imperial Stormtrooper, and Han Solo will follow in wave two, landing in spring 2019. It’s an altogether perfect lineup for someone who might first see a movie or the Galaxy of Adventures animated shorts, and then want to continue the story during playtime. “As we head into 2019, what better time to introduce kids to this incredible franchise and these classic characters than now?” Carroll says. “And let’s be honest, what kid isn’t going to fall in love with these droids, creatures, and rebels? Star Wars is truly a brand with something for everyone, and we’re excited for the new Galaxy of Adventures animated shorts and toys, which provide that entry point for new, young fans.”

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Princess Leia figure.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Yoda figure. Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Imperial Stormtrooper figure.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Han Solo figure.

The line even has some surprises. The figures are not all based on the characters’ first-appearance looks, as one might think. Luke, for example, is depicted in his black Jedi garb from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Yoda comes carrying his lightsaber, as seen in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; and Leia appears in her Hoth fatigues from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. “We wanted to make sure we featured characters as they appear in those pivotal scenes in the films,” Carroll says. “Seeing characters in these costumes reminds us of those key moments within the story, and we wanted to make sure that was reflected in our figures. We love the classic characters and we’re excited to be bringing them back in this way.”

The 3.75-inch figures come in bright, cylindrical packaging featuring comic-book-style art, calling out the character role for each — from “The Villain” for Darth Vader to “The Astromech” for R2-D2 — drilling story elements down in a kid-friendly fashion. In addition, all figures are packaged with a mini-comic retelling a famous sequence, and include a QR code that can be scanned for even more content. “We felt that it was important to share the stories of Star Wars as part of the action figure experience,” Carroll says. “Comics are a great way to bring those key scenes from Star Wars to kids in an easy, digestible way.”

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures figures.

As an opportunity to introduce a new generation of fans to Star Wars — and the magic of Star Wars toys — the Galaxy of Adventures line is an important one to Hasbro. “Galaxy of Adventures is a great way for parents to share their favorite Star Wars moments with their kids in a way that’s going to really resonate with them,” Carroll says. “The entertainment so far has been incredible. We’re excited to see the Galaxy of Adventures story unfold and have the opportunity to continue the storytelling through product. More to come!”

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Introducing the Magic of Star Wars Toys to a New Generation

The Holiday Droids You’re Looking For

StarWars.com

Every year since 2015, Disney Parks have released exclusive holiday-themed droid action figures, each with festive color schemes and accessories. For those who love both the spirit of the season and a galaxy far, far away (like me), they’re delightful. A white-and-gold astromech — with an arm stretching from its dome, dangling mistletoe? Only Wuher, the Mos Eisley cantina bartender, wouldn’t be charmed.

Lucasfilm holiday card featuring R2-D2 and C-3PO.

“The idea stems back to the Droid Factory Experience within Disney Parks, where guests can build their own droid,” Cody Hampton, senior merchandiser, strategy and product development of Disney Parks, tells StarWars.com. “The second inspiration is the fantastic Star Wars holiday artwork created by Ralph McQuarrie during the time of the original trilogy. The image of C-3PO and R2-D2 featuring reindeer antlers is so iconic and memorable. So with these two ideas, we wanted to create limited release droids that are unique in their own way with a holiday twist.”

The first themed droid made for Disney Parks was R2-D60, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort in 2015; it was such a success that the Parks released a holiday-themed astromech — complete with a white, red, and green color deco, and a removable Santa hat — dubbed R2-H15. With that, a new line and tradition (and naming convention, as H is short for “holiday,” followed by the figure’s year of release) was born. “We received such positive feedback from our first holiday droid R2-H15, we even extended the theme to Halloween droids and other themed celebrations,” Hampton adds.

Disney Parks R2-H15 droid.

R2-H15

Disney Parks R2-H16 droid.

R2-H16

Disney Parks R3-H17 droid.

R3-H17

Disney Parks R2-H18 droid.

R4-H18

Thus far, four holiday-themed droids have been released following R2-H15: R2-H16 hit shelves in 2016, notable for a primarily red body and winter cap accessory; the white-and-gold R3-H17 arrived in 2017, toting some mistletoe; and 2018’s R4-H18, available now, is something of a departure. R4 sports a clear body and comes with a drink tray, carrying glasses colored to look like a string of lights. “Every year, the merchandise team looks at different holiday elements and really starts to brainstorm what themes will resonate with our guests,” Hampton says.

To show just how much thought goes into these figures, there’s even an art and story element — turning what could be just clever toys into something more. Each droid comes in unique packaging featuring a digital illustration of the figure against a Star Wars locale, while a short bio on the cardback tells where the droid is primarily located and what it does, which is often tied to its appearance. R4-H18 doesn’t look like shimmering crystal and serve beverages for no reason; it’s because the droid comes from Canto Bight, the casino city in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “Although they are fun and a nod to the holiday, we really wanted to create unique personalities and backstories for each droid,” Hampton says. “We take the same approach for all of our limited release single packaged droids.” Despite this grounding in story and design, one truly fun aspect of these figures is customization. Parts are removable and can be easily mixed and matched across droids — an intentional feature, as the line stems from the Droid Factory Experience at Disneyland Resort, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, where you can build your own droid figure.

Disney Parks R2-H15 droid in box.

Disney Parks R2-H16 droid in box.

Disney Parks R3-H17 droid in box.

Disney Parks R2-H18 droid in box.

Like the best gifts, Disney Parks’ holiday droid line was a true surprise we didn’t know we wanted. Now it’s a tradition, thankfully with no end in sight.

“The holiday season is filled with so many different aspects to be inspired by,” Hampton says. “So we are hoping to keep this limited release series going for several years.”

Holiday-themed droids are available at Star Traders at Disneyland Park, Tatooine Traders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Galactic Outpost at Disney Springs, and other locations across Disney Parks.

Photos by Amanda Jean Camarillo and Kyle Kao.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

The Holiday Droids You’re Looking For