There was a lot of Star Wars going on in 2008. The biggest event of the year was without a doubt the release of The Clone Wars movie in theaters and the start of the weekly TV broadcast on the Cartoon Network. Besides the Clone Wars in theaters, fans were treated to the DVD and BluRay release only a few weeks after the launch in the movie theaters. Earlier in the year The Force Unleashed videogame was finally released after a very long delay. The reviews for the game were overall pretty good and the story line lead right into the events of A New Hope. Fans in Japan (Tokyo) were treated to their very first Star Wars Convention, including a guest appearance by Marc Hamill. There was also another Star Wars Convention in Germany (Jedi-Con) with several guest stars and collecting panels. Plus there were several shows around the nation where star wars actors were available for a meet and greet and signed autographs. And, let's not forget the San Diego Comic Convention where a lot of Star Wars is featured every year. Fans were also treated to yet again another super funny episode of Robot Chicken which was based on the Star Wars Saga on TV.
On the collecting side things looked pretty bright. Hasbro phased out The Anniversary Collection and released their new Star Wars toy lines (TCW, TLC) with midnight madness events at Toys'r'us and Walmart stores. You can read a more detailed midnight madness report here. Some of the highlights this year included the Big Millennium Falcon and the AT-TE vehicle, plus some great evolution 3 packs and individual carded figures. Some of Hasbro's released figures this year are absolutely fantastic, especially the Build-A-Droid feature seems to be a hit with collectors.
One of the events that stood out was the Premier Collectible Auction for vintage Star Wars Collectibles in San Diego during the San Diego Comic Convention. This was a fantastic opportunity for collectors to pick up some of the rarest Star Wars pieces ever available, including a carded Star Wars Boba Fett action figure, which had a price tag of $100,000.00 (one hundred thousand dollars!).
Gentle Giant had some amazing releases as well this year, including an Airborne Clone Trooper Mini Bust, and the Galactic Marine Clone Mini Bust. Both of them were exclusives, but Gentle Giant made them available to their Collectors Guild so that people interested in it were able to aquire one easily.
After a dry spell, Star Wars prop collectors can look forward to some new items again. EFX Collectibles released the Stormtrooper helmet, the AOTC Clone Trooper helmet, and they took pre-orders for the Studio Scale version of Luke Skywalker's X-Wing fighter. Some of the up-coming products include Obi-Wan Kenobi's and Ashoka Tano's lightsaber replicas. And if that's not enough yet, Sideshow Collectibles released their very limited lifesize R2-D2 and C-3PO, along many new 12inch Star Wars figures.
Locally, the collector groups in the Seattle area are still very active with monthly get-togethers. S.T.A.R.S. has managed to come up with an own logo, and Tom B. started his collector's interview video series with the first video being in production right now.
There will be 48 basic carded figures in The Legacy Collection, about 34 basic carded figures in The Clone Wars Collection, and there will be 14 new Comic 2-packs. This would make 110 figures, and this does not include figures packed-in with vehicles, exclusives, multipacks (evolutions, droid 2packs) and the Saga Legends line. It basically looks like another 200+ figure year.
Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper), Han Solo (Stormtrooper), Spacetrooper, Jawa with WED Treadwell Droid, Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, Pons Limbic (Brainiac), Wioslea, Trinto Duaba & Dice Ibegon, R2-N6 (Build A Droid), R5-A2 (Build A Droid), Captain Needa, Emperor Palpatine, Luke Skywalker (Medical Frigate), Princess Leia (Medical Frigate), Rebel Hoth Soldier, Ugnaught, HK-47 (Build A Droid), Nikto Guard, Leia (slave?), Ewok, Malakili, Luke Skywalker Snowpeeder Pilot, hologram Emperor on mechano chair, Coleman Trebor, Lumiya.
Clone Trooper (212th Attack Battalion), Padmé Amidala (Diplomat), Clone Trooper (Space Gear), Magnaguard, R3-S6 ("Goldie"), Battle Droid (Space Gear), Clone Trooper (Green Deco), Jar Jar Binks (Bombad Jedi), Kit Fisto, Droid Commando (from the Episode: Rookies), General Whorm Loathsom.
It sure looks like it. Licensee's are literally flooding Star Wars collectors with new and exciting star wars merchandise and toys. There were many great action figures released this year, but there were also a lot of bad action figures released as well. With over 200+ action figures being released every year it's pretty much impossible to keep up with it over multiple years, leave alone collecting variations, or carded and loose. The increased price is also another issue for many collectors,
some stores are now selling individually carded figures for $7.99 a piece, which is about a $2 increase per figure over the last few years.
Some of the disappointments this year included extremly spotty distribution, last two TAC waves could be found early in 2008, and then nothing for several months.
Then the midnight madness event happened and you could buy all the figures within a few days, and again, nothing for several months after that.
So, it's been very strange. On a positive side, some of the online retailers are finally catching up and are offering individually carded figures at normal retailer
prices, which makes running to the store unnecessary (but takes away the thrill of the hunt :).
The future looks good with tons of Star Wars releases on the horizon. The Clone Wars TV show seems to be doing OK on the Cartoon Network with their Friday
evening 9pm time slot and the toys seem to be selling well too. There is talk about a new Celebration 5 convention, a new Battlefront 3 videogame, a new Star Wars
Knights Of The Old Republic RPG videogame and interesting new Star Wars comics and novel releases. With the success of The Force Unleashed, it wouldn't be a surprise if a
follow up game is in the works already. And with over 200+ new star wars action figures being released in 2009, Star Wars is not going to go away anytime soon!