Star Wars Rebels - is it over before it started?

published on November 17, 2014 by Chris "Criz Bee" Bortz Star Wars Rebels Toys

Last week, I read an article by Adam Pawlus on GalacticHunter.com, where he wrote about Star Wars logos on the toy packaging. He had this to say about Star Wars Rebels toys:

"The Rebels logo on the new figures released this week is small and embarrassed to be there. Have you seen it? It's basically the same size as the j-hook. It isn't proud, and there's another, even smaller logo a couple of inches down and to the left. Blech."

Well. This is exactly how I feel about Hasbro's ENTIRE APPROACH to Star Wars Rebels 3 3/4 inch toys. It all feels so incredibly SAFE. I know a lot of you haven't even been able to find Star Wars Rebels toys on the shelves yet, despite the TV show being already out for more than 1 1/2 months, but let's have a look at Hasbro's offerings anyways, shall we?

Hasbro is shipping 6 figures in the basic assortment, 4 figures in the Mission Series assortment, one Toys'R'Us exclusive Mission Series: Ghost 3-pack and 2 figures packed-in with vehicles as Target exclusives (Kanan, Inquisitor (the AT-DP hasn't been found yet)).

This means we get a total of 15 figures in the 3 3/4 inch scale. Five of these 15 figures are re-packs (Stormtrooper, Ezra, Kanan 2x, Inquisitor), which leaves us 10 unique figures. That's right, only 10 figures based on the new TV show. Hera and Sabine, essential characters in the TV show, are not part of the launch line-up. A shame, really.

Besides a very modest line-up of cartoon figures, Hasbro also decided to package realistic-style figures in the same packaging style as cartoon-style Rebels figures (minus the two small logos on the card). Hasbro is clearly hoping to catch a ride on the popularity of already established characters for their Rebels figures, just in case the TV show doesn't catch on.

I've tried to compare the Rebels toy launch to the 2008 The Clone Wars toy launch, but it's impossible. Clone Wars had a theatrical release, and it had a very commited George Lucas who kept talking about wanting to do 100+ episodes. He kept saying that he would get his TV show out there to fans, through alternative ways if necessary (online streaming services, official website in case a cable network wouldn't pick up the show).

Another statement by Lucas, maybe the most important one to Hasbro, was that there wouldn't be any other Star Wars films. Back in 2007/2008, Hasbro had the rights to produce Star Wars toys until 2018, so why not try to cash-in big one last time and then see how far it goes? With Rebels it was all different. No theatrical release, it was a very soft and quiet roll-out. A very small audience got to see the pilot episode at San Diego Comic Con and several cities around the United States had a one-time showing of some episodes, an event which was accessible only by invitation. Despite good word-of-mouth, Disney released the TV show exclusively on their Disney XD app (again a limited audience), then it was broadcast on the Disney XD channel (still a smaller audience) and finally the pilot made it onto ABC at prime time. There was a lot of "testing the waters" on Disney's behalf. Maybe Hasbro understood that Rebels doesn't have long legs.

What does all of this tell us? Does this indicate that Rebels will go away after season two? The first season is very short with only 13 episodes. We all know that next year will be all about Episode 7 (plus the spin-off movie, video games, books, comics etc...). Will we even have time to care about Rebels at that point? Or will we have money left in our wallets to buy Rebels toys after we've gotten our The Force Awakens fix? Probably not.

I hope I'm wrong, because I enjoy Rebels tremendously - the TV show AND the available figures. I just wish Hasbro would have shown more backbone and support Rebels with more figures at launch. Could we have not gotten at least one full case of new figures, including Hera and Sabine? What about a Hammerhead in a Kenner-esque blue jumpsuit? Either way, I will keep my fingers crossed that we will see more Rebels figures beyond what has been announced so far. If you grew up with vintage toys in the 70's and 80's, and you like the animated Ewoks or animated Droids toy line, give these figures a look.

Criz Bee

P.S.: Wouldn't it make sense to have a horde of "small wing" Tie Fighters out?
P.P.S.: Why is Rebels not supported in the 6 inch line? I would buy the crew of the Ghost in the 6 inch scale in a heartbeat!

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