On January 29th, 2013 Brian Truitt revealed with his article on USAToday.com that Hasbro was going to release Star Wars action figures in the 6 inch scale in Fall 2013. Speculations about a new direction for Hasbro's Star Wars action figure toy line had been going around for several months, and this article finally confirmed the rumors.
The article revealed the very first publicity picture of Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot), and mentioned the rest of the first wave of 6 inch scaled action figures: Darth Maul, R2-D2 and a Sandtrooper (Squad Leader).
About the name "The Black Series" and the color black for the packaging, Derryl DePriest (Vice President, Global Brand Management at Hasbro, Inc. at the time) said:
"It's one of the main colors of Star Wars all the way back to the beginning, and it's the approach that Lucasfilm has taken with their collector-oriented product line.
We're bringing that simplicity and essence and focus on the character now to the toy aisle."
The higher price point and the announcement of ultra-articulated figures indicated that Hasbro was going for an older, more adult audience. And indeed Derryl DePriest confirmed this by stating "Our focus here is the adult collector, the dad," and "We know they have their own generation of youngsters they like to share the adventure with. It can be something for dad, and the 3¾ world can be something for the kids to share."
Before making the first wave of 6 inch scale figures available, Hasbro decided to release a San Diego Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration Europe II exclusive set during the Summer. It contained a 6 inch scale Boba Fett action figure together with a Han Solo in Carbonite. The set was beautifully packaged in an impressively designed box. The real draw, besides the exclusive packaging, was the Han Solo in Carbonite pack-in, because unlike the Boba Fett figure, it was not intended to be released at regular retail. After San Diego Comic Con, a very limited number of these sets were sold through Hasbro's official online store, where it sold out quickly.
The basic assortment of the 6 inch The Black Series toy line debuted officially on August 1, 2013 along with the regular basic 3 3/4 inch The Black Series figures. Despite the higher price point (approx. $19.99, almost twice as much as a regular basic Star Wars action figure at the time), this all new scale was very well received by fans and collectors were impressed by the details found on those figures.
In order to make the transition for collectors easier to the new scale and price point, Hasbro decided to release
fewer figures to the market when compared to the 3 3/4 inch scale figures. In the first year they released a total of 13 figures in the basic assortment,
which included characters of Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot), Darth Maul, R2-D2, Sandtrooper (Squad Leader), Boba Fett, Princess Leia (Slave Outfit), Han Solo, Greedo, Anakin Skywalker (Episode III), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episode III), Clone Trooper (Episode II), Stormtrooper and Luke Skywalker (Bespin Outfit).
After The Black Series had been at retail for a year Hasbro decided to change things up and give The Black Series action figures a slightly different packaging.
The box dimensions stayed unchanged, but the front plastic window was enlarged and extended to include the top of the box. This change showcased the figure inside the packaging better and allowed for bigger figures to be packaged (e.g. Chewbacca).
The Black Series logo was moved to the bottom and the font used on the box was changed from orange to blue.
On April 17th 2015, during Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Hasbro revealed that The Black Series would continue in Fall 2015 with a 3rd packaging change.
This time Hasbro chose red and black as the main colors. The
One of the changes for the Fall 2015 line-up was that each packaging/figure in the basic assortment was given a big number on the side, which allowed for
displaying The Black Series on a shelf in sequential order.
We will update this article when more information becomes available.
You can find all the figures released in the Black Series in our database here: Star Wars The Black Series.