Kenner / Hasbro Interview I
by Robert Musco
Recently I had the chance to talk to a creator of some
of the modern era Star Wars toys and found out about some interesting items that
were planned and ultimately never made. I asked that individual if they
would have free time to answer some questions. The creator was gracious
take the time and enlighten both fans and collectors in regards to several toy
concepts that were never seen on toy shelves. There's a couple of
mentioned, that would have been great to see for sale!
Let's start off from the time period of when Kenner was submitting their presentation
to Lucasfilm to get awarded the master license to produce Star Wars toys (i.e.
the time period entitled Power of the Force II). Can you explain what
ideas were pitched and what types of items were produced and showed for the
Some of the items that Hasbro created to win the master
license for Star Wars consisted of creatures, spacecraft and Jedi Knights. We
designed many pre-production designs for Star Wars in drawings and renderings as
well as model and sculptings. Each of our designs were original creations vivid
and full of emotional content. Each concept had it's own bio at hopes of
appearing in any of the films. Some of the designs were created with a direct
link to the story without lots of connections with actual toy design. Our main
focus was to show Lucasfilm that we could assist them in their pre production
How does Hasbro decide what items to create for possible consideration for toy
Budget and uniqueness play a very important factor.
Each one of our ideas were carefully scrutinized to make sure kids and
collectors would buy them. We would present all of our concepts to our VP's who
then made all final decisions. Once approved we had the green light to jump into
production. Keep in mind all throughout our internal meetings we also got
approval through Lucasfilm while we were developing our toys.
Take us through the design stages for the toys, how does a toy go from a
mention at a meeting to reality?
First, after watching the films and looking through any
Star Wars related materials, we would discuss a concept or an item that we
thought would be cool to do and get to it. We would provide a sketch or a quick
model and present it to our team leader. Once the ideas are approved within our
team we then get approval through Lucasfilm. If and when they approved the idea
we begin pattern drawings and sculpting creating our in house samples. From that
the sculpting department and the pattern shop begin and rough 3d models are
Hard copies are made from
the molds created from the original sculptings and patterns. After that we are
ready to add color to breath life into the toys. Before you know it we are
receiving first shots from China. And after a couple of weeks we would see our
creations in package and then in stores.
How many hardcopies are made for the modern line, and what type of material
is used to create hardcopies of today?
Hardcopies vary from item to item, for instance for a figure we may do 3 or more.
One for painting to be done in China, one for photography for packaging and catalogs,
and one for displays and internal presentations. They are usually made out of
resin, very durable and paint friendly.
For vehicles we would use approximately the same amount.
Of the hardcopies that are made how many are painted?
Three is the magic number. Sometimes on rare
occasions more are painted . But three are done for the reasons stated
above. If rushed they may do one and we would take photos for
advertising, and then sent it to the orient as a painting model.
During the release of the films were there any "in house" items
created for the employees?
When the re-releases for the original trilogy movies
came out nothing was given to just the Hasbro employees. There was a limited
edition figure that was of Luke Skywalker in his Jedi outfit with special
printing on the card signifying its difference from other action figures on the
line. When the new movies came out the only item that we got that no one else
was able to receive were the special sneak preview tickets of episode one that
required a black light shining on them to reveal the Lucasfilm brand.
Can you give us some examples of toys that were in prototype stages but
ultimately never made?
When the films were being re-released with new footage,
some thought it would be cool to introduce these new scenes in toys, some were
cool others were not. The Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo conversation in the hanger
was going to be made into an interactive toy with sound effects and moving Han
Solo and Jabba figures by moving levers on the hanger base. The hanger was lost
but the two action figures were made into a display box set. There was also an
attempt to do brand new tool for a new Death Star playset with lots of play
It could be folded up very nicely and opened up into a nice sized toy re-creating the trench run and other
elements of the main story. For the new movie and to coincide with the release
of the Star Wars cross section books a die-cast line was spawned, but never made
it to final production. Each die-cast toy was to have featured a base that
would lift the top portion of the vehicle revealing the pilots and inner workings of each
vehicle. A large poster was also to be included for these toys to add to their
appeal. Models of a Naboo starfighter, and X-Wing were created, with future
production to be done on Anakin's Pod Racer and the Millennium Falcon.
Editor's Note: View the SLA Naboo Fighter die cast prototype
What was one toy concept that was at least considered to be created but
ultimately never made?
The best idea that was never made was going to be the
remote controlled AT-AT. Everyone one the team at that time wanted one and with
Zoids all over our offices it was the natural thing to do. True scale X-Wings
and TIE Fighters were cool but a walking turning AT-AT with light and sound
effects would be the ultimate Star Wars item next to a scaled version of Darth
Vader's Executor for Action Fleet.