Round Table Interview With the Hasbro Brand Team
Hasbro has been kind enough to engage with us and other outlets to do a round table style interview. We had 30 minutes to talk with them and below I’ve summarized the Q and A. I wanted to thank Hasbro for hosting this for us as well as everyone involved. Enjoy!
The first question of the round table was asked by Colin Douglas (TFCon) – What determines if a figure is going to receive a second production run, and more specifically he asked about the Amazon Exclusive conehead. Colin said, “A lot of people are asking what’s happening with this. Want to know if a second production run on this. A lot of orders haven’t been [fulfilled] and no one in Canada has gotten theirs yet.”
As a note, I don’t know if the question was fully resonating with the Hasbro team. Ran Sun (Hasbro Marketing) said that they want characters to be in market and to be sure everyone gets one. She also mentioned if a character gets re-released whether they bring it back in the exact same form or a different format. But when doing this there is always a lead time in releasing new characters.
Leonar Panzica (Design) mentioned that they weren’t aware with people having a problem getting that character, but generally they keep an eye out for demand and take care of it.
Colin followed up to reiterate that it’s more about the outstanding orders than anything but there was no confirmation of any sort of second runs on these figures.
Next up, in regards to the popularity of Beast Wars with Kingdom, a question submitted by our users wanted to ask if there were plans to continue this down the line as the seasons progressed with things like Transmetals and Fuzors. Leonard expressed the fact that he was a huge Beast Wars fan and grew up with Beast Wars. They do want to tap into that fandom. The characters they produce will be dependent on the stories they are producing for that particular year. Those types of characters are definitely under consideration. My follow up to that was asking about other series like Beast Machines, Robots in Disguise 2000 – The answer to that was essentially the same, which is to be expected, that it will rely heavily on whatever storyline they are following for that particular year.
Khalil Quotap (Kastor’s Korner) followed up with the question of scale in regards to how the Transformers scale with one another. Specifically he wanted to know if the next segment will continue with the philosophy of scale as they have with the WFC trilogy. Leonard confirms that the intention is to remain keeping the characters in scale and not doing so would be detrimental to the line.
Alex (TFW2005) has asked about the possibility of getting the entire G1 cast produced and in scale, noting there are about 19 characters to fill that role out. But the big question is will Hasbro create the remaining characters in scale? Leonard says they intend to get there eventually.
In fact, he says what they are going for now are what he terms as “Micro Collections” in regards to how the various toys will appear on people’s shelves. This is so various groups of toys can appear on shelves to create the setting. Whether we get all of them? It’s a long game. But it’s clear that’s what they want to do with the line.
I then asked why certain characters are marketed in different segments, as in why does Arcee and Cyclonus appear in Kingdom instead of Studio Series 86 since those are clearly characters from that movie.
Ran Sun gave a good clarification on that as being the fact that when the 86 line was thought of they werne’t sure that would be the best use of the Studio Series line which was originally for the live action Michael Bay movie era toys.
They started to do some test characters from the 86 movie and the response was very positive. So with that being said, and without any specific information about what the future holds, they are moving ahead with even more characters who appeared in the 86 movie in addition to including them in the WFC mainline (Generations).
Moving on, Jack (TFormers) asks for confirmation on rumors whether The Ark will be the last Titan figure. Leonard chuckles and says, “Last Titan?” and Ran asks whether we’d want to see more Titan class figures. Everyone pretty much agreed that we do. The answer? There will absolutely be more Titan class figures that can’t be confirmed or denied.
Alex moves on to ask if the Ark was inspired by the Last Autobot from the Marvel G1 comics. Leonard says it was inspired from a mix of sources from a touch of Last Autobot but also from UK comics and other G1 sources.
In regards to packaging I asked if there will be any more releases or a continuation of the retro G1 stuff whether it be in the G1 re-releases or modern toys in G1 packaging like the Headmasters or even possible future Combiner gift packs. The general response here is they got a really good response in terms of sales from those series and there is a lot of potential there. It’s just always going to be a matter if the sales on something were good. If they were, they’ll move forward, if not, they won’t.
Jack asked a great question about how they determined
what will be a store exclusive – and why? Ran says it depends on what they’re doing on the mainline products that year. There are certain programs they want to establish with the different stores, citing Buzzworthy Bumblebee as something that they did with Target.
They want to have a variety lines in different stores to meet differnt demands for things in the lines for kids, adults, etc. And it will play a role on what they’re doing overall for the year. Ultimately is will depend on the conversations and the asks of what stores want to carry based on the consumer demographics.
Leonard continues with how the micro collections will work for different stores, so the more compact stories like Shattered Glass and others will be focused differently for different customer demographics.
Colin asks about things like Netflix Soundwave, which carries the 80s alt mode, if they were challenging to get stores like Walmart to want to do that. Ran says Walmart was really happy with the Netflix deal and were fully on board. Leonard says as long as they believe it will draw people to the store and it works with the story line they will do it.
Khalil asked about the RED line with Walmart and whether that line will both continue with Walmart and continue to be exclusive to them. Ran said whether or not the Transformers would convert or not was an experiment as something fans would embrace. She says there was a positive reaction to it and there are plans to continue but that’s all they can say right now.
Khalil also asked a follow up as to whether things with RED line would conflict with some of the stuff Super 7 was offering. Leonard said flat out they’re different characters due to different scales and different articulation and there wasn’t a concern about this.
Leonard went on to talk about how he worked on the RED line to make it as unique and articulated as possible. He cited one of the challenges in that line is that unlike GI Joe or Marvel Legends where multiple figures across the line would share the bucks (the body design and molded parts), every RED robot was different and each one was essentially engineered separately.
The next question I asked was whether or not when the characters from a team, should we expect the team to be complete? Leonard re-affirmed that if they’ve got one character from a team, you can expect to see the full team.
Alex followed up asking that even though we aren’t getting the full team line up for Beast Wars in Kingdom, will we see the remaining characters show up in future lines. Leonard says that the whole premise of Kingdom when John Warden started it was to break into getting the Beast Wars characters into the Generations line to give fans something outside of the traditional application of having something different than just G1 characters over and over. Now that the “chains are off” in breaking into different lines with different characters, we can expect to see more of that as the stories progress within the lines.
I asked about the Armada Optimus Prime that has kind of been MIA. Is it gone? Is it still on the table? While they couldn’t give us any confirmation or denial on that figure, Ran says “There is more to come.” So I guess we can take that as we will as to when we’ll ever see that figure released.
Jack asked a great question as to whether or not we’ll ever be seeing a full on reboot line with new characters whether they be toys or a series on Netflix. Ran says they can’t confirm or deny whether that will be a thing.
Lastly, Alex asked if in the Shattered Glass line will we be restricted to just current product molds or molds from any point in the past. Leonard was very quick to say anything is game provided the availability of the tooling is going to work, as some of the old toolings are either gone or they’re just worn out. But they plan to use whatever they can for the Shattered Glass characters because some of the character bodies are perfect. So it’s just a matter of what will fit best with the characters outside of the business reasons related to the tools.
So that’s how it went from my perspective. I imagine since there were 3 or 4 more interviews with other groups after ours you could see other questions, but this is what we have for now.
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