Porgs arguably aside, the most meme-worthy moment in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was when Kylo Ren appeared to Rey sans shirt, revealing a He-Man toy level of shoulder wideness and launching a thousand “ Reylo” fantasies and “Ben Swolo” comments.
Naturally, at Comic-Con, my first question to Hasbro‘s Joe Ninivaggi and Steve Evans was when we’d see this particular version of Han’s kid become a literal sales Driver. “That’s a lot of plastic,” joked Evans, initially. “We’ve got to go up in price. Do we deco the nipples or not? I dunno.” Ninivaggi, however, bottom-lined it: “Serious answer: probably not….No, I don’t think so.”
“Of course not. Goodness me!” replied Evans. So, Reylo fans–you’ll have to make do with the little bit of shoulder that the Comic-Con exclusive battle-damage The Force Awakens Kylo shows. It’s not the same, but it’s undeniably showing vulnerability.
There’s a bit more hope for another meme-able character who gained minor cult attention from a set of Denny’s trading cards for Solo earlier this year: lobster guy Therm Scissorpunch. While Ninivaggi thinks he’ll be “like one of the cantina aliens for us in the year 2030,” Evans says the fans should speak up: “More memes, more social media, more cult following for Therm Scissorpunch and then that could make it a reality, I think.” (Just no taking off of shirt for sexy mind-melds, apparently.)
Solo‘s relatively lackluster box-office performance isn’t stopping the toys, as fans generally buy into the overall world of Star Wars rather than being loyal to any one specific movie, and there is still more to come, including Jon Favreau’s four-armed Rio. Don’t expect hologram Maul any time soon, though: he was kept a secret from the Hasbro team prior to release, and is “not in the plans right now.”
Figures overall will continue to look better, thanks to Hasbro’s new use of face-printing technology to get the colors just like real-life–they’ve even managed to make it work now in the smaller 3-3/4 inch scale. “The 6-inch scale is the perfect scale for that technology, just in the way that it’s applied, and the way our eyes and brain recognize it,” says Evans. “Getting it down to 3-3/4 inch is very difficult: you just kind ago streamlining and streamlining, new technology and new machines, and we got to a point where we were like…yeah. We can do this. So we’re looking at the beginning of 2019, we’ll be rolling out face printing 3-3/4 for the vintage collection.” Also possible eventually in that scale: Kylo Ren’s shuttle. But if/when they get to it, it won’t be cheap. “That’ll have a premium price, but it’ll be a premium vehicle.”
But the technology offers up some questions: how do you use it with an actor who’s dead, like Christopher Lee? “You just need photography,” says, Evans. “There’s lots of Christopher Lee reference out there.” What about a character done in realistic style who wasn’t visually based on a real person, like the upcoming Ezra Bridger? “It might be a mixture of people that we take inspiration from; might be people around the office, to be perfectly frank! Whatever the ethnicity is that matches the sculpt, so for Ezra it’s gonna be a little bit more of a Hispanic look, so we’ll find a Hispanic model. But it won’t be direct from another actor – it’ll be a mix/match.”
In welcome news, formerly scheduled Toys R Us exclusives like Battle-Damaged Captain Phasma and Zuckuss will now find a home at the Disney Store. The Rebels crew will be finished in realistic, 6-inch scale. And the one character collectors allegedly dislike is absolutely on the table.
“Jar Jar would make a cool black series figure…He’s kind of become an urban myth,” says Evans.
Images: Lucasfilm/Hasbro/Luke Y. Thompson