star wars is certainly no stranger to cute and toyetic designs. Droids from A new hope right down to the tastemaker for collectibles that is Grogu, the franchise has a knack for creating cute designs that are easy to turn into must-have toys. While his last series, Obi Wan Kenobiwas primed and ready to go with the next potential toy is no surprise – what might come as a surprise to some fans is how quickly he turned around.
Hasbro, like many collectibles and toymakers of late, has been unable to escape the ongoing and overlapping shipping crises caused by the aftershocks of the covid-19 pandemic also in Classes. So the fact that there is no merchandise for L0-LA59, or Lola for her fans, on the shelves timed with her buzzing arrival in the first two episodes of Obi Wan Kenobi isn’t too much of a surprise. (It’s slated for release in late summer 2022 and fall.) But what might surprise star wars fans – especially those now accustomed to seeing toys months before their scheduled release, or pre-order figures now who received 2023 release windows – is how quickly we got to see the toymaker’s plans. for the droid.
The same day Obi Wan Kenobi hit Disney+, Hasbro revealed prototypes of two animatronic versions of the droid and a complementary series of collectible figures, with details in hand for fans in attendance star wars Celebration last week in Anaheim, California for a closer look. It’s something the company could do through its close relationship with Lucasfilm, even at the height of the company’s secrecy regarding upcoming projects, particularly its slate of streaming shows.
“For [Lola] in particular, we’ve done this before, but it worked both ways with the studio even as they developed it,” Chris Reiff, Product Designer at Hasbro star wars team, Gizmodo said on the show floor at Celebration last weekend. “So they were doing test footage – or we saw test footage – of them doing test [of the droid], as, on a stick. “How is he going to move against this crazy background?” — looking at the puppet, seeing how it was going to move and what characteristics it was going to have. We keep saying partnership, but it really is: it’s intrinsic to what we do and makes what we do possible, in the way we do it. And it’s that communication challenge – getting those assets the way we get them so we can develop all the material, and do it after [the series has finalised design]…the more we have bigger, more complete, animatronic Lola? It’s a really beautiful and precise piece, because we had production files.
But even before those designs were finalized, Hasbro and Lucasfilm were eager to see the droid come to life on a toy shelf. “Honestly, no one makes these characters iconic, lovable, and recognizable better than star wars“, Patrick Schneider, the Hasbro star wars the team’s global marketing director, added. “And I think Artoo and Threepio, the Ewoks, the Porgs, BB-8, Grogu…when Lucasfilm told us Lola [is] gonna be big, Lola gonna be adorable, Lola gonna be the next big thing – they know what they’re talking about.
It’s not just Lola’s cute aesthetic that makes her a standout on the Hasbro team for building merchandise, of course – her connection to Obi WanVivien Lyra Blair’s secret escape character as young Leia Organa’s companion obviously makes fan demand even higher for the cute little droid’s toys. But while neither Reiff nor Schneider would just tell us when they learned that Lola belonged to one of the star wars‘ most legendary characters, they knew that even without his connection to Leia, the droid would be one to watch on the show.
“I think the key is to look at the product, whatever droid it is,” Schneider said of Hasbro’s eagerness to bet big on Lola. “You’ll see it, obviously, with our Vintage Collection and our Black Series figures because – it’s [the characters that] we want. Of course, I won’t say anything about episode two or who you see it, but there are interactions in there. But Lola absolutely stands on her own. We knew it would be a winner no matter who it originally belonged to.
Hasbro’s first three L0-LA59 products – a basic electronic interactive figure; a more detailed animatronic replica of the droid; then a two-pack of 2.5-inch plastic figures as part of the Grogu-focused “Bounty Collection” line – releasing in late summer 2022 and fall. They will retail for US$39 ($54), US$90 ($125), and US$17 ($24), respectively, with pre-orders slated to open this week on June 1.
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Editor’s note: The release dates in this article are based in the US, but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.