Toy Fair will happen in New York City from February 16th to 19th. It is an industry-only event that the press is allowed to attend. Hasbro has their own special event, outside of the confines of the convention, where they showcase the first of their 2019 announcements. We say "first" because Hasbro will announce additional releases at pivotal events throughout the year. In 2019, there are at least five that are tied to Star Wars, so what they announce in February may not be much. It also doesn't help that we have had no trailer for Episode IX yet, so the likelihood of seeing anything other than pre-existing characters is slim. Yet, there is a chance for at least one new character to make his figure debut in February.
Below, AFJ has listed its predictions for 2019, based on previous announcements, pre-existing molds, and a process of elimination. We know that we have a better than 50/50 chance about the following characters getting a Black Series release.
At New York Comic Con 2018, Hasbro's Star Wars creative team revealed that the prequels were going get a heavy amount of Black Series figures. Already, we have had announcements and images for Mace Windu and Padame. Who could be next? Here are our top 3 for 2019.
The Jedi Master and comic book favorite that was seen in all three of the prequels is an easy choice for Hasbro. It will be interesting to see if Hasbro gives him a screen accurate lightsaber (blue), or an original figure one (purple).
Clearly, we need a Count Dooku (aka Darth Tyranus) 6-inch figure. With Hasbro's new "Photo Real" technology and how great Grand Moff Tarkin was, why don't we have Dooku yet? Hopefully, Hasbro will include some force lighting with this figure as well.
Here is a character (don't worry, we'll have General Grievous in 2019) that not only has a crazy design, but also a cool weapon that will beg us to purchase more than one. Come on Hasbro, we need the MagnaGuards to protect General Grievous and give the Jedi more villains to fight.
Selected Figures for 2019
The following figures are our predicted allotment for 2019.
Who better than Bib Fortuna to stand next to Jabba on his royal throne? Bib is a fan favorite who has had everything from a Power of the Force figure to a Sideshow Collectible (with variant) made in his likeness. If the faceless Resistance soldiers from the Force Awakens can have Black Series figures, Bib deserves one too. He is long overdue!
In case you haven't noticed (but we have and Hasbro probably has too), most fans aren't clamoring for new characters. They want the original trilogy figures. Fans also want to troop build, so when we have the likes of Grand Moff Tarkin and Death Squad Commanders, an Imperial Gunner is severely lacking.
From the Star Wars Rebels TV series, comes Zeb (aka Garazeb Orrelios). And why not? We already have Kanan, Hera, Sabine, Ezra, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Chopper. He is all that is left. Trust me, Junkies, we aren't done with Star Wars Rebels characters yet.
General Lando Calrissian
We have Cloud City Lando and young Lando, plus Skiff Guard Lando. However, we thought this one was a no-brainer. After all, they made a Black Series rendition in a 3-inch line. Good luck finding one of those. Yes, we want General Lando in the 6-inch scale.
Closer to the end of 2019, we are certain to see an early push for the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. We are certain that New York Comic Con's Hasbro panel will be ripe with 40th-anniversary announcements. Perhaps the following will debut before that as an in-store prelude.
Lobot is also one of the funkier characters in Star Wars. I am sure that by the time the 40th anniversary of Empire lands, Lobot will see the light of day. There are so many great 6-inch figures from Empire that Lobot screams to be made.
Bespin Security Guards - Two Pack
More than likely, a two-pack set of figures, featuring the Bespin Security Guards, would be a store exclusive. Hasbro has not had much success with two-packs in the past as they pertain to Star Wars. Marvel Legend two-packs are a different story. What this release really needs is that Marvel Legends flair with multiple heads, hands, weapons, and, above all, Han Solo in Carbonite.
An In-Store Exclusive
Exclusives for brick and mortar stores are all the rage now. Well, they are the rage for the retailers. However, certain retailers allow individual store management teams to dictate how many, if any, of these exclusives they acquire. Yes, I am talking about Walgreens. We know that Walgreens is getting a General Kenobi and Target is a getting a Trash Compactor Luke Skywalker, both in the spring. Hopefully, this guy is not far off...
Grand Moff Jerjerrod
Yep, the Imperial Officer who was in charge of the second Death Star. An odd choice, but with the Photo Real technology at their disposal, Hasbro can really make this figure look like the actor who portrayed him, Michael Pennigton. The body is easy, as Hasbro has used it three times already.
The Vehicle(s) for 2018
Storm IV Twin-Pod Cloud Car with Pilot
The First Order TIE Fighter was insanely awesome. The price might have been steep (initially), but thrifty shoppers managed to find them for a lot less. We need another mega vehicle and my suggestion would be a Storm IV Twin-Pod Cloud Car. It would make a great addition to the line and is not so big as to clog brick and mortar toy aisles. The pilot of the Cloud car is the obvious figure to come with it. Save the Snowspeeder for 2020!
Endor Leia (Fatigues) with Speeder Bike
This is one that we like to call the warrior Leia. In fact, this addition to the Black Series is long overdue. We need more soldiers and the Battle of Endor is a huge moment from the series. Placing Leia on the Speeder Bike would allow Hasbro to use those original molds again, and supply us with a Leia from the original trilogy.
Star Wars Celebration Chicago/ San Diego Comic-Con / D23 Exclusive / Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Opening
This year there will be four big seminal events (outside of the film and new TV series) that will tie directly to Star Wars. First up, in April, Star Wars Celebration, which took a year off, will be back. There has been a Hasbro exclusive since the very first one, and, undoubtedly, there will be another. In the past, that exclusive has carried over to other events that proceeded it. Hence the San Diego Comic-Con, D23 (Disney's event in Anaheim), as well as both North American Disney parks' grand openings of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge attractions might see the same exclusive. We are certain there will be several, but as for a Black Series release, we are praying to Yoda for...
Yes, the Duro Bounty Hunter from Star Wars: The Clone Wars screams Black Series figure. If you haven't watched his adventures in The Clone Wars, you really are missing out, as much as Hasbro is missing out on the dollars of selling Bane to the Star Wars collectors that want one.
As much as we want Cad Bane, Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm will probably tap Pedro Pascal's Mandalorian as their Star Wars Celebration and San Diego Comic Con Exclusive. They have done this in the past with a Force Order Trooper and Jyn Erso. We had a simple image and thus an easy release. We highly doubt the helmet will come off, though (in this release).
Star Wars: Episode IX
With Star Wars Celebration Chicago happening in April, we expect both a trailer and a huge Black Series reveal of figures to come. Outside of newly updated outfits for our heroes and villains, a Jedi Master Skywalker, as a Ghost, is also likely to be revealed.
The Next Archive Release Announcements:
Already for 2019, Hasbro has released 4 of the Black Series Archive Collection and announced 3 more (Anakin Skywalker from Revenge of the Sith, Yoda, and a Biker Scout Trooper). So who will be the next in the previously released figures to get new packaging? Darth Maul seems like the obvious choice, as does the Emperor. We do believe that Hasbro will Archive release the original Stormtrooper. Yet, with Luke in Stormtrooper disguise from the trash compactor, becoming an exclusive this Spring, would Han in Stormtrooper disguise get the green light too?
These are all just predictions, Junkies. We've been at this a few years now and we think we have a good hold on what Lucasfilm, Hasbro, and Disney will bring to fans this year. The events alone warrant a big release, but we have a new movie and a live-action series coming in 2019. Not to mention that rumors of Star Wars 1313 have begun to resurface, again. #AFJ4LIFE