Hasbro’s 2015 Entertainment Brand Preview Event showcased a variety of toys from Marvel’s Avengers, Jurassic World, Star Wars, Transformers, and My Little Pony at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. The annual event allowed media guests to tour Hasbro’s showrooms and engage with brand teams about the latest products.
The 8-minute Star Wars presentation with Jeff Labovitz (Global Marketing Director, Star Wars at Hasbro) and Joe Ninivaggi (Senior Manager of Global Marketing, Star Wars at Hasbro) focused on three new toy lines recently revealed through other media outlets. Though nothing new about Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed, as originally stated in a January press release, there was a resounding disappointment among the attendees as well as from fans in social media. Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t going to be the main focus, many thought it would have been a great opportunity to discuss current lines, such as The Black Series and Star Wars Rebels.
Despite the missed opportunity, Labovitz and Ninivaggi enthusiastically talked about the upcoming products. The presentation started with Star Wars Hero Mashers, a product that was initially unveiled at UK Toy Fair with Star Wars Rebels’ Zeb Orrelios and Kanan Jarrus included as part of the reveal. New York’s preview, on the other hand, revealed classic characters from Wave 1, including Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Episode III Anakin Skywalker, Bossk, Jar Jar Binks, Kit Fisto, Boba Fett, General Grievous, Episode II Anakin and his speeder, and Darth Maul and his speeder. No women characters were revealed, unfortunately.
Moving away from figures, the presentation turned to the most iconic weapon of all time. Without a doubt, everyone loves lightsabers. Labovitz and Ninivaggi went through a short history of lightsaber products, starting with the 1970s inflatable lightsabers. Other prominent lightsabers were tossed in, such as Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber, Asajj Ventress and how she wielded two lightsabers, Kanan Jarrus and his unique lightsaber, Ezra Bridger with his lightsaber blaster, and the Inquisitor’s spinning lightsaber.
“We spent more than 30 years giving kids a way to replicate their favorite character,” they said and announced the Star Wars Bladebuilders line, a new and innovative way to let kids turn things around and create their own lightsaber formation. Most kids today are being introduced to Star Wars for the first time, and given the day and age, they enjoy being given the opportunity to customize and to really let their imaginations run wild.
Media guests were shown a brief advertisement for the new toy line, “Introducing Star Wars BladeBuilders, the most innovative lightsaber system the galaxy has ever known. For the first time ever, you can combine any lightsaber across the collection to build your ultimate weapon. Mix and match across the system to create lightsabers unlike any other. All new forms, customizable hilts, Jedi and Sith. The possibilities are virtually limitless. Take control of the galaxy with all new Star Wars BladeBuilder.”
The presenters joked about the lightsabers being canon, a much talked about topic within the Star Wars fanbase, before moving on to explain that the system can make more than 100 different formations, using extendable lightsabers, electronic lightsabers, and foam lightsabers. “Boys and girls” (glad girls were included in that description) are going to have a fun time creating and immersing themselves into the world of Star Wars.
Finally, the presentation ended on a furry note with Furbacca, a Furby dressed and made to look like Chewbacca. Darth Maulby, Darth Furbious, Furmorrean Guard were some of the ideas Labovitz and Ninivaggi tossed around in jest before the real life-size Furbacca came out onto the stage. Both interactive and cute, the Furbacca comes with its own app, allowing owners to take care of it through a digital environment.
As the presentation came to an end, media guests were reminded that more is yet to come, “Obviously, we have an amazing line planned for The Force Awakens. We can’t wait to share it with you as soon as we can later in the year.”
Additional photos of the Hasbro showroom can be found at my Twitter.