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Anticipation. It’s not just a Carly Simon song. Did I really just start off a blog with a  Carly Simon reference? I don’t even LIKE Carly Simon, apart from “Yer So Vain” and that James Bond song she did. Only 4 sentences in and I’m already off on a rabbit trail. Sigh. Where was I? Oh yeah! Anticipation. It’s not just a…..NO! I will NOT get sucked into this loop!

*Hitting refresh*

As we eagerly anticipate Star Wars: Rebels and Episode VII, I am reminded of 1999. The year of The Phantom Menace. I was in college, and someone came into the theatre building, saw me and said “Hey, Jeff, I just saw a bunch of new Star Wars toys at Wal-Mart.”  I don’t remember who it was because by the time they got the final “T” in “Mart” enunciated, I was already putting my car into “Drive.”

I got to the Mart of Wal (it was a small town, no Toys ‘R Us), and I was greeted by a full WALL of these red cards with Darth Maul’s picture on them. They had everything! Half-size Anakins! Darth Maul himself! The Liam Neeson guy and Obi-Wan Kenobi! Plus these 2 female characters, Queen Amidala and Padme. I lost a bet on those figures, but that’s a story for another blog.

I was understandably giddy. But also a bit disappointed. Like the Power of the Force 2 figures, we didn’t get the unique-to-each-figure cardbacks that I grew up with from Kenner. I assumed it was a purely economic decision. You can print up 5 million of these cards and slap a sticker on cheaper than producing a different card for each figure. Of course, that didn’t stop me from buying up all the figures I could afford that day. I left with a Darth Maul, an Obi-Wan, an Anakin, and a Qui-Gon (that’s the Liam Neeson guy). I would come back later for Amidala, Padme, the pilot-guy, and Watto.

This was a few weeks before the film. Maybe even a month or more, I don’t really remember, and I’m in the groove, so I don’t want to research it right now. My point is this: After the movie came out, I had far less interest in most of the figures that were released. I never liked the Battle Droids, because, let’s face it, they’re not that interesting. The pilot didn’t do anything in the movie, so why did I need a figure? Even Darth Maul met an untimely (and unwelcome) end, so I wasn’t sure how I felt about that figure, either.

I was reminded of the Return of the Jedi figures. The first one I received was General Madine (as you would know if you listen to Talking Toys with Taylor and Jeff on www.marvindogmedia.com). Madine’s best scenes were cut, so we all had this pasty, older white guy who did next to nothing in the movie. But I didn’t mind, because it’s Star Wars! Now, as an adult (well, sort of), I was faced with an identical scenario, but had an altogether different reaction to it. Why? Was it because I was growing up? Was it because I didn’t enjoy Episode I as much as I had hoped? My guess is the answer is “Both.”

I fell victim to the hype surrounding Episode I. I doubt any film could have lived up to the hype we all fell for. I DO think Episode I could have been a much better film, but that’s another argument. My point is this: I learned my lesson. I think (and hope) we ALL did.

Mark Hamill recently revealed that he’s concerned about Episode VII living up to the hype, but I really think that all of us fans are tempering our expectations a bit. If we were let down by the prequels, we are lowering our hopes, if we enjoyed them, we’re just hoping for a similar experience, and I think we will all be rewarded for it. I think Rebels is going to be a lot of fun, and I think Episode VII is going to be roundly praised from all corners, simply because we have a better idea of what to expect this time around, and that will extend to the toys and other collectibles.

Sadly, at the moment Star Wars toys seem to be few and far between. It’s hard to find anything on shelves these days. My hope is that with these 2 new Star Wars properties on the horizon, we start to see more and more figures, vehicles, Legos, etc. populate toy shelves. I hope that Hasbro figures out their distribution issues and can get the items onto shelves and keep the shelves stocked. I’m more excited about Rebels than I was Clone Wars for a silly reason: The colors. It seems to be a more colorful show, and I look forward to the card art and the toys themselves. After Episode I, I’m expecting a stock backing image, but that’s ok, because I’m EXPECTING It.

And as for Episode VII figures, well, I can’t promise that I won’t buy up one of everything as soon as they hit shelves, because these are characters I know and love, and any new characters will just be that much more interesting because of their connection with the characters I DO know. I may even be tempted to collect the ships, because this will be a 30-year-older version of the Falcon, you know? I can’t wait, it’s gonna be so awesome!

Wait, what was I saying about learning my lesson?

Some things never change. I seem to be one of them.

What say you, dear reader? Are you excited about the new toys? And do you have a similar experience of the prequel toys as well? Let me know, I’d love to hear.

Marvin says Hi.

PS – Yes, I know I also referenced a Rick Nelson song in the title. I was watching Rio Bravo as I wrote this, and I think it sunk into my subconscious. Plus, I like “Garden Party” and if you don’t, well then you need to unlearn what you have learned.

You can email Jeff at jeffm@coffeewithkenobi.com

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9 Comments

  1. Jay Krebs
    June 25, 2014 at 10:42 Reply

    Yer So Vain…or vein…could have been Darth Maul’s theme song after being truncated…lol!

    Nice subtle plug for your Podcast, btw! 😉

    I have a much more emotional tie to PTM – it was the one-and-only SW movie I got to share in the theater with my nephew before he lost his battle with cancer. After that, I was busy starting my own family and actually lost touch with everything SW until about that time Revenge of the Sith came out. Even then, it took me a few years to really get back into things again.

    I have the whole collection of TPM CommTech figures, which I think is really cool. My boys loved it when they were little. Having boys just gave me the perfect excuse in general to purchase toys! We have a buttload of battle droids – my youngest liked to set up battles! He even “modified” some of them with the differing rank colors. We also have the MTT that was originally unveiled at CVI. So cool.

    I think one of the reasons Rebels is so colorful may partially be because since Disney is ultimately in charge, the “cinematic feel” of everything they do appeals to kids. Colors are appealing!

    In terms of “hype” around the new film, I will admit that I am a little apprehensive. Of course, anything Star Wars is uber-exciting, and I will ALWAYS buy into anything SW,but I am reserving just a bit of my emotions until everything happens. That’s just me.

    I love vehicles, too! I often hear the comment that it’s strange for a female to be so into the vehicles (and weapons…and clones…). I never understood that gender thing! 🙂

    Great entry! 😀

  2. Jay Krebs
    June 25, 2014 at 10:43 Reply

    Oh yeah…and hi, Marvin! 😀

    1. Jeff McGee
      June 25, 2014 at 20:45 Reply

      I’m a big fan of horrible puns, nicely done. And thank you, I was wondering if anyone would notice my “subtle” plug for my show 🙂

      Sounds like you have quite the TPM collection, so it’s good to know that the toys didn’t go unloved. And I think you’re right about the Disney influence on Rebels, I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense!

      I suppose the gender thing with vehicles is the same as it is when you have a girl who’s into cars, she’s labeled a “tomboy” and is expected to wear overalls and baseball caps. I think it’s awesome that you’re into the tech of it all, I’m sure it makes for great times with your kids.

      Thanks for reading, Jay, and Marvin would say hi, but he’s too busy destroying a chew at the moment. His adoring public will have to wait 🙂

  3. Melinda
    June 25, 2014 at 17:41 Reply

    You are a stitch, Jeff! I love reading your blogs here on CWK. 🙂

    We have a plethora of action figures — most opened and played with! 🙂 — from the first 6 films and TCW, and I, too, am looking forward to those that come out in association with “Rebels” and Episode VII (and beyond). 🙂 Because we’re running out of room, I’ll probably be more selective, but I don’t mind. The toys, Legos, ships — they all are part of the movie experience. At least that’s the way I look at it.

    I love the way you started your musings, by the way. Anticipation indeed! 😉 I have it — BIG time! — and I’m trying to temper it. I’m just a kid at heart. Why should we ever change? lol

    MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Jeff McGee
      June 25, 2014 at 20:48 Reply

      Thanks Melinda, I’m always happy to entertain 🙂

      “all are part of the movie experience.” – I’m SO glad you said that, you’re absolutely right. Just like when we were kids, the toys are really a way for us to extend our enjoyment of the film! And if only space were not an issue, there would be no end to my collecting. So maybe it IS a good thing that space is limited, otherwise I might find myself drowning in a sea of painted plastic. I suppose there are worse ways to go.

      I’m still concerned about my Carly Simon reference, next thing you know I’ll be quoting Judy Collins. If that happens, someone take my keyboard away.

      1. Melinda
        June 27, 2014 at 16:49 Reply

        I’ve been humming “Anticipation” the past 2 days. I have you to thank for that. 😉

        1. Jeff McGee
          June 28, 2014 at 01:03 Reply

          You’re welcome. I’ve been singing Garden Party for a week.

  4. Becca Benjamin
    June 25, 2014 at 20:35 Reply

    Hi Marvin 🙂 Wow, there’s a lot going on in this here blog…… So wait, hold the phone…you were in college in ’99? Damn! I’m old lol 😉
    Ok, back to more exciting things, like toys and Star Wars.

    It’s funny, I didn’t rush out to see Episode I or even Episode II for that matter. In fact, I believe I got married the weekend Episode I came out in theater. Anyhoo, I had no expectations back then, I was just happy to see more Star Wars. This is my same emotion now as SW VII approaches…. just happy to see New stories add to what we already have.
    It’s an exciting time to be a SW fan, isn’t it?

    As for Rebels, I share the same feeling. The color palette is so Vibrant! Great choice and I’m so excited to see what it’ll bring to the SW table 🙂

    …..about the toys….yeah, that’ll depend on my son 😉 He’s the lego master….speaking of which, how was Taco Tuesday?

    Great Blog, Mr. McGee 🙂

    1. Jeff McGee
      June 25, 2014 at 20:52 Reply

      Thank you, Ma’am 🙂 and yes, I was in college in 1999, I was in the 4th year of my 7-year college journey. A lot of people go to school for 7 years, but most of them are called doctors.

      The Rebels Lego sets look amazing, so I’m sure your Li’l Lego Master will have his hands full. And Taco Tuesday was AWESOME!!! And actually, EVERY Tuesday is Taco Tuesday when you live near a Rosa’s Tacos and Tortilla Factory. Which I do. Because I rule.

      Now I’m hungry……

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