Talk about fast - I was amazed to get a response back from Jeff Trojan already today with answers to all 10 questions! Decent answers too, although now it's going to kill me to wait a month before we ask more.
I did cheat a little and ask a couple follow up questions on two or three of these. I've got all the responses below, Jeff's responses in italics, the parts I think are important in bold:
1 - Why was Main Street cancelled? With the anticipated cancellation of the Main Street playset, will there be plans for another universal playset that could include all (or most) of the characters' voices? If not, how would you maximize the compatibility of some of the figures who appear in limited episodes or settings?
Main Street didn't receive enough support from the large retailers to justify the tooling investment. (This is a common tale in the toy biz.) We have no plans for a large ticket item in Fall 2002, but if demand continues strong maybe we can develop another universal piece and solicit buyer interest in 2003. We try to match the theme of the environments with the current figure assortment and plan phrases for figures being released concurrently, as well as the most popular characters, and the ones that are natural to each environment.
2 - What are the new exclusives going to be? Mainly, what is the line up for the supposed Christmas exclusive set. Is it true that there is going to be a separate, carded, Marge as a witch?
For Fall 2001:
Diamond and Spencers will sell a 15" Talking Good/Evil Krusty Doll (from Treehouse of Horror) Diamond and Electronic Boutique will sell a Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy 2-pack with exclusive Intelli-Tronic Lunar Base Environment.
Toys R Us will have another Treehouse of Horror - with Alien Ship Homer, Kang, Kodos and an exclusive Intelli-Tronic Alien Space Ship Environment. Toys R Us will have a Christmas exclusive with Christmas Homer, Christmas Marge, Christmas Bart, Christmas Lisa and Maggie on Santa's Little Helper all in an exclusive Simpsons Family Room Christmas Intelli-Tronic Environment. Wizard/Toyfare may offer a Pin Pal Moe and a redecorated Comic Book Guy before 2001. The 2002 exclusives haven't been approved yet by Fox. Don't know where you got the Marge as a Witch info - it was never a planned individual figure. And I can't confirm plans for the 2002 Treehouse of Horror until they get approved by Fox.
I followed up with this on the Alien Ship Homer: Any hints on what this looks like? Folks have been scratching their heads on this one, assuming that it's simply Homer with a new face sculpt, perhaps screaming or something to that effect.
Regular Homer body, Smiling Homer face (no new sculpture). The money's on Kang and Kodos in this one. Couldn't get Fox's approval fast enough to use Homer in a T-shirt from the X-Files episode (either Homer was right - or- Homer is an idiot...)
I also followed this up with this question in CBG: I'm assuming that isn't the Kollector version of CBG, but some other sort of redeco, like with a 'worst episode ever' shirt, or something similar.
Still working out what the T-shirt can be with the licensor. We've run through about a dozen so far...
3 - Are there any plans to address the needs of collectors who missed out on first-year releases like Lisa, Grampa, and Smithers? Will we see any re-releases or resculpts/repaints of these figures in their original clothes? Many of us feel that boxed sets of discontinued figures, similar to the Star Trek "1701" re-release from a few years ago, would interest new and old collectors alike. Have you considered reproducing these figures any time in the near future?
Other sculpted versions of these characters may come out in the future, but there are no plans yet for 2002, except the Christmas Lisa above. Right now we are not planning re-releases, even in a boxed set. (About 30,000 - 70,000 shipped in the first waves.) The earliest we might revisit this is mid-2003. With Star Trek 1701, first we got blasted by every collector who couldn't get one of the extremely limited figures (1,701 each), then we got blasted for releasing the 3-pack. We both know the after-market MIB/MOC trading price of each shouldn't affect the other, and more people could open and play with loose figures then. But as long as all collectors can't agree on what we should do, and there's a chance at getting even a vocal minority extremely upset - we're not gonna go near it at this time.
4 - What are the Wave 6 playsets going to be? We have heard rumors that instead of Main Street, Wave 6 would contain DMV w/Selam, and Police Station w/Eddie. Can you confirm/deny this? When will can we expect to see the first pictures?
The next two playsets, approved and planned for December/January 2002 are Simspons Kitchen with Muumuu Homer and Krusty Burger with Pimple-face Teen. These images should be available around September. The two sets you mention are planned in different waves in 2002, but our entire year rollout is still awaiting final approval at this time.
My comment: In other words, we're losing a playset set this year - I hate to say I told you so...
5 - Many collectors consider the characters Maggie Roswell voiced throughout the first 10 years of the show essential to their collection (Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Ms. Hoover, etc.). If she will not sign on to do them now that she has left the show, is it viable to have the actress who currently voices them re-record some of her classic lines for the figures?
Or is there a chance these will at least be produced as non-talking figures?
Haven't gotten down to this tier of characters yet. 2002 is still incredibly strong without. We have no plans to do non-talking figures at this scale yet. We haven't discussed any other possiblities with Fox yet, but I'd guess we'd be limited to the current talent.
6 - Is there any chance of producing themed sets of figures, like the Be-Sharps or the Stonecutters, possibly in an episode-specific playset a la the Treehouse of Horror sets, rather than putting out one or two of these figures at a time as was done with the Pin Pals?
Some of these are in the requests for late 2002, perhaps as TRU exclusives. And there will be more 2-packs like Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy. Feel free to give us suggestions for epiosdes/scenes that would make great 2- and 4-packs.
My comments - something else for us to work on!
7 - Would Fox agree to licensing Moe's if it were an exclusive?
Last time we tried it we were denied, even with distribution limitations.
8 - Many Simpsons fans were surprised that only two female characters have been sold as independent figures in the first six waves combined. Does Playmates have a strategy for addressing this potential imbalance in the line? Can we anticipate a higher ratio of female figures in the future, including some of the sought-after figures like Helen Lovejoy, Elizabeth Hoover, Agnes Skinner, and LunchLady Doris?
We're still addressing the most popular characters in any order, regardless of gender. Two of the above are in the unofficial 2002 plans.
9 - Besides Moe's Tavern, were there any other ideas Playmates had for World of Springfield figures or playsets that were rejected by FOX legal or Groening's office?
For the most part, our environment concepts are finding their way into the line sooner or later as requested. We were pretty far down the road with an Aztech Theater interior during a premier of a Ranier Wolfcastle movie - 'cause its a place the whole town would visit, but that was re-invented by the powers that be late on the development cycle.
My comments - that would have been cool! I wonder what he means by 're-invented'...
10 - Are there any plans or thoughts on super-sized playsets, like a complete Simpson family home, Kwik-E-Mart, Itchy & Scratchy Land, Duff Gardens, Springfield Mall, Town Square w/ Jebediah Statue, etc.? If not, are there plans to release standard playsets that are extensions of previous playset locations such as Bart's room, Kwik-E-Mart freezer section, etc.?
No deluxe playsets/higher price points are planned. As mentioned above, we're doing a Christmas Simpsons home interior, and the Kitchen. Other than that, we're still working our way around the town - especially as we need environments where the whole town interacts.
There we have it for June! Discuss...
- Install the Akbar Font
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