Kenner Star Wars Series II Plan (Gift and Curse)

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I watched ThatJunkman's Youtube video on Kenner"s Series II Plan (Shout out to @ThatJunkman) where it talks about the 2nd wave of Star Wars figures possibly being a wave that supported the Holiday Special. Junkman made some very good points and I truly believe he is one to something. However, if his theory is true, I believe it was both a gift and a curse. Here is why:

The Gift: Kenner's Star Wars line was the first movie toy line to delve into making background characters. They started as early as this 2nd wave to make characters with for mere seconds of screen time. Yes, wave 2 was a success and cemented the foundation for the production of more alien background characters like Squid Head, Nikto, and Klaatu. Whatever the rationale behind making that wave was, I think it paid off well because now we've seen the most obscure background characters Hasbro could find being produced (well maybe back in the early 2000's).

The Curse: If Kenner had not gone the route of producing these background alien characters that some believe were intended to support the Holiday Special, what figures could we have gotten in the second wave of figures from Star wars in 79?

Tie Pilot
Luke Stormtrooper
Imperial Gunner

These figures may come to mind since they were in SW: ANH and were eventually made later on in the line. R1-G4 had a prototype and Tarkin was proposed so those might have been considered. What about a Sandtrooper, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Han Stormtrooper, and maybe Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru? I personally think the ANH line of Kenner's figures, while AWESOME, will forever be incomplete since there is no Sandtrooper, Rebel Fleet Trooper and Han Stormtrooper.
 
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Well I’ve already learned something and had to google to find out that Tessek is Squid Head. Kudos to you, good sir.

Jim
 
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I always wondered why Tarkin wasn't released seeing how he was major role.

Sandtrooper is a favorite of mine , however I can see how they didn't release one. Seeing how the only real difference is the shoulder piece, it could be understood.
 
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I wonder if some screen time was cut for the alien/background characters.
 
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And the Tie Pilot being released for ESB is odd because, in ESB, we only ever see one when ejected from an impact with an asteroid during the Millennium Falcon pursuit.

Tarkin, they were probably thinking kids would not want to play with an old dude that has no weapons and only talks in the movie. I'd have loved to have had him.
 
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Unlike now, where at least some of the figures on collector's wishlists are considered, they didn't factor in what collectors might want. There were no big-time collectors then. Instead, it was just us as kids and yeah, kids probably wouldn't want the old man Tarkin. I believe the words that Kenner instilled in all of us, which was, "Collect them All" changed that real fast. A whole generation of collectors was born at that point.
 
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I think you have to also remember that the Star Wars line was very limited, until the ESB and Jedi release. The first 12 was about getting the hot ones out and to kids ASAP and came a year late. Then the second release were mostly aliens and droids something kids loved (and I believe maybe picked to help promote the Holiday Special or in case it was a huge hit). And after that it was on to planning Empire. If we got the same number of Star Wars figure as we did for ESB and ROTJ I am sure we would have seen Tarkin. As we got General Madine for Jedi and he just an old boring dude also. There was just no time with the 78-79 to get some of the lesser fun to play with characters.
 
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I always wondered why Tarkin wasn't released seeing how he was major role.

I've frequently heard it had to do with likeness rights. Peter Cushing either didn't want to give his likeness rights or they couldn't come to agreement over them. If this were the case his estate clearly has had fewer issues about this then he did.
 
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I think you have to also remember that the Star Wars line was very limited, until the ESB and Jedi release. The first 12 was about getting the hot ones out and to kids ASAP and came a year late. Then the second release were mostly aliens and droids something kids loved (and I believe maybe picked to help promote the Holiday Special or in case it was a huge hit). And after that it was on to planning Empire. If we got the same number of Star Wars figure as we did for ESB and ROTJ I am sure we would have seen Tarkin. As we got General Madine for Jedi and he just an old boring dude also. There was just no time with the 78-79 to get some of the lesser fun to play with characters.
Junkman!!! Love your stuff, nice to see you on here with us scummers. You did a shout out to my daughter about a year ago on her YouTube channel and she still talks about it. It was a classy move, thanks junkman. I’ll keep watching and enjoying your videos, they are great!
 
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I feel like a major piece is being missed in this discussion. First (and at least parts of) second wave were in planning without anyone at Kenner having actually seen the movie. Thus, Blue Snaggletooth.
 
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Seems unlikely as his likeness appeared on other things like the Burger King glasses and more
I've frequently heard it had to do with likeness rights. Peter Cushing either didn't want to give his likeness rights or they couldn't come to agreement over them. If this were the case his estate clearly has had fewer issues about this then he did.
 
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Seems unlikely as his likeness appeared on other things like the Burger King glasses and more
Illustration likeness rights are different from sculpture likeness rights and are different yet from photographic likeness rights. Given that 20th Century Fox didn't see the value in the merchandising rights and let Lucas retain them, it's easy to believe there was a patchworks of rights agreements for nearly everything on the original film. Plus we're talking about Kenner, not Burger King, Coca Cola, Topps, etc. Kenner would have needed to get their own agreement with Peter Cushing independent of any other company.
 
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I think its been pretty well established, that if you're in an LFL movie production, your job is contingent upon signing away those likeness rights for merchandise. This took action immediately with ANH, and a long time issue was actually resolved recently regarding the Tonnika Sisters. It was initially speculated that their likeness rights were never obtained, as background characters / extras - but they were, according to one actor. At some point, they were apparently lost or misplaced by LFL, hence the reason people assume no figures of them have been released. I'm willing to bet that Hasbro / LFL have the right to produce any facial likeness from the OT, PT, ST, and Mando - there is some doubt about the humans from the Holiday Special and the Ewok movies, as one of those actors said he didn't recall signing away likeness rights for merchandise.

As to the original post, its interesting speculation whether the Holiday Special impacting character assortments. I'm simply glad the cantina aliens were released, instead of packing the line with Imperial troops initially. Those aliens are an essential part of the line, and really helped develop the play patterns that have made the 3.75 scale strong for decades. I wouldn't mind seeing a Holiday Special tribute in Retro, perhaps...Ackmena?!

View media item 400518
 
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Illustration likeness rights are different from sculpture likeness rights and are different yet from photographic likeness rights. Given that 20th Century Fox didn't see the value in the merchandising rights and let Lucas retain them, it's easy to believe there was a patchworks of rights agreements for nearly everything on the original film. Plus we're talking about Kenner, not Burger King, Coca Cola, Topps, etc. Kenner would have needed to get their own agreement with Peter Cushing independent of any other company.
No the actors sign away likeness rights to the studio and film order not each company that makes things. Also in 1976/77 figures were just seen as promotion items for the film. Also we do know in 1977 Tarkin was on the list of figures to make. There is NOTHING at all that links there being no figure of Tarkin do to a likeness right issues. Nothing at all.
 
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No the actors sign away likeness rights to the studio and film order not each company that makes things.

That's not entirely true. It's going to vary from property to property and contract to contract. For example, there is plenty of Robocop merchandise, but not every company makes a Robocop with Peter Weller's likeness (full face). Or look at Ninja Turtles. We didn't get an unmasked Casey Jones (Elias Koteas) specifically based on the 1990 film until recently when the actor agreed to it.

I do agree that the 1977 Tarkin figure didn't have anything to do with likeness rights. I think it had everything to do with the toyetic nature of it. When we finally got a Tarkin in 1997, I never heard of there being any (re)negotiation with his estate.
 
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... they were probably thinking kids would not want to play with an old dude that has no weapons and only talks in the movie. ...
Makes it a bit easier to appreciate the Anakin Skywalker figure being released. And I believe I read (somewhere) that Peter Cushing refused to allow an action figure to be made of him (or his likeness), thus no Tarkin figure.
 
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@Pop-Up Saber @comicalUser Kenner’s whole plan for the 1986 line revolved around Tarkin. He was going to be the bigbad in Kenner’s homegrown EU.

I for one think the ANH line didn’t have Tarkin because they hadn’t actually seen the movie yet. Afterwards they probably just mentally lumped him in with “Imperial Officer”.
 
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Yeah, it was like the Wild West back then; these action figures themselves in essence changed the way something like “likeness rights” were even processed. Concerning Tarkin, who knows what the truth really is?
 
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Yeah, it was like the Wild West back then; these action figures themselves in essence changed the way something like “likeness rights” were even processed. Concerning Tarkin, who knows what the truth really is?
Universal movie monsters had some interesting litigation regarding likenesses. Bella Lugosi’s widow sued some people about that.
 
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