This week, I visit WHTNMIISWTORBKOLIPW again and ask about merchandising. There have been some horrific ideas that came out of the Star Wars franchise, and I don't just mean the changes in the Blue-Ray release. I shared a couple of these on Google+ this weekend. The Princess Leia Pizza Pringles has to be the worst. I didn't believe it myself until I saw the photographic evidence.
We know that if SWTOR is hugely successful, Lucasfilm will certainly use that as an opportunity to capitalize on the game. Follow after the break for my leap into the world of TOR-vertizing. (OK, not everything works with TOR dropped in front of it.)
Darth Malgus Micro-Machines
I am sure that some of you remember Micro-Machines, the toy cars by Galoob. They take less material to make than a regular toy car, but the manufacturer could charge the same amount for it because it was "micro." In 1995, this company also made mini versions of the Star Wars vehicles called the Action Fleet. One of the more famous ones was the TIE Interceptor with a George Lucas pilot -- complete with sunglasses.
Unfortunately, not everything made in this series reaches the level of awesomeness of the TIE Interceptor. The Bespin playset gave children (and childish adults) a place to reenact the pivotal scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. That in and of itself is fine. However, this particular toy folded up into the shape of Darth Vader's head.
Why don't we want this
First off, I'm not exactly sure why it folded up in the first place. Sure, the idea was that it was a convenient carrying case and playset in one. But when you actually attempted to fold up the toy, it was nearly impossible to fit all the miniature figures in the decapitated Sith Lord, not to mention that it would flop back open with the slightest bump, spilling the platoon of troopers out onto the ground.
If we take this idea and wrap it in a SWTOR shell, we know exactly who will be the head of choice: Darth Malgus. If parents don't like the idea of children playing with zombies, wait until their children beg for this monstrosity. In addition, you know scene kids will reenact the Sacking of Coruscant. I cannot wait to see my child crash a stolen troop transport through the columns of the Jedi Temple and play out the epic battle between Ven Zallow and Malgus, where Malgus stabs Zallow in the heart. Kids are so cute when they are being evil.
At Star Wars Celebration V, patrons were treated to a special piece of memorabilia: the Lando Calrissian Disguise. We know that geeks' problems aren't body odor and back hair; it's a lack of style. In an effort to make nerdom a bit more swarthy, the marketing gurus for Lucasfilm created this stick-on mustache in the shape of the one worn by our favorite Cloud City Administrator. "Well hello, Leia." You too can be as smooth as Billy Dee -- all you need is a chunk of hair above your lip.
Knowing our luck, we'll see The Old Republic attempt to market something similar. The Republic Trooper from the TOR trailers exemplifies the rugged soldier that every Star Wars fan wants to be, right? Why not wear the same scars as this war hero? Sure you look like a zombie, but you will catch the love of the sexy Jedi Master Satele Shan. C'mon! Everyone knows that he's the father of Theron Shan, but no one wants to admit it!
Why don't we want this
OK, maybe we do want this one, but that doesn't mean we will look any cooler. In fact, if the quality of scars matches the quality of the Landostache, then we may as well slap a couple of hunks of ground beef on our face and call it a day.
Now if the trooper scars came with Havoc Squad armor too, that would be incredible, not to mention the cosplay potential. Someone needs to jump on this right away. You just know that at BioCon, or whatever they end up calling a BioWare convention, this costume will be right up there with the Grunt costume from San Diego Comic Con.
What don't you want to see?
It's your turn. What piece of Star Wars: The Old Republic merchandise should never see the light of day? Lucasfilm has been catching every bit of money from this franchise that it possibly could since the '70s; there is no way it will miss out if TOR takes off.
Speaking of making money off the Star Wars movies... I mentioned the Star Wars Blue-Ray earlier. I thought I would share this little piece of irony. George Lucas spoke to Congress in 1988 about preserving the originality of film. He said, "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians." Special, isn't it?
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!