Two Hasbro Star Wars team members explain which big reveals from Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story weren’t spoiled for them ahead of time. Ever since George Lucas’ first film set in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: A New Hope, debuted in theaters, the sci-fi action/adventure franchise has inspired devoted fans the world over. After the initial trilogy ended with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, there was a 16-year break before the next Star Wars movie hit theaters. Then, once the prequel trilogy wrapped up, fans spent another decade without a new installment until Disney and Lucasfilm revived the franchise with The Force Awakens.
Of course, Star Wars extends beyond the films to include all kinds of other content – such as animated TV series, comic books, novels, and the recently announced Forces of Destiny – and plenty of tie-in merchandise ranging from action figures to clothing lines. For their part, Hasbro has a number of collections available for fans, including the Black Series, as well as plenty of toys and figures based on characters new and old. Now, while the Hasbro design team learns necessary details about upcoming Star Wars movies well ahead of time in order to get new products on the shelves, there are certain reveals they don’t know.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Hasbro Senior Principal Designer Mark Boudreaux (who has been designing Star Wars products since the beginning at Kenner) and Global Brand Marketing Senior Manager Andy Ochiltree revealed what major The Force Awakens detail they weren’t given before seeing the film for themselves in theaters:
Boudreaux: To be able to do the product that we do, obviously we have to know what things look like – vehicles, characters. But there are times, because we are fans, there are times where we don’t always necessarily want to know how everything connects, so it’s just as new and as fresh for us when we see the film because now it’s edited, it has context, it has a soundtrack.
Ochiltree: Luke is a great example from The Force Awakens. We didn’t know Luke was in The Force Awakens until we saw it in the theaters, which, as a fan I’m like, ‘Good, great! That was a nice surprise.’
As for Rogue One, one of the standout sequences was Darth Vader’s action scene at the end of the film, which director Gareth Edwards said was added during the reshoots process. However, Boudreaux revealed that not only was the Hasbro design team not warned ahead of time about Darth Vader’s inclusion in Rogue One, but they were explicitly told that the movie wouldn’t include any Jedi or lightsaber-wielding characters:
We did not know in Rogue One – we were told, ‘There are no Jedi, no lightsabers, no nothing’ in Rogue One. All of a sudden at the end, somebody’s breathing and there’s a red lightsaber that lights up. We were all just like, ‘What?’ … That’s what we were told, ‘This is a ground battle-centric movie, it’s not lightsabers, it’s not Jedi’ and then all of a sudden Vader’s there – it just blew our minds.
Of course, considering the number of movie spoilers that arrive through various toy and figure tie-ins, fans may be thankful that Disney and Lucasfilm kept the details pertaining to Luke in The Force Awakens and Vader in Rogue One from Hasbro. Still, Boudreaux explained that their design team does get enough information ahead of time about the Star Wars films to create products fans will enjoy, even if that means rushing new figures once they’ve seen the movie for themselves:
We don’t know everything, but I think we certainly need to know enough to put out a compelling product line – something that people will gravitate towards when they see the film. We don’t try to do everything at once. If there are things that we find out when we watch the film, we’re going like, ‘OK that’s the very next thing we’ve got to do.’ Then we go back and start developing that to get those things out the door as quickly as possible.
So, with Disney and Lucasfilm gearing up for the next Star Wars entry to hit theaters this December with The Last Jedi, as well as celebrate the franchise’s 40th anniversary, fans can expect plenty more from Hasbro – but nothing that will reveal too much from Episode VIII.