- Matt Wilkins
Bullies in Toyland
For the past few years Hasbro has opened their doors to Star Wars fans through various online polls,
giving them a shot at selecting the next action figure for Hasbro’s toy line. In those years, Expanded
Universe fans around the world have voiced their opinion of who they’ve wanted to see in plastic.
The first action figure to win was Revan from the Old Republic era. When the figure hit stores it sold out
immediately and can only be found on Ebay for $50 or more. An instant “hit” for Hasbro and the toy
market in general. At Celebration this year the new figure was shown, Jaina Solo. Winner of last year’s
poll and the second Expanded Universe favorite to be voted in.
When it hits stores I can only imagine how hard it’ll be to find. The last time Jaina Solo had an action
figure it was sold out instantly and goes for an average of $180 in the package or $50 loose on the
internet. An insane amount to ask for just one figure, yet retains it worth thanks to collectors of
Expanded Universe paraphernalia.
For this year’s poll fans wanted Ben Skywalker. Son of Luke Skywalker from the old canon novels.
Thousands of votes were cast for him across several polls, but just like the voices on Alderaan they were
suddenly silenced…by the same websites which carried the polls.
Jedi Temple Archives were the first to remove Ben from the polls claiming fans were “cheating” although
evidence for the accusation was never revealed. Soon a6er that three other fan sites followed suit,
Yakface, Jedi News and Imperial Shipyards. Proving once again how discrimination against Expanded
Universe fans continues to be an ugly issue everyone is afraid to address.
When you run a poll on your own website YOU HAVE CONTROL. You’re running the poll. You set the rules
and monitor the results. For that reason it’s hard to accuse someone of cheating when you’re in control.
If a fan voted more than once I can assure you it wasn’t just for Ben. Every fan wants their character to
win and will vote as many times as allowed to make that happen. If the requirement is to include an
email address, well I have three. Be<er believe I’m voting with all of them. If the requirement is IP
address, I have two and their both going toward votes for my favorite character. That’s how it works.
Anyone with common sense knows that. Only bullies and spoiled sports are unable to see the logic
Let’s say I ran a poll on my site. I asked people for the best Star Wars book they’ve read. The only
requirement for the poll is to provide your email address and the same address cannot vote twice. The
poll opens and in the lead is Timothy Zahn’s newest book “Thrawn” Myself being a fan of the Expanded
Universe, I naturally would not be happy about this and would not want that book to win. So I accuse
fans of cheating and throw the book out of contention, leaving only choices that I’d be happy with
That’s what we’re have here, bullies. When things don’t go the way they want them to, they change the
rules in the middle of the process just to insure a victory. Shame on each and every website for treating
fans in such a biased and discriminatory way.
Thanks to them this year’s poll consist of the most boring, lackluster list of characters in a fan poll to
date, making both the fans and Hasbro miss out on an excellent opportunity to give people what they
Hasbro asked for fan’s opinion but four of the websites they used in their preliminary polls had a bias
and due to that, everyone missed out. Instead of seeing this new character pop up on Ebay for five times
the retail price, they’ll see it stuck in the sales bin at Wal-Mart.
I propose next year those four websites call it an “Opinion Poll” with an asterisk beside it which states
“Only votes with similar opinions as ours will be counted” At least then I could call them honest.
So what should the thousands of Ben Skywalker supporters do about it? For those I say, let it go. This
isn’t the first time EU fans have been discriminated against and it certainly won’t be the last. The proper
way to file a complaint is with Hasbro themselves.
Email Public Relations at HasbroBrandPR@hasbro.com and inform them of the discrimination you’ve
encountered. Make Hasbro aware of the situation so it can correct the issue for future polls.
Companies aren’t blind to not know what we want. For instance, Del Rey knows EU fans want new
“Legends” adventures and they’d happily give us those if it were allowed by Lucasfilm. I promise you, if
Lucasfilm ever “greenlit” the proposal for Legends books, the good folks at Del Rey would have one out
to us within the year. They KNOW the Expanded Universe is popular with fans. We just need to show it to
Lucasfilm. Every day our movement is growing and as a fandom we’ve continued to push request for
more Legends. A good business never ignores its fans. If the demand is strong enough they’ll happily
oblige. And demand for Expanded Universe products continues to grow as time goes on.
Long Live the Expanded Universe.