Good intentions, poor execution: when licensees mess up EU toys
At the time of writing this which is several weeks before this will come out, my Carnor Jax figure has arrived. This was one of 4 figures for the black series that were apart of the Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Comic series.
Now Jax was the only one I really wanted, as I didn't much care for Jaxxon in the comics, and his box art depicts appearances that aren't from Legends. Luke and Maul are of course characters from the movies with comic inspired designs so I wasn't too excited about those. But Carnor Jax was from one of my favorite comics, Crimson Empire, and his box art depicted what is my all time favorite comic cover art by Dave Dorman.
However, the figure isn't Carnor Jax, it is Kir Kanos. Carnor has black accents to his chest plate and a few other places on his armor where Kir's armor is all red. They are the hero and villain of Crimson Empire I and any fan of the series could easily tell you who was who.
(left Kir Kanos right Carnor Jax)
But, despite this Hasbro went through the entirety of the development phase thinking they were making Carnor Jax and only realized their mistake when they announced the figure and the fans started correcting them. They claimed that it was a packaging error and that it was too late to fix it, putting the following on every listing of the figure.
Now all of this I knew prior to purchasing the figure. I bought it full well knowing there was going to be an error because I wanted it, error or not, in my collection. I do not at all regret my purchase and I must say it does look good on the shelf in its packaging aside from the glaringly obvious error. I feel Hasbro had genuinely good intentions with this figure and line, they just failed in the execution.
But it got me thinking if this sort of thing has happened before in recent history, and while not entirely a one for one comparison something similar did happen with another quasi EU character and a major toy licensee.
In early 2017 Lego released a new Lego set 75170 The Phantom, the second set of that name. It was an updated version of the escape pop/shuttle used by the crew of the Ghost in Star Wars Rebels. This set had an MSRP for $30 U.S. which was very expensive for a set with only about 270 pieces and 3 minifigures, especially as this was a peripheral to an entirely different $90 set. At the time a Star Wars set with that part count and that many minifigures would most likely come out to around $20-$25 so it was a bit of a steep price for many.
Now you may be asking why I'm talking about a Star Wars Rebels lego set in an article about the EU? Well that is because this was the first ever Lego Star Wars set to include a minifigure of Grand Admiral Thrawn. And while Lego never officially admitted to it, this was the reason that this set was so expensive. You were paying a $5-$10 premium just to get your hands on a Thrawn figure, and that is what most people, EU fans included, were buying the set for. However Lego also messed this one up, as one reviewer pointed out.
This commenter was not alone as by my count three others wrote similar reviews on the page and Lego to their credit responded to every one apologizing.
For those not aware of what these commenters are talking about this is the figure that was included in the set.
And these are the rank insignia for the Empire in both Canon and Legends
To some this is a small detail but this is a missed detail none the less. keep in mind this set was overpriced because it had this figure, and they got the figure wrong. It was the fact that people were paying a premium for an exclusive figure that was wrong that made so many upset.
To date this is the only official Lego Thrawn minifigure to be made, and it has the wrong insignia on the torso print for both Legends, and Canon. Lego of course has apologized for this and there are several custom Thrawn figures available with the correct rank insignia for those that want it. Looking back at it while there are 4 reviews complaining about the wrong rank insignia there are 22 that don't mention it at all, meaning that they either didn't notice or didn't care.
But to the more hardcore collector which I am assuming those 4 reviews came from, this was a big deal to them, kind of like how the Carnor Jax error is a big deal to me. And both are just unfortunate examples of a licensee having good intentions but failing at the execution. In fact it would be more appropriate to call them mistakes. As a wise man once said "any one can commit an error but an error only becomes a mistake if you refuse to correct it".
If you have any other examples of this happening please feel free to either put them in the comments or even send us an article about it. I'm sure these aren't the only examples of something like this happening and I'd love to hear more.