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Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our one hundred and forty-third guest is the CEO and President of EFX – Bryan Ono.

Lightsabre – Bryan, welcome to Lightsabre. EFX has been going for almost two years now. Do you have anything planned for your second anniversary?

BO – Not really, we’re not that self-serving! Products come along in a timely manner, and that’s pretty much our focus. We like to help our brand get out there, and that’s definitely what John (Singh) is helping us do, establish our brand identity as well. Our focus is coming out with good Star Wars toys rather than the products being about us.

Lightsabre – Was is EFX’s mission statement?

BO – Wow, we’ve actually gone through several so far! (Laughs) Obviously it kind of got revised after the economy tanked in September, it went from ‘serving the community’ to ‘sell what we can’ (Laughs). I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding, but the major thing is basically to be able to deliver high quality accurate products from our customers favourite movies, television and other entertainment media.

Lightsabre – One thing that’s clear about EFX is your attention to detail. If you’re working with Lucasfilm you would have access to plans, schematics, hero props and the like that other people just wouldn’t have?

BO – Well believe it or not there’s a lot of pictures out there on the forums, but having the ability to have that direct access to the stuff is really the icing on the cake, really exciting. You’ve got to keep your fanboys mode under control, you have to be professional. And the other part of the mission statement is that we only want to take on properties that we have a true passion for. We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best, and you can’t really be the best if you don’t have a passion for it. American Idol, that’s not what I want to do. If we have to do things that we don’t really have the passion for then it’s just a job.

Lightsabre – You have other licenses coming up on the horizon.

BO – Yeah, we secured one last week.

Lightsabre – Excited about it?

BO – Very excited actually, it’s a really good license, it’s not the same as Star Wars but it definitely compliments what we want to do.

Lightsabre – From what I know of eFX, the vibe I’m getting is that your future product lines will be very much in that Lucas, Spielberg, Zemeckis 1980’s blockbuster vein.

BO – Well not necessarily because our interests are pretty broad. So it doesn’t necessarily have to remain within the sci-fi genre, and actually the way the economy and the market is developing right now that really doesn’t make any sense.

When we first started off Star Wars was obviously our tent pole, and is obviously an incredible license to be our foundation, but as we move forward in terms of new products and new licenses, and taking account of the economy, to be dependant on one core fan group to support you through everything, strategically doesn’t make sense. What we need to do to bring this passion for high quality accurate products into other genres as well, so that we spread it out more evenly over a broader range of consumer base.

It’s kind of like Mattel. Barbie was sixty to seventy percent of their revenue, and then Barbie sales started to go through, Mattel started to suffer. That happened twice, it happened with Barbie in the late 90’s and it also happened in the 80’s with Masters of the Universe. When that changed Mattel ran into some huge financial problems because they were just so dependent on that one product line.

Lightsabre – So you want to spread your net as wide as you can in that respect?

BO – Well, not as wide, but to get a broader range to reach a broader consumer base. Like I said earlier, we’re only going to take on properties that we know, and we have a passion for.

Lightsabre – It seems to me with the Star Wars connection as a start off, moving on to another brand and license you’ve got to really feel it because you’re putting your neck on the line in terms of research and development. You’ve got to be passionate about the back end when you’re trying to sell it.

BO – Exactly, exactly. And one thing we’re trying to do as well is even as we look into other properties is that we know what we do best. We do prop replicas, we do helmets and we do studio scale. We’re not Gentle Giant, we’re not Sideshow, we don’t have the talent here to sculpt, for example. We don’t want to be the jack-of-all-trades, we don’t want to be everything to everybody. We want to focus on what we do best and what we’re known for. So that’s why as we chose new licenses we have to make sure how our resources relates to that property. In other words, if we’re going to do prop replicas and helmets we want to find other properties where we can use our talent in that area to reproduce replicas from those licenses. We’d rather do a few things great than a lot of things mediocre.

Lightsabre – And there must be a lot of companies out there who want to do the opposite, and it doesn’t work.

BO – That’s right. I worked for a number of companies who had acquired some licenses and they based their product lines around licensed properties. Their intent was to go out and get as many licenses as they could, so they had a huge portfolio. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because you have to establish yourself within the industry, because even though it may seem a large industry, it’s not, it’s very small, and people become accustomed to your work, and if they like your work they’ll follow your work. But if you try to be the jack-of-all-trades then it just causes confusion and they ask’ well, what do these guys really do, I don’t understand.’ So as we move forward we have to keep our focus.

Lightsabre – It is a small marketplace, and naturally people think of Sideshow and Gentle Giant and previously Master Replicas. Brand awareness is everything, so if you can niche yourself down into being the best at a certain thing it gives you a chance at long-term survival.

BO – Right, and we talk to Gentle Giant and Sideshow quite a bit, and we’re all trying to work together and we don’t want to step on other people’s toes, and they do what they do best and we do what we do best (Laughs) That’s pretty much the way it should be organised. Even Lucasfilm are like that, most licensees are pretty good about that, even though most licenses are non-exclusive, they’re really protective of each of the licensees territory, so to speak.

Lightsabre – So if you sit down and you’re doing say, an Ahsoka Tano lightsaber, you make sure companies aren’t overlapping each other s it’s counterproductive to the licence.

BO – That’s where cooperation really helps each other. For example, if we do the Ahsoka Tano lightsaber then it benefits both companies if say Kotobukiya or Sideshow comes out with a bust of the same character, so we’re all kind of working together and we’re actually working with Lucasfilm because their marketing is pretty much focused on Ahsoka, that’s how they’re promoting The Clone Wars. So we came up with the Ahsoka Tano lightsaber, to work with Lucasfilm to help promote The Clone Wars in the way they wanted to do it. And it makes more sense because we all fed off each others publicity. By Ahsoka being the focus of Star Wars Fan Days, our lightsaber goes right along with it, it all works together.

Lightsabre – Wasn’t the Ahsoka lightsaber the first real, 3d prop from the show? How did the concept for that come about?

BO – The Clone Wars is a really unique property in that the director Dave Filoni is a huge Star Wars fan, so he knows Star Wars like the back of his hand. If you look at the things that he integrates into The Clone Wars series, the props and the helmets and everything, you can tell that he is really faithful to the original story. For example, the Ahsoka Tano lightsaber, if you look at it she is a Padawan of Anakin and at the beginning of the movie she was with Obi-Wan, so if you look at her lightsaber you can see the heritage that’s built into the lightsaber. It has the pommel from Obi-Wan and the emitter like Anakin’s. There’s Asajj Ventress as well, her lightsaber is double-bladed like Darth Maul and curved like Dooku’s. So there’s a lot of little things in there that make it faithful to the original films. By having Dave do that, as he’s a big fanboy too, it makes everything that much more consistent and people go ‘I get it’.

Lightsabre – Well you’re clearly a big Star Wars fan yourself. When did you first fall in love with Star Wars?

BO – Believe it or not I’m one of the crazy people back in 1977 who actually saw Star Wars in the theatre 38 times. Back then there was no video, no DVD, no laserdiscs, nothing, so this was literally going to the theatre. Me and my friends saw it every weekend, all through the summer, at least twice. Luckily I never had to go by myself (Laughs) Luckily I still had friends at the end of that summer!

When Empire Strikes Back was coming out me and another friend actually waited in line for 16 hours. Now back in 1980 no-one ever did this. I actually got my picture in the LA Times, sitting in line in front of the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. They took the picture eight to ten hours before the film started and made a big deal about it, ‘ it’s eight hours before the film opened and these guys are already in line!’ So that was exciting, we got into the 12.01 showing at the Egyptian and that was incredible.

Then we had to do it again in 1983 for Return of the Jedi, but unfortunately when we first got there we actually waited 32 hours in line from the day before and we were about 75th in line, but we didn’t even get into the first showing because too many people cut in front of us. There was no crowd control whatsoever. I wasn’t too happy about that. So I’m one of the original Star Wars fanatics from when it was first released. I got to admit that in 1977 I did not see it opening day, I waited until June to see it.

It was really interesting in LA, and I don’t know if it happened around the country but people were paying to see the trailer leading up to the opening of Star Wars. There was a guy back then in charge of publicity, his name was Charles Lippincott, and I actually still have his business card for what was then called The Star Wars Corporation. He set up this kind of viral marketing campaign around the opening and obviously he did a great job and people in LA were actually paying to go see the trailer when they found out what theatre it was playing at and weren’t even staying for the feature.

I’m a true Star Wars fan from way back when.

Lightsabre – And you stuck with it all the way through, because Star Wars has ebbed and flowed, after Jedi finished. Were you with it all the way through?

BO – Yes I was, I had all the comic books and read all the books through that period in terms of EU and all that, but the original trilogy was still my favourite.

The prequels were ok, it was a bit different. Most people would agree with me who grew up with Star Wars in the 70’s and 80’s, there was really an emotional tie not just to the franchise but to the actual characters. You actually cared about these characters. The prequel stuff was a little bit different. I enjoyed watching them but I don’t have the emotional ties, plus I was thirty years older (Laughs) Let’s say twenty years older! (Laughs) It was a little bit of a different experience. Even while the prequels were coming through, there was still things available from the original trilogy which kept that connection alive, so my true devotion to Star Wars is to the original trilogy.

Lightsabre – You’ve enjoyed what’s happening on the television screen with The Clone Wars. That has more of a kinetic, original trilogy feel to it.

BO – Yeah it is, I think it’s only because of Dave Filoni, because he’s faithful to the story. You understand what’s going on. I think that’s a critical part of the success of Clone Wars, not only for the 12 year old buys but for us older folks as well. you get the connection, it makes sense. You don’t feel so separated like’ what’s going on?’ (Laughs) I don’t get it! There’s kind of a natural flow, which I think is kind of an interesting concept with Lucasfilm making a series which is between episodes 2 and 3, so I think that makes a whole lot of sense as well. Lucasfilm understands the fans and understands the direction it needs to go in order to not only bring in a new generation of fans but to satisfy the ones who’ve followed Star Wars from the beginning.

Lightsabre – I think that’s the cleverest thing with Star Wars, and where we are with Star Wars in general, it seems – as a webmaster who’s run my site for ten years – there’s more interaction between Lucasfilm and the fans in terms of what do we really want than ever before.

BO – Right, right, right and what’s interesting with the success of Star Trek I’m interested to see what Lucasfilm does now because part of the strategy of The Clone Wars was to bring in a new generation of fans, so they’re very successful with the 12 and unders, and Hasbro and Lego are doing extremely well with their licensed Clone Wars products. But there’s that demographic of 14, 15 to 25, 26, 27, what do you do with those people. Right now Star Trek has filled that void with their new movie. Plus there’s J.J Abrams too. That’s a very critical consumer base for Lucasfilm to keep in mind as well, because in 5 years they’re going to be ready to step up to the collectibles.

Lightsabre – I guess the live action series is going to slot into that gap.

A – Yeah right, if and when it comes out. I hope it does but you know the way George Lucas is, it’s got to be right. He’s not going to put it out just to put it out. So we’re hoping this might just kick George in the butt and make episode 7 (laughs).

Lightsabre – How strange you mention that, I was talking to a friend the other day and he said we could live to be 100 and there’ll never be an episode 7 and I said I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

BO – Remember he said after Return of the Jedi that he’d never do it. Remember when Star Wars first came out George Lucas in all his interviews said there was going to be a trilogy of trilogies.

Lightsabre – Yeah…he forgets that.

BO – He forgot that (Laughs). I was there but I didn’t really know, I wasn’t paying attention (Laughs). Basically what Star Trek has done is fill that important void, and in the planning stages of the second Trek from J.J Abrams, which is going to be released in two years.

Lightsabre – Being in the industry the success of Star Trek is an elevation for everything.

BO – It is, and you’ve got to remember too that with Star Trek, because it’s in the same genre as Star Wars and other films like that, the success of Star Wars trickles down to product for Star Wars and everything else, kind of brings it back to the forefront.

Lightsabre – So when you guys are sitting around the coffee table at eFX headquarters discussing what you’re going to do next, what is the thought process in choosing the next product?

BO – There are a couple of thought processes in that. First we know what we want to do because Barry and I are huge Star Wars fans, and I’m sure you know what both Barry and I were at Master Replicas as well. The issue with Master Replicas is that it was run by non-fans, so if we were to do some obscure thing like say a Blockade Runner, they’d go ‘what’s that?’. If they didn’t know what it was if it wasn’t the Millennium Falcon they wouldn’t know what it was. We would fight tooth and nail to do niche things like that and they would say ‘why would we put our resources into something that might only sell a couple thousand pieces when we can make whatever that sells 2500 pieces?‘. We got into arguments like that all the time.

But now that Barry and I run eFX we can do what we want, we can do a piece that we want to do. Things like the Blockade Runner, Slave-1, Luke’s Landspeeder, things like that that are not the TIE Fighter or the Millennium Falcon. We have the ability to do it, and because we are a small company we could live with only selling less than 1000 pieces of something. It’s not important that we sell 1500. So Barry and I have a list that we put together years ago and we just check it off as we went along at MR and we still have that list of things that we want to do. We’re pretty much in agreement with what we want to do.

That’s one piece of the pie, the other is the reference material. We will not do anything unless we have proper reference material., That actually has two parts to it. One is what’s available in the archives, because Lucasfilm has exhibits on all the time, 2 or 3 running at one time throughout the world, so we have to find out what’s available in the archives so we can go scan it, photographs it, take measurements to get all the reference material we need. Just because we want to do it, if it’s not in the archives at this time it doesn’t allow us to do it. Slave-1, that had been in Korea and travelling around Asia for the last 3 years and now it’s back in the archives so we’re going to arrange to go out and scan that, and it’s not on the product plan for this year but you’ve got to get it before it leaves again. The other thing is, and this is a fun part of our job, is that a lot of things from the original trilogy are not even in the archives anymore, because back in 1977, who would have ever thought that this stuff would have any commercial value? A really interesting part that I really enjoy is tracking down original parts. Calling this person and hearing ‘Oh, I heard someone has this‘. Like (model maker and designer) John Eaves, I talked to John Eaves and he said ‘Oh Grant McCune a long time ago gave me this little piece of cone from a TIE Fighter they used‘. So not one person has everything. You go out there like Indiana Jones, like an archaeologist trying to dig all this stuff up.

We’re talking to original model makers, we’re talking to (Darth Vader helmet sculptor) Brian Muir, and the Yoda filming prop from The Empire Strikes Back we’re talking to Dave Barclay, we’re talking to a lot of people trying to track back original parts. That’s one part of the job that I really enjoy, digging up and trying to find all this original trilogy stuff.

Lightsabre – You must be very aware that there are fans out there who’s knowledge of these models is frightening?

BO – Some of these people are so dedicated to this stuff it’s amazing. I mean when we made our Millennium Falcon for example there’s guys who are considered experts. There’s a TIE Fighter expert, there’s an X-Wing expert, there’s a Millennium Falcon expert. On the Falcon we needed two guys, Frank Cerny and Mo Moeslund who’s in Denmark. They identified 90% of those kit parts that you see of the Falcon.

Lightsabre – Can I ask a very geeky question about your Falcon model. I remember years ago, I can’t remember where I read it but one of the model makers said that somewhere on the Falcon they put a decal and it was for Champion spark plugs.

BO – I don’t know too much about that one but I do know there was a part from a Ford engine and it actually said Ford on it. The thing about it is because Ford is a trademarked name we have to take those things off. Then there’s a Porsche transmission on the side. You’ve got to remember what they did, first they designed the base shape, the geometry. Then they would do what was called kit bashing, so they have all these kits and pull them off and start gluing it onto the surface. And it’s amazing, people who know model kits will go ‘That’s the track from a such and such tank, model number da-da-da‘ it’s just incredible the amount of information these people have in their head. What’s good about it is they only had so many model kits at ILM, so all the parts that you see on the TIE Fighter, the Falcon and the X-Wing came from the same kits.

We’re working on the TIE Fighter and we’re working with a TIE Fighter expert who has identified 95-98% of the model kit parts.

Lightsabre – That must be gold dust for you guys, to access that kind of knowledge and information to make it as authentic as possible.

BO – I know, and the great thing is these guys want to help us. I think this is a little thing of immortality (Laughs)

Lightsabre – Given that you’ve got access to the Lucasfilm Archives and these master collectors who really know their stuff, have you ever had access to the old original episode 4 model makers.

BO – Actually we talk to Lorne Peterson a lot. In fact it was really funny, we were at Comic Con a couple of years ago introducing the Falcon and he came and looked at it and he said ‘Wow, I can’t believe you got that detail!‘ And I said ‘What detail are you talking about?‘ and he said ‘If you look at the panel, there were sunken head screw holes made.‘ What they did was they actually drilled the hole first and had to go back and fix it, so that’s why if you look at the countersink, it overhangs the chamfer. He said I can’t believe you got that detail.

Lightsabre – That’s a compliment and a half isn’t it.

BO – Yeah, exactly. So what we do is we actually scan the prop, we get the geometry right. The garage builders, one thing they were never able to do right was the dome on the Falcon. All they had was screenshots so all they could do was guess unless they had a shot that was directly right on, 90 degrees parallel to it, they’re not going to get the shape right. So when we scan it we get the geometry right and then because the resolution isn’t high enough to get all the details of the model kit parts then we use the scanner for mapping purposes, because now we have the model kits parts and know where exactly where each piece went. You can tell from the scan what the part is and can rebuild like the master.

Lightsabre – So from all the things you’ve done so far, which one gave you that real fanboy excitement above anything else?

BO – Actually there were two, there was the Falcon obviously, and the Luke Skywalker Lightsabre from Episode 4. If you look at the publicity shots, the levers on one side, but when you see it n the film it’s actually on the other side. Because it rotated, and no one paid that much attention. When we did the hero version the lever was on one side and when we did the limited edition version the lever was on the other side. I really enjoyed working on the Han Solo blaster, I don’t know if you know about that but the original prop doesn’t exist, they took it from the prop room, glued on the pieces and took them off when they put it back. In fact there was a picture of Oliver Reed shooting that same gun in another film. There’s a circle on the side that’s referred to as the Mystery Disc, and what we’re thinking is that there was something there – because these were real firing guns – and so we think that after is was shot the first time it must have fallen off. So when I actually met Harrison Ford when he did the signatures for the Falcon I asked him ‘What was there?‘ and he looked at me and said ‘Are you kidding me?‘ I said ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to geek out like that but it’s always been a mystery. Was there ever anything there?‘ and he goes ‘Who cares?‘ (Laughs)

Actually Harrison Ford, he told me some interesting stories when he was signing. One of his favourite stories was when they first started to film Star Wars was that in the Millennium Falcon scene firstly Peter Mayhew did not fit in the chair, so they had to unbolt the chair from the ground , shove Peter in it and move it forward. And then also Harrison Ford is a pilot right, George Lucas says ‘Action‘ and Harrison Ford goes ‘Well, how do you fly this thing?‘ and George goes ‘What are you talking about?‘ and Harrison goes ‘There’s no steering wheel, there’s no joystick. How do you fly this thing?‘ and so George says ‘Just push some buttons!‘, so when you watch he’ll push some switches and looks down, that’s all he does. He doesn’t steer the ship. They were on such a tight budget that they really didn’t have any rehearsal time with the props on the set, so they just jumped in and all these things kind of came up. It all worked out in the end. I went and watched it back and he isn’t steering the thing!

Lightsabre – Maybe he’s using his knees!

BO – There you go!

Lightsabre – You sound pretty excited about this Slave-1 model that’s coming up, tell us more about that.

BO – The Slave-1 models probably not going to be until next year now because we haven’t even scanned the prop yet. We actually started conversations with Lorne Peterson a while ago and he’s very excited about working with us on that, so to be honest with you I don’t know that much detail on the Slave-1 other than it will be sometime next year but we have to get all the reference material together first before we can even start it.

Lightsabre – That’ll be the Episode V Slave-1 not the Episode II?

BO – Yes, right right right, of course. There’s a guy here called Van Ling who’s a model maker and he actually did a 3d file of Slave-1 because it was actually part of the Special Edition DVD. When we were considering doing Slave-1 earlier no one knew when the Slave-1 was going to come back we thought that might be a good starting point, but now that Slave-1’s back in the archives we’re going to take advantage of that again.

Lightsabre – So do you have your eye on anything else? Is there a holy grail of models that you would love to do, that would really make your day?

BO – I’d love to do more of the Luke stuff. I’d love to do the Star Destroyer. It only has 10,000 fibre optics through the whole thing, that would be an awesome ship. And I have to admit that a lot of the products that we’re choosing right now is taking into consideration the economy as well. We want to fulfil these guys needs, because it’s almost like a drug to these guys to have this stuff, but we don’t want to bankrupt them either. We’re looking at possibly some smaller scale stuff for the rest of this year, something a little more affordable. If the economy turns around we’ll do the grander, bigger stuff like the Star Destroyer.

Lightsabre – So you’re keeping a very close eye on the economy, on the marketplace. That’s something you’re always very conscious of, clearly.

BO – Of course, yes, yes. There’s some reasons for that. One is we don’t want to alienate our audience, by bringing out a product that they can’t have. Fortunately a lot of our collectors are completists, so if they have one they have to have them all. Like if we have the TIE Fighter, the Interceptor we scanned from the archives several weeks ago, they want one to trail our X-wing down the trench, right? And there’s Darth Vader’s TIE and all these other ones. Luckily the TIE Fighters is a slightly smaller scale than the Millennium Falcon, so it fell more into the affordable range. These models are not cheap to make, they’re very, very expensive. Not only in the production but in the development and the resources that it takes to lead up to that point as well.

Lightsabre – Do you have your own scanning facilities?

BO – No, we actually use a company that is about 5 miles from the Lucasfilm Archives. It’s very, very convenient. It’s really exciting, and you asked how exciting is it to have access to the Lucasfilm Archives, and you know one thing about Star Wars is that I was attracted to not only the film and the characters and the story but the technology and the artistry as well. Back then John Dykstra and his DykstraFlex and Rick Baker, you know within the fans that really latched on to Star Wars they became celebrities within their own right as well. So for me now to be able to see this stuff, it’s like ‘wooowww!’ (Laughs) Amazing, amazing. It’s almost as exciting to see these props as it was to meet Mark and Harrison and the actors as well.

Lightsabre – Yeah, the props are as iconic in their own right as the actors.

BO – That’s real exciting, so we’re hoping that everyone has seen from our work that Barry and I have a real passion and love of what we’re doing and business is a critical factor of our strategy as a business, but you can see that the products that we choose and the timing that we do…we’re not trying to come up with something every month, we’d rather take the time and do it right and take into account the economy. We have a lot of things that we’re ready to flick the switch and put into production but we haven’t done it yet because in order for the people to to afford the X-Wing we offered a layaway plan, so it didn’t really make sense and we didn’t think it was fair to our consumers to offer another product while they’re still paying for the X-Wing. So that’s why we’ve cut back on our product plan for this year, we made it significantly more conservative so our consumer group can afford what they want from us and not have to worry about how far they have to stretch their credit cards just to get what they want. So from a business standpoint we’re looking at that and also we’re concerned about our consumers as well to make sure that we serve them as well.

Lightsabre – So do you feel that after 18 months of life as eFX do you feel that you’ve found your area in the market and that your long-term plan is to maximise that and cement yourself in that area?

BO – Actually I think we have a lot more work to do because I think that the consumer base is actually bigger than we are able to communicate with, we have the forums which is one core group, but if you look at the overall sales that only represents about 5-10% of our overall sales. So there’s a lot more people out there and our job is to keep them excited and interested about the Star Wars brand and the other licenses that we’re bringing on. But there’s a much broader audience out there so one thing that we did that worked really well was we set up a display in the Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square, so there are people there who never even knew you existed and they go ‘Wow, they make things like this?’, because it’s not a toy, it’s an adult toy. This is a prop to show off to your friends and family, they think you’re crazy! (Laughs)

Lightsabre – Tell me about it, I’ve got a room full of it!

BO – That was one of the reasonings behind our Extreme Lightsabers. The lightsabers are cool but they just sit there and people come over and they go ‘That’s really cool but what does it do?’ and you have to say ‘Err, nothing.’ (Laughs) So now it’s more reactive, it has the lights, the sounds and everything like that. That’s really cool, and as we do those it becomes a really difficult product because we have to make sure the outside geometry is absolutely accurate, and the details, and we have to integrate the electronics on the inside without affecting the outside. So that’s the goal of the Extreme series. When it’s on display it’s the most accurate stuff out there and when you open it and it does all the blinky lights and sounds it makes sense and it actually does something, a little more interactivity.

I’m really excited about the Obi-Wan, because the Obi-Wan is another holy grail lightsaber. There’s so many discussions about that, we actually have the faucet handle for the pommel, we actually tracked that down. We could actually justify remaking a limited edition again because there’s so much information available now than when MR last made four years ago. I don’t know anyone on the Luke sabre who has tracked down that little calculator button thing, on the Texas Instruments calculator. I’ve never seen a real one of that, I’m sure there’s some out there but I’ve never seen a real one of that. You’d never believe you could be so excited to see a little piece of plastic with some buttons on it (Laughs)

Lightsabre – Well some of us are very easily pleased.

BO – Yeah! (Laughs) What we’re doing is re-booting the collectible category, because as you know and I’m sure you agree it’s gotten out of hand in the last three or four years. People just abuse it because they saw an opportunity and just because something’s a limited edition doesn’t make it a collectible, and unfortunately that’s kind of the way it went. So we just say ‘we want to make collectibles collectible again’. Even though we can’t control the secondary market we still think that the price points we’re expecting our consumers to pay is an investment, it really is. We want to be able to do what we can to help protect that investment as well. In the long term you’re going to feel better about buying it. Our unwritten goal is we will never make more than a thousand of anything. When you get past that , that’s not limited edition. When it’s something everyone can have it’s not a limited edition, it’s an art collectible. And we’re very fortunate because the investors in our company understand this. The bottom line is not the most critical part, like I said at the very beginning our goal is to be the best, not the biggest.

Plus we get to meet guys like you who have a true interest in this and don’t look at you funny when you talk about this (Laughs). That’s one thing that’s unique about the Star Wars community, it is, it really is and to be able to actually talk to someone who is not pretending to be interested (Laughs).

Lightsabre – Yeah, we’re not stuck in a lift together so we’re actually talking about it properly (Laughs)

BO – It’s good therapy too!

Originally posted on Lightsabre.co.uk in three parts on 26th July, 23rd August and 13th September 2009.

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