It took all of five days, but 8,000 people pledged $500 each and made it certain that Hasbro would be making its mega version of the Ghost from Star Wars Rebels and Ahsoka. The project, which was announced last week at San Diego Comic-Con, is the latest in Hasbro’s Haslab series. It’s the company’s version of Kickstarter where it conceives dream projects that would never usually get made, and then actually moves forward once a certain amount of people opt in.
The latest is the Ghost, which still has several weeks to hit multiple different tiers that would unlock more goodies to come with it. But before any of that happened, io9 spoke to two of the people responsible for the Ghost Haslab, Patrick Schneider, Hasbro’s global marketing director for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, as well as Chris Reiff, the manager of product design for Star Wars. We discussed what goes into making a Haslab, why the tiers are the way they are, if there could be additional tiers—and the previous two Star Wars Haslabs, which did not fully fund.
Germain Lussier, io9: So when a decision is made to start a Haslab project like this, how does it work? How does the process differ in creating this version rather than, say, a more economical version of this?
Chris Reiff: We all think of Haslab as “dream projects.” So I think that’s the bottom line. Is this the dream? If it’s not the dream, we’re not doing it right. So I think we start there and then we feel out, what’s going to still fit with the dream? Like, what’s the kind of price point that we think is going to make fans happy but still allow us to deliver a substantial and impressive product? And then at that point it’s, what can we do for that? How do we fill that out and release it. But it’s all back to “dream.” Like what answers that request is a baseline here.
Patrick Schneider: And I think it’s just thinking things up, right? So the reason I love this project is it just makes so much sense on so many levels. This is the number one request from the community. Again, we read online, we do a lot of research ourselves. It’s what they wanted. It’s synced up perfectly with entertainment. This is a very similar cadence to when we did the Razor Crest in 2020. We announced that campaign and then a month later it started showing up on screens in Mandalorian season two. And we ended our campaign halfway through the season.
io9: Right before it explodes.
Schneider: [laughs] Yeah, we didn’t know about that, but similar thing here. So that’s fantastic. Obviously, also being able to launch it here at San Diego Comic-Con, the first time we’ve ever shown a fully [decorated] model in person for the community. First time we’ve ever shown all of the tiers. So everything’s just lining up and we’re seeing the response. We got more backers on the first day than we did with the Razor Crest, which was a then record-setting campaign. So we don’t know where this will end up, but we couldn’t have asked for a better start.
io9: But what about in terms of designing? You’re like, “Okay, this is a dream project. We know it’s going to cost way more than anything else.” How much can you put into it and is there a line where it gets too big or gets too detailed or anything like that?
Reiff: Well, yes, ultimately, but we don’t know where that is when we start. We push. And we keep pushing until we find that space and then we have to pull back a little bit. And that’s part of what we do. And we’re still pushing. I think I mentioned earlier that what you see here is a moment in time. This is not where we are right now in ultimate development. This is what it will look like. This is the size, this is the detail we’re going to have. But if you look in the cockpit, the sidewalls, these compared to the renders that we have online, the renders are much more currently reflective of the final 3D. Way more dimension there. So even that, like, we’re continuing to push and add all the detail we can into this thing. I mean I don’t want to imply that this is not what it’s going to look like. But we’re trying to plus all these little details up and do whatever we can for deco and everything else.
io9: I’m curious about the stretch goals and how each adds other members of the Ghost crew. But Sabine is part of the main line, which is a little confusing, Chopper is built into the ship, but he’s not a free-moving figure. Tell me about how those decisions were made?
Schneider: Yeah. So obviously, we had a couple of figures in with our Razor Crest campaign. We learned a little bit away from it in other recent campaigns. And again, we heard from the community how important it was to have the critical figures as part of the campaign, especially here for a vehicle with such a robust crew. We had Mando in with the Razor Crest. He’s obviously kind of a lone operator, with Grogu of course. There’s a whole crew that crews the Ghost. So we knew if we just had included Hera, if we just showed Hera, all the conversation would be about where’s the rest of the crew? And so that drove the decision to infuse those figures into the tiers and show them upfront.
You’re right. We’ve got Hera, we’ve got Ezra, we’ve got Kanan and Zeb. Sabine’s in her Ahsoka look in [the] main line. So we’ve got five out of the six. Chopper we see his head. I think you see where we’re going with the crew so I think it’s a safe bet. Also, you know, in terms of those Rebels looks, I know Sabine’s in a slightly different look [but] if we get all the way to 17,000 [backers], there will be a pretty good case to be made for completing the rest of that crew in their season four looks with those mural card backs. So we’re pushing to get there. And once we do, let’s see where we are at that point.
io9: And talk about the last tier being 17,000 backers, which is more than double to get all the way there. It seems like a lot. How do you reach that exact number?
Schneider: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s pretty traditional for your goals. I’m trying to remember on the Razor Crest. I think it might have been 20,000 for the final tier. Maybe it was 17 as well. I think it was 17 but it was on a lower base. I think it was 6,000. So it was almost three times to get to that tier level. It’s similar to other Haslab campaigns. [Note: This is accurate. The Razor Crest was 6,000 to unlock and 13,000 for tier three. The added tier five, and final tier, was 17,000.] You know it’s what the tiers are for, those are significant investments to get those figures. We desperately want them to come. I’ve backed two already. I want all of those figures. And again we’re on a great path to get there. The Razor Crest did 4,000 units in the first day and got to 29,000. We’re beating that pace. You know, I’m not saying we’ll get to 29, but let’s see where we end up.
Reiff: If we get to 29, the conversation is about all the other stuff. The more successful this is, the more successful it all is.
io9: That again brings me to my next question, which is what did you learn on this one after that the last two Star Wars Haslabs, the Rancor and Reva’s lightsaber, didn’t reach their goals? How did you kind of build off that?
Reiff: Well, I mean, it’s an evolving process, the Haslab thing. It’s another way for fans to give us feedback. Those two were different than this. I mean they didn’t fund but they don’t feel like failures to me, in that we’ve learned a lot from those. The Rancor was a great one. We almost got there. I think it breaks all of our hearts that we didn’t, but we didn’t get there. We learned some stuff about tiers through [that] one. And with the lightsaber, we learned stuff about content.
This, like Patrick said, is a perfect storm of, we’ve got four years of relationship and history with this ship and this crew. We know it’s coming in Ahsoka. So we’re here at the time the content is launching with this ship. All that stuff informs how we go forward. Will we go back to Black Series and other stuff for other Haslabs in the future? It’s not off the table. It’s a learning process across all of this. We’ve learned a lot since [Jabba’s Sail Barge, the first Star Wars Haslab to get funded]. The Barge is a different campaign than we do now. So it is part of the evolution of it.
Schneider: Haslab is obviously all about letting the community decide and letting the community have a voice and be involved in the process. And for those other two campaigns, the community spoke and they didn’t want those particular offerings at that price point. And we heard that and we’ve come back with a different campaign. But yeah, all those things are on the table in the future.
We’ll have more from Reiff and Schneider soon, talking about the release schedule of characters for Indiana Jones and more.
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