Comics / Comics News

Rancor Crowdfunding Attempt by Hasbro a Failure

By Hervé St-Louis
December 7, 2021 - 08:40

Following a 45-day campaign on Hasbro’s crowdfunding platform Haslab that failed to meet the minimum of 9,000 backers, the project appears to have been deemed unfunded and thus cancelled. On October 22, 2021, the Hasbro’s Star Wars team which produces toys and other collectibles as licensees of Disney, announced a crowdfunding project for Rancor, a gigantic beast featured in 1983’s Star Wars Return of the Jedi. The project which was faced with criticisms from the action figure collectible community and Star Wars fans obtained between 8,491 to 8,530 at 11:59PM on December 6, 2021, just hundreds short of 9,000 backers.

Edits: As of 11 AM, the number seemed to have stabilized at 5,833, just 467 short.

Many collectors were concerned over the price of the 42 inches action figure which they found too steep at $349.99. Others were alarmed at the choice of funding tiers revealed by the Hasbro’s Star Wars’ team on November 5, 2021. Funding tiers are extra elements added to crowdfunding campaign after the minimum backers or funding has been achieved. It is customary to offer backers extra elements when certain milestones are reached.

Many collectors were angry and disappointed at the second tier which includes a set of bones from Rancor’s victims and a carboard backdrop. Many wanted the set to include the Oola action figure with one of the tiers. Oola is a Twi'lek slave dancer in Jabba the Hutt's court that was sacrificed to Rancor. The omission of Oola gave way to a meme labelled “No Oola, no Moola” from fans. Hasbro indicated indirectly that the production of such a character was problematic in the context of 2021 and perhaps not approved by Disney.

As tiers were revealed on November 5, 2021, several dissatisfied backers pull their support for the project, leading it to constantly loose supporters from its about 5000 backers at the time. Several editorials and rants were published by collectors and action figure pundits to derail the project.

In response, on to the backlash, on November 30, 2021, Hasbro announced the addition of an unproduced Rancor keeper action figure to the base offering, should it meet its 9,000 initial goals. While some collectors were happy with the additions, many were further incentivized to sabotage the project or hold out for more concessions from Hasbro. Still trailing at less than 6,000 backers until the final days, many collectors rallied on December 6, 2021, to support the project. In the last hours, the project jumped from about 5,300 backers to about 8,530. Even after the funding deadline, numbers were still added to the tally.

While many fans had hopes that Hasbro would extend the backing of the project by a few days or until the 9,000 number was reached, minutes after the deadline, the Rancor’s page was removed from active to funded and then all links to the page were removed. Many fans had speculated that like the 2019 Transformers: War For Cybertron Unicron crowdfunding project, that Haslab would extend the funding until the minimum backing was reached. Being so close to that number gave many of them high hopes.

The crowdfunding campaign was plagued by a few problems which included the timing of the campaign and what many collectors considered lacklustre tiers for an unnecessary and costly collectible. Besides cost and the unappealing tiers, critics denounced the release of the Haslab campaigns back-to-back following several ones in the summer and early fall of 2021. Having competing crowdfunding campaigns at the same time reaching out for essentially overlapping collectors’ communities made funds difficult to part for many. Haslab released a new G.I Joe Skystriker fighter jet and a Ghostbuster proton pack campaign days after officially announcing its Rancor project.

Having three campaigns just before the Christmas holidays made many fans choose to support one campaign over another, when they were fans of Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Ghostbusters. Many felt that the Rancor campaign had been rushed and not as well-prepared as the two other ones. Some speculated that it had been announced after having been leaked months ahead.

Hasbro’s next move will be interesting to watch. The failure of the Rancor figure is the second failure from its Haslab unit, following the unfunded 2019 Cookie Monster $300 plush toy. It is unknown how this will affect future Star Wars projects, especially those in the Black Series six-inch scale. One project that has not been affected is the Ghostbusters’ proton pack which was funded quickly while being much more expansive at $399.99 with a target of 7,000 backers. As of this writing, it sits comfortably at 13,508 backers.

It remains to be seen how this will affect the G.I. Joe Skystriker’s campaign that was severely affected by the secondary backlash from the Star Wars' campaign. While priced at a much lower $229.99 price, overlapping collectors’ circles also aimed their criticisms at the G.I Joe Skystriker project. As of this writing, that project has reached over 79% of its backing but is still short of the 10,000 backers needed at 7,929. Even if the project does reach its 10,000, it may not be capable of reaching the 18,000 target that would unlock all tiers. If like Star Wars, it fails to reach 10,000 backers, the effect would be disastrous for the one property that Hasbro has developed since the 1960s.

Proposed Hasbro Tiers

Tier #1: 11,000 Backers Needed
A 6-inch-scale The Black Series Gamorrean Guard™ figure on a classic Kenner-inspired Power of the Force™ cardback with a special collectors coin.

Tier #2: 13,500 Backers Needed

detailed bone accessory pieces inspired by the Rancor’s prey with a Rancor dungeon scene-inspired cardboard background.

Tier #3: 16,000 Backers Needed
Black Series 6-inch-scale Salacious B. Crumb action figure.

Tier #4: 19,000 Backers Needed
Newly tooled Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker action figure.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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