Keysha Ramos Explores the Forces of Destiny For Hasbro‘s New ‘Star Wars’ Collectibles
Forty years ago, Star Wars exploded onto the scene, and pop culture was never the same. From the moment the first film hit the screens, the phenomenon that was Star Wars could hardly be contained. There were movies, books, comics, stickers, trading cards, socks, pajamas, and all manner of products with the epic sci-fi saga flooding stores and homes around the globe. Most of all, there were the toys. Star Wars changed the action figure game forever in 1978, and it's still looking for new ways to shake up the industry.
At this year’s Star Wars Celebration, Hasbro and Lucasfilm announced a new venture that would combine toys, comics, and animated shorts into one new brand called Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. Following similar concepts from the likes of DC Super Hero Girls, Forces of Destiny's main focus was new dolls with a focus on articulation and action rather than lifestyle and fashions. We spoke with Forces of Destiny's product designer Keysha Ramos to learn more about the figures, and what makes now the right time for such a line.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny was one of the biggest announcements of Star Wars Celebration. The multimedia approach is one that’s a bit different for the brand, but one that’s proved successful for some competitor lines already out at retail. What made now the right time to dive into this style of figural doll, animated shows, books and more?
Since the exciting new slate of entertainment was announced, beginning with The Force Awakens, audiences have been introduced to several incredible new characters, especially strong female leads. These leads are central to the Star Wars universe, from the iconic Princess Leia to break out heroes Padmé Amidala, Rey, Jyn Erso, Sabine Wren, and Ahsoka Tano, who have quickly become fan favorites around the globe. Star Wars has unique multi-generational appeal and Forces of Destiny is no different.
This is about allowing kids to learn more about their favorite Star Wars characters and recreate heroic moments through play in a new way. Toys, including Hasbro’s figures and role play items, have always played a unique role in the Star Wars universe and we’re excited to be offering something new that will enable a broader audience of fans to celebrate and experience some of their favorite characters in a new way.
The focus of the animated shorts and the adventure figures is on the many female heroes of the Star Wars universe like Leia, Rey, Sabine and more. With these characters having so many of those small moments we never got to see before in their lives, how did you determine which to explore, and thus which figures to develop first?
Created by Lucasfilm Animation, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny will focus on the idea that choices-both big and small-ultimately shape our destinies. Audiences will have the opportunity to learn more about the heroic moments that shaped these characters, and fans will be delighted to hear familiar voices as these characters in the series, including: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Felicity Jones (Jyn), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka) and Tiya Sircar (Sabine).
Forces of Destiny’s announcement and marketing so far has made clear these new toys are “adventure figures.” While there are some elements easily attributed to more traditional doll lines, there’s just as much in common with smaller-scale action figures. How did you arrive at the balance between the two collectible styles?
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny focuses on themes of everyday heroism that will inspire kids and fans through authentic Star Wars storytelling. Disney, Lucasfilm, and Hasbro have collaborated on this new, dynamic line of toys to extend the storytelling from Forces of Destiny including this new expression of Star Wars figures tied to content — “Adventure Figures” — which bridges the gap between traditional action figures and dolls.
These true to form Adventure Figures are a blend of traditional action figures and dolls: Detailed with adventure-inspired designs and dynamic action features; powerful posing possibilities with multiple points of articulation; rooted hair and soft goods clothing and accessories; and unique body and head sculpts. This design provides kids and fans of all genders and ages an innovative product that brings their favorite Star Wars heroes and stories to life in unique ways.
It looks like there will be plenty of articulation included with each of the adventure figures. We heard there will also be “dynamic action” for certain figures, but we couldn’t see that in action at Celebration. What characters should we expect to have these action elements, or will each adventure figure include them?
Most of the Adventure Figures will have their own unique action moves that can be activated in different ways. For example, Rey swings her lightsaber when you squeeze her legs.
Forces of Destiny will also include male characters, though they will for once be outnumbered in the overall roster. Are these male characters part of the line from a story perspective, or was that something Forces of Destiny was always meant to include to make it more diverse than similar products at retail?
The Star Wars brand remains deeply rooted in universal values relevant to all fans, and Forces of Destiny is no different — Star Wars fans, regardless of age, gender, knowledge of the Star Wars Saga, will enjoy diving deeper into the stories of favorite characters. This is about celebrating our iconic heroes such as Rey, Princess Leia, Jyn, and more while also including epic villains like Kylo Ren, and lovable sidekicks such as Chewbacca and BB-8. While the content has been developed with kids in mind, it appeals to a much broader audience thanks to the authentic Star Wars storytelling. The new, dynamic toy line opens up new ways for kids to play with Star Wars and recreate heroic moments at home.
I know the line won’t be out until later this year, but knowing a bit of the ins and outs of toy development, where do you hope to see the line in 2018 and beyond?
We’re unable to share any upcoming plans for this line, but can say our product development strategy starts with our fans. Everything we create is an extension of the storytelling, and what the fans want and need, now and in the future. As long as there are still fans eager to see more of the Star Wars universe and more of Forces of Destiny in particular, we will continue to expand and diversify the line to bring those stories they love to life in unique ways.