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Design Documents and Concept Drawings for Hasbro Spitting Jabba and Two-Headed Announcer

September 22, 2010

This is an exciting addition. I recently acquired a large stack of documents used in the design and production of Hasbro’s Spitting Jabba the Hutt and Two-Headed Announcer figures in 1998. While this is far from my favorite Jabba figure, it is definitely a unique set and these documents, which I assume came from an ex-Hasbro employee, provide a valuable look into the process that went into designing it. The documents include concept drawings, tables that show all of the parts of the figures and their costs, correspondence with Lucasfilm, and various other things. Some of it is rather eye-opening (the cost to produce a single set was apparently around $3, and royalties to Lucasfilm were a similar amount).

Many of the documents are unfortunately just photocopies like the one above, or these drawings below (click any of the images in this post to view the full-size image):

But I do have a number of original drawings like one below, which shows the inner workings of one of the proposed versions of the figure.

One interesting thing I learned about the set is that they were considering four different versions. They apparently knew from the start that they wanted this to be a “spitting” Jabba toy based on the scene in The Phantom Menace where Jabba spits the head of a chuba at a gong to start the podrace. But they weren’t sure how they wanted to accomplish this. One idea was a projectile shooting version that used Jabba’s arm as the trigger (this is very similar to the final figure). Then there was another projectile shooting version that had a button on the back of Jabba’s head and used a different shooting mechanism. Another was a water shooting version (and in fact, this ended up being incorporated into the final product). And finally there was a “slime” shooting version. Presumably this would have been similar to the Jabba Glob figure.

Even aside from this, the toy went through a number of changes during the design process. One change that they made was the gong. I don’t know if they were basing the design of the gong off of early concepts from Lucasfilm or if they just sort of made something up on their own, but their first design was quite different from the one they eventually used (which is fairly similar to the one in the film). There’s even a note from Lucasfilm that reads “Gong is not accurate. Should wait for reference.” You can see a photocopy of the first design on the left and the hand-drawn design that they eventually went with on the right.

Of course the most well known change involves the two-headed announcer figure. He was originally called Hex & Rex, but this was later changed toFodesinbeed Annodue, and in the actual toy he isn’t even given a name — he’s just the “two-headed announcer.” He was originally to be played by two actors in makeup, whose heads would be digitally composited with a CGI body, but in the final film they went with a completely CGI alien (and one that was quite a bit different in design from the original that this figure was based on). One of the notes from Lucasfilm about the character reads, “Please note that this character has no further development and may be cut from film.” In the end, Hasbro decided to just release the figure as it was, despite the fact that it didn’t match what ended up in the movie.

Two of the best pieces in this collection of documents are these two original pencil drawings of the announcer showing the front and back of the figure, as well as some notes about which parts would be separately molded, etc. The final figure doesn’t look nearly as nice as you might think, considering this excellent artwork. But of course they did eliminate some things, such as the cape, which helped to change the overall look.

I’d love to get some more documents like these for the other Jabba figures, but of course they don’t crop up very often.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mffanrodders permalink
    September 22, 2010 9:21 am

    A very interesting find icruise.

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