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Jabba’s Sail Barge will be the coolest Star Wars toy of all time

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Hasbro’s first attempt at crowdsourcing a prestige collectible toy has paid off

Interior shot showing Jabba’s personal quarters. Hasbro/Disney

Way back in February, toy maker Hasbro surprised many when it announced a bold new crowdsourcing campaign. It’s called HasLab, and its goal is to help bring “dream products” to market for collectors. HasLab’s first project succeeded earlier this week, pre-selling 8,810 units of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

It’s a remarkable moment, with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of toys stealing a page from Kickstarter’s crowdfunding book to bring a prestige piece to life.

“We could not have done this without you,” Hasbro said on the campaign website. “Now it is our turn to get to work making this dream product a reality.”

Jabba’s sail barge will be 49.35 inches long and stand more than 17 inches high. It will include exterior weapons, cloth sails, louvered windows and a scale Jabba figure. Another character, Yak Face, was added to the kit during the campaign as an extra incentive. It’s still not clear if the product will ultimately make it to retail.

The campaign’s success comes at an inflection point for the retail toy industry. The Toys R Us bankruptcy loomed large in Hasbro’s annual investor relations call, and the closure of all of its U.S. locations represents a colossal loss of shelf space for Hasbro. The company is also recovering from soft holiday sales of toys brought to market for Disney’s blockbuster film Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Meanwhile, competition is heating up in the back of the toy aisle, with games originally funded on Kickstarter taking up more and more shelf space at big-box retailers. In some locations, they appear to dwarf the selection of Hasbro’s own titles, and their growth shows no sign of slowing down. In light of the changing toy and game industry, this kind of direct-to-consumer strategy looks like an excellent move.

A special 64-page making-of booklet is already on its way to backers. You can preview the first six pages here. The toy, called the Khetanna in Star Wars lore, is expected to ship out to backers by Feb. 28, 2019.