Just about everyone reading this knows how innovative Lucasfilm has been since its founding in 1971. And much of that innovation was spurred by George Lucas’ desire to do and show things onscreen — specifically in his Star Wars movies — that had never been done before. In fact, he’s long been one of the leaders in cinema’s digital revolution.
But that’s not what I had in mind here. I want to talk about the stuff, the merchandise. Has that same sense of innovation carried through to at least some of the hundreds of thousands of items that have been produced worldwide over more than three decades?
Of course, in the toy businesses innovation means something a lot different than devising ways to film spaceship battles or digital picture and sound editing systems. There are problems of size, pricing, and scale, for example. Trying to take the latest cutting-edge technology developed for military or industrial use and making it “toyetic,” could be hazardous to a company’s health. Adapting proven technology through clever adaptation and design, however, is another matter.