Master Replicas had been in trouble for a while, however. The HAL 9000 replica was originally meant to ship by March 2019 but faced a string of delays. And yes, the COVID-19 pandemic had a direct impact. The virus stalled production early in 2020, and the company warned that its operations had been “very limited” in the following months.
This sort of incident sadly isn’t unique, particularly during the pandemic — it’s been difficult to start and maintain projects when teams can’t coordinate in person or ensure reliable supplies. Still, this is a reminder that backing a crowdfunding project doesn’t guarantee a shipping product. You’re helping to finance the development, not making a pre-order, and there’s always a possibility that unexpected factors (including forces of nature) will leave you empty-handed.