Placeholders are objects that will be used to choose where heroes will appear at the beginning of a level. They will also be used to choose which characters you want to use in the level, in the party selection screen.
Placeholders may eventually have paints that you can buy to change their appearence.
Months later, we began looking at the game's pre-battle interfaces, and when I was tasked with laying out the hero management screen, the idea made a comeback. I started with a simple goal: that these supposed figurines would be less stressful for the engine to load in a timely manner than full-blown previews of your heroes would be. The hand-carved wooden figures would be unique to your hero's race, gender, and class to assist in quickly identifying your heroes, and clicking on them once would bring up a dynamic preview elsewhere on the screen, along with options to configure their equipment and skills. Dragging the figures to another area would allow you to arrange a party before entering battle.