I’ve attended a number of Hasbro’s Toy Fair events in the past, and I mean this with love but here’s the truth– it’s usually all about Star Wars and Transformers. Sure, other brands get a little bit of time edge-wise, but those two titans usually dominate the conversation every February. That’s why I was (pleasantly) caught off-guard when it was Marvel that kicked off this year’s show, with a big, energetic presentation that showcased their ambitious plans for the year.
And when I say ambitious, I mean it! In 2015, we will see three waves of Avengers Legends, two waves of Spider-Man Legends, a series of Ant-Man Legends, Titan scale and 2.5″ Avengers: Age of Ultron toys, at least three waves of Marvel Infinite 3.75″ figures– plus Ant-Man that fits in either this or Legends scale– Mashers, role play stuff and more. That’s a HUGE year… like, Hulkbuster huge!
While we’re on the subject of Tony Stark’s newest movie armor, AOU Hulkbuster Iron-Man is coming to Marvel Legends in the third wave of Avengers themed figures! I had the chance to check out a prototype of this figure in hand, and he is amazing, packed with useful articulation, movie accurate detail and a wonderful heft and bulk that makes him feel like a truly worthy Build-A-Figure.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself? Let’s break down the Marvel Legends lines we will see this year… starting with Avengers Legends wave two, which should hit next month.
Avengers Legends Series Two
- Movie Captain America
- Movie Hulk
- Movie Iron-Man Mark 43
- Build-A-Figure Thanos
Avengers Legends Series Three
- Dr. Strange
- Iron-Man (black and gold Now! armor)
- War Machine (with an alternate head with face plate flipped up)
- Build-A-Figure Hulkbuster Iron-Man
- Movie Ant-Man (with micro figures of Ant-Man, an ant and Yellowjacket)
- Giant Man
- Tiger Shark
- Grim Reaper (featuring a brand new body with musculature right in between Bucky Cap and Sentry)
- Build-A-Figure Ultron Prime
Spider-Man Legends will get a follow-up series, as well, and it might be even more mind blowing than the Avengers/ Ant-Man lineups. Check this out:
Spider-Man Legends Series Two
- Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider
- Ghost Rider
- Misty Knight (!!!)
- White Tiger
- Kraven the Hunter
- Superior Venom
- Build-A-Figure Rhino (with two variant heads)
And yes, Chameleon includes two “disguise” heads… allowing you to transform him into either Hammerhead OR J. Jonah Jameson.
It’s been days, and my head is STILL spinning from how awesomely thought out and utterly cool the new wave of Spidey Legends will be.
On top of all this, both Target and Amazon will be adding even more Legends to 2015, with two new box sets. Target will release a new 3-pack including a Now! Hulk, First Appearance white Vision and an all new comic style Ultron. And Amazon will round out the movie Avengers with a box set including Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow and Hawkeye. In this set, Thor and Bruce are brand new… Black Widow will feature some new tooling on the Maria Hill body, and Hawkeye sports a brand new headsculpt, with a vastly improved likeness of Jeremy Renner.
If you’re in to Marvel’s 3.75″ figures, there’s some new stuff for you, too. Hasbro unveiled a third wave of Marvel Infinite figures, slated to include X-Force Deadpool, Emma Frost, Korg, Scarlet Spider, Chameleon, and a gold Ultron. Toys R Us will feature Age of Ultron themed figure two-packs, starting with Captain America & Black Widow, and Iron-Man Mark 43 & Nick Fury.
Marvel’s presence at Toy fair was kind of sensory overload-inducing, but thankfully I did regain my composure enough to catch up with Dwight Stall from Hasbro and Jesse Falcon from Marvel for a minute. The last time I saw Jesse was about three years ago, and I asked him what upcoming Marvel movie he was most excited for. His immediate answer was Guardians of the Galaxy… which makes a ton of sense in retrospect. Not only was the movie amazing, and shockingly effective at connecting with a mainstream audience, it also proved that Marvel can achieve success even when taking fairly big risks.
I think we’re seeing Hasbro follow suit with that notion. A few years ago, I don’t think unproven characters like the Guardians or Ant-Man would get their own dedicated toy lines, but here we are. Guardians did quite well at retail, and Ant-Man will have a strong showing with a whole wave of Legends, a 3.75″ deluxe figure, a Titan Hero, a Marvel Masher and more.
This makes me feel much more confident that Hasbro and Marvel will NOT shy away from releasing toy lines to support the other unproven movie properties on the horizon. As I’ve said before, retail buyers in the toy industry are often a weird and conservative lot, and they often demand subservience to antiquated gender politics from the toymakers, even ones as big as Hasbro. This means a movie like Captain Marvel— starring a female super hero as the lead– could be at risk of not receiving support in the action figure aisles.
But the fact is, that even though we just saw this happen last summer with the strange absence of Gamora in lots of Guardians merchandise, Hasbro represented her in both their toy lines. And Marvel is smart… and keenly aware of the #WheresGamora feedback from 2014. In short, I left Toy Fair feeling much more confident that Hasbro and Marvel’s current plan will continue, and that every Marvel Studios movie going forward will probably get its own toy line, even if the hero of said movie does NOT happen to be a white male. That’s just about the best news I heard all weekend, honestly.
Oh, and going back to my question for Jesse Falcon… since I saw him again, I had to ask again– we know Marvel’s movie slate until 2019 at this point, so what movie is he most excited about NOW?
So there ya go.
Check out our photos from Hasbro’s Marvel display below!