2017 marks the first year with THREE Marvel movies hitting theaters, and Hasbro is leaning into Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and Thor for their Marvel toy slate. The mainstream Marvel Legends toy lines look very promising, but the true highlights of Hasbro’s Toy Fair showcase were the exclusives rolling out throughout the year. Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Amazon, Target, Entertainment Earth and Walgreens all have Marvel exclusives coming from Hasbro in 2017, so let’s break them down.
We’ll start with Wal-Mart, the least reliable and most difficult of the retail exclusive partners. They will be offering Baby Groot in his Ravagers uniform, as well as an Ultimate Spider-Man vs Vulture 6″ box set. The two pack looks great… Spidey is a reissue of the fantastic Ultimate figure, while the Vulture will sport two alternate heads– old man Toomes, and a head wearing the Ultimate universe helmet. I’m hoping these sets are easy to find, but based on Wal-Mart’s terrible track record with distribution I am not optimistic.
What promises to be much easier to chase down are Target’s exclusives– a 12″ Symbiote Spider-Man– featuring an incredible Peter Parker head with symbiote tendrils crawling across his face– as well as a 6″ two-pack based on Thor: Ragnarok which is being kept a secret for the time being.
Toys R Us is offering the largest volume of exclusives in 2017, starting with the Guardians of the Galaxy “Evolution of Groot” figure, which reissues the movie Groot figure with an all new, vastly improved headsculpt, along with potted and baby versions of the Guardian. Moving on to the 3.75″ scale, there will also be a smaller sized box set containing all five Guardians of the Galaxy in their Annihilation era uniforms… complete with a new unmasked Star-Lord figure.
TRU will also release a pair of 6″ two-packs, Spider-Man and Mary Jane in the spring, and Dark Phoenix and Cyclops in the fall. Each of these figures looks fantastic, and will make great, classic additions to the Legends collection. Hasbro paid attention to feedback regarding last year’s green Phoenix, and have opted to release the dark Phoenix with new tooling, which makes her much more than a repaint.
The most ambitious– and impressive– exclusive coming to TRU is the A-Force box set. This six-pack of 6″ figures will effectively round out the lineup of the all-female Avengers team, with She-Hulk, Singularity, Loki, Lady Sif, Spectrum (Monica Rambeau), and Elsa Bloodstone. This set is incredible, featuring characters I never dreamed of joining the Legends lineup. The fact that it’s a box set of six female action figures, available at the “world’s biggest toy store” only makes this set all the more groundbreaking… this is Marvel’s answer to the DC Super Hero Girls, only rolled into the ever-popular Legends brand.
Walgreens– still the most unlikely of retail partners for collectible action figures– will continue in 2017. This year will see them focus their exclusives into the single theme of the Fantastic Four, the franchise tragically caught in the crossfire of the pissing war between Marvel and Fox. We’ve known about Walgreens’ Sue Storm and HERBIE pack for a while (which is allegedly hitting stores now), but at Toy Fair Hasbro confirmed they will release the entire team in partnership with the drug store chain. Later this year, Sue’s brother Johnny, the Human Torch will hit shelves… and they’ll be followed by Reed Richards and The Thing in 2018. On the one hand, I’m a little bummed it will take two years to assemble what promises to be the best toy versions ever of Marvel’s First Family… but this sort of multi-year, long-term plan also gives me a sense of confidence in Hasbro, the Legends brand, and their relationship with key retailers. Remember– good things come to those who wait.
Rounding out the 2017 exclusives are the releases planned from Amazon– a 3.75″ Spider-Man vs Sinister Six box set complete with packaging which evokes Toy Biz’s 1990 Marvel Super Heroes– and Entertainment Earth, who are offering a 6″ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 two pack containing a new version Star-Lord (complete with corrected facial hair), and Kurt Russell’s Ego in human form. The Guardians set hits in August, though you can preorder it now, and the Spider-Man box set will likely be available for preorder soon.
Hasbro also released official press images of some of their mass retail Legends planned for 2017, including the second wave of Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie wave of Spider-Man figures, and the flagship series of Marvel Netflix figures, released under the Marvel Knights banner.