Whenever someone asks us if we want to ask questions of our favorite toy makers, we jump at the chance. It’s one of our favorite things to do here, because generally, it involves you, the reader. We reached out across our social media outlets this past week, when Hasbro came a calling and asking if we’d like to meet with their Marvel brand team. Below, you’ll find the results of that meeting, driven by questions asked by YOU! The Marvel toy line fans!
As with last years interview, there is no way I’m publishing the audio, I sound like a yutz. So I’m transcribing and I’ll avoid paraphrasing as much as possible.
The meeting took place at Toy Fair 10/6/16 between myself, and the Hasbro Marvel Brand team, led by Dwight Stall, Tony and Ryan.
First question. This one was from me, pretty much everything after was from readers everywhere!
Q: ‘When is Deadpool 12 inch coming’
A: ‘2017, stay tuned’
Q: ‘The collector base is upset by the “swapping epidemic” that is taking place at retail. Is there anything that the Hasbro brand team is planning to attempt to address this?’
A: ‘It’s a good question, it’s definitely, if you are sneaky enough to pull something out and return it to the store, you are going to find a way to do it, if that’s how you are going to do it. Obviously we don’t support it at all, and even more so, I feel bad for whoever would pick up that purchase, not paying as close of attention, taking it home and realizing…oh that’s sadness in a box and that’s not good. I don’t know if we have any other plans to make it fool proof, you can add more tape and stuff, but those people, they will find a way.“ “Yeah, they will find a way, aside from going back to the impenetrable fortresses of the old school Legends packaging there is nothing we can really do.” “Even then it’s people buying it, taking it home, and then they have as much time as they need. At the end of the day it’s theft so, I mean there is nothing much we can do to prevent that unfortunately.’
Q: ‘When building a wave, how is the wave constructed? Is it figure set first? BAF first? Who does a wave come together?’
A: ‘I think it’s depending on what the wave is, if it’s a wave that’s tying directly to a theatrical release, we try to make a balance between of the MCU characters vs the classic characters and once we get to the mix of the whole year, on how we want to get those types of figures out, because the MCU is super important to us, then we try to go back and say alright, we’ve got those guys covered off where do we go from there? What’s the right Build a figure, whether it’s a large based MCU character or something incredibly compelling, you know some incredibly compelling whatever, from any year and era. There isn’t a five point step to making a wave, it’s different for every property. It’s different for every wave we do. We are just trying to find the best mix of characters that represent fandom for all of our ages of the fans.‘
Q / Non-Q – Jokingly I asked how they feel about all of these toys ending up in the hands of adults and collectors and none leftover for children. I asked them not to answer that, I don’t want them to fix that.
Q: ‘Are there plans to increase the size of Build a Figures in 2017?’
A: ‘I think the biggest one we’ve gotten to was probably the Hulkbuster, of recent, which was a sizeable heavy figure, there was a lot of plastic on that one.’
‘I can’t think of anything off of the top of my head that’s a Galactus scale figure that we have in the works. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t open to it. We made those beautiful ones quite a few years ago, those 16 to 18 inch ones for the MU. There is no reason why we can’t use them. It’s just trying to find a home for an item like that. I imagine an item like that today would be quite expensive.’
‘Yeah and I mean if you just look at the pack outs, you know the team is including, alternate heads, great accessories, you run out of space fairly quickly. It’s tough to get a figure of that size would be just kind of tough to work around, but yeah we’re open to the idea.’
‘Or that’s something that goes back to asking of the fans. What would you rather have? Would you rather have something like a Galactus? Or would you rather have a swappable hand, alternate head, the magic effects, all those extra bits and pieces. Because I think the limits of that package are what they are. You could maybe do something like that, but you’d have to sacrifice something else.’
Me chiming in to the brand teams ‘it’s funny you should mention because about half of the people out there asked about accessory packs, more accessories, the other half wanted BAFs.
Q: ‘Is there any possibility for sidebar accessory packs a’la DC Icons planned offerings?’
A: ‘Well let’s pit those two armies against each other and whichever one is left standing, we will cater to, how about that?’. ‘Toy Wars!’.
Q: ‘Mattel just released a 6 inch scale playset. This has fueled the fires of fan desire further towards the ends of playsets and vehicles in the Hasbro lines. I asked about this last year and you said you were not closed to the idea, but it doesn’t look like we are any closer to the idea, any further consideration given to playsets? Vehicles?’
A: ‘Yeah, we’re always looking at that. I think what we would want to know is, what do they want? The Batcave is a very iconic play environment for Batman. It works. What would you like to see for our Avengers universe, or for Doctor Strange? Spider-Man? What is that environmental place that you want to see?’
Me interrupting: ‘Throwing out, Sanctum Sanctorum, Avengers Tower, Baxter Building.’
A: ‘An Iron Man Armory would be sweet too, so you could put in armors’.
Q: ‘Folks are also very interested in civilians as well. The Aunt May’s…and I’m not gonna lie, I said Alfreds…I was nervous…shut up. The community suggestion was actually, hey, maybe you put out a playset, with an exclusive civilian.’
A: ‘We debuted that Mary Jane figure, kinda in that vein, but we are trying to get into that as well.’
Q: ‘Can we petition you to create a 6 inch GI Joe Figure line’
A: (laughter) ‘You can petition us but that’s a whole different team so I don’t have a very good answer for you.’
Q: ‘Roleplay items are awesome, the shield the helmet, are there more in the works? Can I please have an infinity Gauntlet?’
A ‘Well yeah, we’ve seen great success so far. The shield hit first it’s got good distribution online and in stores. We will continue making them if the fans respond in kind. So far the response has been great. We’ll do more reveals at New York Toy Fair for all of our segments including from 6 inch to everything else in a couple of months so stay tuned.’
I am so incredibly appreciative of the Hasbro Brand Team for taking the time out of NYCC 2016 to have this conversation with me. I’m grateful to all the folks out there that contributed questions, and thank you to Litzky PR for putting it all together. We had an awesome time and we can’t wait to see what’s next at Toy Fair 2017!