Last year, McFarlane Toys was all about Star Trek. This year? Not so much. The toy company released two Trek characters in 2018, Kirk and Picard, but has seemingly called it quits. When asked why, a representative assured me that the company still has the license across all spin-offs and the original series, but is awaiting more eager retailer demand for further product.
“When retailers are chomping at the bit for more,” one rep said, “We’ll make more.” Presumably, this means Star Trek: Discovery toys’ release, a line for which their phaser debuted at Toy Fair 2018, but was shelved due to, in the words of Todd McFarlane, accuracy issues (most likely how to incorporate the orange cap required on all gun-like toys). A Michael Burnham figure was also planned but stalled last year because of an extensive collaboration with Sonequa Martin-Green to get the figure’s likeness just right (at least, that’s what was explained to me a year ago; now, “retailer demand” is likely McFarlane’s reason for holding out on us).
This is why I’m a little concerned about McFarlane’s exciting incoming Harry Potter line. I have no indication to suggest the line won’t happen as planned (it surely will, lest ye piss off the Muggles), but McFarlane’s recent track record of jumping ship on toys is troublesome. As it stands, the first wave of Potter figures will include Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Voldemort from the Deathly Hallows. All figures will feature 22 points of articulation, and will appear in street clothes, with the exception, of course, of Voldemort, who gets a striking cloth black robe. The heroes come with their Patronuses, cast in a cool translucent blue plastic. Voldemort comes with Nagini (in snake form), who has one point of articulation all her own, midway down the body. All figures will come boxed, not carded.
Later in the year, McFarlane will release an impressively articulated Buckbeak, followed by a Dementor. Prototypes were shown for all except the Dementor, and they all look impressive. The detail on each plus their ranges of motion capture the best McFarlane has to offer. While no photos were allowed of these figures, hopefully this description helps build a mental picture of what to expect. (Plus, as we know, always better to read first then see the movie later.)
We DO have photos of McFarlane’s upcoming Game of Thrones line-up, which will make sure these characters live beyond the end of the series (or just, y’know, live, period). The paint applications on the dragons struck me the most, with a lot of thought clearly having gone into the extreme detail on the figures.
There’s not much to show for McFarlane’s planned Stranger Things Season 3 line except for this teaser poster and the fact that there will be a Hopper and an Eleven. All the other figures on display are readily available now.
If McFarlane’s focus is anywhere, it’s clearly on video games and anime. They’ve acquired licenses for a number of exciting and popular properties including Hello Neighbor, Cuphead, Mortal Kombat, One Punch Man, Naruto, and…
…the ubiquitous Fortnite! A couple of features make these products special. The shopping cart you see in one of the Fortnite photos is actual metal, and adds a nice touch to an already well-sculpted line. Also, the designers on Cuphead collaborated with McFarlane on the box art and instruction manual cover for the world-building toys attached to that property. If you’re a Mortal Kombat fan, then you’ll be delighted to know that McFarlane has the license for all Mortal Kombat entries, so, though they’re starting with Sub-Zero and Scorpion from 11, other figures might come out later from earlier games in the franchise.
Finally, those who loved the Labyrinth Jareth figure McFarlane previously released will enjoy the upcoming Dance Magic Jareth who comes with a replica of the actual goblin he kicks in the movie. Fun!
Not to minimize the exciting items McFarlane has planned for 2019, but the mood at the McFarlane booth was very much, “Look forward to 2020.” This year may feel a bit light, but the company promises a big expansion next year. All we can do is wait.