Over the weekend, Hasbro presented their 2017 Entertainment Brand Preview, which consisted of their major brands like Marvel, Star Wars, Transformers, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Newsarama was in attendance for the hour-plus long demonstration and had time to talk to some of the creative forces behind some of the biggest brands in toys.
The presentation started off with the Transformers line and the Forged To Fight mobile game coming out Spring of this year. It’s similar in structure to Marvel’s Contest of Champions where you can choose your own team up of various Transformers across the plethora of generations.
Getting into actual toys and figures, some of the highlights featured included a Titan Series Trypticon, which is the largest Decepticon ever. Coming in at 20” tall, this classic character is brought to life once again in one colossal toy. He has three modes: dino, spaceship, and city transformations. Also, of course, with him part of the Titan series, his head consists of two robots as well: Full-Tilt and Necro.
Other reveals at the presentation was the fact that the next fan-voted Prime would be Optimus Primal from Transformers: Beast Wars, which garnered a huge reaction.
New Titan Masters were also announced, consisting of of Ramhorn, Roadburn, Cosmos, and fan-favorite Seaspray.
Now, more of the biggest reveals came from the Transformers movie line with Transformers: The Last Knight coming to theaters this summer. Dinobots Grimlock and Slug will have more movie-accurate sculpts. During the presentation, Ben Montana, head of the Transformers department, talked about how in the trailer there’s this fire-breathing creature in the far distance. It was finally revealed as a three-headed dragon robot aptly-named Dragonstorm. Megatron also has a more movie-accurate sculpt this time around, as well as new characters, Steelbane who takes on the appearance of a knight in the movie, and Sqweeks, a scooter.
Next up was Marvel being presented by Dwight Stall and Ryan Ting. There was a lot to showcase this year with three offerings from the MCU alone: Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok. First up was Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The line has a movie-accurate Spider-Man with an unmasked Tom Holland head sculpt, as well as a “homemade” costume variant. This wave also consists Captain Universe Spider-Man, MCU Shocker, classic iterations of both Tombstone and Beetle, and lastly the Declan Shalvey-designed Moon Knight.
When asked about why that design over the Mr. Knight concept, Stall commented that had been in the running and they never say never to revisiting that figure once again.
The Build-A-Figure in this wave isn’t exactly one figure. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is also included in the wave, but each figure will have part of Vulture’s wings, making this the first Build-A-Vehicle, and the wingspan is a monstrous two feet long.
With various waves hitting at the same time, the concern from fans has been if Hasbro has any plans on spacing them out more and Ting addressed this.
“We tried to time them with release of the movie or at least around that timing, so we hear your feedback, and we have some fall waves that we haven’t announced yet. That should give you a little break over the summer.”
“Our goal is to have them coming out as a nice steady beat,” added Stall.
The next X-Men wave with the Build-A-Figure Warlock hits shelves in a month, and features a 90’s Cyclops, which matches with the 90’s Rogue from the previous wave. A question was brought up about if fans should expect more of those. Stall was vague with his answer.
“Next year is already done for X-Men, but who would you like to see?”
The Guardians of the Galaxy wave will come later and will be the second Guardians wave of the year. This wave will have, of course, a Star-Lord with a long jacket and scarf, Gamora, Nebula, Death’s Head II, Adam Warlock (with a variant Magus head), Rocket Raccoon with baby Ravager Groot, and Ex Nihilo. Kurt Russell’s Ego the Living Planet was debuted, but will be included as part of a two-pack with his son, Star-Lord.
The Build-A-Figure will be newcomer Mantis, based on her MCU design. There’s another wave coming out at the beginning of March with the Titus Build-A-Figure, but that has been seen already. Talking about why the Build-A-Figure is Mantis this time around and is so small by comparison, instead of the Death’s Head or Ex Nihilo.
“Those figures were designed to be that way,” replied Stall. “They were never intended to break apart. I would have had not given you one of those characters if I had to take those tooling dollars and turn one of those figures into a Build-A-Figure. So we made Mantis from scratch and the perfect opportunity and you were able to get another character out there.”
Following that, they announced two brand-new additions to the premium roleplay items. Last year’s was Captain America’s shield and Iron Man’s helmet, but this year as Star-Lord’s helmet and Thor’s Mjolnir. Now what was cool about this was that the helmet is Bluetooth compatible, so it could sync up with your music (makes sense as Peter Quill’s mixtape was very important to him). The Mjolnir was also interesting because it had voice recognition so when somebody would say something that included the word “worthy”, the Odinsymbol would glow from the hammer.
Adding to their 12” Legends line will be Black Suit Spider-Man, Deadpool, Thor, and the Hulk. All coming with variant heads.
Another big reveal was an A-Force six-pack that will be a Toys R Us exclusive. They didn’t have the final product shown, but it had Elsa Bloodstone, Sif, She-Hulk, Lady Loki, Monica Rambeau, and newcomer Singularity.
While Thor: Ragnarok’s line-up remained a mystery for now, they did do a single reveal: Jane Foster’s Thor, Goddess of Thunder finally in the 6” Legends scale.
The Marvel Netflix shows have been a huge success and although they had shown the Punisher and Jessica Jones at Comic-Con International: San-Diego last year, Marvel and Hasbro added to that wave with both Daredevil and Elektra. Hopefully both Iron Fist and Luke Cage round out the wave as they’re scheduled to come out towards the end of the year.
Marvel rounded out their announcements with a teaser for Marvel vs. Capcom two-packs. They did not announce any characters or what the scale would be.
“Marvel and Capcom and Thor: Ragnarok were on the ‘do not talk’ list,” Stall commented.
You can see Hasbro's stock photos of some of these figures here.
Following Marvel was My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and although they didn’t have toys to show, they did show a musical number from the upcoming seventh season that told the story of how Apple Jack’s parents met. We also will be introduced to Rainbow Dash’s parents and how they helped her find the confidence she displays.
Up next was Star Wars and since it’s the space saga’s 40th anniversary this year, you know they were going to have a lot to roll out. Design Director Steve Evans and Global Marketing Manager Joe Ninivaggi celebrated the occasion with champagne glasses of Aunt Beru’s blue milk.
First up was the reveals for the new additions to the Black Series 6” including a Jawa and Imperial Death Squad Commander in grey attire, which came from an agreement with Lucasfilm. Also joining the Black Series this year will finally be Luke Skywalker from The Force Awakens. Hasbro did not show the final product, but a 3D model and will be out by the end of the year.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Evans.
Hasbro revealed additions to what is called the Star Wars Centerpiece collection. Basically, they’re interactive displays. The two shown were X-Wing Pilot Luke from Empire Strikes Back and Darth Vader from Rogue One. They light up and add a sense of drama to fans’ collections as you can put additional figures on the displays and recreate famous scenes or create your own.
As far as new roleplay, they displayed Poe Dameron’s X-Wing helmet. It has built-in surround stereo with voice recognition so BB-8 can “talk” and you can hear X-Wings soaring around you.
“Okay we’ve done so many other characters’ helmets and I wanted to mix it up so this is actually our first ‘good guy’ helmet,” said Evans. “From there it was sort of do you do classic X-Wing, modern X-Wing, and since we had to pick one, we went with Poe.”
“We’ve done a lot of voice-changing and amplifying, so with this, not only do we stick to an authentic replica, but we wanted a whole new experience,” added Ninivaggi. “Once we landed on Poe Dameron, it all fell into place.”
They didn’t have anything from The Last Jedi to show off, but they did have re-releases of the original 12 figures from Kenner’s “early bird special” from 1977. The first wave will be R2-D2, Obi-Wan, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Darth Vader. Vader will come solo, but be included with the backdrop that Kenner used with the original line-up. The Leia will also feature a brand-new face sculpt. Talking about recreating those figures, Evans mentioned how they wanted a fun celebratory line.
“It was about how could we give fans Stormtroopers again or getting R2 again, and Leia with a good head. So it was the perfect opportunity to bring that together and have some fun!”