Ask Mattel March 15th Edition (WWE, DC Universe, Back to the Future, & More)

Twice a month, Mattel is kind enough to answer questions around the web on its lines, including WWE, DC, Masters of the Universe, Ghostbusters & More. Check out the January Q&A session sorted out by catagory!

DC Comics

Q: We know that at least one more wave of DC Retro-Action was sculpted and prepared and was essentially ready for Mattel to go forward. Now that the line is seemingly dead, but has been selling on the MattyCollector site, is it possible that this last series of figures could be released as exclusives down the line? Perhaps in conjunction with a new Batman movie or something?
A: We don’t have plans right now and since there were no additional figures tool’d (molds built) it is more difficult to move forward with in-progress figures vs. for JLU the unreleased figures were already complete. Any RA figures in progress were in very early stages and not at all ready to release.

Q: At Toy Fair, it was said that there would not be another 12 pack of the Legion of Super-Heroes due to the amount of time and resources it would involve. However, I believe I read that there were other figures in the works. Can you speak to that? Any thoughts of 2 or 3 packs? I love the 12 pack, but there’s so many more that we need!
A: Yes. That is a fair assessment. While this item was a hit, it threw such a wrench into our schedule that is wound up delaying a lot of other product that needed resources too!

Q: When will we begin to see packaging for the new DC All-Stars retail line?
A: Hopefully in the next few months. The line is actually being reworked still and the line up is changing. We will have more details as soon as they are available. Club Infinite Earths on will not be changing. That is still going forward.

Q: Thanks very much for releasing the final JLU 3 packs! Will there be some way that we can have all of them ship together to save some money, either through a preorder or a bundle pack of all of them? Shipping can add almost 25% to the total cost, so saving on this would make me much more likely to get all of the packs. I would really appreciate an option like that. Thanks again!
A: We will be releasing them one month at a time.

Q: I know that JLU is over and that the last 3-packs will be the end. But with the release of the last 3-packs (with the last being released in Dec 2012) Mattel will have been making JLU/JL figures for 10 YEARS. That is NO SMALL FEAT! I know it won’t happen, but IF Mattel we able to do a “victory lap” and release one more JLU “10th Anniversary” figure who would you and the rest of the JLU design team pick?
A: From Toy Guru: “If we were going to do one last figure and had all the tooling in the world, I would love to do either Granny Goodness or Jonah Hex. But that is just me personally. We got to most of my other “wants” such as Blackhawk, Amanda Waller and the Question already! But I can confirm no additonal figures are in the works. These last packs are it!”

Q: When are the newest DCUC 2pks (Yellow Hal & Blue Kyle, Red Azrael & Battle Damage Batman) expected to hit TRU shelves?
A: They have already shipped so it is up to Toy R Us at this point!

Q: For the Club Infinite Earth 2013 Subscription, any thoughts on making the “oversized” figure slot a “deluxe” figure slot so it can include the odd characters, those that need a large accessory (like Metron) and multi-packs along with the large figures?
A: You will just need to wait and see.

Q: What is the planned street date for The Dark Knight Rises mechandise? Particularly, the Movie Masters?
A: May 1.

Q: On the Dark Knight Rises 6″ figures, on the Batsignal, how many and what type of batteries will that take?
A: 3 AAA batteries are needed.

Q: Will you be giving Mirror Master 2 open hands,so he can hold both guns?
A: No, he only has one open hand. The spare gun can go in his holster.

Q: Will there be any chance of getting the rest of the Lanterns done in the DCUC/DCAS size (i.e. Saint Walker, Indigo-1, Munk, etc)?
A: Something we would love to include as we get to more colored lanterns in the future!

Q: I was wondering if the Vertigo line of characters was under Mattel’s contract with DC and if so is there a chance we could see a John Constantine or Sandman (Morpheus) in the sub line in the future? It seems that these characters were almost tailor-made for the smaller, direct market, so why not pull the trigger and get them made? Constantine especially wouldn’t be difficult to make as large portions of him could be re-tools.
A: Yes, as these characters appear in the proper DC Universe we get access to them much like Swamp Thing last summer.

Q: The DC Action League Flashpoint wave has hit retail, when would the next wave be expected and the TRU box set?
A: Should be hitting stores any week now.

Q: Any chance for an alternate head on Black Mask with fedora to reflect his early Batman appearances?
A: Not at this time but a cool idea!

Q: As we inch ever closer to completing THE METAL MEN and THE DOOM PATROL, the fact is both teams are led by “civilians”– Dr. Will Magnus and Niles Caulder, who like Professor Xavier– aren’t exactly toyetic. Do you have any plans to find a way to produce these characters (via two-pack or some other fashion) so both teams can eventually have their respective leaders?
A: We would love to finish both teams and get to their leaders. Perhaps in time!

Q: If you indeed have the long-requested LEAD oversized in the Club Infinite Earths pipeline, please say something vague and noncommittal about it.
A: A very cool and much needed figure we want to get to sooner then later.

Q: Can you explain the rationale behind the version of Rocket Red selected? Many fans were surprised when the longer standing JLI “Dmitri” version was not selected in the classics line.
A: This was chosen by our design team and our partners at DC comics as a great version to do as a toy at this time.

Q: Should we read anything into the fact that we’re getting Mirror Master and Poison Ivy in the first year of the sub– and that Ivy and Mirror Master were teammates in the classic Injustice Gang along with Chronos the Time Thief, The Tattooed Man, Shadow Thief, Scarecrow, and Libra, or is it just a coincidence?
A: Maybe yes, maybe no…

Q: With an understandably limited budget, will the rest of the DC Club Infinite Earths line lean towards characters that require minimal tooling using established bucks, or will scale continue to be sacrificed to get a desired character out in at least some format, as we have seen with Atrocitus? Fans would prefer their toys done correctly the first time, especially since this is the only time these characters may be offered…
A: Atrocitus was sculpted before the sub was sold in (as he was shown at SDCC last year!). He was designed around the specs provided by our licensor partners and was not a reflection on the amount of tooling available (which became a factor AFTER the subs were sold in and for the remaining 2012 figures).

Q: Does Mattel have any plans on revisiting the 3.3/4″ scale, and giving them articulation that can compete with Hasbro’s MU and Joe lines?
A: Not at this time but we are always looking into it

Q: Does Mattel have the rights to do the DC Watchmen comic versions? If so, could there be a chance of getting Comedian, Nite-Owl, Silk Spectre, Rorschach, Ozymandias and Dr. Manhatten in the same 4 Horsemen DCUC bucks we know and love?
A: Not at this time but it would make a great line of figures!

Q: Why did you decide to use Kid Flash’s costume from the first three episodes (the costume in the 4-inch KF/Flash two pack), rather than the costume he uses for the rest of the season (the costume used on the other 4-inch KF toys)?
A: As a way of offering variants of a main character for kids.

Q: Considering that Batman, Red Arrow, Guardian, and Sportsmaster seem to have custom upper torso pieces, why does the 6-inch Robin have a re-used torso that is so much more muscular than his lean appearance in the show? And is there any chance at a new, slender-build torso for future characters that have that appearance?
A: Not at this time but we will be happy to pass this suggestion along to design!

Masters of the Universe

Q: In the upcoming Granamyr figure, is the plan to make him fairly poseable or is he likely to be a big figure that’s more static like the SDCC Stay Puft? Are there any early plans to try and get Granamyr to a certain level of articulation?
A: His articulation level will be similar to Tytus.

Q: Will Frosta feature swivel articulation in the thigh? A few of the recent female figures have lost that particular articulation point and it hurts the overall poseability of the figure.
A: We are not far enough along with this figure but will pass this note to the Horsemen.

Q: With Kobra Kahn released, we’d be remiss if we didn’t inquire about Camo Kahn again. Is he on Mattel’s radar? And if so, would he likely be a subscription figure or offered outside of it?
A: Definitely a character we have kept our eye on. He would have worked great on something like a TRU vs. 2 pack. But could still work as a quarterly variant now that this retail sku is done. We don’t have any plans to announce right now but we have talked about this fan requested variant.

Q: Since the Snake Men pack is an army builder (and you know how people love to army build) will this produced at higher numbers like the Palace Guards? I want to make sure I will be able to fill out my snake ranks come August.
A: Yes, we will produce this at a slightly higher number so fans can army build.

Q: We know that the mini-comics are a special treat for the 30th anniversary and will not be continued past the three issues as is but… they seem to be wildly popular already so would there be chance that they can continue in some form if collectors were willing to pay for them? We want stories! We NEED stories!
A: Right now we just don’t have the resources to continue the mini comics (as much as we would like to!)

Q: Did I read Toy Guru’s Faker Director’s Commentary correctly in that the “mini-masters” are possibly being considered for a retail approach?
A: Toy Guru was giving a hypothetical example. There are no plans right now.

Q: In 2011 the Master of the Universe Classics line saw the improvement in covering the ankle pin on the “He-Man” boots and other boots that were newly crafted that year. Can we expect to see this same improvement on the “Keldor” boot in the upcoming future?
A: This is something we are working on and hope we can introduce it in time.

Q: Any Plans of a direct to DVD/Blu Ray continuation of the He-Man Story?
A: Not at this time but always something we are looking into.

Q: Have you ever considered doing a online poll to see which MOTU vehlice would be the favorite of all fans and run with that one ?
A: We do look at fan posts all the time and have a very good idea of what fans are looking for.

Q: When will the winner of the MOTUC 30th Anniversary contest be notified?
A: He or she will learn at the same time as everyone else when it is announced at our fan panel at SDCC!

Q: With the New Thunderpunch He-man was there ever thoughts to make the cap sound feature work?
A: No. Current safety regulations do not allow this.

Q: The leaked MOTU art from the comic is great. Previously the MOTU comic was special for the anniv, any hope to continue it?
A: The leak was not intentional and ideally will not repeat itself. The comic is already printed (as shown at NYTF) and we want fans to experience it first as a complete project, not as early pencils. Fine to see the “in progress” version in time, but we want to get the final version out first.

Q: When the Wind Raider goes back on sale around SDCC time, will the price be the same as 2011 ($45) or will it be raised to reflect the price increase of 2012 (10%)?
A: It will likely go up just slightly as all 2012 items have.

Q: We still have one $40 item to go in 2012. Can you confirm or deny that this last slot is another 2-pack?
A: That will be revealed at SDCC!

Q: With long droughts between “big reveal” conventions and shows (like the gap between Toy Fair and SDCC), it seems as if it might be a good idea to sneak out small reveals through other outlets to keep fans excited about the line. Toyfare used to be a good vehicle for this, but with that magazine now gone, have you thought about maybe reaching out to fan sites? Even small teaser images (like showing Grizzlor’s back in Toyfare) would get fans jazzed while fostering a healthy relationship between your company and its supportive fan sites.
A: There will still be periodic reveals outside of the shows! Stay tuned.

Q: What is your ideal sellout time for the Wind Raider’s second sale? I am not trying to stir up trouble here- It would just be nice for fans to know what will be deemed a success.
A: Sorry, we can’t comment on things like this. This is proprietary information to Mattel strategy we don’t share publically.

Q: With lower sub sales in 2012, did you give any thought to reshuffling the planned rollout of the line (which was previously planned out through 2017)? If not, and if sub numbers continue to dwindle, will you perhaps reconsider removing some of the “filler” figures (third or fourth tier characters) and moving some of the “heavy hitters” (like Ram-Man) scheduled for later in the line to an earlier spot in the hopes of making MOTUC as “complete” as possible?
A: Although the subs went down from 2011, they are still way way above our min units needed to run the line. We could actually cut the line to 2012 subs only and do just fine. The line is doing great. The dip from 2011 just meant we won’t look at expanding too fast. It doesn’t indicate the current line with the current roll out/number of skus is in any danger or not doing great.

Q: While Masters of the Universe Classics goes out of its way to divorce action features from the figures, Voltron features many kid-friendly spring action features with the key stands. What inspired the decision to include action features in this new collector’s line… or with the prospect of a new Voltron cartoon to support it, was this line originally planned for release at mass retail?
A: This was a way of adding something new and magical that no Voltron toy had used before.

Q: We love the concept of the 30th Anniversary Collecton, and most of the creators involved make perfect sense– the only creator whose involvement is less clear is Geoff Johns… can you explain how and why the DC Comics writer became involved with the 30th Anniversary line?
A: Sure. When we were actively polling well known comic artists and pop culture celebs to do a new MOTUC figure Geoff (as a life long MOTU fan and a swell guy) was the only one willing to do a figure for free and let us use his name to promote it. He just loves MOTU that much. Our budget is very small and this was a project of love and passion. The other creators we approached were not interested in these terms which is why two slots wound up going to Mattel (Terry and Scott). The original idea was to get all celebrity designers or folks who were associated with the current brand. While Geoff wound up being the only “celebrity” things still worked out great with other members of the MOTUC team getting to contribute to the brand they love.

Back to the Future

Q: Since people who preorder the Back to the Future Hoverboard receive a free 6″ scaled version of the same hoverboard, does that hint at a possible Back to the Future Movie Masters line?
A: No. While we would love to tackle a 6″ MM line, it is not in the cards right now.


Q: In his recent Toy Fair interview, Bill Kerner mentioned that Mattel was looking into making a bigger ring for the WWE line. Many fans felt the Elite ring was just too big, while the basic rings seem too small. Has Mattel taken a look at the old Jakks “Hardcore” ring which had a lot of the features of an Elite style ring (ring skirts, removable turnbuckles), but was smaller scaled? It seems as though a ring like this, but perhaps a few more inches in width, would be ideal.
A: Yes, we are looking at this and other fan requests to get a ring just perfect.

Q: The recent WWE Build-A-Figure concept seems a hit with most fans and through the years BAF has always been a great way to get fans to complete a series. With the WWE BAF it seems as though this is a good way to get characters that may not sell well on their own out. HOWEVER, the first BAF releases are retailing for $20.99 at Toys R Us. While regular Elite figures retail for about $16.99. Ultimately it works out that if you buy all the figures necessary to complete the BAF, you’re paying an additional $16, right around the price of what a regular Elite figure would be. Obviously Mattel can’t control Toys R Us’ pricing, but can you confirm that the BAF seres figures have a higher MSRP? And if they do, doesn’t this sort of render the “bonus” element of the BAF series useless?
A: In the end our retail partners set prices.


Q: What is the timetable for Voltron Force toys? And what VF product will be available?
A: At this time we are not ready to announce any retail commitments. We are still working with our retail partners on launching Voltron Force toys.

Q: Lance’s knees only bend about 30 degrees, and hyper-extend in the opposite direction even further. Will the other Lion pilots have this same issue?
A: Lance, Keith and Sven all use the same body so expect the same articulation level.


Q: Any update on the yellow of Staypuft from NYTF?
A: Not yet. But we are actively working with our vendors on this issue.


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