It may not have escaped your notice that Hasbro has really upped their game on Marvel action figures this year. From dead-on actor facial sculpts like Michael Rooker’s Yondu to elaborate build-a-figure giants like Warlock, they’ve been killing it with detail. At San Diego Comic-Con, I got to talk to Hasbro’s Dwight Stall (senior Design Manager for their Marvel team) and Ryan Ting (Global Brand Manager) about what they’ve done right so far, and what the imminent future holds.
Stall says the improvement this year, while not necessarily a natural progression, is due to the notion that “our team is constantly not allowing itself to just sit on something that’s doing well and let it ride. We’re always looking for ways to improve our craft.” Ting also points out that key to this is the close relationship with Marvel Studios: “they provide us great reference, and allow us to do the most accurate movie figures and television likenesses to date.”
One of this year’s biggest announcements, one they had demurred on when asked in previous years, was a Marvel Legends series featuring Netflix versions of Daredevil, Elektra, the Punisher, and Jessica Jones. Though Krysten Ritter appeared to have provided incentive by calling for her own action figure on national TV, the Marvel team say they were actually working on it before that (it takes over a year to design a brand-new figure, which is also why you haven’t seen Star Wars make Old Luke Skywalker until now), though the timing worked out well to get them more publicity for it. They do not at present have plans for TV-based Luke Cage and Danny Rand, though a 4-pack of comic-styled versions of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage is coming. As for Agents of SHIELD, they’re not ruling it out like they did in the past, and say it is certainly possible.
When the first Avengers movie came out, Hasbro’s Marvel line was predominantly focused on a 3-3/4 inch scale, with very limited…