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Toy Fair 2018: McFarlane Toys’ Star Trek, Stranger Things, And Walking Dead Preview Is A Love Letter To Fans

McFarlane Toys showed off their arsenal of incoming, hyper-detailed, well-accessorized action figures for their Star TrekStranger Things, and The Walking Dead licenses today at New York Toy Fair.  Perhaps most hotly anticipated are McFarlane’s Star Trek action figures, the first new, fully-articulated, realistic, standard-scale Trek action figures since Art Asylum’s main line ended in 2010.  The toy company will beam down Captains Kirk and Picard this summer, and they will retail for $19.99.

McFarlane is using CBS-approved cardbacks for these figures that both unite the products under the “Star Trek” banner while preserving their affiliations with specific spin-offs.

I was lucky enough to chat with McFarlane’s Star Trek brand manager Jeremy Sodek about the specifics of these toys.  Clearly a fan, Sodek planned these figures with great care.  Captain Picard, for instance, will come with his Ressikan flute from the fan-favorite episode “The Inner Light,” and Kirk will come with the phaser rifle seen in “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”  Even Picard’s uniform preserves the vertical seams Trekkies saw on his Season 3 outfit.  Multiple hands accompany these figures for accurate grips on their various accessories.  But McFarlane isn’t stopping at The Original Series and The Next Generation.  While Sodek has conceived of loose, unofficial plans for Sisko and Janeway, today, the Star Trek: Discovery role play phaser took center stage as both prototype and painted final version.

Lights and sounds offer immersive play, while a detachable Type 1 phaser gives fans two toys in one.

The phaser will stun collectors this summer at a standard retail price of $34.99.

Note the prominence of Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham on the box art.  McFarlane has an action figure of her in the works, too.  It’s sculpt is currently being finalized with input from Ms. Martin-Green and should hit shelves just after Wave 1’s Kirk and Picard.

Based on the art on the back of the Star Trek Discovery phaser’s box, it seems there is also a Spock figure in the works for Wave 2.  Is this just a fan-favorite character, or a minor Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 spoiler?  We’ll have to wait and see!

Speaking of Season 2s, retro sci-fi hit Stranger Things recaptured its audience with a stellar follow-up to its first season arc.  McFarlane Toys has plans to capitalize on this by immortalizing in plastic some of the show’s most memorable scenes.

Dustin, Lucas, Will, and Mike will be available both in their Ghostbusters costumes and in their regular attire.

Box art and figure style will mimic that used for the Eleven and Chief Hopper figures that are available now.

For $39.99, fans will be able to buy a massive Demogorgon or a Dustin & Dart (which, isn’t it technically “D’Art”?) 2-pack so our heroes can face off against a couple of their enemies.

Luckily, Punk Eleven will be there to help.

While Stranger Things is a somewhat new license for McFarlane, the company also has plans to refresh one of their older properties: The Walking Dead.  While there will be some new 4-inch figures (including Jesus in a three-pack with Rick and Daryl!), McFarlane is clearly throwing its weight behind the taller toys.

Packaging for the bigger action figures will be redone so as to separate them from the poorly articulated first wave.  That early series, which was packaged under the “Color Tops” label, had no significant articulation below the waist, which led to fan outcry over the statue-like nature of their toys.  McFarlane heard these complaints, and subsequently redesigned the figures to feature more movability.

This packaging also gently calls out to that used for McFarlane’s Star Trek line, creating a better sense of brand unity.

These upcoming figures will likely be the last of the window-box packaged toys.  Like Negan shown above, cardbacks and bubbles will be used for the 7-inch figures moving forward.

Much like the Star Trek: Discovery phaser, there is a role play option for The Walking Dead line as well.

Lucille will be available in both regular and bloodied versions for eye-popping fun.

Spreading meticulously-made toys across multiple fandoms, McFarlane Toys is sure to have a strong 2018.  In addition, employing fan talent to create these products ensures McFarlane will keep its finger on the pulse of fandom trends and demands.  All of this wonderfully preserves the legacy Todd McFarlane started in 1994, beginning his own toy company to produce Spawn figures that were both richly detailed and incredibly playable.

Jonathan Alexandratos is a New York City-based playwright and essayist who writes mostly about action figures and grief.  Jonathan’s poorly-articulated self can be reached on Twitter @jalexan.

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Jonathan Alexandratos

Jonathan Alexandratos is a New York City-based playwright and essayist. His most recent play, We See What Happen, was created with Nashville Repertory Theatre, and is the immigration story of Jonathan's grandmother, as told by superhero action figures. Jonathan's book of academic essays on action figures, Articulating the Action Figure: Essays on the Toys and Their Messages, is due out in May from McFarland.

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