Good afternoon from Indianapolis, and welcome to the 2013 G.I. Joe Convention Hasbro Seminar coverage!
I’m sure the news is out there by now that Hasbro did not bring any new product or new concepts to reveal at this year’s convention. While this has caused some concern among the fandom, rest assured, things are not DOA and the line is not in dire straits.
The early positive buzz from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film has already encouraged Paramount to green light a third film, and Hasbro is reacting to that as we speak. The results have driven Hasbro to greatly increase production for Wave 3 and 4 product, and placed those orders to their factories. As a result of the increased production requests, unfortunately the release of Wave 3 will be pushed back slightly from May, 2013 to late July or August, 2013. The pessimist would say that this is a bad thing, but personally I’d rather wait an extra 4 – 6 weeks to ensure that enough product is made and distributed to ensure allocation to everyone who wants it.
For the rest of the report on the 2013 G.I. Joe Convention Hasbro seminar, click the Read the Rest of the Story link below.
Hasbro and the G.I. Joe team are extremely excited about the reaction to G.I. Joe: Retaliation and very confident in the response the film has received. One comparison Derryl DePriest made with the G.I. Joe film franchise was the Star Wars prequels. With Episode 1, product was very over-shipped and retailers were somewhat spooked by the lukewarm response at retail. For Episode 2, product quantities were adjusted drastically downward to comply with adjusted retailer demand. Then using those two films as a barometer, product and response to Episode 3 ended up pretty much perfect.
The goal at this point is to use the product over development for the Rise of Cobra, and the very light product distribution for G.I. Joe: Retaliation as barometers for a better allocation and better design window for product for a third G.I. Joe film. That’s not to say product won’t be available until then, but it’s critical for Hasbro to judge mass market media events properly to ensure continued G.I. Joe brand success. They are trying to prepare for long term success and not just capitalize on a current film trend. Speaking of a third film, Hasbro did confirm reports and rumors that Paramount is already developing the third G.I. Joe movie, which is fantastic news.
More intel from Hasbro proved interesting in relation to the film concepts. Roadblock’s Battle Kata vest and tactics ended up somewhat on the cutting room floor, as Roadblock evolved into a great character that didn’t need to be defined by his gimmicks.
One of the best conversations of the entire panel was John Warden’s lowdown of the Data-Viper (due out in Wave 3). The Data-Viper is not just a drone pilot, but also a walking mobile network for Cobra, allowing them to be flexible and carry their data network with them wherever they go. Data synchronizes with their mobile network transmitted through the drones, so if any of the Data Vipers are eliminated, the backup data is present. Their helmets are synchronized with the drones using Quadroscopic cameras, giving them a 4-way perspective using 4 built-in cameras in the drones.
Moving on to Wave 4, the current plan for that wave is to not just include some new figures (like yellow suited Jinx, Night Viper, and Blind Master) but also to carry over some figures that were short shipped originally, including Joe Colton and Lady Jaye (among others).
Talking about vehicles, Hasbro mentioned that the Night Landing Raft w/ Cobra Eel will still be coming in the fall, though production issues have made it so half of the sets will have a Cobra symbol, but half will not. There was no specific mention of which comes first or total quantity numbers. Hasbro has been very pleasantly surprised by the reaction to the Ninja Combat Cruiser, and the idea was to have it resemble the transport vehicles at the beginning of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film, during the Pakistan Nuke recovery mission. It’s possible a repaint will be conceived down the line with a bit more film accuracy.
When the chances came open for a high end, upper price point vehicle, John Warden from Hasbro immediately thought of the Tomahawk. Since no tooling was available, that gave them opportunity to come up with something with totally new tooling. The entire interior was redeco’ed in a more accurate and more detailed diamond plating surface. Gun mounts allow Roadblock’s .50 caliber heavy machine gun to be used in place of more traditional weapons, and both the rotors and hoist mechanism were completely reworked to be more functional. There are a number of foot pegs and mount points, including mounts for Ultimate Roadblock’s and Agent Mouse’s rappelling gear, so an entire team can be deployed from the transport. Alternate decals will also be available with the vehicle for customization purposes.
Hasbro also reported at the seminar that Series 2 of Micro Force is currently on hold, for the foreseeable future, but that Kre-O sets have been very “hot”. Lots of interest from customers, a ton of interest from Toys “R” Us, and they are exceptionally pleased with the sell through on the Kre-O product. Series 2 of the blind bag mini figures will be available in the fall, along with the Arashikage Dojo playset and the Ghoststriker vs. Asp.
People asked about the ComicCon exclusive reveal as well, and the Hasbro guys did speak on that a bit. They said the set would be large and would “fill a hole” that has been created by some of the previous sets. John also said we might be surprised by the number of 3 3/4″ figures included in the set. From conversation it sounded like they wouldn’t be doing a single-pack carded exclusive this year, but it also sounds like we might be looking at another G.I. Joe/Transformers cross over set. A question came up about accessibility for these ComicCon exclusives, and Brian Savage said the Club is talking to Hasbro Toy Shop about once again being an outlet for these for collectors to have easier access to the exclusive product.
Hasbro is also considering possible G.I. Joe: Retaliation film accurate vehicles, but Hasbro received movie designs after their vehicle waves were in the can, so they could not get movie accurate vehicles in place for retail release. There is a possibility they will revisit some of those ideas in the future. They specifically mentioned the Cobra Helicopter, mentioning the great iconic look that it had and how well it fit the G.I. Joe and Cobra aesthetic. Tying into the vehicle news, Derryl also said that reducing the vehicle drivers to five points of articulation was “a mistake” and they would not be revisiting that idea in the future. There is a possibility that means less vehicles will be produced in general, but that’s not something they are going to revisit.
Unfortunately the slideshow they displayed was the same slideshow that was shown at Toy Fair 2013, so rather than taking more pictures, the gallery from 2013 Toy Fair has been uploaded to the JoeCon 2013 Hasbro Panel photo section.
Links to the photo galleries are below, and keep posted for future updates!