ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype! spent most of Saturday with Hasbro at their special Collector’s Day presentation at the Times Center in New York, followed by a visit to Hasbro’s showroom where most of their 2008 toy line was on display. The presentation included the debut of new behind-the-scenes footage from the upcoming The Incredible Hulk, early footage from Lucasfilm’s animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, both being released this summer, and a sizzle reel that previewed next year’s G.I. Joe movie directed by Stephen Sommers, which started shooting last week. Hasbro also showed off some of their new “Indiana Jones” line-up, which gave a few more hints about what to expect from Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The G.I. Joe presentation kicked-off with some of the new figures to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of G.I. Joe’s battle with Cobra, but more exciting was the preview reel for next year’s movie, showing off concept art and animatics from the movie with sound bites by Sommers, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, screenwriter Stuart Beattie and others, talking about the general principle behind the movie, while confirming all of the casting that’s been discussed over the past few months. The two women on each respective team, Cobra’s The Baroness played by Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols’ Scarlett, were said to anchor the movie with two love stories (just what guys need in a G.I. Joe movie, right?). Presumably, these romances are between the two women and men on their respective teams, unless there’s some sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” scenario going on that we probably don’t need to know about. The movie, which just started shooting last Wednesday, will be more of a “James Bond adventure fantasy” that will take the characters to the polar ice cap, the Sahara desert and Australia, though we also got to see early animatics for one of the key scenes, which was an accelerator suit chase through the streets of Paris, which looks like something we might see in a “Flash” comic book (or movie, if that ever happens). The movie will also introduce a number of new vehicles including “The Scarab” and “Howler,” but since the movie just started production, one probably shouldn’t expect to see any movie-related toys from Hasbro until next year’s Toy Fair.
Before Hasbro presented their line of toys for The Incredible Hulk, we were treated to a surprise sizzle reel that featured lots of new footage, mostly from behind-the-scenes on the set, including the Harlem Street scene with cars being thrown around. One key bit of information revealed in the accompanying sound bites was that the movie takes place five years after the first movie with Bruce Banner having been away all that time… and when he returns, he looks like Edward Norton! We saw lots of scenes of Norton running around with confirmation that the ’70s TV show was a big influence, and Tim Roth was introduced as the primary villain Emil Blonsky, a military man whose army is after the Hulk. We only saw Roth in his black leather military gear-you can see a blurry picture of the toy on the right–although it was more than hinted that we’d see him turn into the Abomination. Even though we didn’t see any actual shots of either the Hulk or the Abomination, we did see a scene of Roth in his motion capture outfit performing on the soundstage. Essentially, it was a lot of running and jumping and cars flying around with sound bites from those involved and sadly, no Hulk or Abomination, so we had to use our imagination based on the toys, which were mostly poses of the Hulk smashing things. There wasn’t anything on display of the Abomination, so we may have to wait for that until the toys’ release on May 1. (You can see a lot of those new toys here.)
Hasbro’s toys for Marvel Studios’ other big summer release Iron Man will feature designs inspired by Adi Granov’s short run on the comic books, but there will be figures of not only the original Mach I and Mach III armors, but also figures of the Titanium Man, who we were told would appear in the accompanying video game. Their Marvel line will include Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor from “World War Hulk,” as a tie-in to the two Marvel movies. You can check some of those out here.
Hasbro’s 2008 line of Indiana Jones toys will roll-out in four waves that include characters and vehicles from all four movies, starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark and the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on May 1, then figures from “The Last Crusade” will follow in July and “Temple of Doom” in September, although Hasbro has promised that these will be ongoing toys and not just done simply to tie into the movie. There was more secrecy revolving around the upcoming “Crystal Skull” than any other movie presented by Hasbro with a bunch of the toys not shown at all, since some of them might give away key plot points of what happens in the movie. The one thing we did get to see up close was the Lost Temple of Akator, the one large-scale playset that will be available in May, which features a lot of the traps we’ve seen Indy face in past movies. (You can see lots of close-up pictures here.
We also learned a few new tidbits about the movie from the toys, like that Shia LaBeouf’s character Mutt Williams would be carrying a sword and that there were two types of warriors they’d be facing in the movie, the Nazca warriors whom we see in the recent trailer and the mysterious Cemetery Warriors, which the Hasbro guys were hesitant to discuss more. (But you can see larger versions of all three of these by clicking on the picture on the left.) We also saw an image of the Jungle Cutter, an armored tank with buzz saws on the front, which would be the one vehicle from “Crystal Skull” released in the first wave along with two vehicles from “Raiders,” the German staff car and cargo truck.
There will also be a number of deluxe Indy figures with various traps inspired by the movies, and the line will have a mail-in offer where you can send in four proofs of purchase and get exclusive figures, the 3-3/4″ one being another one of the things they couldn’t show us.
Hasbro is making an effort to differentiate the Star Wars Legacy toys i.e. the ones based on all of the movies and comics released before this year, and the “Clone Wars” line, which included many new and familiar characters using the same animated style as Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the CG-animated feature film that will hit theaters on August 15 to launch the regular animated series in the fall. (You can see lots of pictures of the new “Star Wars” lines here with the highlight being the giant 14″ AT-TE that you see on the right, which will retail for $99.99–you can see a much larger version of that by clicking on the pic.
The presentation’s Q ‘n’ A session concluded with a brief introduction to the animated show, which will cover some of the same ground between “Episode II” and “Episode III,” though it wasn’t clear how much overlap there might be with the previous two animated series. While they seemed to be using the CG animation to create impressive environments and outer space sequences and the clone battle sequences looked decent, the human characters looked somewhat stiff and the animation looks far simpler than we’ve come to expect from animated feature films. (Maybe this wasn’t the final finished animation.) The presentation reel ended with a cute bit involving R2-D2 reminiscent of the rolling lamp from the Pixar logo.
Check back in the next couple days for more on Hasbro’s upcoming toy lines and tons more pictures from our visit to the Hasbro showroom and from Toy Fair 2008. You can view all the photos we’ve posted so far in the Toy Fair 2008 Gallery!