Mattel’s Dark Knight , Speed Racer and Panda Toys!

ON Hype! spent the day Sunday at Toy Fair ’08 taking pictures of whatever movie-related toys we could find, and though we already were scheduled to stop by the Mattel showroom on Tuesday, we were able to grab some early pics of Mattel’s toys relating to this summer’s biggest movies.

One of the most anticipated movies of the summer is clearly Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and with the license to produce toys based on the movie, Mattel will be going whole hog with dozens of toys that start rolling out around May 1. There are maybe a dozen different variations of Batman in different outfits, including a “battle cape,” “stealth wing” and “Firefly Batman” (possibly inspired by the comic book villain). Noticeably absent from the display were any figures for his new arch-nemesis the Joker, probably out of respect for the family and friends of Heath Ledger, though we did get to see a few pictures. Mattel was even more secretive and careful about having any pictures of their figure for Two-Face on display, but one was listed in the materials as part of the first wave of action figures, as well as there being a new Scarecrow figure, confirming his appearance in the sequel. Instead of any of these, they had a “Gotham City Thug,” one of the Joker’s clown-faced henchmen, on display. Even more interesting were some of the vehicles on display including a look at the Batcopter and the Batpod, which is the new Batcycle, and something called the “Treadator, Ultimate Pursuit ATV” (that’s “all-terrain vehicle”), which we may have to wait and see if it’s actually a vehicle from the movie. The new “Dark Knight” toys also include a Zipline Gun and a Disc Shooting Jet, fairly typical toys customized for the movie, but the most interesting new toy might be the “Interactive Bat” which hopefully, we’ll be able to see in action on Tuesday. You can check out pictures of most of the new “Dark Knight” toys here.

Just as exciting are all the vehicles from the Wachowski Brothers’ upcoming live action Speed Racer that are being reproduced by Mattel in various sizes and designs, including Hot Wheels versions of the Mach 5 and Racer X’s car. We only scratched the surface with our pictures of the dozens of cars, vehicles and playsets Mattel would be producing, many of which will be available on March 23. While many of the toys are clearly for kids, it’s obvious that older Speed Racer fans will geek-out to the highly-detailed “race and flip” versions of the Mach 5, Mach 6, Racer X’s car and the very cool GRX driven by a new character, Jack “Cannonball” Taylor. There are also radio-controlled versions of the cars and ones that include racing sounds from the movie and an actual Speed Racer helmet, all of which you can see here. (We’ll definitely have more pictures of all of these later this week!)

DreamWorks’ upcoming animated comedy Kung Fu Panda was getting a huge push at this year’s Toy Fair with a lot of licensed toys and games based around the characters in the movie and Mattel leading the way on all fronts. From what we’ve seen, it looks to continue DreamWorks’ tradition of creating family-friendly animated comedies with lots of fun and lovable characters. This one’s no exception with lots of talking (and fighting) animals that the kids should embraceĀ—some of them reminiscent of classic Disney characters from movies like The Jungle Book and The Lion King, particularly the lead character Po and the bad guy Tai Lung. Of course, Mattel has a lot of plush toys of Po and other characters, but more surprisingly, were the amount of full-size weapons on display for kids to fight each other with, including the Commander Crossbow (that kid on the box is out for blood!), “Po’s Power Paws,” Master Monkey’s staff and the very cool “Sword of Heroes,” both which split into multiple weapons–I have a feeling that some dads will be getting into this action–and there’s even a “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Game” featuring the film’s two main characters. You can see pictures of all of these in the gallery here.

We’ll be visiting Mattel’s showroom on Tuesday, and we’ll have more pictures then, including hopefully a pics of the Joker and Two-Face figures.