If you’ve been you’ve been following the JoeCon coverage here at JBL over the past few days– thank you! It’s been several years since I’ve been both at a con and an active part of the Joe community and there was some personal apprehension about coming back to this event after being away for nearly 4 years. However, I can honestly say that it’s good to be back in action again.
Earlier today, I posted live coverage of the Hasbro panel on Twitter. What follows here is a more detailed summary of the information that was presented earlier.
Hasbro had a very small presence at JoeCon this year. Consisting solely of Derryl DePriest and John Warden and a single display case, fan weren’t quite sure what to expect. In fact, the Dynamic Duo from Pawtucket opened their presentation by saying that they were showing the same slide show that was used at Toy Fair and that nothing new would be presented. However, some good information came out of their discussion.
In terms of G.I. Joe Retaliation, the highly anticipated wave 3 will be available later this year– and it’s looking like late July/early August. The order has been sent to the factories in China and production has begun. Figures like Kwinn, Data Viper, Ultimate Duke, Ultimate Roadblock, and Ultimate Flint will be hitting stores with a great deal of fan and retailer anticipation. During this part of the discussion, John Warden broke down some interesting facts for the wave.
- Data Viper: conceived as a mobile Intelligence network for Cobra and is more than just a drone operator.
- Ultimate Flint: comes packaged with an OD Green parachute with the classic G.I. Joe logo and is movie accurate.
- Ultimate Duke: movie accurate and comes with a second “generic trooper” head and enough weapons to double as an army builder.
- Ultimate Roadblock: film accurate down to the Rock’s tattoos. His .50 caliber weapon will fit in the Eagle Hawk’s weapons mounts. Also will come with a rappelling unit similar to 3 pack Airborne.
- Cobra Combat Ninja: essentially the movie Cobra Special Forces trooper but renamed as ninjas test better with focus groups. Comes with a second “blue ninja” head based on the characters from Larry Hama’s current IDW comics run.
- Ultimate Cobra Commander: uses the same body as the Zombie Cobra Commander from last year’s concept case. Includes both hooded and helmeted head and a newly designed signature pistol.
- Ultimate Storm Shadow: Offered as an alternative to the hard-to-find Renegades version. Includes much of the same equipment.
- Budo: Was almost in concept case last year as Arashikage Samurai. Armor is based upon ACTUAL historical Samurai armor.
- Ultimate Firefly comes complete with the sought-after HISS drone that was originally slated for the Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Commander figure.
- Kwinn: Includes a variety of Inuit hunting and skinning knives.
The case pack of 12 figures will be one per case.
A slide was also shown for the proposed wave 4 which included the Blind Master (RZA) and movie-accurate Jinx figures as well as Colton and a few others. Will still ship later in 2013.
Much of the movie design work was done in parallel to that of Hasbro but tooling time often requires Hasbro to start production before a movie design is finalized. For Retaliation, Hasbro worked closely with director Jon M. Chu and the writers to have similar design starting points. The Ghost Hawk II’s that were seen in the film were actually based upon design sketches by John Warden. For G.I. Joe 3, both Hasbro and Paramount plan to work even more closely together.
The Eagle Hawk was produced for reasons similar to that of the Sky Striker reissue – it was too iconic of a design to the brand and the original tooling no longer exists. Great care has been made to add incredible detail to the interior – more so than on the original. Lift Ticket will come packaged complete with two extra head sets for whatever figures fans decide to crew it with. Also, Ultimate Roadblock’s .50 caliber weapon can fit in any of the door weapon mounts. Lastly, the ports along the back are designed to work with the rappelling units that are included with the 3-pack Airborne as well as the Ultimate Roadblock figure.
The $10 12″ are heavily influenced by the Latin American market where inexpensive 12″ figures are extremely popular. John Warden described them as nearly indestructible and great to give to play with outdoors.
For G.I. Joe Micro Force, the first series is currently the only series planned.
Kre-O is something that Hasbro has long-term plans for. The G.I. Joe is a surprise hit as it was conceived very late last year after the mass market Star Trek line was finalized. Designed by G.I. Joe brand alum Richard Woodhouse (creator of the PoC HISS tank), the line will remain exclusive to Toys R Us for the future. Wave 1 of the single figures will not see another production run at this time but wave 2 and two more sets are slated to hit in the coming months.
On a more speculative note, the success of G.I. Joe Retaliation has changed the game plan for G.I. Joe at Hasbro. Derryl DePriest made an analogy of the G.I. Joe movies to the Star Wars prequels. The Episode 1 line was produced “more than the film could support”, Episode 2 was under-produced, and Episode 3 was where the right balance was found– the same is holding true for G.I. Joe. However, the success of the film has re-energized the brand in new and exciting ways.
Those are the main points that I can recall at this late hour. It’s been a good con this year and it seems that G.I. Joe is finally recovering from the damage done to it by the Rise of Cobra.
Below are many of the slides shown during the presentation.