Crystar is a character primarily known to ’80s toy nerds, from one of many fantasy lines that emerged to compete with Masters of the Universe and Super Powers. Made by Remco, the toys depicted translucent crystal warriors fighting magma men, and though they looked cool, they didn’t last long. Indeed, their largest contribution to pop culture was practically accidental — a demon skull that appeared on the cover of Marvel’s Crystar comic, issue 8, got coopted without acknowledgement by Glenn Danzig to become his band logo.
As it turns out, Marvel owns Crystar — they created the character and comics specifically to sell the toy rights. And that means Hasbro‘s Marvel Legends line can remake the figures, which they might, if their first one, Crystar himself, sells well. Certainly the sorts of fans who come to Comic-Con were enthused by the prototype on display. And product design manager Dwight Stall, too.
“We do so much of the big dogs, the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, etc, etc, so we’re always kinda wondering what else can we do to keep Legends fresh,” he says. “When our partners at Marvel, in particular Jesse Falcon, was like ‘Hey, let’s look at some of these other things,’ and Crystar was the one that rose to the top, we were like, you know what, it is an interesting concept, and even if you don’t know who the character is, it’s a cool-looking toy, and some times cool-looking toys can be enough to warrant giving it the treatment in plastic.”
Crystar himself is confirmed to come out, but as for more of his supporting cast, “Let’s see if there’s enough Marvel Legends fans out there to allow us to go deeper into those more niche worlds. We made the figure, now it’s time to see if the fans will support it well enough for us to do more things like that.” If you’re thinking about Rom, the classic electronic toy whose rights are split between Hasbro and Marvel, you might be getting warm. “I would like to see a space knight out there,” Stall says. “That’d be cool.”
The Big Guys?
With the Fantastic Four and X-Men now coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the strong possibility exists that Galactus and Sentinels will appear on the big screen. Hasbro already did crowd-funded HasLab figures of the comic-book versions, so would it be redundant to do that again? “I don’t think it would be redundant, but I don’t know what the appetite would be to do an item at that price for retail,” Stall says, speculating that Hasbro Pulse might be the way to go. “Potentially we could retool parts of it and strip it down by not having all the alternate heads and things to get it as cost-effective as possible and rerun it with new parts. But I don’t think we would see an item of that size for a Target or a Walmart shelf.”
Definitely coming to retail, though, will be some of the long-requested villains from Spider-Man: No Way Home. At their Comic-Con panel, the team revealed a Doc Ock tentacle and Doctor Strange’s box as teases, suggesting more than one figure should come back around. The revitalized X-Men ’97 cartoon will also spawn figures — exclusively from the new season, though Stall doesn’t rule out future waves for the classic cartoon. And in other cartoon news, a new Hydra Stomper from What If… will be a build-a-figure in the next Disney+ wave. Why another so soon? “Because it’s freakin’ awesome! Look at it! We were looking for something a little bit more impressive in scale,” he says.
Build Back Bigger
Some impressive in scale figures, like Cyborg Spider-Woman, have been sold separately rather than as build-a-figures. But one is not replacing the other — Hasbro wants to continue both avenues. “Build-a-figures are great for a completist, but it makes it very very difficult for a casual fan to get some of those types of characters. So what we’re trying to do is find a way to deliver them in both scenarios where appropriate. We wanna find something that’s very compelling, that the hardcore fans will buy a whole wave for, if it’s a build-a-figure, but if it’s something that’s just awesome, sometimes it’s better to go for a single figure purchase. Items like Mojo, MODOK, crazy giant things that could’ve been build-a-figures, but we wanted to have them be a little bit more accessible to everybody right out of the box.”
Other stand-alone Marvel Cinematic Universe figures include a new Black Widow, Bruce Banner, and Tony Stark in silver armor, which will include an open-faceplate Robert Downey Jr. likeness that cam switch out with other figures. Unlike some previous Iron Mans… “We always try!” says Stall. “But sometimes things in production just don’t turn out quite the way we planned it. Sometimes there’s just a vendor adjustment that we didn’t know about, and unfortunately because of that sometimes the ball sizes for the necks don’t align…We do try our best to make sure that it is as cross-compatible as possible.”
Ignore the Wanna-bes
Other companies like Ramen Toys have recently been making Hasbro-compatible figures, including a ripoff Ghost Rider-style car based on a HasLab that didn’t successfully fund. Stall’s personally unconcerned about such things. “As Hasbro, we can only control our piece of the puzzle,” he says. “But if another company is going to make some sort of a knock-off, that’s a Disney concern, not a Hasbro concern.”
Indeed, it appears Hasbro has plenty on their hands already, including an upcoming new crowdfund which Stall says he just approved an early model of…but we’ll have to wait and see what it is.
Check out more images below.