Transformers, Visionaries, MASK: 15 Other ’80s Action Figure Lines That Need Reboots
Back in 2008 with the release of the first Iron Man film, Marvel comics decided they were going to start producing movies within their own studios as opposed to continuing to sell the rights to certain characters like the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man, to other studios. The plan was, they could tease the existence of other Marvel concepts and characters that exist outside of the Iron Man comics as being part of a larger shared universe. The end of 2008’s Incredible Hulk, while not being under the Marvel/Disney banner (pun totally intended), teased a larger shared universe and a connection to the Iron Man films. We also saw the introduction of the Super Soldier serum and Captain America’s shield in this film. Initially, this idea was a major gamble that ended up working out better than anyone could have ever imagined. Seeing this success, many other studios decided they too needed to jump onto the concept of a tent pole film that would spin-off into a larger shared cinematic universe. Not only is DC trying their hand at it with their own comic book characters, but non-comic book franchises have tried to jump on board as well. Universal is giving it a shot with their Dark Universe films that focus on classic movie monsters. Sony tried their hand at it using only Spider-Man characters they had film rights to. Sony also had plans to do this with the Ghostbusters franchise, and Warner Bros. is seeing some success with branching the Harry Potter franchise off into The Fantastic Beasts series. Another shared universe we’re now seeing brew is The Hasbro Universe.
This Hasbro Universe is probably unfamiliar to you. This is a shared cinematic universe of Hasbro action figure characters that is reportedly coming into fruition on the big screen with the appearance of characters from MASK in a planned GI Joe film. If you follow IDW comics or film news, you might be aware there are plans to make this bigger by bringing Visionaries, Transformers, and Micronauts into the fold. This has the potential to be a fantastic series of explosive spectacle films, but it begs the question:
What other old toy lines could be successfully adapted to the big screen?
Keep reading, baby birds. We’re about to feed you!
15. Computer Warriors
You probably don’t remember Computer Warriors. It’s a largely forgotten toy line that’s very similar to Transformers in that it features robots that turn into items you would typically find on a desk. Figures included a can of Pepsi and a desktop computer. The series focused on two opposing factions of computer viruses/virus protections that made their way out into the real world. The idea sounds a bit stale, but if handled properly this could really work.
First off, the concept is ridiculous and doesn’t offer as many possibilities for big explosions and special effects. That’s why it needs to be done as a comedy and a period piece. Have it take place in the late ’80s when the toys were released and the computer technology was far behind where it is today. Go for laughs, keep the effects understated, and make jokes based on the small sizes of the transforming robots.
14. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
The special effects possibilities here would be incredible. The figures in the Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors line were fantastical, futuristic looking vehicles that could be disassembled and swapped with parts from other vehicles in the line. Imagine an action packed car chase film similar to the Fast and the Furious movies or Mad Max, except all the vehicles are disassembling themselves and swapping parts while in transit or during epic chase scenes. As long as the story was mildly interesting and a few big names were attached, a Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors flick would be quite the thrill ride.
13. Jem and the Holgrams
Who knows if Jem and the Holograms will ever make a great movie? It’s hard to tell after the terrible Jem and the Holograms film we received a couple years ago. An attempt was made in 2015 but the film was so bad that it was pulled from theaters early in its run. The film had a budget of only $5 million and was still unable to break even. One of the major problems that Jem fans had with the flick was the fact that it had virtually zero relationships to the source material besides character names and the fact that these characters had a band. The Jem dolls and original cartoon still hold a special place in the hearts of many adults still nostalgic for the staples of their childhood. For better or for worse, Jem and the Holograms is a franchise in desperate need of a film adaptation that is more closely tied to the source material. She deserves another opportunity to set things right.
COPS is a line of figures that few remember off hand until they see them – then memories begin to fall back into place. The line focused on a group of police specialists assembled together by a man named Bulletproof to take on a crime syndicate known as CROOKS. The cops and criminals were all physically augmented in some way – or at the very least they were the best in the world at a particular skill or owned a robotic dog named Bowser.
Besides the possibility for some incredible special effects and an insanely fun over the top futuristic setting, COPS were released by Hasbro. This would allow them to be introduced in the currently planned Hasbro films. This would allow studios to test them out with audiences before a hundred million dollars is thrown at the project.
11. My Pet Monster
My Pet Monster was a one of the coolest dolls a kid could own. There were a number of different color and style variants in the line, but the major focus was put on the blue creature pictured above. There were attempts at a live-action show that made its way on to VHS. This incarnation of the monster focused on a boy that turned into the monster, as well as a rival that would gain the same power by the end of the show. In addition, there was an animated series more in keeping with the name that featured a boy that had the monster as a secret pet. If the character was that ripe for adaptation back then, who knows what could happen if there was another attempt with modern effects?
A major $100 million+ production probably wouldn’t be the best idea here, but Netflix could probably make a pretty fun film with this IP.
Seriously. Why hasn’t this happened yet?
Hollywood wants to tell us it can bring back city destroying monsters like Godzilla and King Kong. They want to tell us they can take concepts like the original Cloverfield and turn it into a major release. They’re in the process of a second Pacific Rim film. A cinematic Power Rangers film was made. Apparently they see the market for gigantic robots and monsters duelling it out and crushing cities, but they have yet to green-light a live-action Voltron movie. What kind of withholding, sick and twisted bastards wouldn’t give us this? How can we still be sitting here waiting for a Voltron movie in 2017? This is the kind of thing that every studio should be fighting to make!
The concept behind Centurions would make for a great series. If GI Joe and Visionaries can be successful on the big screen, then the Centurions shouldn’t have any problem seeing a similar level of success.
One of the coolest things about the GI Joe films is how well they’ve brought in things like the vehicles, bases, and over-the-top gear the characters had in the action figure line and cartoons. Centurions have that over-the-top gear in spades. In fact, a lot of the gear is interchangeable and can be removed and attached to their suits as enhancements when needed.
Centurions were produced by Kenner, another major nostalgic company to produce action figures. If everything works for Hasbro, be prepared to see other old action figure giants try to capture that same lightning.
Once again, as is the case with Voltron, if there is apparently a market for gigantic monsters and robots duking it out on Earth, there is no reason for Hollywood to not have given us an Inhumanoids movie before a second King Kong remake in just twelve years. Sure, an original property would be all well and good, but if you haven’t come to terms with the fact the Hollywood machine would rather adapt recognizable brands than take a gamble on something unknown, you’re in for at a least a couple more decades of major disappointments coming out of Hollywood. If they’re going to adapt existing IPs, they may as well give us the things we want!
7. Micro Machines
All right. Hear this one out. Micro Machines seems like it would just be a car movie. No. Not if done correctly. Imagine, if you will, a race of tiny aliens that come to our planet with vehicles based on classic hot rods and muscle cars that this race has seen in our film and television show broadcasts of the past through signals recently reaching them in space. Two warring factions, much like Transformers, arrive on our planet to duke it out. Imagine the kind of epic car chases you see in films like Fast and the Furious except these chases are taking place through monstrous blades of grass, on the tops of pool tables, or in a child’s play room surrounded by gigantic toys. Oh no! What’s this in the road!? A GIANT HOUSEFLY!?
Dino-Riders. The name more or less says it all but we’ll give you the broader gist:
Two warring factions arrive on Earth in the prehistoric era and train dinosaurs to serve as mounts and friends in battle. It’s obvious to most that this would massively change the way the history of the planet as we know it would proceed, and that could be a cool concept to explore in the film. While all that science and alternate history mumbo jumbo is going on, let’s watch dudes fighting while riding heavily armored and weaponized dinosaurs into battle. There’s no way you could mess this up. The concept alone has the potential to be one of the greatest spectacle films of all time. You wouldn’t even need a story. Just grab your popcorn and watch!
Because why the hell not?
It might interest you to know that Gobots technically came before Transformers by less than a years time. Granted, they were rushed along to do just that and it’s for this reason that maybe the show and line weren’t of quite the same quality as Transformers. This may explain why the popularity of the former was so easily overtaken by the latter. You know what? Who cares which came first? They’re both great.
The rivalry between fans in regards to the Marvel and DC movies actually generates a lot of buzz for the films and blogging sites covering these films are making money hand over fist exploiting that divide. Movie sites and comic book sites are almost becoming indistinguishable. Why not create the same kind of buzz and debate about Gobots and Transformers movies? It’s worth a shot!
With the massive success that was DC’s Wonder Woman and considering that Marvel has plans for the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel film, there’s plenty of room for a female hero like She-Ra in the cinematic landscape.
One of the really cool things about the She-Ra toys and accompanying animated series is that it was initially created as the female answer to He-Man. Guess what? Boys loved She-Ra too. Maybe this is because children never really cared about the gender of their heroes. Maybe they did and it was because she was occasionally referred to as He-Man’s twin sister and therefore she was beloved by association. Either way, she needs a film. Pronto.
There is constant talk of a new He-Man movie. Why not a whole shared universe that includes The Princess of Power?
With shows and figures like He-Man and the Thundercats still seeing a collector’s market and filling a place in the hearts of nostalgic thirty-somethings everywhere, it would stand to reason there is probably a place for the Thundercat‘s avian cousins (not literally) the SilverHawks on theater screens.
Both Thundercats and SilverHawks were created by the same company. They were virtually identical in that they had very similar stories, plots, and even many of the same voice actors. Unfortunately, the action figure lines were manufactured by two different companies and looked odd if you tried to pair them together as a kid to try and make the heroes meet. A shared universe could remedy this unfulfilled desire of our childhoods!
2. He-Man (The Masters of the Universe)
There has been talk of another He-Man movie ever since the sub-par flick released by Cannon films and Mattel back in 1987. Images constantly hit the Internet that may or may not be from possible attempts at bringing the property back to the big screen. It’s amazing it hasn’t happened yet considering almost any and every property from the ’80s and ’90s gets a reboot, a show, or a movie these days. If there is any property from the ’80s more deserving of a more modern attempt at a decent flick, it’s easily He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Forget about a shared universe for a moment. There were sixty figures in the original line. There is plenty there for a standalone trilogy at the very least.
There probably isn’t a property from the ’80s and the ’90s that fans want more than a Thundercats film. As we stated with SilverHawks, there is potential here for a shared universe, and the name recognition alone would make a first film outing almost critic proof. People would see a Thundercats movie simply because it’s a Thundercats movie. Even if the movie is bad and ticket sales taper off after that first weekend, the money you’ll make from relaunching the toy line and other Thundercats merchandise will more than make up for it. Without a relaunch of any kind to back it up, Hot Topic stores sold a ton of Thundercats merchandise in the retailer’s earlier days. The fan base is there. Let’s get on the ball with this!
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