One of the big questions at every Toy Fair is whether the items released will give even the slightest hint of what's to come in major motion pictures like "Captain America: Civil War" or "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The answer is usually no, because these licensing deals are wrapped up tighter than Mr. Fantastic's costume, but you never know what might slip through the cracks and onto the show floor!
LEGO in particular offers possible spoilers, as many of its sets tend to be inspired by films, albeit with plenty of add-ons and changes. With that in mind, let's dive into the DC, Marvel and Star Wars sets and figures the company displayed at New York Toy Fair this week to look for clues!
(NOTE: White Minifigures without much in the way of paint jobs are pieces not quite ready for public consumption.)
Sets like DC character-based "Clash of Heroes," "Heroes of Justice: Sky High Battle" and "Kryptonite Interception" clearly take their cues from "Batman v Superman" and include many toys based on the actors, but those are far from the only big screen stars to earn Minifigures this year. Though not an official "Suicide Squad" set, notice that Deadshot and Harley Quinn appear alongside Batman in the "Gotham City Cycle Chase" box. At the same time Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang and Katana appear in the "Sewer Smash" one (as does Red Hood). At this point, there's no evidence that Blue Beetle and Killer Moth will pop up in the films, but they do look cool as part of the "Scarecrow Harvest of Fear" group!
In an attempt to appeal to younger collectors and also introduce them to a wider range of characters, LEGO will sell Mighty Micros sets which feature two characters and two buildable vehicles per pack, with fun accessories. Batman and Catwoman come with a carton of milk and huge diamond, while Captain Cold and Flash sport an ice cream cone and energy drink along with their custom rides. Meanwhile, the Bane and Robin box goes a bit more basic with dynamite and a grappling gun.
Marvel has its own Mighty Micros sets in 2016. Hulk and Ultron will have a turkey leg and wrench to toss at each other, Mario Kart-style, while Cap slings his shield and Red Skull holds the Cosmic Cube, and Green Goblin tosses pumpkin bombs while Spider-Man holds his trusty camera.
Switching gears back to the larger sets, feast your eyes on the massive "Civil War: Super Hero Airport Battle" and more vehicular "Crossbones' Hazard Heist" and "Black Panther Pursuit" sets. That "Avenjet Space Mission" box will also draw plenty of attention given that cinematic villain Thanos appears alongside Hyperion, Captain Marvel, Space Captain America and Space Iron Man. Other helmet versions of the characters will appear in the "Iron Skull Sub Attack" which includes SCUBA versions of Cap, Iron Man and even a Hydra Diver!
Spider-Man will make his return to the big screen in "Civil War," but the lovable Wall Crawler also continues to represent his own line of LEGO sets, like "Ghost Rider Team-Up" which also comes with Hobgoblin, "Doc Ock's Tentacle Trap" (with surfing Spidey), and the huge Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge which comes with Scarlet Spider, Ultimate Spider-Woman, Green Goblin and Aunt May.
Last year, plenty of people perusing the LEGO booth wondered whether they'd see any "The Force Awakens" sets, and the answer was a pretty firm "no." The same can be said this year of "Rogue One," but there are still plenty of new offerings based on the classic movies, Prequels, "Force Awakens," "Rebels" and even the upcoming "LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures." The larger scale Buildable Figures take their cues this year from "Force Awakens," as new characters like Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and the First Order Stormtrooper join in on the action.
"Star Wars Rebels" devotees will be happy to see some love for the animated series, specifically in the form of "Captain Rex's AT-TE" and "Vader's TIE Advanced vs. A-Wing Starfighter." The upcoming "Freemaker" show will lead to "Eclipse Fighter" and "StarScavenger" ships in brick form.
The rest of the Star Wars Universe will be covered in the Microfighters line, as well as "Carbon Freezing Chamber," "Clone Turbo Tank," "Droid Escape Pod," "Encounter on Jakku," "Galactic Empire Battle Pack," "Hoth Attack," "Obi-Wan's Jedi Interceptor," "Rebel Alliance Battle Pack," Resistance Troop Transporter," "AT-DP," "Resistance X-Wing Fighter" and "Battle of Takodana." And, finally, dig that crazy Star Wars Advent Calendar for this year. You can't see many of the finished figures because it's pretty far away at this point, but that box sure looks neat!
Of course, LEGO makes plenty of non-licensed sets for builders of all ages. The Bionicle line, which has been resurrected over the past few years, returns with yet another impressive line of warriors ready to do battle. This year will also mark the return of the blind-bagged Minifigure sets. The first, which can be purchased now, was on display, and more 16-piece mysteries will hit stores in May and September. The currently available Series 15 includes Queen, Animal Control Officer, Jewel Thief, Tribal Woman, Ballerina, Flying Warrior, Faun, Frightening Knight, Wrestling Champion, Shark Suit Guy, Clumsy Guy, Kendo Fighter, Astronaut, Laser Mech, Janitor and Farmer.
Finally, the building block company continues to grow its original content. Ninjago has been going strong since 2011, as both a series of sets and a Cartoon Network animated series. That will continue this year, with 16 new sets released revolving around the Season 6 villain Nadahkan and his gang of sky pirates, hence the move towards jet packs, dragons and other air-worthy vehicles.
LEGO will also make a massive push for the new series of sets and animated adventures dubbed "Nexo Knights." Revolving around five noble warriors trying to get five books before the evil Jestro can get his clownish hands on them, the building sets feature everything from basic sets to massive rolling playsets that transform. These sets feature a lot of the same elements that made children of the '80s fall in love with some of the action feature-heavy lines of the day!
Everything LEGO had on display this year looked as intricate and fun as we're used to seeing, and the company really seem to be upping its game when it comes to additional action features and changeable elements. Many of the sets moved and twisted in ways that exceeded expectations. So, even though we might not have sneak peeks at the year's blockbuster films, we did see some truly impressive building experiences for fans of all ages.
Check back throughout the week for more New York Toy Fair posts, and swing by every Saturday to read CBR's weekly collectible column, TOYING AROUND.