Marvel Studios is looking to repeat the great success of 2014 (with the releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy) by stacking 2015 with the long-awaited team sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as the Phase Two epilogue / origin film, Ant-Man.
While there is still, admittedly, looming question of whether or not Marvel is in risk of burning fans out on superhero movie adventures, right now the fanbase is more excited than ever for these films – and the epic Phase Three saga (and Avengers: Infinity War event) that will follow soon after.
Toy Fair 2015 was held in NYC this past weekend, and Hasbro took it upon themselves to unveil new lines of Marvel toys inspired by Avengers 2, Ant-Man and the larger Marvel comic book and cartoon universe that surrounds them. As always, details about the films were carefully controlled – but we did get a look at a few interesting things:
MARVEL’S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON 2.5-Inch Figure 2-Pack Assortment
(Ages: 4 & up/Approx. Retail Price: $5.99/Available: February 2015)
Join the battle with the heroes of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of ULTRON and stop Ultron! Each figure 2-pack features a 5 point articulated 2.5-inch AVENGERS hero facing off with a two piece Sub-Ultron figure. Kids can collect the drone figures to build their own terrifying Ultimate Drone figure. 15 Figures available, including IRON MAN, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, WAR MACHINE, HULK, HAWKEYE,NICK FURY and Ultron, among others.
The playset is obviously just merchandise and not an EXACT reproduction of the movie, but there are a few interesting details. Additional toy Box art highlighted Cap facing Ultron on his new electric Harley – a scene which Avengers 2 trailers suggest COULD occur.
MARVEL’S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Cycle Blast Quinjet
(Ages: 4 & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99/Available: February 2015)
Styled just like the jet in the hotly anticipated new film Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the CYCLE BLAST QUINJET includes a CAPTAIN AMERICA figure on motorcycle! The jet has a hidden ramp underneath. Press the tail fin to open the ramp and launch Captain America and his motorcycle into battle! Cockpit can fit up to 4 figures (not included). Compatible with all figures, vehicles and playsets within the 2.5-inch system (sold separately).
The Hasbro sets also build on what we learned from recent LEGO Avengers 2 toy sets – in specific regard to Age of Ultron‘s most marketed sequence (so far): the epic showdown between Hulk and Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor.
The LEGO set box art helped to confirm that it will be the mind-manipulating powers of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) that send Bruce Banner’s Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) into a mad frenzy – thereby forcing Banner’s friend Tony Stark to breakout the special ‘Hulkbuster Armor’ he designed.
(MILD SPOILER ALERT BELOW)
MARVEL’S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON TITAN HERO TECH INTERACTIVE HULKBUSTER Electronic Action Figure
(Ages: 4 & up/Approx. Retail Price: $34.99/Available: Spring 2015)
The ultimate TITAN HERO TECH figure will lead your AVENGERS into battle! When near the Titan Hero Tech Electronic Avengers (each sold separately), this over-sized, movie-inspired Interactive Hulk Buster recognizes and responds to each character with unique speech, sound and light effects! The Interactive Hulk Buster can recognize and respond to multiple figures at one time for an exciting, interactive play experience. He also has a great signature jackhammer punch and repulsor chest lights. Kids can lead their figures into battle against the evil ULTRON and save the Earth!
Reading that product description above, you discover that the Hulkbuster Armor will have a few special functions that could make for some great moments during the Hulk/Iron Man battle.
In both the LEGO and Hasbro toy sets it’s clear that not only does Tony Stark have an armor specifically designed for bringing Banner down: the Avengers have clearly also continued the tradition of having Hulk containment cells on hand, in case the Jade Giant loses it.
That’s definitely going to create some tension between the two science buddies (Banner and Stark), going forward. Or perhaps it’s Bruce’s mental breakdown that led star Mark Ruffalo to tell us that Hulk may not be able to find comfort or redemption by the end of this film.
In epilogue, the Avengers 2 Hasbro set also brought us additional looks new characters Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch. Vision is of course the Android that Tony Stark combines with his J.A.R.V.I.S. A.I. system in order to combat Ultron. He has a long history with both Ultron and Hank Pym’s Ant-Man in the comics – but a lot of that will be revised for the film.
The vision toy (image courtesy of Cinema Blend) highlights how the superhero aesthetic of his costume is actually functional and mechanical – with even his oft-debated “robot cape” sporting clear signs of wiring and circuitry.
While comic book fans know about some of abilities, it will be interesting to see the full breadth of what a modern, digital-era, movie version of Vision can do.
Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is one half of “The Twins,” aka Scarlet and her brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Scarlet Witch’s powers in the movie have been something of a mystery (“hex bolts” from the comics don’t quite cover it) – but it’s clear that her abilities are both mental and physical in nature.
What’s curious about the toy (image courtesy of iO9) is that Scarlet Witch’s powers seem to have the same kind of symbolized energy signature that her comic book counterpart often has. We’ll have to wait and see if that holds true in the film, and what that could mean abut her powers – and possible connections to magical forces we’ll later see in Marvel films like Doctor Strange.
[NOTE: The similarity in energy signatures between the Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch toys. Is this what MCU magic looks like?]
An actual Doctor Strange figure was also included in the “Avengers Wave 3” toy series at Toy Fair 2015.
Movie fans may see obvious early parallels between a “Wave 3” toyline and the “Phase 3” movie universe. It’s still very early, and this “Wave 3” toyline is NOT an official Marvel Cinematic Universe adaptation; however, we CAN debate about whether the look of the figure is something we’d want Doc Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch to sport in the movie. (Or is that Cloak of Levitation a MUST?)
There wasn’t too much revealed for Marvel’s Ant-Man movie; but that didn’t stop us from getting a few choice looks at elements of the film.
The toy sets allowed us a more detailed look at the suit that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) will steal from Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and eventually use to become the shrinking hero known as Ant-Man. We also get a bigger look at the sort of Ant that Ant-Man will be using as his steed:
Marvel’s Ant-Man3.75-INCH FIGURE WITH ANT
(Ages 4 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Summer 2015)
The hero of the new film MARVEL’S ANT-MAN gets big action out of a small package with this 3.75-inch movie-accurate action figure! This item features ANT-MAN and his unique vehicle — an in-scale winged ant that he can ride into battle.
So… Ant-man Rides Ants. Sounds about right. In all seriousness, though: Although it wasn’t shown at Toy Fair, some recent Ant-Man LEGO sets may reveal what Hank Pym AND Scott Lang both look like when suited up as Ant-Man. GO HERE for those photos.
While Marvel and Hasbro weren’t giving away any major reveals from the film, there was a small peek at the Yellowjacket armor that he film’s villain, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), will wear.
Early concept artwork (above) showed what Yellowjacket will presumably look like in the movie – and the actual figure is pretty much the same, complete with stingers.
Finally, while there WAS a figure of Janet Van Dyne’s Wasp included with the Marvel LEGENDS 6-inch toy line, there were some unofficial whispers on the floor further hinting that Hobbit star Evangeline Lily’s Ant-Man character, Hope Van Dyne could indeed be suiting up as a new version of Wasp in the movie.
In the revised Ant-Man origin story, Hank Pym’s Ant-Man existed during the cold war and was partnered with Janet Van Dyne until some unknown tragedy or separation occurred, leaving Hank and his daughter Hope estranged. Part of the film’s arc, then, could be Hope and Hank reconciling, and Hope maybe taking up the mantle of Wasp from her mother.
With a new Wasp alongside Rudd’s Scott Lang, that would give the new Avengers team we’ll see in Captain America: Civil War and/or Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 both a new hero and female hero to have in the ranks. What’s not to like?
Following the news that Spider-Man has officially joined the MCU, here’s the MCU release date breakdown as it NOW stands:
- May 1, 2015 – The Avengers: Age of Ultron
- July 17, 2015 – Ant-Man
- May 6, 2016 – Captain America: Civil War
- November 4, 2016 – Doctor Strange
- May 5, 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2
- July 27, 2017 – Spider-Man
- November 3, 2017 – Thor: Ragnarok
- May 4, 2018 – The Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1
- July 6, 2018 – Black Panther
- November 2, 2018 – Captain Marvel
- May 3, 2019 – The Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2
- July 12, 2019 – Inhumans