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As big budget blockbusters continue to dominate the box office, a film's release is becoming more and more of an event. Gone are the days where you could purchase a movie ticket on (and for) opening day, replaced by advance screenings and pre-ordered tickets. How exactly do these movies manage to garner such attention before they even hit theaters?
It's because they manage a strong presence in each and every industry. Food snacks have heroes plastered all over them. Dozens of tie-in novels push you to watch a movie they merely hinted at. Hell, even the auto industry is using their car names to make licensed puns. But all of these industries are playing for second place, because we all know what takes home the gold medal for movie promotions: Toys.
Toys are the bread and butter of franchise movies, acting as advertising and moneymaker. In fact, some franchises only exist because of the lucrative toy market (sorry Pixar, Cars was never that special). Two of the biggest names in the toy industry, Lego and Funko, have a deal with just about every blockbuster that comes out these days, and this year's #WonderWoman and #JusticeLeague are not different.
While we're still waiting on the former to show us their tie-in products, Funko has used New York Toy Fair to unveil their POP! Figures for the two upcoming #DC films. Take a look!
Despite what Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder want you to think, Superman isn't going to be out of the picture for long. He was front and center in the group shot from last year's SDCC and has been present in the few toy lines we've seen from the movie. We've yet to see the long-rumored black suit, but it's nice to know that Supes will be looking like his old self when he shoots out of his coffin.
The POP! Vinyl itself is pretty great too, giving the character a rich color scheme and paying close attention to the detailing of the suit. His cape is perfectly flowy, and the pose practically screams a return to form for the Big Blue Boy Scout. It could just be the rendering, but it looks like they removed the unnecessary lining that detracted from the other costumes. Hooray for streamlining!
And although the spit curl isn't there, I'm just glad they've reached an accurate look for the hairline. Take a look at Superman's figures for Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about:
Unsurprisingly, Batman will be playing a pivotal role in Justice League. He'll spend a good portion of the film getting the League together, and then spend the remainder of it kicking some Apokalyptian ass. And because costume upgrades mean more toys (and therefore more sales), Batman is featured in his Tactical Batsuit here. We'll see another one in his normal-but-slightly-upgraded suit too, no doubt.
It's mind-boggling how much detail appears to be on the figure, especially considering the waist will only be around an inch wide. The costume looks less Nite-Owl here, balancing out the gold with more greys and blacks. Either the change was deliberate (in response to the fan reaction to the photo's release), or it just looked golden because of lighting. It's a standard pose, but the detailing more than makes up for it. It'll look great next to the other three Bat-figures from Batman v Superman:
2017 is definitely going to be Wonder Woman's year. In June, she'll be headlining her own solo film (and the accompanying toy lines), while November will see her play one half of the Justice League-recruiting dream team (and kick Apokalyptian ass, obviously).
I don't know how they continue to manage it, but every single Wonder Woman toy I've seen is stunning. The colors are always vibrant, the facial expression always semi-accurate, and the detailing is always masterfully done, right down to the ridges of her armor. The Justice League POP! (seen above) is no different. With a weapon in both hands and shield on her back, you're definitely getting what you pay for. That's not to say you haven't before, because let's face it, she's always looked great:
As I was saying, Wonder Woman's double outing means she'll be hitting the toy shelves twice this year. And lucky for us, both her Wonder Woman figures are just as detailed:
Aquaman's role in Justice League isn't clearly defined yet, but we know he's going to be reluctant to join the team. Despite the intentional withholding of information, he's sure to play a large role considering his supporting cast (Queen Mera and Vulko) are both in the movie too.
If there's one thing that's odd about the Aquaman figure, it's the all-gold color of the costume. Promotional photos and other toys have already shown us he'll be sporting a green/gold/brown outfit. Could he be in for a costume change? That said, the "CONCEPT ART — NOT FINAL" watermark plastered all over the photo tells us that could be set to change. It's already a huge departure from his Batman v Superman POP!, which was released to coincide with the eight seconds he was in the movie:
The Flash is going to be playing an interesting role in Justice League. Free of his prophecy-giving apocalyptic future, Barry Allen will likely be the most upbeat member of the team. A voluntary addition, he'll be the one cracking jokes while — you guessed it — also kicking Apokalyptian ass.
It's strange that the figure isn't in a running pose, but that's far less interesting than the costume. See, we've heard on multiple accounts that Flash will be donning two costumes in the film: One prototype that's held together by wires and has black patches (as seen in the group shot, the trailer, and statues), and a "streamlined" one made by Bruce Wayne. It's assumed the latter will be more red and look less cobbled together.
So which one is the POP! showing us? It looks like there are still wires holding the entire thing together, but the black parts have been replaced with a dark red. It could be an attempt to make one for both rather than two individual, but it's hard to imagine Warner Bros. skipping out on making a variant figure. The safer bet is that it's the original, but it's possible this is our first look at the yet-unseen upgrade.
The least-seen Justice League member, Cyborg hasn't played much of a role in the DCEU yet. His cameo in Batman v Superman showed 1/3 of Ray Fisher strapped to a table, only to end in an explosion of light. Last year's SDCC trailer didn't give the character much either, but we did see he has a bit of an attitude. What his personality brings to the team, we don't know.
There's been a lot of talk about Cyborg's Apokalyptian origin, and his Funko POP! only goes to show that it influences his look. Cyborg doesn't have a definitive design yet, considering he looks different with each promotional photo or video. Whether this is a result of post-production changes or in-universe abilities, the POP! figure carries the main elements over: the silver/red color scheme and intricate design (second only to Batman).
Hippolyta & Steve Trevor
We've heard rumours that Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons may cameo in Justice League's prologue, but her Funko POP! is very clearly tied into Wonder Woman. Like her daughter, she brandishes a sword and tiara and looks uncanny to the on-screen version (played by Connie Nielsen). You can pre-order it here.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Steve Trevor will be the most boring character in Wonder Woman. In a movie with Amazons and Greek gods, the human pilot isn't going to be the biggest attraction. His Funko POP!, detailed as it is, seems just as bland as the character. But unlike the movie character, the figure won't have Chris Pine's charisma to elevate it. You can pre-order it here.
There's not word on when these will be out, but a month or two before the movie's release is a safe guess. And because corporations love your wallet, you can expect some variations and figures to be exclusive to specific retailers. Happy hunting!