Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hasbro/Paramount Multi-Universe - M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, Rom, Micronauts and Visionaries

There has been  a lot of Rumour and Speculation on the internet since it was announced that Hasbro's Allspark Productions are working with Paramount on a Multi-Universe (Multiverse) to incorporate M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, Rom, Micronauts and Visionaries.

All the sites have been reporting on it - from The Hollywood Reporter through to the Self-Proclaimed "A-Team of M.A.S.K. knowledge".  Giving their own insight and hopes for what may come.

Much of this, is just to promote their sites to increase page views with rumours based on limited information.  I'm going to try and and give you my thoughts using facts to give you my understanding of what may happen.

There is a lot to cover, so I'll start with the movies first.  If all of the Movies are going to be linked, then the assumption is that the first two G.I. Joe movies will already hold the foundations for what is to come.

In the first Joe movie - after their Mini "The Man in the Iron Mask" rip-off, we are told that the movie is set in the "near future".  If that is the case, then all of the movies, if they are tied together, must also be set in the future.

This might be were Rom comes in -

In the UK, Rom was sold by Palitoy, rather than sister company Parker Brothers and included as part of their Action Man Range.

Action Man was, of course, our version of G.I. Joe and Rom was slotted into the Space Ranger series of toys.  Therefore, if G.I. Joe were to follow Action Man's Adventures into space, then there is a good chance that they may cross paths with him.

However, Rom wasn't originally a Hasbro product.  This is where things get messy and complicated.  The toy, itself, was apparently pretty rubbish - I've never owned one but it didn't last very long.  Instead, Rom's popularity comes from the Marvel comics that outlasted the toy.

When Hasbro acquired Tonka and it's subsidiary, Kenner Parker, this is when they would've taken ownership of Rom.  As Marvel's Universe of movie's has grown and expanded, there will be many fans of Marvel who would want to see Rom in their Universe of Movies.

In fact, James Gunn, the man behind Guardians of the Galaxy, is a fan of Rom and wants Rom: Spaceknights in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  However, if Hasbro are taking Rom into their own fold and creating a movie with Paramount, this will be problematic - for both Hasbro and Marvel.

Rom will appear in Hasbro's Movies and the rest of the Spaceknights, and Rom's back story, will appear in Marvel's Universe movies.  Seems like one big messy divorce - why can't companies just work together for the best interest of the continuum of the story and for the fans.

If I'm honest I don't know much about Rom, but I certainly think he would be best placed in the Marvel Universe rather than G.I. Joe or even worse mucking up M.A.S.K.!!!

There is one other option, if you refer back to my post "Is M.A.S.K. making a comeback?" - Action Man.  Rom has previously been part of the Action Man world of toys - could we see Action Man and Rom appear in a movie?

Again, if set in the "future", perhaps there is room for the Visionaries - Knights of the Magical Light.  The premise of Visionaries was a good one and made for an interesting cartoon series and toys.

However, the cartoon only lasted 13 episodes - so clearly wasn't popular.  So, should Hasbro make the effort to bring it back?  Especially into the same Universe as M.A.S.K.?

Especially when you consider how different it is to G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K.  Hasbro and Paramount may see the similarities between M.A.S.K. and Visionaries, however.  In M.A.S.K., each character has a Mask with a special power and Visionaries have their staffs and chest totems.

That's about the only similarity - and that's quite a stretch of anyone's imagination to make that fit to combine them into one universe.

Micronauts is a strange one for me.  At first I thought I'd never heard of them - doing some research online, I came across this image - 

And a sudden realisation of familiarity.  Then I saw this image, and my mind went back to my childhood, and I'm positive that I owned some of these toys as a kid.

I'd probably have to check through all the stuff in the loft to confirm if I do have any of these or not - and that's not likely to happen any time soon!!  I can't really say much more about Micronauts, however, on the movie front....

... It is reported that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are working on a screenplay in conjunction with Paramount and Bad Robot.  A reported quote from Wernick is -

 “We've written a couple of drafts of Micronauts and it's in the Paramount system now. We developed it with Bad Robot, and it’s probably not what you might imagine a Micronauts movie to be. It departs from the comic wildly, so if you hope it's loyal to the comic you’ll be disappointed in that particular sense. However, it's very, very different and very, very cool.”

Based on the above statement, it sounds like Micronauts has evolved, been adapted - perhaps to fit into the joint Multiverse going forward?

Who knows - until the movie/s hit the big screen, I'm not sure that we will know.

Then we have our beloved M.A.S.K.  Many of us have been wanting M.A.SK. to hit the big screens for years, and we couldn't understand why it hasn't already.  As reported on my blog and on other many other sites, there have been some underlying issues with 
Trademarks - whether or not Hasbro have sorted these out, is another question.  I don't think they have.

We know that Hasbro have been "toying" with us over the last few years, with a bit of name dropping in comics and cartoons to a fully fledged figure in the G.I. Joe line.  So, M.A.S.K. being linked to G.I. Joe in the same universe has come as no surprise to any of us.

But, are they following the formula set out by Marvel's successful movies?  Whereby you have individual movies for each product and then a movie when they all appear together?

I would hope that this happens rather than just throwing everything into one movie and hoping for the best.  Certainly seems like Micronauts are getting their own movie.

However, the fact that Hasbro have already linked M.A.S.K. to G.I. Joe in a toy - I'm not getting my hopes up.  The problems are that M.A.S.K., Micronauts and Rom weren't Hasbro's properties when they were first out.  So, in my mind, Hasbro owe nothing to the fans to bring them back as they were.

The G.I. Joe movies didn't have the success that everyone thought they should have.  I blame too much CGI in the first one.  The second movie was FAR better - but they killed everyone off....

I get the impression that Hasbro are going to use these other characters to prop up a failing G.I. Joe movie series - whilst trying to cash in on Marvel's success at the Box Office.  Especially outside of the US where the likes of M.A.S.K. ran longer, had more toys and the comics lasted for years instead of a handful of issues.

The original Joe Movie set the scene in the "near future" - is that future set far enough ahead for Rom, Micronauts and Visionaries to live in the same realm?  More importantly, how is this going to affect M.A.S.K.?

M.A.S.K. is of the 80's.  It was set in that time period.  In my script, I brought it up-to-date, however, many of the vehicles will still be based on the 80's design - such as Thunderhawk and Rhino (could you imagine the outcry if they were changed?).  My plan was to introduce them as we know them in the first movie, then have updated versions in future movies.

Then we have the Masks.  I think that Hasbro will go down the route of the Accelerator Suits from the Joe Movie - whereby there won't be a physical Mask, the Mask will form around the face in some holographic or Stargate "Jaffa" fashion.

This is why I have posted my script on my blog - click here to read it - as I can't see that my vision of M.A.S.K. will fit in with Hasbro's/Paramount's vision of a multiverse.  Nor can I imagine any of other the other scripts out there will fit this new "world of illusion" that I believe is being created.

I've not read Wyatt and Jason's script but, from the hints they have given us, their script is very much a throwback to the 80's - honouring the M.A.S.K. from our youth - but the new movies will look to the future.

So far, the only thing that I've seen that might resemble Hasbro's possible vision is Dave Guivant's Fan-Made movie that is currently in production.  His vision is set in the future and the images of Condor that I've seen would be more akin to the new swathe of movies soon to come out.

One thing that I've not seen chat about on the internet is the toys themselves.  After all, it is ALL about the toys.

Rom, like the original Joe toys, were 12" figures.  The new Joe Figures and the Micronauts are 3.75" toys.  So, it's likely that 3.75" will be the standard for all of these toys when the movies come out.

This is going to prove problematic for M.A.S.K. fans.  M.A.S.K. figures are considerably smaller than Joe toys - at about 2.5" tall.  That means that any new toys will not be compatible with the original toys.

This may ruin M.A.S.K. before it even starts.  One of the things that M.A.S.K. had going for it was its scale.  The vehicles and figures were to scale and were easy to play with.  If we take Star Wars toys as an example, the Millennium Falcon is about 21" long - but it's nowhere near to the correct scale.  As an example, you can only fit 2 figures in the cockpit and that's it full.

Once M.A.S.K. Scales up to 3.75", how is this going to effect the vehicles?  Will they still be in proportion?  The smaller vehicles, perhaps.  Rhino, Outlaw, Switchblade?  I doubt it very much.

Instead of setting up these new lines to succeed, it's almost like someone at Hasbro is setting them up to fail.

When I was growing up, Hasbro wasn't really a player in the UK Toy Market.  We had Palitoy who gave us our Star Wars and Action Man toy lines.  My 6 year old son is growing up in a world of Hasbro toys and, if I'm honest, I'm not yet impressed.

To give you some examples -

He received a 12" Ant Man figure from Santa Claus.  The detail on it looks pretty - but, the quality of the plastic, lack of joints, the hollowness of the figure, make it feel very cheap (and it certainly wasn't cheap for Santa to buy it!!).  Far from the quality of Action Man and G.I. Joe 12" Figures we grew up with.

He also received some Star Wars toys for his Christmas.  Again, more detail in them, however, many of the toys he received weren't even in the movie.  I realise that part of this was due to footage being cut from the movie - he received a "First Order Snowspeeder" that you just about see as the camera cuts away.  From what I've read on the internet, there was a whole chase scene cut out where these vehicles were meant to be featured.  Maybe we'll see them in the Blu Ray!

He was also given an "Assault Walker", "Elite Speeder Bike" and a "Desert Landspeeder".  I was going to complain to Hasbro for misrepresentation as NONE of these seem to appear in the movie (I may have missed them in all the action of course).  However, it turns out that Hasbro have been very clever/sneaky in their marketing.

Although all the boxes have an image of Kylo Ren so people automatically associate the toys with Star Wars and more specifically, The Force Awakens - only the Snowspeeder mentions the phrase "The Force Awakens".  The other toys only state "Star Wars".

I guess the lack of merchantable material in the movie meant that Hasbro had to create their own range of toys to fill the hole in the market.  By making people believe that it was associated with the movie, but not actually stating that, would help their sales of these toys.

As you can tell, I'm not impressed and I don't think that Hasbro will live up to expectations for any new M.A.S.K. toys.

Feel free to head over to my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page for more chat and feel free to share, like and comment below and over at my page.

Thank you,


#assemlbeMASK #Hasbro #MASKComics

#jamesgunn #Marvel #ROM #Micronauts #Visionaries

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Collectionneur & Chineur - M.A.S.K.

Today is my 43rd Birthday and I received a nice gift in the post today.  A few months ago, I was asked to take some images for the French Collection Magazine - "Collectionneur & Chineur".  I took some pictures - suitably helped by my son, Reece.

Some of the pictures are printed in this months magazine dated 15th of January - or should that be 15 Janvier?

I was originally contacted by Nordine Zemrak - one half of the team who wrote the book "Les séries de notre enfance" - read my interview with him here.  His friend, Richard Blin, works on the magazine and was doing a piece.

I took quite a lot of pictures - I knew that most of them wouldn't be used - but best to take as many as possible.  Of the Pictures I took that were printed, the quality of them has turned out very well in the magazine - and I even got a little mention.

Ok, so I'm going to put my hands up and be honest here - I don't speak French, unfortunately, so I can't read the article myself!  A bit of a drawback, but that's what Google Translate is for!!

The main part of the article is about our very own Dave Guivant - who is making his own Fan Made M.A.S.K. Movie which, going by the available clips that I've seen, looks amazing!

In the above image from the magazine, you can see an image of Dave in the top right hand corner.  The picture of Boulder Hill's box is one of mine.  The box is a little worse for wear now - but did the trick for the photos for the magazine.

Another one of my images above of Hondo MacLean in Hurricane surrounded by various figures.

I'll post all of the images across at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page - I hope that you enjoy.

If you are looking for a copy of this fine magazine, please follow this link direct to their site.

#assembleMASK #Hasbro #MASKComics