These things we know. We know that McFarlane Toys has the Harry Potter/Wizarding World license. We know that four figures (Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Voldemort from HP&TDH2) and one Hippogriff are up for pre-order. We know that McFarlane will likely bring their long history of A-game sculpting to the line. Here’s what we don’t know: why has no one else ever made a successful long-term go of a Harry Potter action figure line?
Early in the life of the films, Mattel picked up the license for the line. And they, well, they Matteled, didn’t they? Those early figures (shown on the shelves in the pictures) lack inspired sculpting; consider that these figures were coming out against Toy Biz’s Lord of the Rings line, among others, and you’ll see that they effort just wasn’t there. Factor in early gaffes like the famously backward-armed Dumbledore, unequal pack-outs of Fred and George, and other weirdness, and one might remember those early message boards being rife with complaints. A second group came out for the second film, but the scale was off and they kind of stiffed at retail.
NECA picked it up later with some good sculpts (like this Harry and Sirius), but they didn’t make an overly large amount. In 2007, PopCo picked up the European license and did some decent figures. Mattel even recently came back to make some “action figure dolls” of the leads, McGonagall and Dumbledore. However, the fact remains that there’s never been a truly comprehensive line at U.S. retail.
McFarlane has a crack at changing that. Aside from their general quality, they have wide-ranging distribution. The first four figures also have clever accessories; Harry, Hermione, and Ron each come with their patronus, and Voldemort is packed with Nagini. I also like the idea that McFarlane is starting with The Deathly Hollows Part II. For one thing, it’s the last film in the series, and the one that is the freshest in our minds, overall; for another, these versions of the cast have simply never been done before. It’s also a film that includes a huge variety of characters (the Weasleys, the Order, the Malfoys, most of the professors, Neville, Cho, Hagrid, etc.), so you could conceivably go about knocking out a big portion of the cast just from that film before reaching back into other stories and characters.
It’s important to note that the license in for the Wizarding World, so it also includes Fantastic Beasts. Buckbeak the Hippogriff looks great, so I’m already looking forward to what they do with other magical creatures. I think it would be smart for McFarlane to do an assortment of the main four humans (Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob) at some point in the near future to plant a flag for the franchise, given that the third film now won’t be released until 2021.
What do you think, muggles? Are you interested in the new line? What would you like to see? Have you placed pre-orders? Talk to us. Thanks for reading.