Mattel’s new Masters of the Universe Origins line is a daring new take on the original vintage 5.5″ line. Leading the charge is Marketing manager Britt Shotts; where she and her team are creating a whole new generation of He-man fans while giving the adult collector a second glance at a childhood favorite.
Toy-Lines :What was the impetus that started the new, He-Man vintage line? Was it just the movie or … ?
Britt Shotts: There is a movie coming in March, 2021 which we’re very excited about. This line specifically is tied to the vintage toy line from the ’80s. So we’re kind of looking at this as an overarching renaissance of Masters of the Universe. And our hope is that the renaissance takes off at mass retail in Fall of 2020.
Shotts: The idea was we wanted to go back and we knew that the vintage figures from the 1980s for a lot of people that attend conventions just like this, events like Power Con and Comic Con and people who are really involved in the toy collecting fields for a lot of people Masters of the Universe was one of the first action figures brands that they collected into and the first property that they really identified with and kicked off their love of toys so we wanted to pay homage to that. We kind of had a dream of if we could take these figures that so many people have such a fondness for and such a deep appreciation for, and were able to take those amazing molds from the 1980s and basically remanufacture them with today’s technology in 2020 what would that look like?
Shotts: For us it looks like the re-imagined Origins line, which we have not only inputted of the toys with some amazing, new, modern features like enhanced articulations, swappable parts. We’ve also re-imagined the packaging as well.
TL: What can you tell us about the new molds?
Shotts: They are all new, one of the reasons that we needed to basically tool up new molds for this is because we have added in all of that great articulation, the poppable joints and everything for the pop and swap customization. Our figures actually work in tandem with the WWE, Masters of the Universe figures. So you’re going to be able to swap out arms, legs, heads, accessories, all that fun stuff.
Shotts: The figures are going to be really, really fun. All of these things are meant to live in one ecosystem. And so as a result of that, we invested in tooling up those new figures and it’s something that we see living for a long time to come.
TL: Can you elaborate about the packaging?
Shotts: It’s going to be a packaging that really is a throwback, but it also feels new and fresh at the same time. So it was us just saying, “Hey, can we make these toys that we loved when we were kids today and what would that look like?”
TL: Would that also include new mini comics as well?
Schotts: They do. Every single wave of figures is going to come with a mini comic. It’s going to be unique to those six figures that are in that wave. And then the mini comic will have elements of the origin stories of the characters that are appearing in that wave and potentially teases of what’s to come in future waves as well.
TL: Will you use any Filmation influential at all or is it strictly Mattel?
Shotts: So it’s Mattel. We obviously own the Master toy license. We are the makers of MOTU, if you will. Filmation obviously did its own thing, has its own aesthetic treatment. That is not currently factored in with our origins line. Filmation is actually a separate license, so not currently, but you never know moving forward.
TL: Now, are you also bringing back the mini-figures?
Shotts: We have a mini figure line that will be at retail and will come in a blind box packaging. We also just announced that there will be chase figures in the mini line.
TL: What is the future of both Classics and Club Grayskull?
Shotts: Well Club Grayskull was, I mean really a Super 7 initiative and at the moment Classics are going to be on a hiatus. Don’t know what the future could look like there. I mean, obviously the molds are there, if that’s something we want to play with in the future. However, they are taking a little bit of a break and we’re going to be focusing on this new 5.5 retro themed line and that’s what we’re going to be really driving at mass retail.
TL: What is the price point at retail?
Shotts: $14.99 for the figures, Battlecat will be $24.99 and the Sky Sled will be $29.99.
TL: Besides having a new movie come out, why is Mattel interested in Masters again?
Shotts: I would say in some form or another Mattel has been keeping Motu kind of chugging in the background for probably the better part of the last decade. They’ve had a lot of designers, a lot of marketing folks, a lot of packaging folks that have touched this property and really wanted to find the right way to relaunch it and make it work.
Shotts: We now have a franchise team in place and have a film studio now, Mattel Studios, that is prepared to take this on and really relaunch the franchise in a huge way with a theatrical background. So obviously the Origins is not tied to theatrical. But we do have so much great stuff coming, including beasts and vehicles. We will have new content (with the just announced anime series from Netflix) and stuff for both kids and adults.
The new Masters of the Universe Origins line will be at retail starting fall of 2020 but if you can’t wait, the new Masters of the Multiverse comic will be available on 11/20/19. The Masters movie is looking at a 2021 release and a new anime series from Netflix is coming soon. 2020 is shaping up to be the year of He-man and it looks like he is in great hands.
Special thanks to Britt Shotts for taking the time to speak with us.