G.I. Joe fans have had a pretty rough go of it for the past few years. Stores won’t support the toy line. The movies haven’t exactly been runaway hits. The best version of the franchise ever got cancelled after one season. But things might be changing soon.
First, however, I’ve got some bad news. There won’t be any G.I. Joe products at Toy Fair next month. While unofficially it’s likely this has to do with making as much room as possible for Star Wars: Episode VII stuff, the official reason is actually pretty promising and good news in disguise.
The announcement came that, “G.I. Joe will not be part of Hasbro’s presence at this year’s show. We are planning our 2015 G.I. Joe product reveals for this year’s G.I. JoeCon in Springfield, Illinois from April 9-12.”
But why would they be pushing back their big 2015 reveal? Why show it at a fan convention and not a trade show for buyers? Presumably they wanted to let the new guy get everything in order before showing off what he has planned for the line.
Because here’s the good news, G.I. Joe has a new brand manager.
Mark Webber will be taking over the role from the current team (who has already been moved to other projects). Webber has been in charge of Transformers since February 2012 and in his time on that franchise, spearheaded the excellent Generations and Contruct-Bots lines. Before that, he spent seven years at McFarlane.
In an interview with G.I. Joe Collectors Club Magazine (via HissTank.com) Webber hinted at what he’s got in store for the Real American Hero.
“For the most part, our biggest plans will be centered around future entertainment – the kind of stuff I can’t talk about just yet. We are finalizing our 2015 plans and expect to deliver a lineup constructively similar to 2014 – with popular characters and vehicles, as well as a few NEW Surprises. If things go as planned, we will have an update to reveal at JoeCon in Springfield.”
“We want to have stronger, more consistent dialogue with the collectors and fans. We want collectors to have NEW vehicles and playsets to energize the brand to a new generation of kids and a fantastic new feature film that is faithful to the soul of the brand (action, fun, weapons, vehicles). Two things I want to prioritize right away – I want to enable and simplify army building for Collectors, and I want the file cards to be brilliant for our characters.”
Everything about that is exactly what fans wanted to hear.
My hope is the “new surprises” are new characters. The franchise needs new blood. It can’t survive on Duke and Snake Eyes forever. What would you like to see in the future of G.I. Joe?