Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by davidl28, Nov 14, 2019.
anyone have any news *if* the McFarlane Star Trek Discovery Phaser will even be released ?
It's dead, Jim... er, David.
wondering if they were ever actually produced ?
Honestly, I have no clue? They were supposed to do a big action figure run as well with Discovery characters featured prominently, but it was canceled after Kirk and Picard were released.
McFarlane does not appear to be doing well when it comes to keeping up their lines.
I don't think they sold very well. Which is a shame, because I have the Kirk and it is pretty well done for a decent price.
A fully-painted prototype complete with printed diagrams was made and even put out for display for at the New York Toy Fair at the time. McFarlane Toys seemed totally ready to go into mass-production with it--preorders for the phaser was even advertised at prominent toy websites...
...and then something happened. Images of an altered phaser with a new non-screen accurate bright red emitter appeared online here & there, and then the whole thing was quietly cancelled a little while after that. McFarlane didn't give an official reason why the phaser was canceled, but there were plenty of rumors, including that realistic-looking toy guns--even based off phasers--are a no-no in the US retail market.
The customer base for Star Trek toys is too small these days, IMO. Other companies like Funko and Gentle Giant have also cancelled proposed Star Trek toy lines in the last few years.
We have internet billionaires for real space.
We need these guys to be trekkies
Specifically, California, which has strict rules regarding markings.
It's sad but true. I've always wanted more variety in Trek toys but the market isn't there.
Funko? Funko gave up on Star Trek? CBS must've been squeezing them hard on the license, the whole point of Funko Pops is that they're so cheap they can justify making them for even the most obscure, small-market properties, which Star Trek is most certainly not. Sanford and Son sure as hell isn't getting a $25 a pop Eaglemoss statuette of the month club, but they got Funkos.
Not the Funko Pops figures, but the "Re-Action" 3.75-inch retro-inspired figures. Funko did a line for TOS and their website initially said that a TNG line of Re-Action figures was coming next...but it never did and the whole idea was eventually dropped from their site. Same thing happened with Gentle Giant and their proposed line of Fleet Flyers "micromachine" ships based off DSC. At least those made it to the actual prototype stage before being cancelled.
What's sort of weird is that Rubies (the costume company) also announced a Discovery phaser that was also canceled. Their TOS and Kelvin phasers are brightly colored, cheaply made toys, so the assumption is that the Discovery phaser would have been similar, but for some reason it never saw the light of day either, I'm going to presume it was because of few retailer orders.
Maybe they should have done it as a ridiculously overpriced kit in garish-colored plastic that you have to put together and paint yourself, like Anavos did with a couple of Star Wars blasters recently.
Honestly, they could've released it with the orange cap, and people would've come up with their own solutions. I think there was a fear that it wasn't going to sell well either way. Hence, it ends up canceled.
I truly think McFarlane is having issues and this was one they didn't feel like chasing down, because, as you state, it probably wouldn't sell well. So, rather than fight production changes just let it go away.
The problem with Star Wars weapons is that most of them were built off of actual mid-20th century firearms, converted for blank-fire use for filming. In many scenes of the OT you can see spent shell casings being ejected when they’re discharging in firefight scenes, and the actors weren’t faking the recoil like they were in the prequel trilogy.
Stormtroopers used WWII German MG-34’s and 42’s and British Sterlings. Rebels used a mish mash of things, but especially WWII German STG-44’s. Han Solo’s pistol was based off a Mauser Broomhandle. There are more, but those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head. There is a legitimate concern over those too closely resembling real weapons.
Trek weapons, on the other hand, look non-real enough in their designs to be adequately discernible from the real thing. No reason why they should require the red tips.
Don’t get me started on stupid gun laws like this.
The law is the law, stupid or not. It, unfortunately, brings a lot more costs to companies, so it might not be worth it.
McFarlane has lots of other toylines based off movies, videogames, and anime that have gone without a hitch. They even released two different authentic-looking versions of The Walking Dead's infamous "Lucille"--a full-sized baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire--that certainly wasn't meant for kids, but apparently sold extremely well with its intended audience to be sold out at times, IIRC.
I think with the DIS phaser, it had a relatively low price-point--about $35 USD--that was dependent on it being sold at a certain number of units in retail stores. And that was where the problem was, IMO. It wasn't going to be a hard-to-find collectible, but something you can easily get at your local Target or even Walgreens store. The addition of the orange cap might have ruined the phaser's intended 100% screen-accuracy and its chances of selling well in McFarlane's eyes, so that could have caused the plug to be pulled.
More likely with the demise of ToysRUs there wasn’t enough interest from Target/Walmart. I wonder if there was something with their license that specified a particular price range around $40 that they could no longer meet without enough orders from a big box store? Since Anovos aready has a license for a high end “replica” maybe McFarlanes was more of a “toy” license.
Todd McFarlane himself gave a kind of cryptic response to why the phaser was canceled, vaguely referencing to disagreements with various parties. The closest to a more concrete explanation came from a later written statement from the toy company:
“Based on federal, state and local regulations around replica/toy weapons, McFarlane Toys has decided to cancel pre-orders on the Star Trek Discovery Phaser 2018 release until we can determine a more acceptable way to release it without compromising the integrity of the item.
We are still pursuing options on releasing this item in the future. We apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment this may have caused the fans.”--McFarlane Toys, June 2018
Seems to me the issue may have been US toy regulations. McFarlane may have decided not to release the phaser at all if he had to stick an orange cap on it or have the whole thing in kiddie colors. Target and Walmart probably would have carried the phaser that way, but it might have been McFarlane that said "no thanks."
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