Welcome back for the final part of my interview with NECA’s Randy Falk, Director of Product Development. Previously we talked about the Classic Video Game Appearance toys as well as their Ultimate 7″ Scale toy line. Our Week of NECA is nearing the end and we saved, I believe, the best interview for last. As I wrap this up, I can’t thank Randy enough for taking the time to answer every one of these questions, especially the wall of text that is our 3rd part.
Today we talk about all things NECA. We look at lines like Aliens, Predators, Mego, Cinemachines and so much more. Plus we get hints on a few figures NECA may tackle in the future, as well as a few hints for what to expect Toy Fair and San Diego Comic-Con. You can check it out by reading on.
Interview with NECA’s Randy Falk Part 3 – All Things NECA
Joe Moore: Where did the idea for the Cinemachines line originate?
Randy Falk: From me wanting to fill this void, we have done so many Alien and Predator figures over the years it killed me that there was no vehicle counterpart, Micro Machines was a long time ago and that stuff was teeny tiny and not all that detailed. I recognized the void a few years ago and have tried to find the time to get this line off the ground. Finally I was able to lean on one of our sculptors and designers Thomas Gwyn to handle the development and art direction of the series. We compiled a list of what we wanted to do and I let Tom take the reigns on this one. He worked with our digital team and really got incredible results and developed a stellar line over the past year.
Joe Moore: How important was it for these to be mostly, if not all, diecast metal?
Randy Falk: It was important since we wanted to have that weight, that heaviness, the touch of the cool metal when you hold it, the perceived value of it and we wanted some parts in plastic to hold the detail and have the undercuts so we have a great mix of the 2 in each ship or vehicle in the line.
Joe Moore: What are some of the franchises you hope to add, either in the immediate or not so immediate future?
Randy Falk: Well we are starting with Alien, Predator and Terminator and we should be able so show about 8-10 different SKUs at Toy Fair. Beyond that I am trying to get Blade Runner, Robocop, possibly some video game lines, there is a lot of great material out there to choose from.
Joe Moore: Could huge sales allow you to scale some of the popular ones up? Perhaps as static foam display pieces in scale with the 7” figures?
Randy Falk: Static pieces in foam or resin could work but not in plastic as the scale and price points involved are just not possible with the size of the figures we make.
Aliens and Predators
Joe Moore: The Predator series has been going on successfully for quite some time now. At some point, you run out of movie figures to produce. How deep into the non-movie franchises can we expect you to go to keep giving the fans the Predators they can’t get enough of?
Randy Falk: I really don’t see any end to this, see we have always tried to balance the line w movie, comic, EU, games, so here we are at Series 14 and 15 and this is the first time we have done AvP at all. You are right that we will have covered all the movies soon BUT there is a new movie in development and we have a rich universe from Dark Horse and the Video Games and we have done great with Kenner homages – it amazes me to see once Series 16 drops we will have covered almost all the major releases in the classic Kenner line
Joe Moore: The reception for the Dark Horse Predator was extremely positive. Can we expect you to revisit the comic Predators again in 2016 or beyond?
Randy Falk: Absolutely, have a few things planned for this year and next.
Joe Moore: Is there a particular Predator figure, either movie or expanded universe, that you’d like to see get made, no matter how long you have to work at it?
Randy Falk: Scarface was high on that list and that is now happening, Machiko I guess and we will get there just a matter time of time and scheduling.
Joe Moore: If the new Predator with Shane Black and Fred Dekker gets off the ground, is that something NECA may take on, or is it too early to tell?
Randy Falk: We absolutely want to be involved and I can’t wait to know more about what they are doing and what the Predator(s) will look like, very excited about this and hoping for an R and a return to greatness like ‘87.
Joe Moore: Switching over to Alien, this year we got the first ever Ellen Ripley action figures featuring full likeness rights from Sigourney Weaver. Do you feel that the line would have never felt whole if this deal couldn’t have gotten done?
Randy Falk: Definitely I mean she is the protagonist, the hero and she is awesome, it would have left a big void to now have her. We were lucky enough to introduce her into the line in Series 4 and 5, we didn’t get Dutch into the Predator line until Series 8 and 9 by comparison.
Joe Moore: You’ve said that Kenner Aliens are definitely coming in a future assortment. Can fans expect figures beyond the Xenomorphs, or do likeness rights make it too difficult to do, say, Space Marine Bishop?
Randy Falk: No likeness rights are involved there since those figures didn’t look like anyone but for Series 10, our first Kenner Alien line we are doing all Aliens/Xenos. We will look at Marines and Bishops for 2017 and beyond but for now we want to make crazy cool Xenos based on that classic Kenner line.
Joe Moore: Much like Predator, the Aliens franchise has a deep expanded universe featuring video games and comics. We’re starting to see NECA get into those expanded stories with Alien Isolation and the eventual Kenner Aliens. Is there another particular story, comic or game you’d love to tackle before 2016 is over?
Randy Falk: The Capcom Arcade game is a must but I don’t think it will happen in 2016, I wanted it to but we are already jam packed so let’s hope for 2017 on that one.
Rapid Fire Fun – All Things NECA
Joe Moore: The reaction to the DC Comics Movie 7″ figures has been pretty astounding. What are the chances of another collaboration with WB? If it happens again, do you have one you’d personally like to see get made?
Randy Falk: Honestly no idea, I hope we can do more but really it is totally up in the air and depends on WB, Home Video, and retail participation. IF it happens again I would like to get Burt Ward Robin out there and a DeVito Penguin – those would be my top 2.
Joe Moore: As someone who has seen the 2-up prototypes of your figures in person, I couldn’t help but notice they make amazing display pieces. Would you ever consider statue or even figure runs of those at that size?
Randy Falk: We tried a few times, it’s just not worth all the effort involved in production for what you get in return and what it ends up costing. I agree there is nothing like the 2 ups but there is no way to make them as good as we want them unless we do them ourselves.
Joe Moore: The Mego style figures have given us some really surprising licenses recently (Home Alone, Bill and Ted). Do you find the cloth figures are an easier sell, compared to the 7” figures, to rights holders and actors for their likenesses?
Randy Falk: No, they aren’t an easier sell it is just advantageous for us because the development costs are less so we can take more risks and do different things in this format. Approvals and likenesses and all that is the same for us whether we are doing 7” or 8” sculpted or mixed.
Joe Moore: You’ve mentioned on Twitter that you’d like to see RJ MacReady from The Thing (1982) as a Mego Style figure. Is there any real possibility there or is it not in the cards?
Randy Falk: I have been trying for 2 years to do a package deal with Universal for a number of classic licenses, The Thing being one of them. So far nothing, I don’t know why they aren’t as motivated as we are to get some cool figures out there from a number of classic brands but I will keep trying.
Joe Moore: What new type of franchises or genres can fans expect to see in the Mego style in 2016?
Randy Falk: Home Alone was well received so we are looking at other holiday options for 2016, we are expanding horror further with more Freddy, Leatherface, and Jason. Bill & Ted is a great one and we are working on Ash vs Evil Dead right now too which is awesome.
Joe Moore: You’re working on an Uncharted Nathan Drake figure. If sales are strong enough, is there a possibility to see characters such as Sully get a figure?
Randy Falk: Possible, we have to see, one at a time. :)
Joe Moore: The Rocky Figure Series is set to relaunch at some point. When can fans expect to see the figures? Can fans expect anything new or updated, or will these be reissues for the most part?
Randy Falk: Hoping to show some at Toy Fair, it will be mix of new and re-release and in all new packaging celebrating the 40th Anniversary.
Joe Moore: Are there plans for the Robocop line beyond the current reissue and the teased Endo-Robocop?
Randy Falk: Still in development and we may have more news at Toy Fair, if not TF definitely by San Diego Comic-Con.
Joe Moore: Ash versus Evil Dead figures have been teased a bit. Will fans see those again before Toy Fair? How many figures are planned out right now?
Randy Falk: Yes fans will see those at Toy Fair, maybe some more reveals before then. The basic figure line will have 3 figures in series 1, we are also working on some Mego style as well which is 2 figures to start with and maybe one for San Diego Comic-Con this Summer.
Joe Moore: We’ve been hit with a ton of surprises this year, with Contra being the latest. Have anything in store for fans prior to Toy Fair and should fans be checking toy aisles for a surprise drop any time soon?
Randy Falk: Nothing that will be on shelf before Toy Fair but YES I have some insane mind blowing surprises in store. A couple things for Toy Fair and SO much more for the Spring and Summer. We really have made some amazing things happen in the past couple years and that tradition continues this year with us trying to outdo and top ourselves yet again. I think we can do it, hell when I look around the studio and see what we have put together already that no one knows about yet I am certain we have owned 2016 already.
And that’s a wrap with our interview with NECA’s Randy Falk. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed talking toys with Randy. You can follow @NECA_Toys on Twitter, where you’ll find a ton of great hints and surprises on a near daily basis. I once again want to thank Randy Falk for sparing some time to chat about NECA and for all his help with our Week of NECA.