With any toy company, or any production company at all, you have products that simply don’t make it to market. Reasons vary from product to product. Some times it’s related to cost, other times a line isn’t doing well enough to justify a new release or the product has the misfortune of never being ready for the public. Fans who have followed NECA for a long time know some of their most iconic unreleased items, such as their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder or the Shaun of the Dead Zombie Ed. But that’s really only the tip of the iceberg.
As part of our Week of NECA, we’re going to take a look at a few of the unreleased items from over the years. Keep in mind, this is only a small sample size of the unreleased figures. For every figure or collectible we know about, there are likely a dozen that have never been seen outside of those working at the studio. Read on and take a look at the “What If’s” of the NECA toy world.
Unreleased NECA Figures, a closer look. Below, we have only a handful of the figures that haven’t seen release for one reason or another. There are a few more images available in the below gallery.
Cult Classics Dawn of the Dead – Zombie Roger
Back in November 2014, NECA posted a scan from Horror Hound Magazine. They were working on their own article of unreleased horror figures and had an amazing one to start off with. They showed off the Cult Classics Dawn of the Dead – Zombie Roger Figure. The 7″ scale figure would have featured Roger, just as he had turned into one of the undead, still laying in his bed. The figure would have had some articulation in the arms and a head. It would have a snap on blanket as well. The real shame in this one is that the scene is one of the most iconic of the film. It’s been used on VHS and DVD covers, posters, ads and much more. It never saw the light of day as the Cult Classics line was ending its run and some of the stores that would normally stock the figures were moving away from these types of collectibles.
* Image Courtesy of HorrorHound Magazine & NECA
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Shredder and Foot Soldier
In 2008, well before the current craze for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, NECA had attempted to jump start a collectors line. The figures would be based on the original comic book series by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The figures features spot on comic aesthetics, while featuring more articulation than any previous main line Ninja Turtles release. Unfortunately, the world wasn’t ready quite yet for these fantastic figures. The line ended after seeing the Turtles, April O’Neil and a few Mousers released. Fans are all too familiar with the unreleased figures from this line. There were two version of Shredder, one of which included an Utrom (Krang’s species). There was also a Foot Soldier, which would have included an additional Mouser. We saw these out our first ever Toy Fair visit for Toyark in 2009. UPDATE: Released as part of the New York Comic-Con 2016 Box Set.
Cult Classics Shaun of the Dead – Zombie Ed
Shaun of the Dead is an excellent film that saw a fantastic 2-pack of Shaun and Ed as well as a single pack Shaun released in the Cult Classics line. Originally slated to join them was a Zombie Ed from the end of the film. For reasons unknown, the figure was cancelled. There has ben speculation over the years that the factory closed down or the mold was stolen. But I’ve not found a source who could reliably corroborate that info. Many knock offs of the Zombie Ed have popped up online, and by all accounts the quality is not very good. This one still stings for fans of the film and the Cult Classics line as a whole.
Hellraiser – Engineer
Hellraiser was one of NECA best early 200’s toy lines. The figures spanned single releases, 1/4 scale releases, box sets, prop replicas, statues and busts. NECA was able to squeeze in just about every major Cenobite from the film series. Fans were even treated to a bloody Frank from the original film. Sadly, the line came to an end before their massive Clive Barker designed Engineer was released. I believe they attempted to release it at different times, but with no full line to support it, that prospect became more and more difficult until the chances faded away. The massive figure would have been based on the nightmarish creature seen briefly in the original Hellraiser film.
* Image courtesy of Cartoon and Horror
Cult Classics The Ring – Samara Emerges Box Set
In 2005, NECA was planning on releasing a massive box set based on Samara from The Ring. The Samara Emerges box set would have included the figure, a water well and television set, complete with an entertainment center. The articulated figure was set to separate at the waist, allowing fans to display the figure either standing or emerging from the TV set, which are the two lasting iconic scenes from the original Japanese film, but these were based on the U.S. remake. It would have been a very unique, and likely definitive version of the American version of the character. Sadly, the figure never went into production. All that remains are images of the prototype and the original concept drawing.
* Images courtesy of thebetterboard.com
Kill Bill – O-Ren
When the Kill Bill films hit, they were a massive success. The great concept, excellent characters and spectacular fight scenes made for collectibles that were in high demand. NECA went all out, giving fans just about every major fighter from the film. Unfortunately, a notable exception was Lucy Liu’s O-Ren. While shown in fully painted, the figure was ultimately cancelled. Rumor has it that the actress would not approve the likeness, so the line would ultimately end without an O-Ren figure being released.
* Image courtesy of epoiesz
300 – Xerxes
In 2007, NECA had a short lived line of 300 figures. The movie was a surprise hit, but couldn’t ultimately sustain a full line of figures. Fans were able to grab characters like King Leonidas, Ephialtes and an Immortal. The god-king Xerxes was planned for release in the second series. Ultimately, Xerxes proved to be too large and too expensive to release. Xerxes would have stood at 9″ tall and included a throne styles base.
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Back in 2010, NECA had announced plans to create Rocky Horror Picture show 7″ Scale Figures. The figures were sculpted and solicitations sent out. Fans were ecstatic and NECA seemed like they had a surefire hit on their hands with a series that would hearken back to their Cult Classics type figures. Series 1 would have consisted of Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank ‘N Furter and Richard O’Brien’s Riff Raff. The figures were meant to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the classic film. Unfortunately, difficulty in obtaining likeness rights ultimately doomed the figures.
* Image courtesy of epoiesz
Prometheus – Zombie Fifield, Infected Holloway and Dr. Shaw
Ridley Scott’s return the Alien universe was a polarizing one. On one hand, he crafted an insanely beautiful film, filled with intrigue, wonderful visual and fantastic character designs. On the other hand, he also had a film that was head scratchily inconsistent and filled with inane character turns to further the plot. Combine that with a story that was “Alien Adjacent” as opposed to the direct prequel it was originally intended to be, and you have a very odd film to try and market. NECA experienced this problem first hand. Their Prometheus series was widely hailed as being fantastic figures. But they were for a property that never found the audience it should have. The line lasted for three waves and a 2-pack. It ended without fans getting the two main characters in Holloway (in his infected form) or Dr. Shaw. Also cancelled was the stunning looking Zombie Fifield. All we have left of these are the photos from their appearances at 2012 cons. UPDATE: Dr. Shaw and Fiflied released in 2017 as part of the Prometheus The Lost Wave assortment.
Gremlins Series 3
We last saw this assortment at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. The third series in the fantastic line of Gremlins has been on hold for some time now. Retailers seem to mainly be interested in the Mogwaii releases only, which always seemed a little odd. The third wave of Gremlins was set to include a WB Gremlin, Greta, Mohawk with the Uzi (released as the NES Version) and the melting Witch Gremlin. I’ve see these protos in person, and they are stunning. With the release of the Bat Gremlin this month, fans can still hold out hope that enough interest will be generated to see these released.
9 – One
The movie 9 kind of bombed in theaters. The post apocolyptic nature, combined with the LittleBigPlanet-esque designs never grabbed audiences, and NECA’s line of figures would end with the first wave. They did sculpt a “One” figure, but it was never released.
* Image courtesy of Figures.com
Planet of the Apes – Original Series 3 and Beyond
The Apes line from NECA is a truly excellent line. Sadly, it never found the audience it should have. Shown at Toy Fair 2015, NECA’s Planet of the Apes Series 3 would have featured Julius, General Aldo and Veska. Now, we did get General Aldo with the San Diego Comic-Con 2015 Box Set. But Julius and Veska remain unproduced. Other figures include the Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Orangutan, Galen and an Apes Sergeant.
The Shaw Brothers – Fully Articulated 7″ Figures
NECA at one time planned to release a series of figures based on iconic Chinese “Kung Fu” cinema. The Shaw Brothers series would have been based on films such as 36th Chamber of the Shaolin, The 8-Diagram Pole Fighter, and Kid with the Golden Arm and would have included Liy Yu-Te (San Te), Yang #6, and Hai Ta. Sadly, the line never made it to shelves as retailers seemed to lack interest in carrying them.
* New York Comic Con 2008 image courtesy of Parry Game Preserve
Check the gallery below for a few images of the unreleased figures.