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Todd McFarlane Interview - DC Multiverse, Spawn Figures, Spawn Movie, Mortal Kombat And Much More

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This week I got the chance to sit down and talk with Todd McFarlane about the newly announced DC Multiverse line coming from McFarlane Toys as well as a number of other product lines and projects he is working on. We discuss Spawn action figures and the movie as well as Mortal Kombat, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Cyberpunk 2077, and more. The entire interview which you can watch below lasts just over an hour.
 


I hope you end up watching the entire video, but for reference purposes I have listed key topics that we discuss with time marks. In the COMMENTS SECTION below I share some of my own thoughts and interpretations of what Todd says during this interview.

The interview opens with him explaining how he understands how important the fans are and that they are listening to you guys and the feedback you give. In his words, “The fans are everything”.

Next we turn to the line on everyone’s mind which is the newly announced DC Multiverse line.

02:16 - We talk about the recently revealed CW Arrow and Animated series figures and if he has plans on doing figures for other properties such as Titans on the DCU streaming service or figures from older movies.

05:09 - Next we discuss scale and if there are plans to move beyond the 7” one we are seeing with the initial figures.

09:09 - The conversation then turns to the Build-A concept. We talk about the Build-A-Batmobile as well as the possibility of seeing the more standard Build-A-Figure.

18:20 - We then move on to the topic of articulation.

30:28 - For my next question I ask how many waves of figures we might expect to see a year?

32:58 - From there the conversation turns to the chances of seeing more obscure characters beyond the big names like Batman and Superman.

34:50 - Switching gears we discuss his Mortal Kombat figures and whether we will see more figures done beyond the recently announced Johnny Cage and Raiden figures. I also ask him if his license allows him to do these charters based on the older games or is he limited to just doing them for Mortal Kombat 11.

41:06 - We then move on to talking about the newly announced Cyberpunk 2077 video game figures which are licensed from CD Project Red. I also ask what are the chances of them going after The Witcher license which is also held by CD Project Red.

42:42 - Will we see more Game of Thrones figures?

44:40 - Will we see more Harry Potter figures?

44:54 - Will we see more One Punch figures?

48:51 - We discuss what its like getting a collector line like DC Multiverse on the shelves of a Walmart or Target.

51:59 - Will we see new Spawn figures in the near future and will they be articulated?

53:10 - Todd goes on to talk about the Spawn movie.

59:06 - I ask about a DC Multiverse Todd Phillips Joker movie figure.

Once again a big thanks to Todd McFarlane for talking with us and I hope you enjoyed this interview. Please feel free to share your thoughts on it in the comments section below as well as my own thought about what was said.

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Here are my own thoughts, lmk what you thought after watching:

My thoughts 02:16 - Todd seems open to the idea of doing figures on other DC entertainment properties other than CW and the older animated series stuff. He also seemed open to doing figures for older movies if they see enough demand for it. I think Warner Bros. may have some say in this as well, but for things like a Michael Keaton Batman and or Christopher Reeve Superman, I think the chances are good. In the interview I asked about Christopher Reeve and he referred to the even older George Reeves rendition. I don’t know if that was a simply a mixing of names or if he was hinting to the possibility of seeing a figure based on the original Superman TV series. My guess is it was the former but I think it would be cool if we saw the later.

My thoughts 05:09 - While he doesn’t specifically say he can’t do 6” figures, he seems to indicate that either Warner Bros and/or Spin Master who appears to be the larger stake holder in the license doesn’t want product of the same scale on the shelves at the same time. We as collectors know that the 6” Spin Master figures with only have 3 points of articulation are not going to really interest us, but likely big box stores like Walmart and Target won’t see it the same way.  Parents who buy these for the kids might not either. While the McFarlane stuff is made for collectors, we have to keep in mind that in the retail world much of these things are seen as one and the same and unfortunately there is going to be some bowing to the wishes of these big box stores no mater who the intended audience is.

Todd also is less worried about what a competitor is doing and is more interested in capturing the heart and minds of the fans of these DC characters.

My thoughts 09:09 - Todd reveals that he choose to do the Batmobible over a figure because it required people having to buy less figures to build the item, 3 instead of the standard 6. He seemed to feel the BAF concept was flawed because it makes people buy figures they might not normally want in order to complete the larger figure. He goes on to say that he has plans to release figures for larger characters on a single card, even if he makes less money from it. For the Batmobile itself, this is the first of many different versions they hope to do. While not in scale with the figures, he thinks people will love being able to display all the various Batmobiles that have been done over the years. I don’t know if he is right or not? I will say after hearing him explain his reasoning, the idea sounds cooler than when I first read about the pack-ins. He then goes on to say they may try doing at some point equipment or dioramas like the Bat Computer which I think is an awesome idea.

My thoughts 18:20 - If you know Todd at all or heard him talk about articulation, then you know that he prefers look over mobility. I think it has been a real struggle for him to override his artistic instincts in favor of articulation. He is after all a comic book artist first and foremost. That being said, he does seem to realize that articulation is something very important to many of the collectors out there, and so while maybe begrudgingly strives to bring that perfect balance of articulation and art to you. This seems to be a learning process for them and there is going to be some give and take along with experimentation, and every figure is not going to come out perfect.  When it comes to say batman and his cape, we are likely going to see various versions. Some where the cape is done in a way that looks good but might limit some of the mobility and others that might not look as good but gives the figure more movement. Todd seems to realize that not every figure is going to please everyone, and some figures will sell better than others. As a collector who likes to pose figures, I will always lean more towards movement over look but I think companies like Hasbro have proven that you can do both. The McFarlane figures in regards to articulation have come a long way in just a few years, and I have faith that Todd will deliver us an overall line that brings that balance of look and movement, but I also understand there may be figures I don’t like and might not even buy along the way, which I think he is ok with.

Todd during this segment also confirms that they currently have the license to do DC figures for 3 years. So it will be fun to take the figures being released now and compare them to the ones that come out in 2023.

My thoughts 30:28 - Seems like we will see at least 3 waves a year but then I think we will end up seeing more with things like store exclusives and such. For the most part I expect the release schedule to be very similar to what we have seen them do with Fortnite. If the demand is great then we might see more.

My thoughts 32:58 - The short answer seems to be yes we will, how remains to be seen. My guess is we will see the more obscure collectors released as some type of store exclusives or perhaps short packed in a case with the heavy hitters. This is one of those area where I think McFarlane in large part is beholden to Warner Bros and what the big box chains want. While there is likely some demand for practically every single DC Comic character out there, the reality is the deeper you go into that library the less they will sell, so he is going to have to figure out how to balance that.

My thoughts 34:50 - My feeling is this line will continue. He indicates that they are working on more figures beyond the initial four. Of course if sales falter that could doom the line which is a pretty standard answer for this type of question. I was surprised to hear that while the push starting out is to do modern game stuff, they do have the ability to perhaps go back and do figures based on older games. I hope the line continues to sell so we can see more character both new and old done.

My thought 41:06 - My take away from this was is if everyone involved is happy with the Cyberpunk 2077 stuff then the chances seem good that they will get The Witcher license.

My thoughts 42:42 - Seems like we will see a few more figures, but I don’t see this line being flushed out to it’s fullest. With the show having ended, retailers are likely less inclined to want to carry them.

My thoughts 44:40 - More figures are on the way in the near future. I do expect this line will ramp up more when we get closer to the release of the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

My thoughts 44:54 - This struck me as an anything is possible but doesn’t seem like anything is really in the works.

My thoughts 48:51 - In Todds answer I think you can see that even though by definition the DC Multiverse is a collector oriented line, he is still somewhat beholden to the large retailers to try and balance these figures so they not only appeal to adult collectors, but also have some chance of being purchased by parents for their kids. In other words, and this is my own interpretation, the adult collector does not generate enough sales alone to satisfy a chain like Target or Walmart without at least having some kids buying them.  This is a struggle many toy manufacturers I think have to deal with, especially when it comes to these big brand licenses like DC Comics. Hasbro has probably been the company to have the most success finding this balance between kids and adult collectors, but even they seem to struggle with this problem at times.

My thoughts 51:59 - Probably some of the most exciting news out of the entire interview. Spawn toys will be returning this year and they will have articulation similar to their Fortnite and DC Multiverse figures.

My thoughts: 53:10 - Seems like the movie had hit a bump in the road but due to the huge success of the rated R Joker movie things are back on track. I don’t know who the academy caliber talent he refers to as being close to coming on board for the project but I do feel strongly that if done right, Spawn could be a major box office success. I am not even personally a huge Spawn fan but I know its an interesting enough character and has enough of a loyal following that it could do really well despite being rated R. In fact if its not Rated R I think fans would revolt and it would bomb.

My thoughts: 59:06 - Todd seems to want to do it and with the huge success of the movie my feeling is it will happen.

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Great conversation! A lot to unpack for sure. I'm personally excited to see a new dark spawn movie. Witcher license would be cool, would it be based on the Netflix show? 

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10 minutes ago, Nickg253 said:

Great conversation! A lot to unpack for sure. I'm personally excited to see a new dark spawn movie. Witcher license would be cool, would it be based on the Netflix show? 

Not sure on Witcher, we didnt go into that much detail and my guess at this point he wouldnt even know.

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Thanks for the great interview with Todd, Jay.  Hoping Todd will go for some older properties under the licenses like Batman '89, Batman Returns, Superman '78,  Superman II, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, and MK9. 

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Cool interview, but I think Todd doesn’t  realize the reason why Hasbro continued Marvel legends line, which in the long run profited them,  it isn’t really about Marvel legends it’s more about replacing DCUC line that had established fan base and  most complete character selection for dc.  More DC collectors would have been invested in the long run for  McFarlanes Dc multiverse if the line  was in same scale as Mattel’s DC Multiverse. Second point,  even if line was in 6 inch or I was okay fully collecting 7 inch line is really weak sculpts, I could never imagine I would say that but their Batman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn just don’t look any good.   

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Interesting interview, regarding the DC line I think I expected more than 3 waves a year, about the exclusives I hope they are not a headache to get them and that they are not something very special, like a Lobo with Spacehog or Knightfall Azrael or A list characters, but something more discreet. Something curious is that McFarlane has almost the same opinion as me about the BAF concept and is good tho hear he is willing to listen to the opinions of the buyers in order to improve, something that Mattel and DCC obviously never were willing to do and finally, I can't wait to see what the man has prepared for Spawn.

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30 minutes ago, SpiderS said:

Cool interview, but I think Todd doesn’t  realize the reason why Hasbro continued Marvel legends line, which in the long run profited them,  it isn’t really about Marvel legends it’s more about replacing DCUC line that had established fan base and  most complete character selection for dc.  More DC collectors would have been invested in the long run for  McFarlanes Dc multiverse if the line  was in same scale as Mattel’s DC Multiverse. Second point,  even if line was in 6 inch or I was okay fully collecting 7 inch line is really weak sculpts, I could never imagine I would say that but their Batman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn just don’t look any good.   

I think he had little choice about scale. There are plenty of 7" DC figures out there so I could make that same argument about 7" as you are with 6". I personally was never a big fan of DCUC and always preferred the DC Collectible figures even with the more limited articulation, but that is just my opinion and I don't expect everyone to have the same one as me. From the images I dont share your opinion about weak sculpts. They certainly seem stronger than most of the Mattel DC Multiverse figures to me, but until I actually get them in hand myself, I am not going to spend time defending or criticizing something I have no real knowledge of.

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I'm a little disappointed that he didn't give any updates on the Fallout line but I understand there was lot talk about, no biggie.

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1 hour ago, JayC said:

I think he had little choice about scale. There are plenty of 7" DC figures out there so I could make that same argument about 7" as you are with 6". I personally was never a big fan of DCUC and always preferred the DC Collectible figures even with the more limited articulation, but that is just my opinion and I don't expect everyone to have the same one as me. From the images I dont share your opinion about weak sculpts. They certainly seem stronger than most of the Mattel DC Multiverse figures to me, but until I actually get them in hand myself, I am not going to spend time defending or criticizing something I have no real knowledge of.

Fair points. I also always thought DC direct/Dc collectibles always had best dc figures sculpt, so even now I would rather get their animated Batman figures and their upcoming Classic essentials Batman than McFarlane stuff. 

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Great interview! Very insightful, and although I'm still not 100% invested in the line due to scale, I can understand Todd's point of view a little bit more. 

I really hope you can give us more interviews like this one @JayC, they're rather entertaining. 

On the topic of BAFs, I really like Todd's point of view about making them smaller waves, although I'm not a fan of the Batmobile thing, I would much rather a set of accessories like the computer he mentioned, or even things like tables, chairs, thing that can add more to the display of the figures. Really looking forward to seeing what he does with the line. The main things I'd like to see are different versions of the Teen Titans, I really want a nice looking/articulated Raven figure.

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I'm not going to lie I'm extremely disappointed I thought McFarlane would do a good job but I don't want 7inch figures so I guess I'm out of the DC figure collection. Just saves me money and I really don't care if they make figures or not anymore. Just sucks. Scale means everything to me and I'm not doing a new scale just would be dumb. No thanks.

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18 hours ago, Belmont13 said:

I'm a little disappointed that he didn't give any updates on the Fallout line but I understand there was lot talk about, no biggie.

Yeah sorry, I didnt get to that one.

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19 hours ago, Neovorticism2 said:

Interesting interview, regarding the DC line I think I expected more than 3 waves a year.

I think that will expand as we go assuming the figures sell and there is demand. I kinda got the feeling that from the standpoint of walmart, and target the Spin Master and McFarlane stuff are almost viewed as one and the same. I think Walmart and Target expect the Spinmaster stuff will sell  in greater numbers than the McFarlane stuff. This is a pretty unique situation and not really comparable to Hasbro or even Mattel since McFarlane doesn't have control of the entire license, and in fact seems to be in the smaller/weaker position with Spin Master being the larger holder. 

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57 minutes ago, Wstone said:

I'm not going to lie I'm extremely disappointed I thought McFarlane would do a good job but I don't want 7inch figures so I guess I'm out of the DC figure collection. Just saves me money and I really don't care if they make figures or not anymore. Just sucks. Scale means everything to me and I'm not doing a new scale just would be dumb. No thanks.

If scale is truly that important to you then I think its perfectly reasonable to not collect these, as long as you understand its not really something McFarlane I think has much control over right now. Also there should be a realization that while you may feel that way about 6", there are other collectors who are perfectly happy with 7". It is near impossible to please everyone with everything so there is going to have to be some give and take on both ends.

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4 minutes ago, Wifeycollector said:

Great interview, great questions.

Thanks, glad you liked it.

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13 hours ago, DylanRaven055 said:

Great interview! Very insightful, and although I'm still not 100% invested in the line due to scale, I can understand Todd's point of view a little bit more. 

I really hope you can give us more interviews like this one @JayC, they're rather entertaining. 

On the topic of BAFs, I really like Todd's point of view about making them smaller waves, although I'm not a fan of the Batmobile thing, I would much rather a set of accessories like the computer he mentioned, or even things like tables, chairs, thing that can add more to the display of the figures. Really looking forward to seeing what he does with the line. The main things I'd like to see are different versions of the Teen Titans, I really want a nice looking/articulated Raven figure.

Thanks, glad you liked it. I was really happy overall with how the interview came out and I am going to look to try and do more with others in the industry. Todd is pretty unique because he is his own boss so he can speak fairly freely without worrying about saying something that might get him in trouble with his employer. Often when you interview people in the toy industry all you end up with are straight talking points which I find to be really boring and tend to be reluctant to want to do. Another hindrance was that it used to be very hard to do interviews other than at the conventions beyond written ones because the technology wasn't readily available for things like good video conference calls and such.  Its now much easier to sit down with someone face to face without being in the same room and do something like this.

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1 hour ago, JayC said:

Thanks, glad you liked it.

Yw, saw the whole interview, and I bet it was awesome being able to talk to a legend 

like Todd McFarlane . He Seems like a nice person  willing to answer your questions and elaborate as much as he could. Keep up the great reporting (work).

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16 hours ago, MisterSkeezler said:

Count me as someone that wants a "Build a Batcomputer," Todd. And the 7" scale is a dream come true!

I loved that idea. Just think if over time you could essentially put together a Batcave set up.

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18 hours ago, SpiderS said:

Fair points. I also always thought DC direct/Dc collectibles always had best dc figures sculpt, so even now I would rather get their animated Batman figures and their upcoming Classic essentials Batman than McFarlane stuff. 

I like the DC Collectible stuff to and since I have yet to get the McFarlane stuff in hand I can't really say which I like better. I suspect the McFarlane Animated stuff might be a little sturdier but IDK. I still kinda think McFarlane jumped the gun a bit on the animated stuff. Should have let DCC finish out their run and then come out later with Animated stuff if he thought the demand was there.

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4 minutes ago, Wifeycollector said:

Yw, saw the whole interview, and I bet it was awesome being able to talk to a legend 

like Todd McFarlane . He Seems like a nice person  willing to answer your questions and elaborate as much as he could. Keep up they great reporting (work).

Yeah, its not my first time interviewing him. I interviewed him at SDCC this past July with DC Collectibles' Jim Fletcher and if you have ever seen ShartimusPrime's interviews with him, I was there for those as well. In all honesty before I got to know him I used to think he was a bit pompous, but when you really start to get to know him and talk to him you see he really is a fan and passionate about what he does. I was always a fan of his artwork. I grew up on his Spider-Man and other Marvel titles, but in recent years my respect for the man himself as well as his action figures has really grown.

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Great interview and very interesting.  I've been a long time fan of Todd like many others, and I'm always interested to hear what he has to say, and especially on my favorite toys!  I liked hearing his philosophy on big figures like Bane, I was hoping the build a figure gimmick would go away, I've never liked it.  I want to just buy what I want, and I appreciate a creator that understands that.  

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1 hour ago, TheGrimeyGhost said:

Great interview and very interesting.  I've been a long time fan of Todd like many others, and I'm always interested to hear what he has to say, and especially on my favorite toys!  I liked hearing his philosophy on big figures like Bane, I was hoping the build a figure gimmick would go away, I've never liked it.  I want to just buy what I want, and I appreciate a creator that understands that.  

Thanks, glad you enjoyed the interview.

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