Below are questions from AFI, Fwoosh, AFHub, Kastor's Korner, TNI, etc. that Mattel has answered, and also compiled from various Toy Guru interviews (thanks VB!).
As relevant products are released at retail or no longer needed, I'll remove the question. As new ones are answered, I'll add them. Pretty simple, and this way you don't have to wade thru many-paged threads searching for ToyGuru's posts to get the info you're looking for regarding DCUC.
Q: What are the release dates for wave 2 & 3?
Wave 2 of DCUC should be out by March with Wave 3 following in May.
Q: When can we expect 4 and 5 to be released?
Wave 4 should be out in the summer, Wave 5 will be early fall.
Q: What about the wave one variants? What is the paint variant in wave one?
It would have been an Etrigan repaint with black lips and slightly different eyes (in a more Kirby look). Unfortunately in our efforts to get Wave 2 out as quick as possible, the Wave 1 variants took a powder. We are working on finding ways to get these to the market, perhaps in future mixes.
Q: What about the wave two Firestorm variants?
Because there was so much demand for both versions of Firestorm, he has been changed from a variant to a running change. The first half of the WAVE 2 production will be Ronnie, the second half will be Jason.
Q: What is the ratio for the Superman red & blue variants in wave 2?
Superman Red/Blue will continue to ship 50/50 throughout the run.
Q: What is the chase Aquaman and what will be the normal? Is there a percent for that chase??
The standard version of Aquaman has short hair. The percentage of the chase version has not been announced.
Q: What are the variants for wave 3?
The variants will be Sinestro in his Sinestro corps uniform (complete with a new sculpted belt) and Deathstroke the Terminator without his mask on.
Q: Will unique character variants like Ronnie and Jason Firestorm be evenly-shipped so fans can get all of the unique characters?
We are still working out a lot of these logistics, but for the most part, variants with unique heads will be evenly shipped while paint deco changes will be more of a chase figure packed in smaller quantities.
Q: Will we see the classic versions of characters as the main figures, while modern versions become the variants & chases?
Which character is the chase version and which is the standard is handled on a figure by figure basis. Many factors are considered; this ranges from fan interest to ethnic diversity. We also look at what figures could be done as stand-alone figures and who really only works as a chase variant. If a character had more then one costume or a simple deco change makes this character unique, then that gets priority over doing a head sculpt change. For example, it made sense to do both versions of Firestorm now, rather then sell classic Firestorm now and modern Firestorm later on.
While there is no set rule, we are shooting to do at least two head sculpts and a deco change in each wave. This will help get as many characters into fans hands as quickly as possible. I’m also personally pushing to make the variants as unique as possible. If fans are going to spend money on a new figure we really need to deliver something that is worth it. Not just a change in expression, but if possible a truly unique character that given a logical head swap could share the “body” of the regular version.
Q: When will wave 4 and 5 be revealed?
While we will not be showing all of Wave 4 of the DCUC at NYTF we will be revealing the major character from this wave in 2-up form. Wave 4 will be revealed at NY Comic Con in April (and possibly Wave 5 as well…)
Q: With the 3 announced waves of DCUC, only 1 female made the cut. Will we be getting more females in the remaining 2 waves for ‘08?
Yes. At least two, maybe more.
Q: Will characters such as the Flash and Kid Flash get extra articulation to get into their trademark running poses?
This is something we are looking into. Our designers and the Four Horsemen are always striving to bring the best quality figures for every single character.
Q: Are there any planned (or expressed interest) for any DCUC retailer exclusives this year?
Yes! We actually have some terrific retailer exclusives coming out this fall that will include unique figures available nowhere else. More will be announced on this at NY Comic Con.
Q: Will you be re-releasing the 4H designed characters from DCSH in the DCUC packaging so as to give people coming to the line as DCUC a chance to catch up?
We do have plans to bring some of the harder to find DCSH figures back into the line. Just how and when they will show up remains to be seen…
Q: Are there going to be DCUC 2-packs coming out soon? If yes, which characters can we expect to see? This seems like a good way to re-release previous figures from DCSH that were hard to find (like Azrael and Cyborg Superman) and even from the older Batman series (like Attack Armor and Bat Signal Batman).
These are great suggestions and something our design team has discussed in great detail. We don’t have anything to announce quite yet, but stay tuned…
Q: Will the 2up figures from the DCSH line continue with the new Classics line?
Yes! The first new figure will be Killer Croc, out this Spring along with repaints of Superman and Batman.
Q: If the line takes off and becomes a full blown success in 2008, will there be plans of expansion? Are things like two packs, box sets, vehicles and playsets all in the cards for possible expansion? Towards that end, will the Build-a-figure always be a figure? Could vehicles or the like be possible down the road?
All of these ideas are on the table. One of the things I’ve found a bit odd this year is that I get pounded by requests from fans asking for boxed sets or this character or that vehicle. But the bottom line is the first year’s worth of figures hasn’t even hit retail yet! It is impossible for me to comment on anything past the 2008 line up until we see how the first year performs at retail. I can say this, nothing is off the table and all of us at Mattel see this as our flagship DC line for quite a few years.
It is difficult to make vehicles and playsets based on a 6” line due to scale issues. A playset for a 6” figure would need to be huge and it is difficult to find a logistical way to bring something like this to retail. We are exploring the possibility of vehicles and playsets for other DC lines. Look for some major announcements at Toy Fair in Feb!
Q: Is Mattel moving forward on a possible "Mattel Direct" online store direct from the source?
This is something we are looking into. I don’t have anything to announce right now but we are well aware of the fan demand for a program like this. If we do launch a DTC website we want to do it right which means a little time and effort need to go into it. Once we have more news you can bet we will make an announcement.
Q: Will there be convention exclusives this year?
We can confirm there will be a DCUC figure for Comic Con. It will be a “new” figure that shares some existing parts. But it will be just as “new” as Orion and Red Tornado sharing parts. We can’t give any more hints at this time other then to say it is a an alien figure.
I can't reveal any more info at this time, but I can tell fans that our DCUC Comic Con figure is going to set the new standard for Comic Con exclusives. Not only is it an all new figure, but it will be a huge surprise and will raise the bar forever. While it does share some parts, 80% of the figures in the DCU line share some parts like legs and torsos.
We'll be revealing all of our 2008 San Diego Exclusives in April at NY Comic Con. The NY Comic Con repaint exclusive will be revealed in the next issue of Toy Fare.
Q: Is there a plan for making the exclusives at Wizard World Chicago and SDCC available to people who are not able to attend the conventions?
The convention exclusives are specifically designed to reward fans who trek out to each show. If we made all of our exclusives available at retail it would diminish the unique collectibility of these figures. Currently the plan is for these figures to be available only at San Diego Comic Con this year. (Wizard World and NY will share some other repaint and re-release exclusives which will be announced soon).
While we cannot guarantee everyone at the show will be able to get all of the exclusives, those who make it a priory to pick up Mattel figures at our booth should have no problem. We do plan to sell out by the end of the show. If we do not sell out, we may explore options such as a web store but no details are set at this point.
Q: Since Mattel has the license to produce toys based on upcoming movies like The Dark Knight, is there a chance you will also be making toys from the Watchmen movie?
The Watchmen movie, along with other Vertigo and non DCU projects will be handled by DC Direct.
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DCUC LINE:
Q: A great a mount of the line's success has to be due to the amazing design and sculpting by the Four Horsemen. Going forward, is it the plan to keep them as the exclusive sculptors for the line?
Yes. Currently the Four Horsemen are as committed to this line as those of us at Mattel. One of the main goals of this line is to deliver a huge amount of DC Figures in a similar style. The Four Horsemen not only deliver an amazing style and breathtaking sculpts, but their commitment and knowledge about the DC Universe would blow most fan boys away. It really is a great match.
Q: How does the process work for filling out a wave of figures in the DCUC line?
The first thing we do is make a master list of all the characters we want to do. For 2008 our general rule was to include one A-list character, a villain for this character, two B–list characters, and one fan favorite (which we get from reading the online polls). We run this list by Warner Bros, DC Comics, the Four Horsemen, and even do focus group testing before making our final selections.
Q: There has been a noticeable hero/villain pairing in each assortment taking a hero and a notable the villain from the hero's rogue gallery such as Batman & Penguin in series one as well as Aquaman and Black Manta in series two. Will this continue?
Yes, this is a strategy we will continue in throughout 2008. By offering both a hero and his/her villain it creates what in the toy industry is called a “play pattern” and helps give a reason for being for the wave.
Although, the connection figure may not always be an enemy. Sometimes it might be a love interest or perhaps their butler.
Q: Regarding DCUC 3 - some of us are finding both Nightwing and Robin a little too muscular. Is there a chance that some adjustments can be done before he is released, like when you fixed Firestorm's head?
Unfortunate we ran into some trouble with the Firestorm change which almost held the wave up (it did not) so we won’t be making any more changes at the last minute in the near future. The last thing we would want to do is hold a wave up or prevent fans from getting a particular figure.
Q: Do you take fan polls and Top Ten lists into consideration when deciding on a line up of characters? Can characters be "helped along" with strong support in these polls?
We absolutely look at online fan polls when deciding which figures we want to make. But not every figure on fan’s lists necessarily works for the every line. We work closely with our licensing partners at Warner Brothers and DC Comics to help choose the most appropriate figures for each of our DC toy lines. We have tried to reserve one slot in each wave for a “fan request” which we pull directly from online polls.
Q: Have the character polls on AFI and Fwoosh influenced the variants or characters in the DCUC line going forward?
Absolutely. We look at many of the fan polls when reviewing new figure concepts. We try to keep one slot in each wave open for a fan request from the polls and message boards that might not otherwise make the cut.
Q: For you personally, which is your personal favorite? What character do you want to see find his/her way into a future line-up the most? How about for a build-a-figure?
Of the characters we have revealed so far, I really like Etrigan and Firestorm. Although some of my favorites are in the works and have yet to be announced. Personally I am a big fan of the WWII era characters. I’d love to see Blackhawk and Hourman in the line. Shazam would be great too. As for a build-a-figure, I’d love to do a more in scale Darkseid.
Q: Can you tell us what characters are considered "A-list" and would be able to anchor an assortment of DCUC figures. We know Batman and Superman, but what about Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, etc.?
All of the main heroes of the JLU are pretty much “A” list characters as far as our unofficial internal character selection process. “B” list characters are more like Dr. Fate, Mr. Terrific, Black Canary. “C” list character would be people like Steel, Orion, Dead Shot, and fan favorites would be characters like Etrigan, Kamandi, Blue Devil, etc…
Honestly, there is no set rule, but as far as the “A” list anchor characters, we look at Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern(s), Shazam, Flash, Hawkman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter as good core characters to anchor a line.
Q: The Four Horsemen mentioned some years back that they wanted to get a crack at Flash and his Rogues Gallery. Will they get a chance to do that for DCUC?
We are looking forward to exploring all of the major and minor characters of the DC Universe and their respective rogues. And the Fastest Man Alive certainly has some cool villains that are just screaming for toys huh?
Q: Are there any updates to give about the availability of the Charlton Characters?
This is something we are working on and hope to have an announcement soon. (perhaps at Toy Fair…)
Q: Is there a possibility we could see smaller figures that would not warrant their own box, produced as pack in figures? Examples: Dr. Psycho, Mr. Mxyzptlk, or Bat-Mite.
Anything is possible and this is something we have discussed. No plans to announce just yet however.
Q: Why can't you make Lobo!?
Okay, Lobo. That is not a made up answer. It is part of our contract. We do not have access to certain characters that are not child appropriate. I guess Lobo was available for the cartoon show. But for the toy line he is not. (at this time). When we say it is a legal thing, that is why. Mattel does not own these characters and we must respect the wishes of our licensing partners.
Would you be willing to give a little information as to what "teams" might represented in series 4 and 5 of DCUC? Teen Titans? JSA? JLI? JLA? New Gods?
Year 1 of the DCUC figures is really about exploring the entire Universe. We are very committed to building all of the major and minor teams from the JSA to the Metal Men and even the Legion of Superheroes and the Rogues. Everyone is fair game. There are not any specific teams being created this year, but by the end of year 2 and 3 you should really see some good teams forming. Our long-term goal for the line is not to build teams over the course of a single wave, but rather at the end of say, 5 years, you can look back and say, “Wow, I have all the JLU core members, and all of the Doom Patrol.” When building teams we are making sure not to leave anyone out. It will happen very organically. You’ll wind up with the whole crew; it will just take some time. But hey- isn’t that the fun of action figure collecting!