In April, Super7’s ThunderCats Ultimates! Wave 3 was made available for preorder on Super7.com. ThunderCats.org caught up with owner Brian Flynn to get some additional insights into the latest wave, find out what the future holds, and seek answers to some burning questions.
TC.org: Hi Brian! Thank you for taking the time again to talk to us. Wave 3 made an early debut at Toy Fair this February, just a month after Wave 2’s preorder ended. When we last spoke, it wasn’t part of the plan to reveal Wave 3. What made you decide to reveal them after all?
BF: Well, it was a good time and place to do it. Everybody’s there, expecting to see new things. It was also right before we planned to put the wave up for preorder, so it was the perfect time to reveal it.
TC.org: A lot of your display material at previous shows, plus online posts, have been using the original ThunderCats logo. Even the packaging sample in your recent Instagram post shows the vintage logo again. Is this the logo you will be using, and have there been any rights issues with which version you may use?
BF: Yes, that’s the one we’ll be using. As far as I know, everything is fine with us using it, and no one has told us not to use it.
TC.org: The packaging has also been updated to a black exterior with a red band at the bottom vs the all red exterior from before. Even the backdrop is reminiscent of the vintage LJN card. Clearly a lot of thought was put into this?
BF: Yeah we updated the packaging; it was a combination of feedback from the license holders and we ourselves who also wanted to change it. We wanted to do those exploding edges or whatever it is called which is now an iconic look from the vintage packaging.
TC.org: Jaga was the last from the original Mattel lineup that we had a visual for and is now finally available to preorder. Was it an easy choice to include him in this wave after Grune was made available in Wave 2?
BF: Yes, I mean, obviously Jaga alongside Cheetara has been the most asked for characters for a while now. How can you not release him now?
TC.org: Jaga comes with additional heads, one being unhelmeted, the second confirmed as the “old man Jaga” head, presumably from the very first episode right before he died. When can we expect to see this head?
BF: We’ll see it soon. We’re getting towards the end of the month so we have to show that. I’ve seen pictures of it, of the sculpture and the paint version.
TC.org: Fans have been campaigning to have a young Jaga head also included in this release and you touched on it briefly with Pixel Dan. What is the latest on that?
BF: We’ve had a discussion on the young Jaga head. He won’t be included in this release, but it may be released down the line as a pack in or something.
TC.org: Jaga is ideal to have his spirit version made available as an exclusive. When you think of this version of him, would you do a translucent Jaga or a painted Jaga?
BF: I’d say translucent blue with minor paint, tone on tone. Sometimes having a figure completely translucent doesn’t work because you see the joints and so on.
TC.org: Jaga is shown to come with a plastic cape in the prototype, and you mentioned in the video that he will come with a soft goods cape. In your recent chat with Pixel Dan you meant to find out whether both will be available. Any news on this? Is tooling a deciding factor?
BF: He will have both. With Mumm-Ra, the sheer width of it all made the thing preposterously expensive. With Jaga there was a lot of back and forth, and we decided to make him the perfect Ultimates! figures and give you both.
TC.org: Fans voiced concern upfront that, when you eventually make a spirit Jaga, the cape wouldn’t work as fabric, and that therefore the tooling of a plastic cape should be the way to go since it can be reused later.
BF: Well, it’s not like you don’t get a see-through fabric, it’s just that you don’t get a proper one. They’re all shriveled.
TC.org: Was choosing which version of Jaga to release first an easy one? Some may argue that the spirit version appeared more than the human version, while others can argue the toy is more popular.
BF: It’s like half of one, half of the other, if you think about it. We wanted to give you Jaga from the very first episode, so we decided, “Let’s do that!”
TC.org: Jaga also comes with the as yet unseen magical cloth that he hands out to the team before their arrival on Third Earth. This demonstrates Super7’s investment in going deep into the characters and their history. Can we expect more, similarly fun accessories in the future?
BF: Yeah, definitely. We’re casting the magical cloth in clear with flex and some paint, and you can put his hand inside like when he handed it out to them in the cartoon.
TC.org: You’ve mentioned previously that the Ultimates! brand is intended to give us as many extras as possible to enhance the figures. More accessories, additional heads and extra hands appear to be the norm. Slithe was spotted at Toy Fair with a pair of extra hands but not in the recent marketing material. Can we expect to see him have those too?
BF: We try to give us much as we can within reason. Slithe does have two sets of hands.
TC.org: Slithe has two axes. One resembles his LJN axe spot on. Mummy Mumm-Ra’s staff and Grune’s knuckle dusters also resembled their toy accessory counterparts. Is it your plan to continue to include such accessories that may have come with the LJN figures but were not necessarily in the show?
BF: This is one of those things that makes it fun for us. We want to give you what you watched on TV, but we also want to give you what you had with the toy. We all spent more time with the toys as kids than with TV show, so we have a true affinity for the toys we got then.
TC.org: Tying in with this, Mumm-Ra’s Ever-Living version from LJN had a dagger and sword that were not included with your Wave 2 figure. Would it be possible to see those down the road included with a variant of Mumm-Ra?
BF: Mmm… this is not a bad idea. When, where, how, I don’t know. We keep a running list of things that people bring up or that we think of that we could have made or should make. I’ll write this one down. *teases*
TC.org: Slithe could also double up as a variant generic mutant from the first episodes. What is your take on variants in the ThunderCats Ultimates! line? We know you have a passion for variants.
BF: I love it. I think that we will get to a point where some of that stuff happens. Wave 1 is not that far away. We’d want to get the figures into people’s hands first. Like, let’s deliver Wave 1 and 2 and then have fun with it. If we were to make a generic mutant now, fans would go, “Hey, time out! I need to get that and that figure first.” We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves just yet, but there certainly is no reason not to do it. It’s like the spirit Jaga—not everybody needs to have that version of the character, and some people will skip it. It will work well for conventions and stuff like that, and we will have a smaller run of such a variant figure.
TC.org: Slithe seems to be massive in comparison to other figures, and his look was captured spot on. His sculpt is very unique. Just how big is he?
BF: Exactly! Oh boy, he is huge! He is between a softball and basketball in size! We went back and forth on him. There’s more than just the tooling and the body. This thing is preposterously big.
TC.org: Does this mean we can expect all kinds of differently sized characters that don’t fit the standard buck we know?
BF: I mean, Captain Cracker is 100% unique. Slithe is 100% unique. When it makes sense and relates to the character, yes, we certainly will make them to match the height and size, etc.
TC.org: With so many weapon choices available for accessories, the Warp Gas grenades were something some fans expected to be paired with a Slithe release. Are these a possible inclusion with unreleased figures such a Monkian or Vultureman?
BF: I will check on that, it’s not on our radar right now. *adds “warp gas grenades” to the list* But it is possible.
TC.org: It is clear that the fans have some input when it comes to accessories and figures’ looks. What would you say is the proper forum for fans to request specific deep-cut accessories that might not be on Super7’s or Four Horsemen’s radar?
BF: When we look at what to include, we talk about what would be cool. If something is not included it’s probably because we purposely couldn’t get to it. Sometimes we have to draw a line in the sand. But it’s our goal to make as much good stuff as we can. We won’t think of everything. Generally speaking we take note of the comments from fans when we make new posts online. Is there only one person saying this, or are there lots of people commenting about something, like the young Jaga head. Sometimes we’re like, “How did we miss that?” And we ask ourselves, “Is there a place for it now or somewhere in the future?”
TC.org: Vultureman presents the same scenario of a weapon that was included with the toy that never appeared on the show. How do you decide what to include with each release? Do you compare what the vintage toy offered?
BF: We ask ourselves, “What do you think of when thinking of a character?” That’s basically where we’ll start.
TC.org: Moving on, Cheetara sped into our hearts when she was revealed. With this release, you’ve made many fans’ dreams come true by finally completing the adult core characters. How does it feel to achieve something that many thought would never happen?
BF: *laughs* We always knew that she was coming. I’ve known for a long time. People were like, “They’ll never finish the line, it will be another incomplete line,” and so on. Of course we were gonna make her! I mean, it’s Cheetara! So you can just trust me when I say it. But it’s nice to see that people are happy.
TC.org: Was Cheetara strategically chosen to be included early on over other ThunderCats like Bengali and Lynx-O?
BF: Yes—simply because everybody wanted her.
TC.org: Cheetara will boast the new chest swivel that your Club Grayskull She-Ra, Sorceress and Teela figures had, but the Pumyra prototype from Wave 2 had a waist cut instead. Are these pure design choices on what would work best?
BF: Pumyra has the chest swivel too. We made sure of that as we went into production. A whole lot of things come in to play. What we show is a resin sculpture, painted in matte paint. It looks far matter than you can get. Colors needs to be modified and updated. Like with Tygra, when we mixed the color it looked great, but the moment it dried it was different, so we keep developing these things right until days before we go live with it. Then when it gets out people comment on things like, “He should have five toes and not four,” things like that. These things happen throughout the process. We try our best to show everything that we can in those first pictures, but it can’t always have all of it included. Paint may cover the articulation lines and you can’t see it. But with Pumyra, we made sure that she also has the chest swivel that matches Cheetara.
TC.org: Can you settle this—will Cheetara’s staff be yellow like her toy and cartoon counterpart, or has it been classicized into a more golden color? We know that photos do not always correctly display the colors.
BF: When we started we wanted to have her staff have some kind of gold metallic color. Like with Lion-O’s sword which is metal, it would then have a metal look. When it comes to accessories, ideally for me I don’t like to paint them but instead opt to inject the color into the plastic. We’ve decided to go more with a flat yellow for Cheetara now and not the metallic color that is in the photos.
TC.org: Cheetara was originally listed as having an open and closed “communicator.” They are in fact the Locket Of Lies that appeared in the episode of the same title. Can you confirm that this is the case?
BF: Yes, it has been fixed. It definitely is the Locket of Lies. It is the Turtles that come with communicators!
TC.org: The second head sculpt that comes with Cheetara is an unexpected surprise and a true representation of her character. Whose idea was it to include that type of head and not a similar growling head as the previous ThunderCats?
BF: As we talked about Cheetara, the thought process was what do you think of or remember about her when you mention Cheetara. It was clear that we had to have the running pose head.
TC.org: Some photos of Cheetara’s prototype seems to confirm that her short staff will affix to her arm. Will Cheetara’s bracelets on the other arm be loose, or part of her forearm mold?
BF: Yes, the staff does affix to the arm. The bracelets will be part of the mold.
TC.org: Panthro’s spinning nunchuck is one of the most inspired accessories we’ve seen, and some fans wish Cheetara’s staff had a similarly kinetic-looking variant. Might we expect more kinetic-looking accessories in future waves, or are they too large and expensive to produce regularly?
BF: Funny that you mention Panthro—we’ve reversed the colors of that spinning nunchuck. He’s now holding the blue side and spinning the other side. In the end such accessories really depend on the character, and we go back and forth, deciding what makes sense for this specific character.
TC.org: The biggest surprise at Toy Fair was of course the unexpected inclusion of a lesser known B-list character. This proves your commitment to have a long-lasting line. Why did you choose Captain Cracker? And don’t say “because,” haha.
BF: I mean come on—just look at that smile! He’s rogue, a rapscallion—what more can you ask for? When we were planning things, it was obvious that we were going to get the main team out first, but we thought when we have these out, let’s start getting the interesting and unique characters you’re not expecting so early. I mean, with TMNT you know that you’ll get one turtle per wave. So you know that four waves in you’ll have all four turtles. But why not get into characters like Muckman and the other guys—interesting, fun characters? The reality is that while you’ll get a lovely Leonardo, you may not need another Leonardo, but you definitely will need a Muckman. You probably didn’t need a Panthro or Lion-O when we started, but you need a Captain Cracker.
TC.org: Was it an easier choice to include a character that had an LJN figure over a character that never had a figure?
BF: Not really. It just gives you more options for paint and weapons, whereas unproduced characters do not have this framework to work from.
TC.org: Captain Cracker’s robot parrot, Polly, makes its debut in toy form too. Thank you for this. Can you explain how the wings will work? There seems to be an open and closed version of them.
BF: The wings will clip on so you can replace these and display the version that you want.
TC.org: The belt that Captain Cracker comes with—will that be glued shut or will it be possible to remove it in the same way Pumyra’s belt can be removed? Will the dagger that is in the belt also be removable?
BF: I’m sure that you can slide the belt down his legs if you wanted to take it off, because it is a separate piece that is meant to hang on his waste. As to whether it unclasps, I’m not sure. I do believe the dagger will be removable.
TC.org: You’re left with WilyKit, WilyKat, Lynx-O, Bengali, Snarf and Snarfer as the main ThunderCats characters still to produce. Is it your plan to release these sooner rather than later?
BF: Well, you’ve gotten WilyKit and WilyKat before, so what’s more important to get to? That’s why we gave you Cheetara now. We’ll get there. You’ll see.
TC.org: Once these have been released, we’re entering a new phase of characters that may not be as popular as the well-known core ensemble, but who are loved worldwide by fans of the franchise. Does this make selecting characters more difficult to keep the casual collector invested?
BF: I’m not sure, we’re gonna have to see. When you compare it to Masters of the Universe, a lot of people will be buying Skeletor and He-Man. But once you get past the main lot, there is a base level of fans that remain interested in those types of characters. Those guys or gals will buy whatever you make. What is surprising is that, the deeper we go into a line, the more people suddenly get on board, mainly because we then have such a good selection of figures already made, and people get invested in the line.
TC.org: As a result of being temporarily laid off due to the pandemic, many fans may now choose to preorder with stores such as Entertainment Earth or Big Bad Toy Store, where payment isn’t immediate. Given the current climate, you’ve generously offered a payment plan for Wave 3. Should we expect other pandemic-related changes? Will the next wave scheduled for July be delayed?
BF: We’ll be stretching it out a little bit more. Everybody’s affected. People are more concerned about their finances now, which is understandable. We’re looking at revealing Wave 4 in August.
TC.org: You mentioned that there was going to be an exclusive later in the year. When would that be? Christmastime? And would that figure or item be shipped immediately, like with Holiday He-Man, or a preorder like the Laughing Prince Adam from MOTU Club Grayskull?
BF: It’s a little up in the air at the moment. With SDCC now canceled, there is also uncertainty about whether New York Comic Con will happen. Nobody knows. Big sports events have also been canceled, so something smaller like Power-Con may also then not happen. We don’t know. For us, convention season is basically canceled for this year. But with regards to how we’re going to do it, my assumption is that we could perhaps do like an online SDCC kinda thing. When and where I don’t know. Normally we would make that figure ahead of time and have it available at that event. In the case of Laughing Prince Adam, where everybody was losing their minds because they couldn’t get it, we went back into production. The exclusive would be some time later this year.
TC.org: There are obviously still many characters to choose from that were LJN toys. Do you want to get those out of the way first, or do you plan on introducing the fan-demanded characters that never had toys in the mix?
BF: We have many conversations about this. There is lots of back and forth. We talk about which figures we want to make as well. Captain Cracker is a prime example of that. Nobody expected him so soon.
TC.org: Can you tease as to which wave we should expect to see the first character that never had an LJN release?
TC.org: And don’t say no comment.
BF: *laughs again* No comment! Ha! Hey, I gotta sell this wave first. I just showed you these like ten minutes ago. Let’s get this out of the way first and then we’ll talk again in August.
TC.org: Lastly, you have everybody going crazy because of your ThunderTank tease in the Pixel Dan video. You even showed that its size would be rather huge. Can you leave us with this—the cartoon tank sat two in front while the LJN toy only had space for one. Would you look at seating two or one in front? Hypothetically speaking…
BF: Hypothetically speaking? I’d have to say you gotta make it correct. I mean, it has to have seating for two figures in the front and the rest of the gang in the back, right…?
Founded in 2001, Super7® is the premier pop-culture design house and producer of lifestyle-oriented collectibles, toys and apparel based in San Francisco.
Led by designer Brian Flynn, Super7® has harnessed the graphics, aesthetics and energy of his youthful obsession with science fiction, giant monsters, comic books, punk rock, skateboarding, robots and rebellion to build a unique and innovative business that crosses all categories and is not bound by traditional manufacturing boundaries.
Besides its own branded products, Super7 has also designed, manufactured, and distributed officially licensed programs for Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, the original Alien and Planet of the Apes movies, as well as for music legends Iron Maiden, the Misfits, and King Diamond.
Super7® now brings that same unique aesthetic to its new line, Supersports™ by Super7®, to create a new multi-category line of unique collectibles for sport fans worldwide and lead by its brand-new licensing agreement with Major League Baseball.