In 1979, Ridley Scott's "Alien" set the box office on fire...but the film was a bit too dark and violent for traditional action figures.
Times have changed, and now you can buy all manner of plastic acid-spewing Xenomorphs. But Super7, who's already doing old-school "Alien" pint glasses, has gotten the rights to the never-made Kenner "Alien" figures -- and soon, you'll be able to buy plastic replicas of Sigourney Weaver and company as they might have appeared on toy shelves in 1979.
Super7's Frank Supiot explained the genesis of these "ReAction Figures" to us. "Kenner created five prototype figures, but they never proceeded with making molds for manufacturing.," Supiot said. "The Super7 ReAction Figures are exactly what was planned to be released in 1979 – we do not want to change the toys or intentions in any way at all. For some characters, we were able to acquire actual castings of the original figures, for others, we would have to use photos or reference material to complete our prototypes. Countless hours have been spent ensuring that the 'Alien' figures are authentic and accurate as possible."
The history of these figures has long been a point of fascination for Supiot. "Although the figures were planned to be on shelves along with the film itself in 1979, I first learned of the aborted plans for 3 ¾” 'Alien' action figures from an article in Tomart’s Action Figure Digest in 1995," Supiot said." The magazine is based in Ohio, same as the old Kenner offices, so they had good connections to firsthand stories from former employees. It was mind blowing to realize what we were denied as kids! We should have had epic Aliens vs The Empire wars in backyard battlefields across the country. Making the toys even more of a rarity is the fact that they never appeared in a catalog or were exhibited at any toy fairs.
"Once I started working in the toy industry, reviving this line has always been in the back of my head. We started to track down 'Alien'reference, information, and original castings or prototypes…the 'discovery phase' went literally for years before we realized that we had enough to move forward and actually make the toys! Our next step was to approach our friends at 20th Century Fox and make our first of many' presentations in order to acquire the necessary permissions and licenses to make these 'dream toys' for real!"
But what do these toys have that more modern versions don't? Supiot sums it up with one word: "Charm." "When you hold one of these toys in your hands, it looks fun and it feels fun," Supiot says. "The toy isn’t trying to be a life-like recreation of Tom Skerritt, but rather a representation of Captain Dallas. The style distills the character down to its essence, and in many ways, makes it iconic.
"I think people dismiss, for example, old 'Star Wars' figures as being simplified or not very detailed, but I don’t see it that way at all. I view them as stylized, but not simplified. In studying the castings of the 'Alien' prototypes, I was amazed at the details that the original sculptors included. There were even small costume details present in the figures that I had never noticed in the films, and just as interesting is wondering about the thought process that was made in adapting such details to a tiny, stylized scale."
Should the figures, which are due out later this year, prove successful, Supiot and Super7 have plans to do more "Alien" figures in this style, including additional characters and playsets -- and possibly even some toys from the sequel, "Aliens."
And there might be even more classic films being immortalized in old-school plastic: "Fans have come out of the woodwork asking us to 'right the wrongs of toy history' and revive cancelled lines, extend incomplete lines, or create figures which were overlooked by the manufacturers of the time," "I add every suggestion to an ongoing list on my hard drive." Sadly, this writer discovered his was the only request for "Dragonslayer."
Thanks again to Super7 for these pics -- and you can see more of their "Alien" ReAction toys and glasses on their website.
Planning to get these...or are there any other classic flicks you'd like to see in figure-form? Let us know!