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Most Requested Figures: The Rocketeer

Sometimes as toy collectors, we can look across our displays and only see the toys that aren’t there. They are the missing figures. The characters toy companies never got around to, never thought were important enough, or worse – the figures companies felt the need to show us at comicon in the “We’re Never Gonna Make These” case. Saturdays are for these figures…

Up until now, we’ve limited our figure requests to additional figures in current toylines. We prefer not getting our hopes up, so we prefer to make reasonable requests. Well, not this week.

I thought of this a couple days ago, looked into it, got a little irritated about it, and decided it would be this week’s feature. This character has seen some product in toyform. He’s got a 12″ Medicom under his belt. He’s got a Kubrick. He’s got a a vinyl collectible doll that looks like a big cosbaby. I’ve seen a statue of him, but there’s no real “action figure” to his name. One company thought to ask and got a very unfortunate answer once. But, despite that lack of toyness, despite that unfortunate answer, I think this can be done and I think it’s well past time too. Fans need a 6-7″, articulated Rocketeer.

The Rocketeer is most known for his ’91 film of the same name. Though, he’s much older than that. He was created by Dave Stevens in the early 80s and had a handful of comic appearances to his belt well before the movie came to theatres. Stevens was inspired by the 30s and 40s serials and did an amazing job of crafting a character that fit into the era so well. The look, in particular, has captured more than a few of our imaginations, but we still don’t have a toy to show for it. Sadly, I believe the Rocketeer’s main claim to fame, the film, has been preventing the reality of a Rocketeer figure in the last twenty years.

Supposedly, the Rocketeer was intended to be more of a franchise film than a one-off movie, but as it often does, the box office saw a quick end to that. The film debuted at 4th place on its opening weekend (behind Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers, and Dying Young). It would go on to to earn more than it cost in domestic sales, leaving international sales and rental money as gravy, but Disney was done with the notion of it being a franchise and that was that.

Normally, Disney being done with something licensed may not be a deathknell, but in this case, Disney owns the Rocketeer outright. Similar to how we won’t be seeing anything new coming out of the now Disney-owned Crossgen material, the Rocketeer is Disney’s to keep from us.

But, I did tell you above about one company that had the thought to throw some Rocketeer fans a bone? That would be Toy Biz/Marvel Toys with the Legendary Comic Book Heroes line. At AFI’s Behind the Plastic Panel last year, some of the former Marvel Toys staff showed what they had planned had LCBH been able to continue. Among them was a slide of the Rocketeer in Marvel Legends form. Now, this wasn’t something they would have done, but just wanted to do. They tried their best to get a response from Disney, and when Disney did answer, they wanted millions for it. Check out that AFI’s Behind the Plastic Panel Coverage for specifics. Make sure to take a look at that 8th video, around the three minute mark, for a look at that proposed Rocketeer figure.

Even though Marvel Toys has since met their corporate-mandated demise, I think Disney can still get this done. What I want to see is something similar to their Indiana Jones release from last year, though it wouldn’t hurt if they did it a little better. Exclusivity wouldn’t be an issue because park exclusives can generally be ordered through Disney’s own mail-order business.

But, I don’t know what it would it take to convince Disney there’s a market for the Rocketeer. Maybe a larger line with some of the other characters done in that style? A better Indiana Jones? Captain Jack Sparrow? Tron? Judge Doom? Mary Poppins? Okay, I might be stretching it on some of those – but a Disney Legends line might be cool now that I think about it.

So what say you, readers? Is the Rocketeer a figure worth making or just another character we should put behind us?

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