I had a lot of MOTU figures when I was young and, appropriately, I love MOTU Classics. I wish more of the old toy lines would get their time in the sun like MOTUC. That’s one of the reasons we do this article. We want to see our childhood favorites get their due in plastic form and receive an update that lets them be the toys they never quite could be when we were kids. That’s why, for Round Two, I’m giving my staff pick in favor of the return of Blackstar.
Like most cartoons/toy lines, the premise of Blackstar was simple. John Blackstar was a space pilot from a future version of Earth that was sucked into a black hole and teleported to the planet Sagar. Magic and sorcery were the tools of power there, and he soon found himself defending the munchkin-like Trobbits from the evils of the Overlord. Blackstar was aided by his friends: a winged dragon mount named Warlock, the shapeshifter Klone, and a female sorceress called Mara. Overlord and Blackstar fought for thirteen episodes, mostly over the Powersword. Both of them possessed half of the sword, while trying to capture the opposite half from each other.
Sound familiar? Blackstar, like all great cliché mono-myths, borrowed heavily from other sources. It’s part of a group of kids programs that sprang up all around the same time, that deal with very similar themes and an upsurge in mixing sci-fi with sword and sorcery type fantasies. Most of it is probably due to the Star Wars franchise, and the fact that A New Hope was released in 1977. But there’s also Thundarr the Barbarian, the DC comic book Warlord, and Masters of the Universe to name a few that joined Blackstar in this theme.
And what a theme it is. What kid doesn’t want to explore strange new worlds, and lost civilizations? What kid doesn’t want to harness forgotten magics while fighting off evil with a mixture of old school swords and new ray guns? What better way to do that than through action figures, and Blackstar had those too.
From 1983 to 1985, Galoob produced three waves of toys. By the end, they had thirty unique characters, five different vehicles, and one playset. Not too bad for a three year run.
They stood a little taller than MOTU by virtue of their unflexed limbs. Each figure also had the basic five points of articulation and included whatever accessory was pertinent to them and a pack-in figure. All the good guys came with a Trobbit, the bad guys came with a demon. These figures were smaller, about a quarter of the size of the main figure, and were one molded piece. They couldn’t move, but they were still cool to get.
So, what do I want? I want Blackstar to get the MOTU Classics treatment. Mattel can’t do it, because they don’t own the rights. Galoob was purchased by Hasbro a few years ago, but it’s likely the rights have reverted back to Entertainment Rights, the keeper of all things Filmation. Are they willing to license it? I don’t know, but I hope so. If another company wants to experiment with an online exclusive toyline, they should try Blackstar. But they need to make sure to update them. They need to use MOTUC as an example in articulation, style, detail, and scale. Being compatible with MOTU would be a plus. And, if they can find a way to pack in a somewhat articulated demon or Trobbit with each figure, then that would be even better.