The Nacelle Company began as a production entity known for Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us, but it turns out they themselves may have been the biggest toy fans of all. Taking what they learned during the making of the docuseries, founder and CEO Brian Volk Weiss set out to actually make toys as well, seeking out older licenses that remained dormant with an eye to revival. “Most of ’em are locked up with Hasbro, or Marvel, or Mattel, or whatever,” Weiss told Superhero Hype in a conversation at Comic-Con. “But as you can tell from what we’re doing, there are brands out there that are available if you know where they are, and you know the people, and you have the money to get ’em.”
Weiss began with online preorders for revived versions of ’80s cult lines Robo Force and Sectaurs. More recently he added the ’90s TMNT-ish Biker Mice From Mars and an obscure ’50s remote-control monster toy called the Great Garloo, which Funko and Super7 had already made tributes to. Next will be the Wayne Barlowe-designed aliens of Power Lords, and an as-yet-unannounced sixth property (dare we hope for Inhumanoids?). They’ll all have cartoons, kicking off with Robo Force and Biker Mice From Mars, which will include crossover characters from the other lines.
Aside from being set far enough in the future to casually feature multiple alien races like the Sectaurians, Weiss says of the Biker Mice show, “Storywise it’ll be probably about 80% the same, because it has a really passionate fanbase and it’s a great story. But we will be modernizing it. We might spend a little bit more money on writers, and I say that as a fan, but it’ll be very true to the original, just like the toys. The toys are exactly like the original as relates to aesthetics, but we took advantage of new toy technology, and that’s the exact same logic we use for the cartoon.”
Indeed, aside from the lack of spring-loaded antennae, no longer permitted by safety rules, the figures look very familiar. Robo Force, however, have undergone an almost Todd McFarlane-esque redesign for their pepperpot-shaped characters. Why such a change there?
“For two reasons,” Weiss says. “One is, unlike Biker Mice or even Sectaurs, no-one cares. There was no constituency for Robo Force. With Biker Mice, if we made changes, people are gonna be mad. Sectaurs, to a lesser degree, but still. There’s no Robo Force fans out there! You don’t go around here and see people dressed like Robo Force…yet. The second thing is it was a really problematic toy. It didn’t have legs. They were in the bargain bin two weeks after they came out. I couldn’t play with them because they didn’t have legs! So they’d have this stupid suction cup, which I love, but most people didn’t. So it was like, let’s keep the suction cups, but give them legs.”
Read the FULL INTERVIEW HERE in SuperHeroHype