Including EXCLUSIVE character designs and early sculpts…
All things considered, Planet of the Apes’ 50th anniversary has been a relatively low-key affair, even in the genre fandom zeitgeist.
We celebrated here at 13th Dimension with Apes Week back in February — the movie premiered in New York City on Feb. 8, 1968 — but we’ve not seen the raft of think pieces and retrospectives that you might expect elsewhere.
Maybe it’s because as much as I love Planet of the Apes — and boy do I — it’s been surpassed by Star Wars, Star Trek, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and maybe a few others) in the pantheon of sci-fi/adventure film franchises.
Sure, we’ve had a successful reboot trilogy but those films are as noteworthy for their distance from the original movies as they are for their occasional references to them.
Boom! Studios has kept the flame alive for awhile now with its various comics series and collections, and this summer the publisher plans to release a graphic-novel adaptation of Rod Serling’s original POTA screenplay.
But there’s been very little on the merch front since NECA pulled up stakes on its excellent Apes figures a few years ago.
Thankfully, Super7 is filling the void with this month’s release of a new line of 3.75-inch ReAction figures.
We checked these out at Toy Fair in February — click here — but now Super7’s Josh Herbolsheimer’s ready to reveal the Secrets of the Planet of the Apes (Action Figures):
Dan Greenfield: How did the idea to do Planet of the Apes come about?
Josh Herbolsheimer: Once the ReAction line was established, we brainstormed a bunch of different movies and TV shows that would make sense and be fun. Planet of the Apes was a very natural fit that was on the top of everyone’s list! It’s fun, from the right era, and has lots of great characters, but was never realized in the 3.75-inch action-figure format.
Dan: Walk us through the basics of designing these figures. ReAction figures are, by design, uncomplicated. What were the challenges in making sure these figures resembled the characters on screen?
Josh: The starting point is deciding which characters to do. From there, because we have the basic template of the 3.75-inch figure pretty well defined at this point, it’s a matter of looking at the film reference and deciding what elements of each character are essential.
In keeping with the 1970s action figure feel, the key becomes how we simplify and reduce the characters to their essence. The highly detailed action figures with lots of articulation and hyper-accurate costumes are a super cool thing, just not the thing we are trying to do with these. So we try to channel the creators of our favorite classic 3.75-inch action-figure lines and decide what would have been made back in the day. Would they have put Ursus’ holster on the leg or the torso piece? How few details can you put on Dr. Zaius’ costume and still have it read immediately as him? Those types of questions. Once that’s all been sorted out we do a series of turnaround drawings for our sculptor to reference.
Dan: The card art is gorgeous. How did you come up with that approach?
Josh: When you look back at classic toy packaging from the 1970s, you see some photographic card art, and some painted art. Clash of the Titans had some great character paintings on a shared background. Star Wars had really cool stills from the film. We went back and forth and ultimately decided that painted artwork was more exciting for Planet of the Apes. It has a retro feel while still being very dynamic and colorful. We were really lucky to get to work with Ed Repka, who created the art — really incredible work.
Dan: The first two waves are a nice mix of the first three movies and, with the inclusion of Urko in the second wave, the TV show. What are some of the figures you’d like to see show up in future waves?
Josh: It would be cool to come back and do Taylor in the astronaut suit, as well as Landon and Stewart. Cornelius in 1970s clothes would be pretty funny too. Maybe something with the animated series.
Dan: On a personal level, what’s your favorite of the Apes flicks?
Josh: My favorite is the original. The concept is great, really a pretty simple twist on our reality of the time and has some interesting commentary on where we came from, where we are heading.
Dan: Why do you think Planet of the Apes endures 50 years later?
Josh: Something about Planet of the Apes really taps into who we are, I think. Aside from being cool stories and fantastic characters, we share an undeniable connection with other primates, which makes the series sort of automatically compelling.
Super7’s Planet of the Apes figures retail for about $15 a pop. You can get them at various shops and online retailers or directly through the company. (Click here.)
— TOY FAIR 2018: An INSIDE LOOK at SUPER7’s PLANET OF THE APES. Click here.