The New York Toy Fair is all online this year hence why Boss Fight Studio and now NECA are doing all their announcements in February.
2021 NECA released their first wave of the Defenders of the Earth range featuring The Phantom, Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless which was a great success. They have now announced that Lothar, Garax & Mandrake the Magician will be joining forces in the fight of good and evil against the world.
According to an interview between Joe Moore and Randy Falk, the three figurines will be out in the USA summer (Australia's winter). Below is a video of the Lothar and Mandrake the Magician figurines plus the full interview between the two - link here. It is worth a read as they talk about skull copters, sword ships and other possibilities.
JM: These are three great looking figures for fans of Defenders of the Earth. The first thing everyone will want to know is, when can they expect to see Lothar and Mandrake on shelves?
RF: We are hoping they will be in stock this summer! Right now, we’re making some adjustments to Mandrake’s cape and final debugging is taking place. They look fantastic and we are so excited to complete the Defenders line.
JM: Since Garax looks to be earlier in development, is he coming out a little later in the year?
RF: Actually, if everything goes as planned, he should be able to join Lothar and Mandrake in the same assortment. But if not, he will definitely follow shortly thereafter.
JM: As we’ve seen with Flash, Ming, and The Phantom, can we expect alternate versions of Mandrake and Lothar?
RF: Perhaps! It’s a question that certainly needs to be discussed as we build out our “Original Superheroes” line, which started with the classic comic strip versions of those three.
JM: Following up on the previous question, Lothar and Garax had wildly different looks in the classic Defenders of the Earth toy line. Since we’ve seen classic toy versions of Ming and Flash, it is safe to say we may see classic toy versions of these figures?
RF: Variants for Lothar and Garax are definitely under consideration… it would make for a fun chase or exclusive.
JM: While playsets and vehicles can be tough to release in a line of 7″ scale figure, the old Defenders of the Earth toy line had some great vehicles. Are there any you’d love to tackle in the future?
RF: I’d love to do the skull copter – that would be amazing! — or the Swordships. But sadly, Defenders vehicles and playsets are unlikely due to the increasing costs of tooling and production. As extraordinarily cool as these characters are, this is still a very niche specialty line.
JM: Are there any figures from Defenders of the Earth you’d like to release that might be too obscure to work at retail?
RF: It would be nice to add the kids and Princess Castra to the line, but the main thing we wanted to do was celebrate the 35th anniversary with modern versions of the original Galoob line. We’re heading in different directions now with the Original Superheroes line and other concepts.
JM: Does the license actually allow for you to expand into some of the other characters from the cartoon, such as Kshi, Jedda Walker, Rick Gordon, etc?
RF: We would have to consider it on a case-by-case basis if we decided to expand.
JM: The licensor, King Features, has a large assortment of brands, such as Popeye and Cuphead. Do you anticipate expanding your licensing agreement with them to produce figures from their other brands?
RF: We are definitely looking at a number of other brands and IP that fit within the Original Superheroes banner as we build that line out. Expect to see a lot of fun stuff! This is a great area to play in.
JM: It’s clear there’s a huge fan base for figures from a wide variety of 1990s cartoons. Does the success of the Defenders of the Earth line, as well as the Gargoyles line, bode well for additional figures from that era?
RF: Absolutely. We have covered so many of the ‘80s icons and it was the right time to move into the ‘90s. The success of and response to our Gargoyles line has been nothing short of phenomenal! And while we have already identified a number of other properties that would be a good fit for NECA, we’re always listening to our fans, so keep talking to us and we’ll keep surprising you!