10 More Toys For Hollywood To Co-OptGraeme McMillan10/04/09 3:00pmFiled to: steal this pitchgi joeTransformersmaskrommicronautsCrystarSpiral zoneAdventures of the galaxy rangersThe centurionsZoidsPower lordsSectaursToysMoviesFeatureTopOvermind1281EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalink With Transformers and GI Joe amongst the most successful movies of the summer, it's no surprise that studios are looking for the next big toy thing. But Battleship isn't going to cut it... Not while these playthings are available. Sectaurs The Set-Up: A toyline that only lasted one year - perhaps because the world was as grossed-out by the idea of half-insect half-humans as I was when I was ten years old (Nonetheless, props to whoever decided that the character's giant-insect pets/horse-like-equivalents would be gloves, so you could make their legs move) - Sectaurs followed a He-Man-esque model of quasi-mystical good guys ("The Shining Realm of Prosperon," led by the heroic Prince Dargon) versus equally-quasi-mystical bad guys ("The Dark Domain of Synax," led by General Spidrax) on a planet called Symbion. Was There A Franchise? Comics books, cartoons and kids storybooks. The Movie: Embrace the alien, and CGI everything to make it look weird and wonderful. Play up the mythical aspects and turn it into a kids franchise with teeth. Centurions The Set-Up: In the "near future," three (later five, but no-one remembers the last two) men fight terrorists (led by the aptly-named Doc Terror) by wearing weirdly weaponized robotic suits that give them something approaching superpowers. Despite being the product of the mid-80s, their tagline of "PowerXtreme!" was curiously a decade ahead of its time. Was There A Franchise? Cartoons and comic books. The Movie: It's GI Joe with added technology. Seriously, how can this fail? Just remember to rename the bad guy. Adventures of The Galaxy Rangers The Set-Up: The Old West becomes the New West as mankind moves off-planet and colonizes the universe, reverting to cowboy style in the process. The concept behind Galaxy Rangers offered a chance to mix-and-match moments of American history as the Rangers themselves - essentially cyborg versions of Western lawmen, riding robotic horses - fight against a "vast and crumbling Empire" ruled by The Queen of the Crown. Oh, and they're against slavery, as well. Was There A Franchise? Just a cartoon. The Movie: Pull back on the sleekness of the technology, and give us a steampunk revisionary version that's more Firefly than Wild Wild West. MASK The Set-Up: Pretty much "What if Transformers weren't robots but could still transform," MASK - which stood for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, proving that even the US Government aren't above bad spelling when a good acronym's at stake - was a GI Joe-esque anti-terrorist squad who used vehicles that had alternate combat modes against VENOM (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem). Both sides also had helmets that gave them special powers, which may have been a concept too far, really. Was There A Franchise? Cartoons, comic books, and video games. The Movie: Oddly enough, MASK was brought into the GI Joe franchise last year in the toys, so maybe this perfect mix of Joe and Transformers is already taken care of, in terms of Hollywood. Power Lords The Set-Up: Another failed toyline that ripped off Masters of The Universe, Power Lords saw Adam Power use the Cosmic Power Jewel to become Lord Power, fighting evil dictator Arkus. Much more amusing were the henchmen, who had names like Bakatak, Disguyzor and Drrench, demonstrating how desperate toymakers could get when deadlines loomed. Was There A Franchise? Comic books and video games. The Movie: Actually, maybe they should just make the Masters of The Universe movie instead, as this is so clearly stolen from those toys. Spiral Zone The Set-Up: Ignore characters with names like Dirk Courage and Benjamin Davis Franklin, and concentrate on the admittedly-awesome concept: A mad scientist hijacks a space shuttle to turn half the planet into an altered state called the Spiral Zone, where everyone within becomes a mind-controlled zombie. Five soldiers with specially-constructed suits to combat the Zone's effects are sent inside to destroy the Zone Generators and save the world. Was There A Franchise? Cartoons and comic books. The Movie: Drop everything other than the basic idea, and make it into a dark action movie with Christian Bale working off his Terminator karma. This is one child dystopia that deserves to be brought back meaner and more hardcore than before. Zoids The Set-Up: Robotic dinosaurs and ancient creatures trapped in permanently-ongoing wars on alien planets, although if you read the British tie-in comic, you'd know there was much more - and much, much ripped off of popular movies of a few years previously - going on. Was There A Franchise? Internationally, comic books and cartoons, but not in the US. The Movie: Is it too much to ask for Jurassic Park: The Robots? Other than simply adapting the UK comic story (Spaceship full of humans crashlands on Zoid planet, characters act out Alien and Terminator cliches), I can't think of any other way to do it. Crystar The Set-Up: Another fantasy toyline, but one that wasn't, surprisingly, ripped off from He-Man, Crystar started life as a pitch from Marvel Comics to various toy companies before Remco bit the crystal bullet and manufactured Crystar and his crystaline brothers and Moltar and his fire-themed minions. Despite offering dragons, castles and personifications of a metaphysical battle between order and chaos, the line only lasted one year. Was There A Franchise? Only comics. The Movie: Tone down the Chaos/Order subtext, ramp up the "warring brothers" aspect and go all-out on the fantasy - Give us a full-on Lord Of The Rings set on another planet, with the kind of scope and scale that only Peter Jackson or James Cameron could think of.Rom The Space-Knight The Set-Up: Sure, the toy - manufactured by Parker Brothers, and originally called COBOL - may have flopped spectacularly in the US, but the cyborg space warrior lived on for years afterwards in his Marvel Comics series, and even longer in our hearts. Was There A Franchise? Only comics. The Movie: Redesign Rom to be slightly less... boxy, and pull in The Invaders paranoia from the comic book, and you've got something with an obvious enough hero to play well in multiplexes but with the potential for something much more subtle and sneaky for those who want to look at it that way. Micronauts The Set-Up: If ever there was a toyline that deserved a movie, it's this space opera line adapted from various Japanese figures, especially considering that it's the line that indirectly gave birth to Transformers and the 1980s revival of GI Joe that made that franchise what it is today. Was There A Franchise? Only comics. The Movie: With "Time Travelers", Mega Cities, Space Gliders and villains who look like Darth Vader, there's surely only one option: Try to create the next Star Wars, complete with new cultures, new danger and derring-do, and an empire that could support Baron Karzas and Acroyears... whatever an Acroyear turns out to be.