In a move that will surprise no one, Marvel Studios will be focusing on one key character from Guardians of the Galaxy in their next wave of merchandising, and spoiler, it includes a talking tree.
Marvel is showing off their new line of products at the 2016 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, and will include companies like Hasbro, Lego, Funko, and LB Kids. The first movie was well received, and Marvel wants to make sure to capitalize on that momentum with a line that focuses heavily on Groot.
Paul Gitter, Senior VP of licensing for Marvel at Disney Consumer Products, sat down with Variety and touched on the focus of their new wave of products.
“As affinity and awareness for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise and its characters continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we are building out a much larger merchandising program to meet the increasing demand from fans. Guardians fills an unoccupied space in our portfolio of Marvel brands, as it features an unlikely group of heroes who come together as a unique family,” he noted. “Plus its blending of music, humor, and sci-fi adventure is unlike anything we have seen before. The response from retailers and licensees after a recent event we had to showcase key story points and characters from the new film was even stronger than expected, so we know that there will be lots of interest.”
Gitter also noted that since this is a proven franchise now, the line will have more broad appeal to consumers, adding: “It will be a much broader line [than 2014] expanding beyond collectors to include kids and male/female fans of the film,” Gitter said. “Also, as it is now a proven franchise with appealing characters, licensees will invest more in design and innovation. Finally, there will be a much stronger focus on Groot, who proved to be the breakout character from the first film.”
The inarguable MVP of Guardians was the ancient tree Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and he will figure prominently into their new products.
“Our key learning is that we had to chase products featuring Groot and we want to be sure we are ready for the excitement across multiple age and demo segments who want to bring home Groot in a variety of innovative products,” he said. “The animated series, animated shorts, and unique products we have already released have helped to add to his affinity.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 hits theaters on May 5th, 2017.