Many characters are a bit strange and obscure-- or at least B List-- but some are definitely top-notch and would be snatched up immediately if they ever made their way into any assortment.
But, there is a reason as to why these figures (probably) haven't been offered just yet, and believe it or not, it has nothing to do with Hasbro.
The fact is: in today's market, it's the stores that dictate to the toy companies what they want, rather than a company producing product and then stores simply carrying it.
Action figures aren't what they used to be in terms of revenue. This is actually the weakest they've ever been. Computers, video games, iPads and iPods have all taken over most children's free time and interest. (As many of you with youngsters may already know.) And, as much as collectors do support the market, it's not sustainable without the kids and the parents who buy toys for them.
Action figures are much less of a hobby to kids as they were to most of us. Toy brands still exist and have a certain level of strength at retail, but most purchases come from a kid seeing something he/she wants, bugging his/her parent at the store, and then they parent deciding to purchase that item at the store at that time.
Because of this, action figures need to be cheap. No parent is going to want to spend $15-$20 on a single action figure. In some cases, even $10 is pushing it. So, recently Walmart told the toy companies exactly the right price point for these kinds of impulse buys and, as you may have seen, Hasbro is fulfilling their cruel master's wishes with those $6, 5-point articulation figures.
Luckily for us, Hasbro has not abandoned the collectors-- or the older kids who didn't give up on action figures (which, these days, usually happens between the ages of 6-8 years old). We have higher end $10 3.75" figures, and Hasbro has still found a way to continue with 6" figure lines as well. But most stores are skittish and have been burned with too much left-over action figure merchandise. Because of this, they tend to not carry any toy line unless it's directly related to a movie or television show.
This is why Marvel Universe is now becoming "Avengers Infinite" and the Marvel Legends line has become character-specific and ties in directly with that character's summer movie.
But again, Hasbro has not abandoned us. Almost all of the figures in both the new Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America Legends line are comic book based versions. But Hasbro "sneaks" them in past the the retail stores buyers under the guise of being a "movie figure line".
And collectors need to realize, Hasbro doesn't do these prototypes to not bring them to retail. The hope is that these figures will all make it to store shelves. They're not trying to tease us or let us down on purpose. All of the people who work on these lines are passionate and want to see the figures as much as we do. But, ultimately, if they can not find a store to carry them, or an assortment to put them into, then we usually end up without them.
So, let's take a look at what we've been shown the past few years that, hopefully, some day, will make it to store shelves and into our collections.
AGE OF APOCALYPSE JEAN GREY
While female figures are always a welcome addition, this version of Jean Grey just seems almost pointless without the rest of the Age of Apocalypse cast. Granted, we do have the AoA Wolvie from year ago, but as far as female figures go, there are much better choices than this one.
This is one figure that needs to make it to market. I don't know why Hasbro chose to sculpt new character like Beetle and Boomerang for the new Spidey Legends line when this guy has been ready to go for years now. He's certainly more popular and a lot cooler than those two D-level characters.
"BAG HEAD" SPIDER-MAN
This version of Spidey is so goofy and scene-specific that I just don't think anyone would ever care about him. Okay, maybe a few super-collectors will jump for joy at this version, but really, how great is going to look on your shelf next to all the other figures in the ML line. I'm actually glad that Hasbro never used a precious spot in a ML assortment for this dud.
This one is a no-brainer. Collectors are rabid for Black Widow figures. Just look at how much the 2-Pack version goes for on the secondary market. Granted, this one has the zipped up jumpsuit rather than the sexier "boobies on display" version, but I don't see fans passing on this version at all, especially if they can get it for the retail price.
I'm a fan of Blade is both his movie and comic book forms, but the head sculpt on this one (looks like an upscale version of the Marvel Universe version) is pretty weak. Still he's a lot better than the old Toy Biz Wesley Snipes version, and right now, that's all we've got in the Legends line. And, even though Hasbro has done this sculpt to death (Punisher, Nick Fury, Red Skull, etc), I'd still grab this one just to have a decent Blade in my collection.
This is one of those oddities that makes me wonder why Hasbro chose him, but that's not to say that he's not both a cool character and figure. Just an odd choice. For a short time in the comics, he replaced Dr Strange as a Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.
HAWKEYE (CLASSIC VERSION)
While I'm happy to have the modern Hawkeye, this classic version probably would have been more popular among collectors. He was supposed to be the "swap out" figure for the modern Hawkeye, but Hasbro hasn't been doing too well with actually getting these "swap out" figures to market.
MS MARVEL (MOONSTONE/DARK AVENGERS VERSION)
True, if you wanted, you could call this the "classic" version of Ms Marvel, but when she wore this costume, she had a short, 70's style haircut. So, this is probably the Moonstone version of Ms Marvel. Either way, once again, a female figure to add to the line would definitely be welcome.
Hasbro needs to get this figure out. Deadpool is insanely popular and all versions go for big bucks on the after-market due to the high demand and lack of figures available. Not to mention that this version looks better than the 2-Pack version.
Here is yet another swap-out figure that didn't make it into an assortment. Since he's the last of the Wrecking Crew that needs to be released to complete then team, I seriously hope that Hasbro will release him eventually.
Again, another swap-out figure that didn't make it out. This is by far the coolest version of Iron Fist to date, and with the Iron Fist Netflix series coming out next year, I'll bet Hasbro will find a way to release him.
MANDARIN (MOVIE VERSION)
This figure (along with others below) was supposed to be be part of the Iron Man 3 Legends Series 3 assortment, but as of now, Hasbro hasn't confirmed its actual release.
This figure would help complete the Thunderbolts team that was released as a SDCC exclusive this past year.
HAVOK (MODERN VERSION)
We desperately need this new version of Cyclops' little brother. Havok has been coming to the forefront of the Marvel Universe with his new role as the leader of the Uncanny X-Men, and the old Toy Biz figure is far from impressive. This is another one the I really hope sees the light of day at some point.
As far as X-Universe characters go, Daniel Moonstar isn't really at the top of the heap. I'm going to assume that we won't see many if any of the other New Mutants, so that kind of makes this "swap-out" figure almost irrelevant in the Marvel Legends collection.
JAMIE MADROX /MULTIPLE MAN
As leader of X-Factor for many years, Madrox would be a great addition to the Marvel Legends line. And from the looks of things, aside from his head, his all just re-used parts. Should be easy for Hasbro to bring this guy to market, but that doesn't mean that will.
An odd character choice for Hasbro as Nuke is rarely used in the comics (although he did just appear in a few issues of Captain America.) I guess he just makes an easy re-use of Crossbones parts and Hasbro is always looking for a way to do just that. He's not really a character that I would care about for my collection, though.
PHOENIX FORCE CYCLOPS
While this figure looks cool, I'm not too keen on figures that represent one-time appearance costumes. He was supposed to be a swap-out figure in the Diamond Exclusive Wolverine line, but the second run in which he was have been packed never made it to production. I can only image that a lack of interest from comic retailers ended the assortment early.
Again, this white version of Phoenix is very story-specific. While it looks beautiful, a traditional red or green version would have been preferable for me. Not that any of that matters since we don't know if we'll ever see this figure in any assortment. My big hope, however, is that, with the X-Men film coming this summer, that Hasbro will do an X-Men Legends retail line for later in the year.
RED HOOD - BI-BEAST - LADY BULLSEYE
The Red Hood was a creation from writer Brian Michael Bendis when he wrote The Avengers. While I admire him trying to create a new, ongoing adversary for the heroes of the Marvel Universe, the character just never really clicked with me, despite Bendis trying to cram him down reader's throats. The figure looks interesting, but I could really care less if is ever sees a release.
The Bi-Beast is a very odd and old adversary of The Hulk's. How could I not buy this figure? He's a monster with two heads stacked on top of one another!
The Lady Bullseye figure looks absolutely perfect. While I didn't read the comics in which she appeared, she's so cool looking that I'd put here with my Daredevil Universe figures without a second thought.
Another figure original planned for the IM3 line, but as part of the "in limbo" Series 3 assortment, who knows if or when we'll ever see her. Of all the figures planned for Ser 3, I think this one stands the best chance of making it out in another series if the IM3 line is officially dead.
Hasbro-- give me (uh, I mean "us") this figure please!!! I know that some people don't like this version of Rogues costume, but I love it. Yeah, I know the Jim Lee version is more iconic, but I'm so burnt out on that costume. And we finally need a good Rogue in the ML collection! This is my most wanted figure of all the ones on this list. Hasbro must get this figure out, somehow!
I'm a little ambivalent about this figure. Yes, it looks good, and the ML line could always use more female characters, but this particular character just doesn't do much for me.
This figure was supposed to be the swap-out for Hyperion. Much like all the others, Hasbro never got around to the swap-out, so he remains in limbo. While he's a better looking version of the character than Toy Biz's, I'm not overly fond of this character. He's dead in the comics, and as far as I'm concerned, he can stay dead in the ML line, too.
WAR MACHINE (IRON MAN 3 MOVIE VERSION)
Why are there so many damned figures of a character that wasn't even in the film?? Every toy company seems to have made a figure or statue of this figure, even though Rhodey never appeared as War Machine in IM3. I guess he'd be a good fit for a movie series of figures, but I don't need him taking up a precious spot in any other ML series.
The chances of seeing this bizarre and obscure character are about zero. Or, at least they should be.
JUBILEE BAF WAVE
BATROC, BLIZZARD, RADIOACTIVE MAN, TIGERSHARK
This wave was shown this past year at SDCC. But, with the ML series officially dead, I have no idea how Hasbro will bring this wave to retail. Even though they're all B-List villains, they're the A-List of the B-List, and all of them look damn near perfect. Plus that Jubilee would be a great addition to the X-Men line-up. I'm not holding out hope, but if Hasbro can find a way to get this series out (maybe as another Diamond exclusive), I'd certainly pick up this whole line.
Well, there you have it. That's a line-up of all the Marvel Legends figures I could find that were shown, but have yet to be released. If I missed anyone, just let me know and I'll add it to the list.
While there's never a guarantee of release, if some of these figures show up at Toy Fair next month, it will certainly give some renewed hope of us actually finally getting them.