If there is one thing most Jurassic fans can agree on is that the new Mattel Jurassic World toys have been a massive upgrade over the Hasbro line for the 2015 film. Long gone are the screw holes and in came human figures, realisitc looking dinosaurs including even some with real feel skin. Ed Duncan, Mattel’s VP of Boys Design is partially to thank as the head of design for the Jurassic World toys. He took some time to answer a few questions about the new toy line on the Mattel website.
When was the first time you saw a Jurassic film, and what was your experience with it?
Jurassic Park came out 25 years ago, and I think that was my first year as a toy designer. Everybody was excited about it because this was the first time you saw photorealistic CG animation in a film, and it was jaw-dropping.
It was a very formative experience seeing Jurassic, and subsequently, I actually worked at [another toy company] on a preschool Jurassic line in the late ‘90s. In fact, I remember the first time I ever came to L.A. was for a meeting with Universal about [the line], and a couple of funny things happened. The first thing was that I was carrying a box of toys in my hands, and I couldn’t open the door. Somebody holds the door open for me, and I glanced over, and it was Steven Spielberg. And then the other thing was I remember thinking, “I wonder if I’ll ever come back to L.A. for anything?” And here I am, 25 years later—I live here, and I’m the head of design for Jurassic World toys.
What do you want kids to experience when they play with this new line?
One of the things that makes dinosaurs cool is their size, and size is displayed relative to other things. If you just make a dinosaur by itself and aren’t paying attention to how big it is compared to anything else in the line, you don’t get the credit for how big or small anything in the story is. So we wanted to make sure that we had a good, compelling action figure representing a six-foot human to scale everything off of, because the size of your T.rex is only impressive if it’s in comparison to something that is recognizable. So being able to make figures and Jeeps, and then show how much bigger your T.rex and your Mosasaurus are to those is what makes those things seem much cooler.