Robo Force, the 1980s toy line recently revived by The Toys That Made Us producer Brian Volk-Weiss, is heading to TV. Created in 1984 by Ruby-Spears, the hope was always to make a multimedia franchise that could then sell more toys, which would move story in a long-running cycle, not unlike what shows like GI Joe and Transformers had done. Instead, there was one movie — Robo Force: The Revenge of Nazgar — which didn’t exactly set the world on fire. In fact, the only way to get the movie on an offiical release is to by the Challenge of the Go-Bots vol. 2 DVD from Warner Archive, and watch the Robo Force movie as a bonus feature.
The short-lived toy line had an equally short-lived revival in 2013, before being sold to The Nacelle in 2021. Nacelle, the studio behind not just The Toys That Made Us but also shows like Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History and the 2019 Mad About You revival, re-released the toys, and with Volk-Weiss’s profile as a retro tastemaker, they became a hit in collector’s circles. Now, Nacelle has given Robo Force a straight-to-series order, marking their first-ever original animated series.
“I didn’t think anything would be more surreal than selling thousands of Maxx 89 and Wrecker figures, but making an animated series come to life takes the suction cup-covered cake… and yes, we will be revealing why Wrecker comes with red roses!” Volk-Weiss told Deadline in a statement.
The plan is to pitch the completed series to streamers and broadcast networks. It seems likely that they will make a sale, but if not, this means Nacelle owns the show outright and could make a direct-to-home release on DVD and Digital. According to the Deadline report, once the original exclusive windows expire, the show “will appear on multiple platforms simultaneously through Nacelle’s hybrid distribution system which consists of dozens of platforms.”
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of The Toys That Made Us, Volk-Weiss recently spoke with ComicBook.com about how the Robo Force toy line came to pass.
“Everything was organic. It wasn’t like Toys That Made Us came out, and then I’m sitting there three months later being like, now we can make toys. It wasn’t like that,” Volk-Weiss explained. “What happened was, somebody else saw Toys That Made Us. That guy called me, his name’s Michael Goodman. That guy called me and he was like, ‘Hey, your brand is so good. I bet we could work together and you and I separately would have better careers if we worked together, because I could make a lot with your brand.’ Usually this bites me in the ass, but this is one of the few times where it worked. I took a risk, and he was absolutely right. Because Toys That Made Us was so popular and everybody knew Nacelle had made it in the toy community, he was able to go to the guy that owns Robo Force and say, ‘Hey, I’m working with Nacelle, they want to buy your copyright.’ Those conversations wouldn’t have been possible without Toys That Made Us, and I would’ve never met this Michael Goodman without Toys That Made Us. What I think I’m demonstrating is there wasn’t a master plan; we just went with it and if we saw an opportunity, we took a swing, and it was all very lucky.”