Toyless Toyline Character
media it's typically pretty easy to set apart the characters whose toys are getting advertised. They're the ones that take the spotlight in any given story, save the day in the end, etc., or are otherwise just made to look cool by the narrative itself. They'll have more character development, more detail in their character model, more gadgets; everything about them screams
toyetic in loud plastic-mould colors.
But not this character. This is the Ensemble Darkhorse
of the toyline-driven media, that bursts into the scene like a Highly Visible Ninja
with a rocket launcher and a banner reading, "Buy all our playsets and toys
" only, after rushing to the toystore mouth drooling and brow sweaty you find out, he doesn't have his own toy. Often they'll be The Ace
, appearing for a brief storyline, showing up everyone else, and then never seen again—not in the story and never
in the toy aisles.
Most of the time for a Merchandise-Driven
franchise the toys are either (a) designed first and the show/comic makers make a story around the characters, or (b) the toy makers and show makers work together, so everyone else is likely to be a Flat Character
, or even No Name Given
. Often there are actual limits set to how much attention can be given to these characters; a non-toy character that's not just a Tag Along Kid
being allowed to be prominent is next to unheard of.
It seems bizarre and even out-of-place—which is not to say unwelcome—when an original character does become important. They're not always recurring characters but they sometimes get more development and attention than characters that actually had toys, because there's usually Loads and Loads of Characters
Why this happens varies, sometimes a writer that's been banging his shackles against the wall long enough manages to loosen them enough to get creative and inject a character into the story for the character's own sake. Sometimes a Monster of the Week
winds up getting a little more attention than usual and starts looking toyetic
In a boys' show, generally the Tag Along Kid
, the armies of mooks
, and in older series, the Token Girl
will be need to be created for the show, and in a girls' show it's the same for the the villains in general.
This is not just any character who doesn't appear in his story's toyline. Also note that with many long-running franchises, sometimes toys will be made of these characters and marketed to collectors. The point isn't that no toy exists
, but that when the media was made, the character wasn't being used to advertise one.
If a major female character from a Merchandise-Driven
series ends up as a Toyless Toyline Character, it's probably because of The Smurfette Principle
See also Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer
Examples are sorted by where the character appeared. Franchises spanning more than one media category, like Transformers
and G.I. Joe
, have more than one entry.
Compare Canon Foreigner
Anime & Manga
- Artemis, Navi, and Star Upper from Beast Wars II and Rage from Beast Wars Neo. BWII and Neo actually invert this, being principally made up of characters adapted from toys that had no representation in Beast Wars previously.
- In the beginning of Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Nozomi, Rin and Urara were predicted to be the biggest hits because they were the youngest characters; therefore, they were introduced first and got their toys first, and Karen and Komachi got their toys either late or not at all. However, Rin proved to be unpopular and Karen somewhat of an Ensemble Darkhorse, so they switched places. This is most prominent with the second season's merchandise; Rin and Komachi got their dolls late, they were never given trading figures, and their articulated figures can only be bought as a set from Toei's own shop.
- This phenomenon has appeared in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and card game, as well; there are a ton of cards shown in the anime (and mangas) that were never made. While some of the more obvious ones won't ever be made due to being overpowered Game Breakers or having supernatural conditions in their texts (like "The soul of whoever loses this Duel is forfeit to the winner"), some of them are legitimate themes that would have been a blast to play, like the Armor cards from the DOMA arc that were sadly never developed.
- Game breaker cards would also be useless for another reason, they would dominate against almost anything, but usually the hero beats the card through a technicality, a technique that someone in the real world could also use.
- Digimon Xros Wars posits a strange example: the series was always quite clearly Merchandise-Driven, with the main character's Combining Mecha forms clearly designed for the purposes of easily combining toys, and such toys accordingly ensued. Midway through the series came OmegaShoutmon and ZekeGreymon, two Digimon who combined into Shoutmon DX. All three mons were obviously designed in such a way that hypothetical toys of the former two could be easily combined into a Shoutmon DX figure, yet no such toys of the characters ever materialised despite all three characters being very important.
- The same in relation of Gumdramon and his combined forms.
- Of course, the bulk of the merchandise are in the form of Xros Loader and the arcade card game Digica Taisen, with the combining toys merely just a bonus. With that said it is clearly a waste not to see well-defined figures for the various mecha characters.
- In the New Vestroia season of Bakugan, all of the main Bakugan evolved into new forms as their Mid-Season Upgrade. However, no toys were released of these new forms. Kind of awful considering that these were essentially the main characters.
- Bakugan has been notoriously iffy about producing figures of their characters. It was a bit of a problem in the first series when several of the Bakugan that appeares late in prominent roles got no figures, got worse in New Vestroia with the aforementioned Mid-Season Upgrade problem, got a little better in Gundalian Invaders until the later Battle Gear and Super Assaults fell away and became sparse, and then got worse again with Mechtanium Surge, effectively killing the line.
- To add insult to injury, several of the Bakugan which were missed in New Vestroia later got a Japan-Only release, with Spin Master's habits of plowing forward with no regard to the past meaning that the rest of the world would have to scour ebay for them.
- Until a few years ago, figurines of Usopp from One Piece were rare. When they were made, they'd be packaged with Chopper, the most merchandisable (and merchandised) character, to help boost sales of the Usopp figurines. Averted nowadays though—not only are stand-alone Usopp things sold all the time, but anyone is fair game for merchandise.
Film - Animated
- Several characters from the G.I. Joe comic, most notably Kwinn the Eskimo and Dr. Venom.
- Kwinn the Eskimo eventually did gain a figure but it was many years after the character's debut and last scenes in the comic. Ditto for Dr. Venom (who was a convention exclusive). But we are still waiting on Billy and on Bongo the Balloon Bear.
- The Baroness was a character in the comics and show long before getting her own action figure in 1985.
- The Transformers Generation One comics had a few more, such as Scrounge, Blaster's unfortunate little buddy from issue #17 and Jhiaxus, a major villain from the Transformers: Generation 2 comics. Emirate Xaaron, from the UK comics and the latter parts of the US Marvel issues, wasn't based on a toy, but is pretty easy to make as he is mostly a gold and orange Megatron. That said, he'd make a lousy toy - he hasn't transformed in so long he theorizes the shock from merely attempting it could kill him! (He would've made a perfect Action Master, though.)
- Despite Hasbro and its subdivsion Kenner doing action figures based on DC Comics during the '90s quite a few characters were left out:
- Despite most of non-Elseworlds figures being based on Knightfall, being mentioned on the file cards, and being one of the main villains, Bane never got a figure in the Legends of Batman toyline. The closest is the figure for the Batman & Robin toyline, which resembles the comic character than the film one.
- Similarly, despite the Superman: The Man of Steel toylines being being based on The Death of Superman (as well as the Hunter/Prey mini and The Death of Clark Kent), Cyborg-Superman is the only one of the temporary Supermen not to get a figure, despite the Eradicator getting a figure, and Steel and Superboy getting multiple ones.
- The Total Justice toyline had a tie-in activity book which depicted characters who never got figures in the toyline; while the Blue Beetle figure would get released, and the others (Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Superboy, and Steel) would be figures in the JLA toyline, Oracle and Supergirl were never made into figures.
- A toyline based on Grant Morrison's JLA run, which would involve repaints of the Total Justice figures was made and would later incorporate Young Justice into this. However, Oracle again, Tomorrow Woman, Orion, Big Barda, Wonder Girl, Secret, and Arrowette never got figures. Box set would do exclusive figures based on the "Rock of Ages" arc, but likewise, despite most of the holograms of the "big seven" the Injustice Gang used, as well as Lex Luthor and the Joker, getting figures, the Wonder Woman hologram, the arc's true villain Darkseid, and Luthor and Joker's Injustice Gang cohorts (Circe, Ocean Master, Mirror Master, Dr. Light, and the mind-controlled Jemm) didn't.
- The villains from the Barbie movies rarely have toys made of them. When they do, it's only when they were brainwashed and good all along, such as Princess Graciella from Barbie: A Fairy Secret.
- Disney Fairies: It looked like movie-verse!Vidia was going to be this way, until a doll finally came out for the third movie. Even book-verse!Vidia gets the merchandise shaft a lot, though she does have a doll (uber-rare), some art set thing and a one-coin figure. However, this aversion to Vidia was later abandoned; now she gets lots of merchandise, and it's hard to remember the time where she didn't.
- Straight examples from Disney Fairies include The Season Ministers, Bobble, Clank, and the bird of prey.
- Terrence also later got a doll in the toyline, which was included in a playset.
- Transformers: The Movie:
- Arcee, the Affirmative Action Girl, who would stay for the rest of the cartoon's run and remained one of the primary main characters (in a show with Loads and Loads of Characters) despite not having an equivalent toy. Though both Animated and Prime had namesake characters who did have their own toys.note 2014's Generations line did, however, produce an Arcee toy more faithful to her pink car G1 self.
- The Big Bad of the film, Unicron, a giant robot that transforms into a planet-eating planet, had his toy trapped in Development Hell. And perhaps luckily so, considering how little the prototype resembled the character. Despite this, he remained a recurring villain in the next season, and his head still orbited Cybertron as a Continuity Nod. We finally get a toy when Transformers Armada makes him the final enemy and says this Unicron is one and the same as the old one, unlike everyone else.
- The people doing the commentary track for Osmosis Jones admitted they had Thrax change a car to suit his appearance to sell toys of that car. It never happened.
Live Action TV
- Alice from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
- In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Mirage/Dino only has a die-cast, non-transforming car toy (because Mattel holds the rights to Ferrari - said robot's alternate mode - toys) and a miniature Cyberverse figure; sadly, the latter's only a repaint of Sideways from Revenge of The Fallen and looks nothing like Dino in either mode. He later got an actual Deluxe class toy in the Age of Extinction toyline, but he was released only in Japan and was a retool of Sideways (similar to the Cyberverse figure mentioned above), but this time he kinda looked like Dino in robot mode.
- It's strange to think how often this happens with the movie characters, seeing as when the first film came out, almost every vehicle that had appeared in it received an actual, transforming robot figure. And there were plenty of toys that weren't even based on anything that appeared in fiction at all. Yet many unimportant or background characters, such as the ancient Primes, the garbage truck Decepticon, Igor, and numerous other Decepticon soldiers never got any toys even in the expanded toy-lines.
- Toyline for the Star Wars movies which began in 1999 skipped many rather important characters for several years. Scout Troopers were the first imperial soldiers with Stormtroopers first appearing in 2001 and even then in very few sets. The Star Wars Icon Yoda first appeared as a figure in 2002, Lando in 2004 and Mace Windu in 2005. Nute Gunray and Palpatine/Darth Sidious as non-Emperor, the main antagonists of the Prequels, were skipped until 2009, when they only got figures in the style of the "The Clone Wars" CGI Cartoon. A Life Action version of Gunray was made however, but the ultimate evil is still left out.
- Also weird is LEGO's selection of which clone troopers should be released as figures. From the special colored legions only rather obscure ones get chosen like the 327th Star Corps (the yellow ones from episode 3 which killed the blue alien chick on the jungle planet with half a minute screen time), the Shock Troopers (red ones which followed Palpatine around in three scenes) and the 442nd Siege Battalion (green ones which didn´t even appear in any of the movies, comics, games or books). The 212th Attack Battalion and 501st Legion are very popular by being directly under the command of Obi-Wan and Anakin, but they are chosen not to be released.
- The 501st, and as I recall, the 212th have minifigs now. Several sets have the 501st and I think the Republic Gunship has the 212th.
- One travesty (for fans) is that Kenner never made Bantha figures to go with the Tusken Raiders. It wasn't until 2007 that Raider figures got their mounts when Hasbro released them.
- There have been tie-in action figure lines to the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but characters like Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos and The Other don't have any actual figures of them in the aforementioned action figure lines. The Other is especially odd since Hasbro even bothered to make a Skrull warrior action figure, despite the Skrulls not appearing in The Avengers in any way.
- Karg from Masters of the Universe never had an action figure made of him, although his fellow movie characters Blade and Saurod did.
- In Power Rangers, most of the toy molds are carried over from Super Sentai, so if a character wasn't in Sentai, a toy might not exist. Also, it's reversed in the cases of some characters and concepts that were major in sentai but only slipped into a little of Power Rangers' sentai footage and got toys brought over. "So the pod people from that one episode get toys but Astronema and the Quantrons don't?" is a cry heard in more than one PR series. This applies to villains a great deal, as while all six Ranger suits must transfer over, a villain is more likely to get a total costume overhaul. And even then, many are the villains without toys on either side of the Pacific for some reason. Who are your Ranger figures supposed to be fighting? (Although it should be noted that Sentai is guilty as well. Considering how important the Nejiranger/Psycho Rangers were to Denji Sentai Megaranger/Power Rangers in Space, the idea of not having figures for them is infuriating for fans.)
- This has also happened with Zords. Sometimes it makes sense—the Mighty Mammoth from Ninja Storm/Hurricanger wasn't released because it would be pretty big. But there's really no excuse for not releasing Wild Force's Elephant Zord, Dino Thunder's Pachycephalosaurus Zord or Mystic Force's Centaurus Wolf Megazord. The former is required for a major Megazord formation, while the latter is a main villain's mech which appears in numerous episodes! And they even released the good guy recolor!
- Various belts and items from movie-only characters from Kamen Rider films were never released in toy form, such as the G Den-O Driver and Kamen Rider Aqua/Poseidon Belt. Partially subverted in the case of Kivaara's belt; Kivaara was released, but only as a standalone toy and not as a belt.
- Hazard, from BattleBots, never appeared in any of the toylines, despite being a three-time middleweight champion.
- BIONICLE itself was primarily a toy-line, and the story got second billing. As such, any originally non-toy story-only character had to be very lucky to receive a toy. Of course, this being LEGO, filling in the gaps for oneself through building is encouraged. In fact, some of the side characters got their official toy depictions through contests held by LEGO, where the best design would go on to become canon; and many more minor characters (including most Dark Hunters and many Rahi beasts) were outright created by fans in this way.
- In a lot of cases, characters have been through transformations, but only one form of theirs gets a toy:
- Lhikan spent the majority of the saga as a small Turaga elder, but his only toy is his heroic Toa form. There actually was a goofy-looking promo mini set that kinda resembled Lhikan's Turaga form, and for a long while fans used it as a stand-un, until Greg Farshtey officially canonized it as the set representation of Turaga Lhikan, eight years after its initial release.
- Nidhiki was mutated from a Toa into an insectoid creature sometime before the saga, so his toy was that of his mutant self, but he is largely featured in stories before his mutation. Turaga Dume is another important character, although his Toa-state hasn't actually had any importance. A year after their debut, two Toa sets came out that looked suspiciously like them, but these were the Toa forms of two separate, likewise mutated characters instead: Iruini and Norik respectively, from the then-released smaller Rahaga set-line — meaning that the other four Rahaga's Toa forms also ended up being toyless.
Indeed, there were multiple obvious design similarities between the mutated Nidhiki and Toa Iruini and Turaga Dume and Toa Norik that were "written off as mere coincidences" — and in the case of Norik's mask, it was explained that it got reshaped to look like the type of mask worn by Dume note . However, Greg Farshtey later confirmed that the idea of Toa Iruni being the set of Toa Nidhiki was discussed "for all of 35 seconds", that he didn't think a Toa Dume set was ever discussed, and if the set had ended up being Nidhiki, it's entirely possible the mask could have ended up being redesigned.
- The six Barraki figures and the Karzahni set also show them in their mutated states. At least for Karzahni, we have a picture of what he looked like pre-mutation — disregarding the colors.
- Certain characters would be introduced long before a toy was available to them, despite their significance to the plot. The Big Bad himself didn't get a toy until 2 years after the story had started, due to spending those years as a mysterious unseen presence. A proper Mask of Life would not be made until 3 years after it's introduction. note
- Mata Nui's original Great Spirit Robot form has no toy representation, despite being probably the most important character in the story. Given his design, though, he was probably never intended to have one, a fact which hasn't kept it from being heavily featured in the later media.note
- Some toyless characters were originally supposed to have toys — two of the comics give us a good idea of what the Baterra would have looked like as a set for instance — it's just that the line got Cut Short before these could have been released.
- Averted with Nektann, who had simply been an offhand reference in the story lore; but when a new Piraka toy was made that didn't match any of the existing Piraka, Nektann was an existing character of the correct species so LEGO said the toy was him.
- Bionicle (2015) likewise introduced important characters before they had any toys (Ekimu got released in the second wave, no word of Makuta yet), and so far the only appearing figure that might not get a toy representation is the red Skull Spider from the promo comics, since the only available colors are blue, silver and bright green.
- Hero Factory, is somewhat better with this with its significantly smaller cast, and most of the toyless characters are minor support staff for the protagonists who aren't all that important (though, their designs in the TV series are such that it's virtually impossible to make a decent scale model of any of them, no matter how expansive your stock of LEGO is).
- Monster High has a few.
- Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls has a few characters like Milky Way's little sister and Pluto's band-mates who exist as official art but have no toys.
- Back in the day, Warhammer 40,000 rulebooks had stats for units or special characters that didn't have their own official model yet, leading hobbyists to convert their own Ork Battlewagons or heroes like Nuadhu "Fireheart" of the Eldar in the meantime. But then other miniatures manufacturers started selling models for such units, prompting GW to take legal action - and unexpectedly lose. The company's controversial response was to drop any model-less units from the rulebooks altogether, which infamously Nerfed the Tyranids for years by taking away their ability to field (Organic) Drop Pods and axing over half of the Dark Eldar special characters.
- It's hard being a character in the Skylanders franchise if you're not one of the eponymous Skylanders. While the Skylanders themselves are arguably the point, being as they're toys you can bring to life in a video game, there are plenty of non-game-related toys... and those still focus primarily on the Skylanders. Want a figure of the main villain, Kaos, and his sidekick Glumshanks? Want one of the iconic villains, like the Chompies? Heck, want the Skylander's primary sidekick throughout the series, Flynn? Aside from a few rare occurrences (like Happy Meal toys), the non-Skylanders characters tend to get the shaft. Heck, Flynn's ship has a playset, while he's usually overlooked.
- Nearly all Sonic the Hedgehog-themed toylines will skip Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, despite him being the second most important character in the franchise as its antagonist. This includes crossovers where Eggman has a large role, like Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. To date, the only appearance of modern Eggman that has made it past the prototype stage anywhere in the world is a Happy Meal toy (and bear in mind that this design of him has been around for 14 years). Bootleg merchandise of him, however, is easily available. The Motobug has received more merchandise than the Mad Scientist who designed it.
- Despite coming out with five video games (three for DC Comics, two so far for the Marvel Comics heroes, LEGO has only managed to come out with actual mini figures of the primary heroes (and villains) in both universes. Several heroes (and villains) that are shown in the video games have yet to have actual figures made of them.
- Justified in that many of the minifigs that appear in-game are designed by the video game designers rather than Lego, many of the characters wouldn't have even a prototype for a physical model.
- Mario Party 10's "amiibo Party" game mode lets you use the Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and Wario figurines among others. The thing is, though, is that those three characters are only available through the Super Smash Bros. line, while the game shows different figurines for them supposedly for the Super Mario line. These specific figurines do not exist in real life presently. Wario's figurine is interesting, as the supposed Super Mario design has him wear a different outfit from the Super Smash Bros. design.
- Despite being one of the title characters, no toys have ever been released for Kazooie of Banjo-Kazooie. Banjo got one toy release based off of his Diddy Kong Racing appearance, but because Kazooie was not with him in that game, she was not included. Interestingly, there had been plans for a Banjo-Kazooie toy to be released, but it fell through and only the finished, painted prototype (which ended up selling on eBay for a cool twenty thousand dollars) was made.
- Transformers Kre O includes several background characters based on Transformers who haven't been released as Kreons. A case frequent enough to qualify for this trope is Sideways.
- Sparks, Big Lob and Pythona in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Sparks appeared in a couple of episodes during the first season as a communication officer for the Joes before retiring from dutynote (and being replaced by Breaker and Dial-Tone). Big Lob and Pythona were exclusive to G.I. Joe: The Movie.
- Sparks and Big Lob were eventually made into collector's club exclusive figures in 2007 and 2010 respectively. We're still waiting for Pythona.
- The short-lived mid-'90s G.I. Joe Extreme spinoff had action figures planned for Mayday (the Extreme Team's token female) and Quick Stryke, as well S.K.A.R. members Wreckage and Rampage. The unpopularity of the Extreme series resulted in these characters being shelved from the toyline, although prototypes have been known to exist.
- Neither Squeaky Cleen nor any of the female characters (Mainframe, Nightshade, Ms. Demeanor and Mirage) from COPS were action figures to start with. And we do mean "start with"; like Transformers and G.I. Joe, the toys came first.
- The Peculiar Purple Pieman Of Porcupine Peak from Strawberry Shortcake in the second generation line; though he seems not to fit, being a villain, back in the 1980s, he was represented. He's not even mentioned in the third generation. First-generation characters that appeared in the animated specials but not the toyline include T.N. Honey (Big Apple City) and four of the Berrykins (Meets the Berrykins introduces ten of them, but only six became toys).
- Despite showing up in the first special in 1980, Plum Puddin' didn't get a toy until 1984, by which time he had become a she (According to Hasbro, this is because dolls of Huckleberry Pie didn't sell very well).
- Masters of the Universe
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) had a few characters who were introduced apparently to promote new action figures, but said figures never materialised - Strongarm and Lizard Man for instance. The Sorceress and King Randor didn't receive action figures until the final wave despite being major characters in the cartoon.
- The New Adventures of He-Man had important supporting characters who didn't make the cut into the toyline, like Mara and Crita, the main females from each side. Mara even got a prototype before the toyline cancellation. She and Crita then got their own figures years later.
- The 2002 series and its toyline had a lot of problems, and this was one of them. Among the characters excluded were Clawful and Stinkor (two of Skeletor's main henchmen), recurring villains Webstor, Evilseed, and Count Marzo, and nearly all of the Snake Men (who were the main villains of the cartoon's final season!). As a consolation prize, most of these characters were represented in NECA's later line of mini-statues based on the series.
- Generally speaking the Classic line spends a lot of its time correcting this, giving toys to either previously-toyless yet recurring characters from both cartoons (like Queen Marlena and Count Marzo) or one-off villains from the original series (like Icer, Fang Man, Batros, and the above-mentioned Strongarm and Lizard Man), and the two Evilseed's. Filmation Count Marzo, Shakra and the others are still waiting, though.
- The original Transformers Generation One cartoon had a bunch of characters who'd fit the bill:
- Arcee was created for the 1986 movie and was a prominent character in the series after that. Hasbro wouldn't make an action figure that was based on her G1 appearance until 2014 (her first action figure was a repaint of Beast Wars Blackarachnia in 2001).
- "The Search For Alpha Trion" was a second season episode that introduced Optimus Prime's mentor, Alpha Trion, and girlfriend, Elita One, both recurring characters without toys. Also worth mention from this episode are Firestar, Moonracer and Chromia, all three named fembots that take the spotlight for at least part of the episode.
- Alpha Trion, Elita-One, Chromia and Moonracer actually ended up getting exclusive botcon toys eventually (though Moonracer and Chromia have to share). We're still waiting for Firestar.
- Fan favorite Nightbird, a female ninja robot introduced in "Enter the Nightbird." Though she's never seen again after this episode she's not likely to be forgotten any time soon. She was finally given a toy in 2015, which was a redeco and retool of the Arcee action figure that had been released the year before.
- Devcon, from "The Gambler" is also pretty popular.
- Deceptitran, the primary antagonist in "Sea Change".
- "Forever Is a Long Time Coming" gave us Beta.
- Carly, Daniel, and Sparkplug, of course, as well as Spike's younger self.
- Spike's eventual toy was the head of Cerebros, the head of Fortress Maximus. Younger Spike eventually was released with the redesigned MP-10 version of Masterpiece Optimus Prime, while the MP-22 Ultra Magnus figure came with figures of adult Spike and Daniel, and MP-20 Bumblebee came with an Exosuit figure that can be either Spike or Daniel.
- Third-party companies have attempted to fill in some of the gaps, though as they aren't licensed by Hasbro or Takara, they're not "official" releases. They also tend to have limited production runs and are sold for premium prices.
- Beast Wars:
- Transmutate didn't get a toy until the 10th Anniversary line, when you had to combine bonus parts packaged with other toys.
- Tigerhawk was forced to be Killed Off for Real after two episodes because they weren't sure they were making the toy (as in, weren't sure they weren't, either... and eventually did.)
- Blackarachnia was one of the first exceptions to the 'no girls' rule, but her toy was Tarantulas's painted purple. (Guess what color Blackarachnia isn't? At all? note )
- It was a long road for Transformers for the first female toy character to come along. First, again, in 1986 there was Arcee, who was a main character in Transformers: The Movie and season three, and would have been in season four. No toy of her was ever made. In 1996 there's Beast Wars, and we get Airazor - whose toy was made first. The decision to make her a "her" came later. She gets an upgraded, obviously-female toy, the first Transformers toy intended as female from the start, but the character never takes on that form in the show. And again, Blackarachnia's original form effectively doesn't get one at all. Finally, in 1999, Blackarachnia gets an upgrade, and that form has a toy. That's 13 years between the first female main character and the first instance of a female character having a toy in her likeness intentionally.
- The Vok, the mysterious aliens that were the focus of one of the main story arcs. Of course, as floating glowing skull thingies, there's not much about them that demands one.
- The Beast Wars version of Ravage had a toy, but it was never released in America. All we get are two black repaints of Cheetor that don't bear even a tiny passing resemblence to Ravage. (Worse, part of Ravage's new design is actually based on one of Cheetor's three forms. The American Ravage toys are based only on the other two forms.)
- It's worse than that; Hasbro was planning on bringing the Japanese Ravage toy (the one based on Cheetor's second Transmetal form) to the states as part of the new 10th anniversary line for the series, but it fell through because they lost the mold. As a final kick to the balls, however, this was after they used it to make a Botcon-exclusive Transmetals Tigatron figure. At least one of the Ravages we did get wound up being its own character in the comic books...
- In general, though, Beast Wars inverted this; the vast majority of the toys lacked any representation on the show. Besides Ravage and Transmutate, the only non-main characters with toys to appear on the show are the Tripredacus Council, who looked nothing like their toys in their sole appearance.
- That was because they couldn't get the models finished before the episodes they appeared in were released; as a result, they were allowed to keep the characters' collective names, but were barred from using their individual names when referring to them. Also, in a bit of What Could Have Been, the toy-only character Wolfang could've been represented in the cartoon in Tigatron's place, but Lazy Animator Syndrome kicked in. CGI models ain't cheap (which is why BW had such a small cast and high body count.) so Tigatron, who is largely based on Cheetor, was given the role originally written for Wolfang.
- Beast Machines:
- Megatron's form at the end of the series. Like Ravage, Slipstream, and Emirate Xaaron, it would have been very easy to make one - it was based on Optimal Optimus, meaning that toy would only have needed a recolor and a new head. There is currently a smaller Optimal Optimus toy without a beast mode - even better for a Megatron makeover, as Megatron had gone anti-organic in Beast Machines and would have left out the beast mode.
- Botanica is one of very few main cast members in a Transformers series who was created without the intention for a toy to be made.
- Diagnostic Drone.
- From Transformers Energon there was Padlock. Of course, he existed just long enough to get shot in the back by Shockwave, thus spurring Wing Saber to seek revenge. Debatably, there was also Wing Dagger, but he was quickly reformatted into Wing Saber, who did get a toy.
- Though for once the human companion Kicker did get a toy, as did non-Transformer villain Alpha Q.
- Transformers Cybertron has an incredibly infamous one in Signal Lancer, a character who appeared in, was named in, and even had a Transformation Sequence in the final episode. Even though he had an official Transformation, he has no toy, despite how cool he is (he's a traffic light).
- The Transformers Animated version of Omega Supreme - very male, very Badass, very important, with plenty of screentime, hasn't gotten a toy despite much fan begging. Especially astonishing given the Tigerhawk situation: The toy company has infinitely more control than the writers with every incarnation of TF, and saying "Screw the arc you had planned, vaporize your important character because we're only pretty sure we're making a toy" is in fact not the worst thing they've inflicted on a series or comic. A toyless character being allowed as much screentime as Omega got (for non-social reasons) is perhaps unprecedented.
- The Constructicons (Mixmaster, Scrapper, and later Dirt Boss). They were actually cut out of the cartoon in Japan, based on the reasoning that the show shouldn't spend time on losers who don't have toys.
- Ramjet and Slipstream - who would only have required further recolors of Starscream, being clones of him. Inverted with Dirge, however: he is actually the only toy-exclusive character to be based on this series, and therefore the only character not to be mentioned in the Allspark Almanac. Oil Slick was intended as a toy-only character, but the show's writers gave him a small role in one episode once they learned of his existence.
- Ramjet got his own toy eventually, but no such luck for Slipstream — probably because it would require a slightly different mold.
- Sari, as well, despite being a Transformer. Also Thrust.
- Transformers Prime managed to dodge this for the most part, releasing figures for most of the robots and even a few of the human characters. The only named Transformers who never got a toy are Makeshift and Alpha Trion, and the former spent most of his time disguised as Wheeljack (who did get released as a toy) anyways. However, some, most infamously Breakdown, only saw release as smaller "Cyberverse" figures.
- A Voyager-sized Breakdown does exist......exclusive to the Japanese toyline. The mold couldn't be brought over to the states for cost reasons, leaving the only option for those who wanted a "proper" Breakdown to import the figure.
- Centurions has a few examples of this trope. Crystal Kane, the team's Mission Control, was never an action figure; neither were Team Pets Shadow the dog and Lucy the orangutan, or Killer Robots Groundborg and Seaborg. An interesting case happened with Rex Charger and John Thunder: they were intended to be in the next line of toys, but were cancelled together with the line. Even this new wave did not have the above mentioned Crystal, etc: however, bootlegs of her exist.
- In the Littlest Pet Shop (1995) TV series, Chet was the only one of the major characters who wasn't made as a toy.
- And for Littlest Pet Shop (2012), there are way fewer toys of Vinnie than any of the other main pets. While at the beginning of the show, the characters for the toys were created independently of the show except for Penny and Zoe, from late 2014 and onwards, Hasbro made a greater attempt to match the Littlest Pet Shop toys to the characters from the show. However, in these recent lines, such as the official plushes and the capsule-based squishy figurines, Vinnie is left out entirely with the exception of a few collectors' sets.
- In its last two seasons, the Ninja Turtles faced fiction-only Big Bad Lord Dregg. Carter, the Turtles' equally toyless Sixth Ranger human ally, was introduced around the same time. Previously, even Burne got a toy.
- In addition, recurring baddies Lotus Blossom, Don Turtelli, Bezerko, Tempestra, and Big Louie missed out on plastic.
- The second series skipped over many important characters, especially in the last three seasons. This includes many characters and concepts developed in the cartoon SPECIFICALLY to be made into toys!
- Many characters and vehicles from The Real Ghostbusters, such as the Ecto-Ichi.
- Mira Nova, Commander Nebula, and over 3 quarters of the villains in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
- The Smurfette Principle strikes again: Neither of the female knights from Visionaries began as action figures. They weren't even planned to be adapted to the toy line's (canceled) second year, which had original characters instead.
- Also from Visionaries: Merklynn, the powerful wizard who sent the knights on their quests, did not begin as and wasn't powerful enough to become a figure. At least Hasbro planned to include a holographic image of him in the unproduced Iron Mountain playset, but he was not planned to be a posable figure.
- My Little Pony:
- They occasionally dipped into this trope for background characters during the G1 and G3 eras, most famously with First Born and Fiesta Flair. Fiesta Flair is an interesting example from G3. She was never put into the toys and her design was reused for Candy Apple but she appears prominently in specials, even as a cameo in G3.5 long after her time.
- Then they fully embraced this trope for the G4 adaptation, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- It gets even stranger when you realize that there are over 50 characters who have toys but don't appear in the show (mostly Palette Swaps of toy characters who do appear in the show).
- This even extends to accessories, like the 12 dresses introduced in an episode all about dresses, 6 of which make cameo appearances in other episodes and are featured again in the first Season Finale. You won't find those dresses on store shelves.
- Naturally, the show's large Periphery Demographic fandom, frustrated by the lack of official toys from Hasbro, have started making them themselves. A good plushie version can go for over a hundred dollars on eBay.
- This slowly began being remedied in 2012-2013 as some of the supporting and incidental ponies from the show finally made the jump to the toyline and a small number of ponies from the toyline (Blossomforth, Sweetcream Scoops, Sugar Grape, Lovestruck, Forsythia, Cherry Spices, Barber Groomsby, Tealove, Bumblesweet, and Diamond Rose) finally made the jump to either the show or the Expanded Universe.
- Although Photo Finish & The Snapshots from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks have recieved a full trio of dolls, and most of the humanized background fan favorites have also appeared in said toyline (even a few that aren't in the film), Trixie's bandmates remain toyless.
- Gloria Baker from M.A.S.K. is an interesting example. During the first three years, neither she nor her vehicle, the Shark, made it to toy stores. She finally got a figure for the Split Seconds line, but not with the Shark.
- None of the villains of Skysurfer Strike Force were made into toys, not even series Big Bad, Cybron and his team of Bioborgs.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold was based on Mattel's toyline "Batman: The Brave and the Bold". The female heroes, amongst others, were not allowed episodes of their own because they did not have toys in the toyline, as only Batman, Plastic Man, Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Gorrila Grodd, Robin, Joker, and Bwanna Beast did. However, realistic versions of the females were available as DC Universe Classics.
- In Stone Protectors, Opal was created for the show. She wasn't added to the second set of figures either.
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series is an extreme example of this trope, as no toys were ever produced for the show. The toys were pitched, but no stores wanted them, because they were still trying to get rid of toys from the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie, which flopped horribly. The fact that the expensive CGI animated show had no toy line to support it financially is rumored to be a major reason the show was canceled.
- Four of the main villains in Silverhawks (Pokerface, Melodia, Timestopper, and Yes-Man) were unrepresented in the toyline for whatever reason.
- Out of all the characters in Mixels (a show that's actually concurrent with a toyline, thanks to both LEGO and Cartoon Network working together to make it), some of the only characters to lack a set are Major Nixel (The Dragon) and Muscle Nixel (one of his minions, only seen in the Calling All Mixels app game). This was eventually extended to even more characters in the "Every Knight Has Its Day" episode, which introduces more background Mixels from currently-introduced tribes.
- Every character in Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, save the villains. The toyline consisted entirely of vehicles with swappable parts, with the good guys represented as the "Lightning League", and the bad guys as the "Monster Minds". But while the Monster Minds were sentient plant based beings that could take the form of vehicles, the Lightning League cars were just cars driven by the protagonists of the show, none of whom received toys. There was a generic "driver" figure, but he doesn't represent anyone from the show. Mattel planned to make action figures of the series' main cast, but they were never released.
- On most merchandise of The Flintstones, Betty Rubble will not be present, most notably in the chewable vitamin tablets. This is because Betty is far and away the least popular main character.
- In Jem, the Stingers were created to sell toys, as parents thought the Misfits' dolls were too scary. The Stingers' toys were never created.
- Sky Commanders is yet another example of this trope overlapping with The Smurfette Principle. Each faction had one female member (Red McCullogh from the Sky Commanders, Dr. Erica Slade from the Raiders); neither of them made it to the toy line, even as a prototype from the unproduced second year of figures.
- Never Made Toys is a website that based on this phenomena. It's primarily based on the 80's cartoons.