Highlights | Interviews


18 Apr - 2024

Tags from the story: Hasbro.

With an incredible portfolio of brands and major anniversaries to celebrate, Hasbro has a lot of exciting news! LM interviewed Marianne James, Senior Vice President, Global Licensing at Hasbro, to find out more.

Could you tell us about the latest news on the publishing front for your brands?

Marianne James

Last year, we announced our collaboration with Skybound Entertainment as the comic book home for two of our most popular franchises: TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE. This year, amid TRANSFORMERS’ 40th anniversary, we’re unveiling brand-new comics and graphic novels based on the shared Energon Universe from visionary creator, Robert Kirkman. Fans in more than 13 territories across the Americas and Europe can join in on the action and adventure as new editions roll out regularly.

In Fall 2024, we’re launching a new graphic novel compendium series collecting the landmark Transformers series from Marvel Comics. Recently, we revealed an impressive lineup for Transformers #7, which kicks off the series’ second story arc. Thanks to Dynamite Entertainment, fans can collect a new set of nearly 200 premium trading cards featuring fan-favorite characters from the Transformers brand’s “Generation 1” era.

In the UK and EMEA, we introduced two refreshed PEPPA PIG magazines with Story House Egmont. The refreshed titles from the  kids’ favorite magazine arrive during the Queen of Preschool’s 20th anniversary. In line with new entertainment for the brand’s 20th anniversary and 10th season, we’ll also release an extensive range of books with content tie-ins and party themes in engaging new formats. For the first time ever, PEPPA PIG is also getting the podcast treatment from Audible this year with brand-new podcast content filled with rich storytelling for fans of all ages.

In EMEA, to help kick off our iconic CLUE brand’s 75th anniversary this year, we launched CLUE extended audio stories from Lunii on the brand-new device, Flam. Further, we’re publishing a mind-bending puzzle book with Harper Collins (Expanse Imprint) penned by bestselling author Dr. Gareth Moore this fall.

Also, in celebration of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS’ 50th anniversary celebrations from the award-winning publishing house, Ten Speed Press, we’ve launched Heroes’ Feast Flavors of The Multiverse: an Official D&D Cookbook. We’ll also be releasing a stunning D&D museum book from Studio Press. In fiction, The Fallbacks: Bound for Ruin by Jaleigh Johnson is available now from Random House Worlds. Fans can look forward to the release of Exodus: The Archimedes Engine by bestselling author Peter Hamilton which releases September 17, 2024 (Random House Worlds in the US, Macmillan in the UK), ahead of the launch of the anticipated Exodus game.

After commemorating Hasbro’s 100th anniversary in 2023, 2024 will see major anniversaries for your brands, such as the 50th of D&D, the 20th of Peppa Pig, the 40th of Transformers, and so on. What related initiatives are in the pipeline?

This year is such a proud moment for us as we honor the 40th anniversary of our prized IP, Transformers. This summer, fans can start jamming out to a special anniversary vinyl album featuring music from the 1984 animated series. Later this year, we’re continuing the on-screen action and adventure through the Transformers: EarthSpark Season 2 launch, along with the franchise’s first fully CG-animated movie, Transformers One. With additional epic collabs from LEGO, Funko, Jada Toys, JLab, Mad Engine, Robosen, RSVLTS, Super7 and many more, fans of all ages are welcomed into the beloved franchise and can discover where it all began.

We have so much planned for families to join Peppa Pig and her Let’s Jump In! adventures this year. Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are getting airtime in the fun, three-part PEPPA PIG Wedding Special, which premieres from March 25-28 as part of Nickelodeon’s PEPPA PIG Wedding Week. On the product front, we unveiled a new collaboration with LEGO and Merlin Entertainments to bring Peppa into Lego Duplo form through four adorable Lego Duplo Peppa Pig sets, along with themed play areas that are set to open this year at select Merlin Entertainments theme parks.  Additionally, we’ve introduced exciting new Peppa Pig fashion collaborations with Trotters, for a vibrant children’s clothing collection, along with Uniqlo Baby through two PEPPA-themed short-sleeved graphic t-shirts as part of its My Special Friends UT collection.

Since it first debuted 50 years ago, Dungeons & Dragons has cemented itself as a leader in imaginative play. Bolstering D&D’s innovative slate of new products, the team has an intriguing lineup of licensed consumer products in the works with world-class partners, including an eye-popping collection of footwear and apparel from Converse. Additionally, Reyn Spooner, home of the world’s most collected Aloha shirts, is set to roll the die on a D&D collab, along with Black Milk. Additionally, WizKids is planning to debut its 50th anniversary-inspired product line, and we have so much more we’ll be announcing for D&D in the coming weeks.

Finally, LEGO and D&D are coming together to release an official LEGO IDEAS building set complete with minifigures, available for purchase from April 1 on LEGO.com.

In recent years, companies have seen an increase in digital offerings, and at the same time there has been a huge growth in the LBE sector. What are Hasbro’s current prospects and partnerships in these two areas?

Location-based entertainment is a key growth area for us at Hasbro. To-date, we offer over 500 annual events globally and 60+ open fixed location experiences, including theme park attractions, branded hotels & restaurants, interactive life-sized games and more.

Following the success of the Florida location, Merlin Entertainments is set to open two brand-new locations of the PEPPA PIG Theme Park in Texas (US) and Germany! Also tailing the opening of Kingsmen’s first NERF Action Xperience (NERF AX) in Manchester, UK, we’re launching two more locations in the United States in New York and Tennessee.

Additionally, Immersive Everywhere is bringing to life the unforgettable live experience, PEPPA PIG: Surprise Party! Set to launch in spring/summer 2024, PEPPA PIG will be the first preschool property in the UK to enter the immersive sector with an engaging interactive theatrical storyline and dedicated retail space.

Coming soon to Shanghai, China is the co-branded TRANSFORMERS & MY LITTLE PONY Playlodge, which will present an indoor family entertainment center and hotel rooms, along with retail and dining offerings.

We’re also expanding our digital offerings in all-new ways. In March, we launched the all-new TRANSFORMERS Digital Pop! Collection, and we also announced a collaboration with Voodoo to integrate Transformers into its most popular game, Mob Control.

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