What is the Hell is "MEGAFORCE"?
If you go out and sell my cars, I'll sell your movie. And that's how it got started."
The Historical Context of MEGAFORCE
Why is MEGAFORCE an Oddity?
What Happened to MEGAFORCE?
The Impact and Legacy of 1982's MEGAFORCE
The Aborted Sequel: “Deeds Not Words”
It would be amazing to read what Hal Needham was thinking for the follow-up. Alas, we will never know due to MEGAFORCE belly-flopping at the theaters only making $5.6 million verse the $18 million investment in the film. The only hint of the plot and setting of Deeds, Not Words came from an brief mention in a Starlog Magazine in 1982, stating that the sequel to MEGAFORCE would have been shot in the Virgin Island...insert joke here. Given that the majority of vehicles in the original 1982 film were desert based, we could have seen a more "aquatic" MEGAFORCE gear than in the first film. This would have great to base a new toyline on as well. Maybe a flying Jetski? There has been speculation online that Persis Khambatta's character of Major Zara would become a member of the MEGAFORCE due to her character's return as mention by the director in an 1982 interview.
The Merchandise of MEGAFORCE
As we've discussed above, MEGAFORCE was conceived as a full-on marketing beast, or as Starlog Magazine #61 (8/1982) in summed it as "MEGAFORCE: a Blueprint for Films, Toys, and Weaponry". One of the major partners for the film and the merchandising of MEGAFORCE (and its possible sequels) was the toy giant Mattel. From the very beginning of the MEGAFORCE project, the producers of the film and the people of Mattel worked closely to design the look of the MEGAFORCE unit to appeal to the toy market.
Larry Wood from Mattel collaborated with production designer Bill Fredericks to design the vehicles of the MEGAFORCE down to the detail of the racy futuristic desert "1990" paint scheme applied to the MEGAFORCE vehicles. When the full-sized fleet of near-future war machines were ready, Mattel designed there Hot Wheels toys around the real vehicles. Sadly, this relationship bore little fruit due to the flop that MEGAFORCE was and Mattel only put six vehicles under their Hot Wheels line along with the "Desert Strike Track Set" that also included the MEGAFORCE "Mega-destroyer" Dune Buggy that all released in 1981. There two other pieces of merchandise that were released for the film: an 20th Century Fox ATARI 2600 video game and a Japanese 1:16 model kit of the Mega-Destroyer assault dune buggy.
The Japanese model kit was released by Bandai in 1982 and called "the MEGAFORCE Mega-Cruiser". This had a limited run and is considered rare, commanding a high price. When reviewing some of the examples of the Mega-Cruiser model kit that have come up for sale, there is some mention of the kit being motorized and a "comic book" designed for the model kit being included. In 1982, 20th Century Fox released an ATARI 2600 single-player side-scroller MEGAFORCE video game. This was not unusual for the film company, they released several ATARI 2600 games based on their properties and MEGAFORCE was one. Modern reviews of the game have spoken highly of it and how it is better than the movie. Much like many other side-scrollers of the time, it is simple and is similar, to me, to the Empire Strikes Back ATARI 2600 game. In the TV ad for the MEGAFORCE video game, actor Bryan Cranston had a starring role. The later Kenner toyline called "Megaforce" was not connected to the 1982 film in any way despite rumors.
The Rumors of the MEGAFORCE that Could have Been and Never Was...
Next Time on FWS...