Hasbro vs. Mattel: Josh Gad to Star in Amazon’s 80s-Set ‘Toy Wars’ Series

     September 21, 2016


Since The O.C., writer-producer Josh Schwartz went on to kickstart more shows like Gossip Girl and Chuck. But, depending on who you ask, they never lived up to the quality of that Orange County-set teen drama. He continues on, though, with new series in development from Hulu’s Marvel series The Runaways and ABC’s female-led cop drama Broad Squad. Today adds another one to that list: Toy Wars, which chronicles the battle between toy companies Mattel and Hasbro in the 1980s.

According to Deadline, Schwartz, Frozen voice actor Josh Gad and Ryan Dixon are co-writing the series, that was picked up by Amazon and based on the book Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle Between G.I. Joe, Barbie, and the Companies that Make Them.


Image via Focus Features

Written by journalist G. Wayne Miller, who spent years observing the inner workings of Hasbro, the story centers on Alan Hassenfeld, the company’s CEO who never wanted to be an executive but had to pick up the mantle after his business prodigy brother passed away from AIDS. Hassenfeld then struggled to balance the demands of his job with his hopes for making the toys children crave. Also featured in the story are real-life figures like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Power Rangers creator Haim Saban, and Mattel CEO Jill Barad.

Gad is also set to star in the series, while Schwartz serves as showrunner and Seth Gordon (director of Horrible Bosses and the upcoming Baywatch reboot) is planning to direct the pilot episode. As it happens, Schwartz is keeping on the toy beat with his producer Stephanie Savage, both of whom are working on a feature adaptation of Mattel’s toy line Monsters High.

It’ll be an interesting compliment to what we’re seeing from both companies now in the 21st century. Hasbro has developed many of its properties into major entertainment franchises, including Transformers, G.I. Joe, and My Little Pony. Mattel, meanwhile, is starting to bulk up more with a Barbie feature film in development, and the upcoming Monster Trucks, the latter of which may already be in trouble.


Image via Hasbro