In today's review of the MotU Classics Shadow Beast, I raised the question of how this figure could so obviously be based on the old Filmation designs, when those are reportedly off-limits for the characters. Here's what Mattel had to say when asked about it:
The Shadow Beasts rights were aquired at the time of the MYP 2002 series, and as they're based off the original Shadow Beast concept, there was always going to be a similarity, after all - they're giant hairy ape like creatures with red eyes and a horn on the head - there's only so much difference you can do!
The Four Horsemen are dedicated to giving the fans the most iconic images of the characters they can, and push boundaries as far as they can within the limits. Remember, all the characters in the Classics line are presented as if they'd been put into a machine.
You put the character in, and on the one side it comes out 2003 style, on the other the character comes out in the classics style, which is what we're getting. So if you put a shadow beast in the machine and turned the dial to "Classics Style" this is what you'd get.
So what Mattel is saying is that if you take a 2003-style version of a character that originated in the vintage line and put them through the "Classics-izer," they'll come out like their vintage depiction - even if said depiction was in the Filmation cartoon? Count Marzo would beg to differ. Those three little cheek-folds and the "chin spines" are unique to the Filmation Shadow Beast, and they're not at all evident in the 2003 version. So this seems like a long way of saying "We just went ahead and did it anyway and we've got our fingers crossed Classic Media doesn't press the issue."