Star Trek Barbie dolls: Why it may be time to worry about J.J.'s movie

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

If there's any doubt that the era of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek marks a break from the past, consider these new exhibits: Mattel will release "collector's" edition Barbie dolls of Kirk, Spock and Uhura from the upcoming movie.

That's right. Barbie dolls.

Does this mean Abrams' Star Trek is going for the lowbrow audience? Or is it just a reflection that the market for Star Trek stuff has shrunk so far that only Mattel will step up?

These are likely only the first product tie-ins to Abrams' reboot movie, but the fact that they are Barbies and not, say, high-quality Art Asylum prop replicas or, say, Master Replica ship models says a lot about how downmarket the new Trek is aiming. (Click on the jump for more images)

The dolls—and that's what they're called, dolls: not action figures, not collectibles—feature likenesses of Zachary Quinto as Spock, Chris Pine as Kirk and Zoe Saldana as Uhura, in their movie costumes, with props of what look like phasers, a tricorder and a communicator.

Of course, as our resident Trek expert points out, the product tie-ins to Trek films have been going down in quality; the last couple of films were accompanied by Playmates Trek action figures and electronic ship models. A quick search reveals that the company has similar items planned for this film as well.

As for the Barbies, though they're ostensibly aimed at collectors, CBS Consumer Products says the dolls are appropriate for ages 6 and up. And they're not cheap: $43.19. They will be on shelves April 20; the movie opens May 8.

But they seem aimed at a downmarket demographic: Mattel is distributing them through Walmart and, and Barbie collector dealers.

They are selling them as an assortment (but the dolls come individually wrapped, no two or three-packs).