I asked one of the Toys for Bob team members about the variant figures and he didn't know the specifics. He knew they were variants that would likely be released, but any information beyond that was more of a marketing function and had nothing to do with the game's development team.
Earlier today the official Skylanders Universe online game website updated and added several of these new variants characters along with their official names. In addition, the names of four upcoming Sidekick characters were also revealed, but no images are available at this time (you can see at least two of them in our Toys for Bob article). The new Sidekicks are Barkley (a small version of Tree Rex?), Eye-Small (Eye Brawl, pictured in our article), Thumpling (Thumpback, pictured in our article), and Mini Jini (Ninjini). It is believed these Sidekicks will once again be part of a Frito-Lay promotion that will run in 2013, but there's no official confirmation of that at this time.
I have included screenshots of each newly identified variant character below and tossed in Pop Fizz and Granite Crusher as well. Pop Fizz comes exclusively with the 3DS version of Skylanders Giants much like last year's Dark Spyro did with the 3DS version of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. Granite Crusher will be available this Sunday to purchase exclusively at Target stores.
Click on any of the Skylanders Giants variant images for a high resolution look. All of these variants are expected to look like their variant figures in-game.
Be on the lookout for our Skylanders Giants full review and a couple other neat Giants-related tidbits coming online tomorrow.
Pre-order Skylanders Giants on the platform of your choice at Amazon.com, with the individual Skylanders becoming available in the near future.
Royal Double Trouble
Punch Pop Fizz (3DS exclusive, available 10/21)
Gnarly Tree Rex (Giant, Australia Starter Pack exclusive available 10/21)
Granite Crusher (Target exclusive available 10/21)
Molten Hot Dog