Indeed. The variant figure is far from gone. Just look at how many variant offerings were in the recent Collector's Choice 2017 vote. We'll see how well they did, ultimately, but I suspect that many will be top choices.
I know there are many fans who balk considerably at variants, but as AdultCollector points out in the original post, there is a good (and possibly growing) number of different media interpretations of MoTU that can easily warrant versions of characters from those various media.
The current DC New52 MoTU comics alone could nearly justify an entire devoted line at the most, and a mini-sub at the least.
Then there's the HatMoTU line. It looks to be all about alternate media variants. Not only of the main characters, but bearing the possibility of seeing the likes of Count Marzo, Tung Lashor, etc. in the Filmation style.
Variants are still going to be a huge part of this particular collecting venture.