programming a custom interface/plugin for posing and morph targets- guidance required

For a special project we will have to model up to a several thousand 3D Characters.
The best tool/app for this would be Poser, since in Poser you start off with a standard character in neutral T-Pose, and then due to the rigged standard character and the powerful morph system one can quickly adapt the standard character to their needs.
Especially the „Apollo Maximus“ character with tons of morph targets is great as a character to work with. (Apollo Maximus from Anton Kisiel: http://www.antonkisieldesigns.com/~akfiles/htmlpages/ApolloMaximusFree3dhumanfigure.htm )
However there are a few reasons (technical and license-related) why we can’t use Poser for this project (and we actually also don’t WANT to use it).

Blender would be the perfect tool. We want to use Open Source and we are ready to invest into custom development. However we will need some advice to start with from you as the experts. I found a statement as follows:

[…]
Poser also has an extremely good morph system that will be dificult to duplicate in blender. Blender 2.42 will have shape keys though so that, now, you can setup morph targets in a similar manner. Blenders shape keys will need some extra work to make them useable. You’ll actually have to set up your own interface to use a slider the same way you would use a dial in Poser I believe.
[…]
Poser’s stongest point is its ability to cross-morph between unlimited targets resulting in a remarkable ability to create a truly wide range of characters. Poser’s interface however is somewhat limited. Blender’s strongest point is the unrestricted environment. Weight painting, bone drawing, etc. will be less difficult in blender than Poser after you’ve masterd the technique. Blender can also update a mesh in place without having to re-rig and then generate a decent render.
[…]
(Source: Marty_D - http://blenderartists.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-68077.html)

So my questions are:
From Marty_D’s post I understand that using the morph dials and the posing in Poser, would also be possible inside Blender, provided that some adaptations are made. Can you confirm that?
What kind of ressources or skills are required to do what Marty_D describes here:

[…]You’ll actually have to set up your own interface to use a slider the same way you would use a dial in Poser I believe.[…]
?
Would it be possible for a skilled python programmer to create a plugin for Blender, that would have the same posing and morphing abilities like Poser ?
Can you give us suggestions where we can find people that can do the job? of course they will be paid
Finally is it possible, for not having to start at zero, use the Apollo Maximus character and it’s morph targets inside Blender ?
Any help and comment would be appreciated.

Thanks
Steve