It’s Force Friday II—a global three-day fan celebration spanning across thousands of retailers—launching new products inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The event runs September 1-3 and it is expected to top its 2015 predecessor.
“This campaign is on a bigger scale than the first Force Friday, both in terms of geographic scope and the number of retailers,” Paul Southern, a senior vice president at Disney’s Lucasfilm, told Yahoo.
We No Longer Find Your Lack Of Rey Disturbing
In addition to galaxy-sized retail efforts by Disney and Lucasfilm, there are notable differences between this year’s Force Friday and the original, which promoted Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
A combination of underestimated demand and spoiler concerns resulted in a lack of toys based on Rey, the female main character of The Force Awakens. Learning from its mistakes, Southern said that Disney put Rey “front and center” this time, from action figures to collectible holiday ornaments.
Witness The Power Of This Fully Functional Toy Line
Retailers and fans also appreciate the addition of high tech toys unveiled ahead of the holiday season. App-enabled droids, droid inventor kits and augmented reality toys are a common theme this year for Star Wars merchandise.
Jedi Challenges, available for pre-order features a smartphone-powered Lenovo Mirage AR headset, tracking beacon and lightsaber controller. It works with iOS and Android and will be available this holiday season.
In the meantime, fans can “Find the Force” by participating in a global augmented reality event at 20,000 participating retail locations over the weekend. Through the official Star Wars app, AR characters and creatures (including the adorable porgs) can be seen and photographed around stores. Each day will unlock new characters to encourage repeat visits.
By sharing photos or videos featuring the in-store AR characters on Twitter or Instagram using #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes throughout the Force Friday II weekend, fans in select global markets can participate in a sweepstakes for the chance to win the ultimate fan experience: tickets to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere in December.
— Star Wars (@starwars) August 31, 2017
These Are The Droids You’re Looking For
Perhaps the most notable new character revealed in toy form is BB-9E—BB-8’s evil twin—whose role in The Last Jedi remains a mystery for now.
Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the US and select stores around the world hosted special midnight celebrations to kick off the event, giving customers the opportunity to be among the first to purchase hundreds of new Star Wars items, like the Toys ‘R’ Us-exclusive Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from Radio Flyer.
Fans: “I Love You.” Star Wars: “I Know.”
Sales of Star Wars toys in the US totaled $618 million from August 2016 to July 2017, according to NPD Group. The theme was also number one for the last twelve months in the total toy industry.
The first Force Friday promotion in 2015 for The Force Awakens sparked a sevenfold increase in online sales of Star Wars toys for the month of September, according to Financial Post. The studio drummed up excitement for new action figures and toys with a global unwrapping of Star Wars merchandise on YouTube and coverage on ABC’s Good Morning America. The movie went on to become the top-grossing US movie ever.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in US theaters on December 15.