“Star Wars” Force Friday is getting a sequel!
Inspired by the upcoming “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Disney and Lucasfilm have announced the return of “Star Wars” Force Friday, a global fan event celebrating the launch of new products. The unveiling will feature toys, collectibles, books, and apparel that will go on sale beginning on Sept. 1 at 12:01 a.m. The movie opens three and half months later on Dec. 15.
“Star Wars” Force Friday II comes two years after the original Force Friday marketing push for toys tied to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Touted as the world’s first global live toy unboxing event, Disney launched an 18-hour online marathon that employed YouTube stars to open toy boxes online.
The announcement comes two days before the start of the industry’s annual Toy Fair in New York City.
“The first Star Wars Force Friday event was truly unique, uniting fans across five continents in an unprecedented global live unboxing event ahead of thousands of midnight openings at retail,” says Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for ‘The Last Jedi.’ Plans for this year’s worldwide event are top secret, but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.”
Jill Wilfert, the Lego Group’s VP of global licensing and entertainment, said, “It was so much fun to be a part of Star Wars Force Friday, and we can’t wait for fans to join this year’s celebration as we reveal new ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ products during Force Friday II — a global event that will connect fans and families, and allow them to build, create, and share their experiences with others.”
As in 2015, products for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be kept under wraps until Force Friday II.
“The Force Awakens” toys were on the top 10 toy lists for both boys and girls for the first time ever in 2015. Disney did not hold an equivalent unboxing event last year in advance of the first “Star Wars” spinoff, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Marty Brochstein, the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s senior VP of industry relations and information, said the tentpole played a crucial role in boosting overall toy sales from licensed properties in 2015 and 2016. He told Variety that the second Force Friday should be highly popular.
“You had a popular franchise being marketed for the first time in 10 years and you had Disney on board in 2015, which made a massive effort,” he noted. “Disney is very good at this.”
Brochstiein pointed to Disney’s 2017 slate, which includes the live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Cars 3,” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Thor: Ragnarok.”
“Beauty and the Beast,” which opens on March 17, will be promoted with such items as Hasbro’s Enchanting Melodies Belle Doll, featuring the voice of Emma Watson and the song “Something There,” along with Lego’s Belle and Beast Brickheadz. “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” which hits theaters on May 5, will see a tie-in with the Dancing Groot Figure, which grooves to the tune “Come a Little Bit Closer” from the film.
Other products unveiled at Toy Fair will include Sony-Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers” and “My Little Pony,” Universal’s “Despicable Me 3,” and Warner Bros.’ “Lego Ninjago” and “Wonder Woman.”