With Disney kickstarting a whole new trilogy of Star Wars movies, Force Friday made an epic comeback with a midnight event in 2015 in anticipation of Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Last year there was a “Force Friday” type event (#GoRogue) but wasn’t technically a sequel to 2015’s event.
However, with the coming of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi on December 15, retailers all around the world participated in another launching of new merchandise today at midnight. Companies like Hasbro, Lego, Funko, Sphero, Disney, and many more made their presence known with tons of new collectibles & exclusives in stores such as Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, GameStop, Amazon… the list goes on and on!
Come along with me as I visit many of these stores and check out what they did to celebrate Force Friday II, as well as a photo of my bounty at the end of this post!
One of the Toys R Us stores near me had a nice variety of new products including new Hasbro, Funko Pop, and Jakks Pacific figures. For many of the stores today, a separate section was set up in addition to their existing Star Wars aisle. Above we see a table filled with new merchandise for The Last Jedi. You’ll also notice interesting “ink blot” signage with the Stormtrooper Executioner, but more on that later in this post!
By 11:50pm, everyone on the line was filled with excitement as Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey made his way outside for selfies & high fives. He even got into the Star Wars spirit and wielded a lightsaber!
Toys R Us was also the only store to sport a special “gateway” into Star Wars land:
In addition to all of this, one of the main reasons I decided to line up at Toys R Us and not at another store was for the free poster and t-shirt. No information was given about this ahead of time except for the fact that the t-shirt would be “Funko” themed. Thankfully, you could choose between M, L, and XL, and the poster was a beautiful shot of AT-M6 walkers on Canto Bight accompanied by TIE Fighters & Bombers! Can’t beat that!
It was also a great time to buy some of last year’s products on clearance like Jakks Pacific big figs and the Black Series 6″ scale TIE Fighter. But the highlight of my trip to Toys R Us was finally seeing the kid-friendly Luke’s Landspeeder (announced earlier this year at SDCC). It’s a lot bigger than I expected!
But that didn’t stop me from giving it a test drive:
Next up, Target had something different going on.
Two years ago, they had a fun door decal with some Stormtroopers. You were to “use the Force” to open the automatic doors! A very fun way to get kids into the mood as they entered the store. This year, the chain store decided to use Rey & a Porg on the island of Ahch-To, inviting you to “create your own path”. Pretty great shot and gets me excited for the movie every time!
But this time, instead of taking over the entire seasonal corner, Target made the decision to limit products to a single aisle… but not to worry! It was chock full of great merchandise, down to the end-cap.
And more Porgs.
And as a follow-up to 2015’s interactive BB-8 display and 2016’s Rogue One AT-ACT, we have Rey again… “Use the force. Place your hand below and concentrate your energy!”
After a few seconds of waiting, ahem, I mean concentrating, Rey’s lightsaber lit up. Very fun!
And just like all the other major retailers, tons more cutouts for photo ops. But the best part of Target was the giant Porg giveaway! My local Target was giving away 2 shopping cart-sized Porgs – just for showing up!
Unfortunately, I lost by just 1 digit! But congratulations to all the winners everywhere! I wish I could have a giant Porg…
But here’s my Porg from the 3.75″ Chewbacca set, along with the 3 free pins Target was giving away and some Lego freebies (with purchases at Toys R Us & Lego Store). Sometimes it isn’t the super large purchases, but the small things that bring great joy! (Looking at you, Porgs…)
Disney Store also had some freebies – they were giving away exclusive mini prints from The Last Jedi to the first 100 customers (with no minimum purchase)! In addition, Disney’s known for having tons of exclusives like their Elite Series, costumes, and figurine sets.
But the coolest thing in the store was the R2-D2 & C-3PO bronzed statue set, exclusively for Disney Rewards Visa card members (and limited to 1,000 pieces). It was $179.95 but these card members also get 10% off… Check it out:
Lego Store is coming off the heels of announcing their latest UCS Millennium Falcon with 7,541 pieces, so they definitely had some cool displays in-store!
New sets were all on the shelves and a very nice incentive to make a purchase today was the free Shoretrooper mini-figure with a Star Wars purchase of $50 or more. And with any Star Wars purchase, you receive 1 of 3 exclusive UCS Millennium Falcon prints! For the next 3 days, Lego Store will change the print each day to make sure you keep buying all weekend!
Finally, I ended my Force Friday journey at GameStop.
While many retailers had unique signage and displays at the front of the store, GameStop kept things private… really. Most of the new products (whatever they received) were behind the counter, out of arms’ reach.
But I did manage to get a pack of the new Topps Journey to The Last Jedi trading cards! Alas, no hits inside but it was still fun to go through them.
And as if that wasn’t enough Force Friday for you, Disney & Lucasfilm also developed an “Augmented Reality” camera in the Star Wars app called “Find The Force”. Using it, fans can experience new characters live in-store. That’s right, pull up the app and look for that special signage found in most stores and see some Star Wars come to life!
Already a cool display, you’ll notice that the Stormtrooper Executioner on the left has some ink blots around him. This is the code that the app translates and digitizes a life-size Last Jedi character right before your very eyes.
See BB-9E at Brookstone?
Or Chewbacca at Disney Store?
You can take pics of them or hold the button to record a video. Feel free to hop on screen with them too!
The app will continue to unlock new characters/tokens while you explore new products this weekend.
But sadly, that means Force Friday II is coming to a close today…
Shocking, I know.
But here’s my final bounty (note: this shot does not include the free Toys R Us t-shirt & poster, the SDCC Grand Admiral Thrawn, or SDCC Luke/Rey combo):
P.S., I also did not include my trips to FYE or Books A Million, but I went! And I conquered! Happy Force Friday, everyone!