Revelations can come from unexpected places.
On Thursday, Disney and Lucasfilm announced Force Friday II, a September launch of toys and products for The Last Jedi, and along with it came a sample toy box. Featured at the top: the first images of Poe Dameron, Rey, and Finn from Episode VIII.
Daisy Ridley’s desert scavenger is wielding the lightsaber that once belonged to Anakin and Luke Skywalker, and her hair is pulled back in a different style than we saw in The Force Awakens. There’s also an intensity and confidence to her gaze that we only glimpsed by the end of that film.
John Boyega’s conscience-stricken Stormtrooper is still sporting the jacket Poe Dameron gave him, while Oscar Isaac’s X-wing flyboy is sporting his full flight suit.
The changes are subtle, and there’s not much to gather storywise from writer-director Rian Johnson’s new Star Wars film, but for fans this is three drops of water to savor in the desert that lies between now and April’s Celebration fan gathering in Orlando, Florida.
The big news for collectors is that after a year’s hiatus for Rogue One, the Force Friday festivities will be resumed this year, with Sept. 1 designated as the deployment date for toys, books, and clothing featuring the characters and creatures from the new movie, which hits theaters Dec. 15.
Jimmy Pitaro, head of Disney Consumer Products, says this year will try to follow the cascading series of unboxing throughout the day as midnight strikes the various worldwide time zones.
“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,” he said in a statement. “Plans for this year’s world-wide event are top secret but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.”
What we have is a logo. And LEGO.
Jill Wilfert, VP of global licensing and entertainment from the building block toy company, said (in LEGO construction parlance) to expect “a global event that will connect fans and families, and allow them to build, create and share their experiences with others.”
It also wouldn’t be Force Friday without action figures and toy vehicles, so obviously Hasbro will be a major participant as well. “Toys play a unique role in the Star Wars universe, and we’re proud to have been part of that incredible legacy for the past forty years,” Samantha Lomow, senior VP at Hasbro, said in a statement. “The new line for The Last Jedi is our most innovative yet.”
More details will be announced closer to the date, but Disney and Lucasfilm promised “to tap new technology and Star Wars mythology” as part of the revelations.
As for now — fans will be studying that box.
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Below, check out some stats provided by Lucasfilm about the first Force Friday (click the image to expand).