Star Wars actors have headlined a global livestreamed event at Britain’s famed Pinewood Studios to unveil new merchandise tied to the upcoming movie and TV spin-offs.
The toys, clothes and gadgets will officially go on sale on October 4, a date marketed by franchise-owner Disney as “Triple Force Friday” as it seeks to build buzz ahead of the December premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Disney also launched merchandise for The Mandalorian, the first Star Wars live-action spin-off series that will debut on streaming service Disney+ in November, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a forthcoming video game.
Thursday’s event at Pinewood – the studios just outside London where The Rise of Skywalker was shot – was hosted by Warwick Davis, who started his career playing an ewok in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
“As an actor in Star Wars, the first time you see yourself immortalised as a Star Wars toy is a very exciting moment, however old you are,” Davis said in an interview.
“The first time it happened to me was when I was 11 years old in Return of the Jedi, and as a young boy to actually have a toy of yourself is a mind-blowing experience.”
Naomi Ackie, a newcomer to the franchise who plays the role of Jannah in the latest movie, said it was “super surreal” to see a bobble-head doll version of her character for the first time.
“All you can hope is that you do a great job, that people are excited about your character and they want to include it in their repertoire of knowledge,” Ackie said of the huge fan base for the franchise.
New merchandise included products from Hasbro, Funko and Lego.
Disney, which paid $US4.05 billion for Star Wars production company Lucasfilm in 2012, held the first “Force Friday” merchandise launch in 2015 ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.