For that past several weeks, the hype for September 4th, also known as Force Friday, has been ever-increasing. With the event being only a week away and the excitement at a fevered pitch, the Jedi Council has come together once more to discuss what we’re looking forward to on Force Friday, be that action figures, books, or the promise of a deeper look into the world of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Elaine Tveit: One of the things I’m looking forward to the most on Force Friday is the slew of literature we’re getting that hints at the events beyond Return of the Jedi. Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, especially, will be exploring events directly following the Battle of Endor through the eyes of both old and new characters (including fan favorite, Wedge Antilles). More than this, though, it will open up the floodgates of the as yet unexplored canon era between Episode VI and Episode VII.
But there’s much more than Aftermath to be excited about. There is also Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, which will be the first legitimate young adult Star Wars novel ever released. The story will follow the intertwining lives and love of an Imperial and a Rebel as they navigate the treacherous waters of a galaxy at war.
Finally, there are three middle-grade books featuring each of the Big Three of the original trilogy: Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure by Greg Rucka , Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry, and The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure by Jason Fry. Each promises hints for Episode VII, as befitting their shared status as official Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens stories.
Of the books written for younger audiences, I’m most excited for The Weapon of a Jedi. In this story, Luke finds himself stranded on an unfamiliar planet and is met by a strange new foe, with whom he engages in a duel (via Amazon). Considering the story’s title, which alludes to the lightsaber, the elements of a new planet and a new enemy, in addition to the hints for The Force Awakens… could the person Luke meets be a Knight of Ren? Could that be the clue the book contains?
We’ll find out, next Friday!
Kyle Warnke: Most of us have already gone a little crazy when it comes to Star Wars. That’s inevitable considering the slew of books, toys, comic series, posters and various other paraphernalia that Disney has been flinging at us for months now. But I think Force Friday will prove that even Disney has gone a bit crazy too.
If you haven’t heard about the “first-ever global live toy unboxing event” for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, allow me to describe it to you. Over the course of 18 hours, starting on Sept. 3 and ending at midnight on Sept. 4, you’ll be able to watch a livestream of Internet stars open 15 boxes containing new Star Wars toys in different parts of the world.
Read that sentence again. Then read it one more time. Disney wants us to watch people open toy boxes for 15 hours. It has placed these people in foreign countries, like Japan and Australia, to make them more exciting. And it’s recruited well-known YouTube icons like “lifehack specialist ExpCaseros” and “traditional toy unboxer” EvanTubeHD. There’s even a commentating team that will cover the whole event.
What’s weird is that this bonkers idea isn’t even the Mouse’s own creation. Apparently:
"“Unboxing videos have captivated millions of Internet viewers and continue to grow in popularity — 18 of the top 100 most viewed YouTube Channels worldwide are dedicated to toys and toy unboxings. These 18 channels accounted for 8.1 billion views in Q1 2015.”"
I’m guessing the people who watched these channels never had to deal with their siblings getting the better presents on Christmas morning and watching them open and play with them while you wonder if you can trade in the pink polo shirt you got from your aunt.
But honestly, I’m in for this event. I can’t wait to spend 18 hours of my life watching people open boxes of toys, which normally only takes an average of five seconds, maybe 15 tops because sometimes that tape is tough to get off. Let’s do this.
Joe Prescott: All of it! Just kidding, but seriously, ALL OF IT!!!
As you may or may not be aware, I like the toys. Very much. And the looks of the new action figures are very enticing to me as I always enjoy adding to my collection. The sneaky reveals and “discovered” items in the last few weeks has somewhat spoiled the reaction for me and possibly the other collectors out there, but it won’t dissuade me from picking some of them up next week. Definitely gonna grab a 3 3/4″ Phasma, a First Order trooper of some description and probably Kylo Ren as well, but it’s the new 6″ Black Series range that could swing it for me as they have a few upcoming figures as well including the First Order Stormtrooper that we saw a few months back, which is just too awesome not to grab, and I’ll also keep an eye out for the 6″ Chewie as it never hurts to have too many Wookiees.
What annoyed me about the new stolen pics of the figures, apart from the under-handed, spoiled, selfish actions of the individuals involved, was the figures seem to be suffering from a lack of articulation. About ten or so years ago Hasbro released some newer ranges of Star Wars action figures with the Legacy, Saga, Original Trilogy and 30th Anniversary Collections, as well as The Clone Wars series figures. These were superbly sculpted and highly articulated and characters often forgotten or never seen were released, and it improved on Kenner’s Powers of the Force lines by bringing the figures into a new generation of playability and collectibility. It could be that Hasbro are just initially capitalizing on the imminent popularity of the characters in the trailers and we’ll see some higher grade action figures later on, so for now the Black Series figures look to be the best first waves of action figures. I’ll still get some 3 3/4″, don’t get me wrong, but I’d like to see some better figures somewhere down the line as well. Color me picky, but the Legacy lines have given me hope for a high quality Star Wars action figure.
I’ll be looking for a copy of “Aftermath” as well, the new novel detailing the story post-ROTJ, as all of the new literature is canon so it’ll be interesting to see how the story will develop in this timeline. I’ll try to avoid the tie-in stories for Episode VII as I don’t want to spoil the movie for myself, although I doubt they’ll release anything like that. Plus I’ll be waiting with child-like excitement for December when we will hopefully be seeing the R/C BB-8 toy hitting stores. Oh and the Lego looks fun, plus I saw some new Micro Machines playsets which takes me back to the Action Fleet range of which I invested many weeks of pocket-money, and the die-cast vehicles look great with the First Order TIE and the remodeled Falcon. And those voice-changer masks, oh yeah and the build-it-yourself lightsaber set. Oh it’s all too much, I’m shaking!