February 16, 2017
Force Friday II Announced for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Start the countdown once again: Disney and Lucasfilm have officially announced Star Wars Force Friday II, upon which all the new merchandise surrounding “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be released in stores worldwide, in a global event for fans. New products from toys, collectibles, books, apparel and more based on the new film will go on sale beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, September 1, 2017, with stores around the world firing the now annual starting pistol on another season of Star Wars excitement leading up to a new sequel film.
In today's press release, Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media said “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for ‘The Last Jedi’. 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.”
Jill Wilfert, Vice President of global licensing and entertainment from The LEGO Group was quoted, “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.”
Hasbro's Samantha Lomow, Senior Vice President at Hasbro added “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. The new line for ‘The Last Jedi’ is our most innovative yet, and we’re excited to unveil it on Force Friday II”.
In 2015, Force Friday was preceded by a global live-streamed unboxing event that rolled across the world over 18 hours, in 15 different cities and 12 countries, tallying up millions of views on YouTube. Fans were driven to social media, creating nearly 3 billion Twitter impressions about the events, under #ForceFriday.
Disney stated that "details of how fans can participate will be revealed closer to the event but the world-wide launch will tap new technology and Star Wars mythology to create a unique experience for fans. Just like 2015, products for “The Last Jedi” will be kept under wraps until Force Friday II to preserve surprises for fans. As well as introducing new characters from the movie in toy form, the line will build on the success of products like Sphero’s BB-8, introducing more innovative technology to bring the characters and stories from the film to life in unique ways."
While this is all very exciting news, the pattern that is emerging suggests that we'll see very little new Star Wars product this weekend at Toy Fair International in New York. Hasbro has become very conservative with what they show at the New York City trade show each February since Star Wars films have shifted release dates to wintertime, starting with "The Force Awakens" in 2015, and again with "Rogue One" in 2016. LEGO has been a bit more prolific with what new products they display at Toy Fair in the sequel era. But they do hold back from revealing anything as yet unseen from each new film so far in advance as February nowadays. So, expect to see the newness come up in measured doses throughout the year at the various conventions like Star Wars Celebration in April, San Diego Comic Con in July, and then again at New York Comic Con in October, which is after Force Friday II when licensees will have much more freedom to display their new items.