Right now, in a store not too far away, there is a galaxy of new merchandise connected to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Beyond the usual action figures and clothing, the latest film comes with a bigger choice of branded products than ever before: from Chewbacca Coffee-Mate creamer and Star Wars mascara to US$400 designer Death Star shoes and a $4,000 Millennium Falcon bed.
"It's wider and broader and deeper and covers more age ranges and is less gender specific than anything I have ever seen for Star Wars," said Steve Sansweet. Sansweet is a Guinness world record holder for the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia.
Expanding the universe of Star Wars merchandise internationally was part of Disney's original vision when it acquired Lucasfilm.
"Star Wars toys have always played an important role in how our fans interact with the Saga," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said when the first "Force Awakens" collectibles were introduced earlier this year. "They've inspired multiple generations to relive the experience of the movies and to create new adventures all their own. These spectacular Star Wars: The Force Awakens products will continue that tradition.”
The result is an amazingly diverse range of branded items, from the unexpected (light-up lightsaber chopsticks) to the unbelievable (haute couture Stormtrooper wear). International versions are being made too, and iconic characters are being interpreted for different cultures around the world.
Sansweet recently added some Japanese items to his collection, including soy sauce plates and "little kokeshi dolls, which are typical of a small community in
Retired from Lucasfilm, Sansweet now shares his collection with the public through his nonprofit Rancho Obi-Wan museum in
Here’s a look at some of the more unusual items keyed to “The Force Awakens,” some of which Sansweet has already added to his collection:
FOOD: Chewbacca isn’t the only one with his own Coffee-Mate creamer. Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Boba Fett also got the creamer treatment, and each is a different flavour. (Chewie is spiced latte.)
Other branded food items include special General Mills cereal boxes (one shows the Trix rabbit as Princess Leia) with plastic “droid viewers” inside and Kraft macaroni and cheese with pasta in Star Wars shapes.”
"I’m chasing around trying to find bags of Darth Vader apples,” Sansweet said. “It’s crazy! But it’s fun-crazy.”
MAKEUP: CoverGirl’s limited-edition “Star Wars” collection includes nail polish, mascara and lipstick in such shades such as Droid, Jedi and Dark Apprentice. The colours, particularly the lipsticks, aren't shades most would wear on a day to day basis, but they are bold and fun ... just like the movies! And, hey, if you can rock a lilac lip on an average Tuesday, rock on!
CLOTHING: Beyond the typical T-shirts and PJs, there are one-of-a-kind designer outfits based on The Force Awakens characters, such as Halston's gown inspired by villain Kylo Ren, up for auction this month (www.charitybuzz.com ) to benefit the Child Mind Institute. American watch maker
LIFESTYLE: Adult collectors might covet Pottery Barn Kids' Millennium Falcon bed, modeled after the legendary starship (and only available in twin size). American Tourister has a line of Star Wars luggage, and the Disney Store has a backpack shaped like a Stormtrooper helmet. There's a Darth Vader toaster that brands your breakfast bread with the Star Wars logo and the light-up lightsaber chopsticks, plus an X-Wing knife block and many other household items.