Now that #ForceFriday has come to an end I thought it was time to pick up on something really important. In the run up to #ForceFriday there had been grumblings here and there about the extravagance of the whole thing, about whether there was even anything to really talk about for 18 hours of live feed and whether this “money-grabbing merchandise” shouldn’t have been left behind when Lucas left. It was George Lucas with A New Hope in 1977 who really started the whole process of merchandising. Choosing to retain merchandising rights over high fees, Lucas was able to really allow the fans to take home the story they so loved and make it their own. I think by now, with a few more hours to go, it’s fair to say that #ForceFriday has been a great success. It seems as if Lucasfilm and Disney have managed to nail down exactly what it is that the fans want. Aside from that success there are three things about the event which had me excited and glued to either my screen or my Twitter feed for most of the last day.
Firstly, we’ve always known that Star Wars is an international and generational obsession. Fans exist all over the world and have been able to find each other even before the Internet came around. What the Global Unboxing Event showed beyond a doubt was that the international excitement about Star Wars hasn’t waned yet and is unlikely to do so any time soon. Whether it’s fans in Seoul or fans in Belgium, we’re all equally excited about everything Star Wars and are sharing in that joy all across the world. The same thing can be said when it comes to the generational aspect of Star Wars. Whether it’s little children unpacking or grown-ups crying over BB-8, everyone is loving the toys that are coming out today. It was great to really see how everyone got together to empty the stores out and celebrate Star Wars and it only makes me anticipate the craziness around the actual premiere even more.
Secondly, we all should take a moment to appreciate the choice of female merchandise here. There is something for everyone in all the toys that have been revealed, whether it’s T-shirts sized and fitted for both genders which look great (as modelled by the amazing live feed hosts Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni), the brilliant costumes, toys, Skechers shoes and Lego figures. (Let’s not even begin to freak about the BB-8 Sphero toy since I will be incapable to stop!) But, aside from this, I was incredibly pleased to see the way the female characters were posed. It’s no secret that too often female characters, especially in sci-fi and action movies, are posed and presented in a certain way to be enticing. From everything I have seen so far, whether it’s the amazing die-cast figures, the posters or the Black Series figures, Rey and Captain Phasma are posed just like the male characters are: strong, assertive and capable. Aside from that the Lego sets also have their female characters in them which is bound to make fangirls all over the world excited. It’s simply very gratifying to see that Lucasfilm and Disney actually looked at what fans might want and how they want it presented.
And then, finally, onto something which has been a sore point with many fans: the position of the Prequel films! Here on Clone Corridor we have commented on the effect that some of the remarks made at previous Star Wars events have had on those fans, even if those remarks were all probably made with the best intentions. #ForceFriday has been amazing, in that respect. Whether it’s the music underlying the live feed (shout-out to Augie’s Great Municipial Band for constantly cheering me up), the Prequel Lego adverts which are simply pure gold or the Top 10 videos from Lucasfilm which included everyone from Kitster to Jar Jar to Cad Bane, the Prequel-era has been ever present throughout the event. One of the highlights, personally, was seeing the trailers for all the current Saga films put together for the new collection. With the Sequel trilogy following the Originals the emphasis has to lie there to make the Saga continuous, but the clear presence of the Prequels throughout #ForceFriday is bound to gratify many fans.
So, overall, it can be said that #ForceFriday has been a major success! Fans all over the world are once again excited and united in their passion. Everyone wants a BB-8 toy, loads of new hints have been revealed and, above all, Christmas wish-lists this year are sorted. Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the last thing to be revealed will be a new The Force Awakens trailer!