In the buildup to the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, one of the most prominent events was Force Friday. Taking place on September 4, 2015, the day saw the debut of brand new Star Wars merchandise in stores across the world. Everything from toys to books to apparel to anything in between hit shelves, resulting in huge sales figures as fans ran out to buy the products. Even though the movie was still more than three months away, Force Friday 2015 projections believed it would turn $1 billion in revenue just in the United States.
With another new Star Wars film coming out this December – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Disney and Lucasfilm are keen on making Force Friday an annual event as well. That’s apparently what’s going to happen, with the unveiling of Rogue One merchandise taking place in September 2016.
JediNewsLIVE (via Star Wars Underworld) is reporting that Force Friday 2016 will be held on September 30, 2016. That date has been confirmed by three different licensees, so it would appear that it’s set in stone:
To clarify, heard #forcefriday date from 3 different licensees today.— JediNewsLIVE (@JediNewsLIVE) February 13, 2016
Obviously, there’s no word on what specific products will be available this time around, but those who took park in last year’s Force Friday will be able to come up with their own set of assumptions. The Nuremberg Toy Fair seemed to offer a tease, giving attendees a look at a Rogue One LEGO set that appeared to include Boba Fett’s ship. Whatever the manufacturers have in store, hopefully they all learned from the #WheresRey controversy and make sure that there’s no shortage of merchandise for the new characters appearing in Rogue One. When something as big as Star Wars is involved, it’s a necessity for supply to meet demand, regardless of how fast everything flies off of shelves.
As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Lucasfilm saw tremendous success with this exact pattern in 2015, so they’re obviously expecting similar results. With this development in mind, it’s reasonable to predict that plans are already being made for Force Friday 2017, when Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled to hit theaters. The cycle of releasing tie-in merchandise in the fall (for holiday shopping) and then a movie at Christmas should be very fruitful for the studio. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage the merchandise roll-out for the young Han Solo Anthology film, which is currently slated for a May 2018 release, five short months after Star Wars 8. There’s always a chance – much like with Episode VIII – Lucasfilm pushes Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s film to December so they can once again replicate these conditions.
As Star Wars fans begin to save up their money for the next Force Friday, the good news is that they will not have to wait until the fall to get a look at what Rogue One is all about. It’s believed that the first trailer will debut alongside Captain America: Civil War this May, so moviegoers will be able to familiarize themselves with the band of Rebels that will be stealing the Death Star plans before buying their action figures. And with Darth Vader all but a guarantee to appear in Rogue One, the famous villain will be a major presence in Force Friday 2016 as well. Now that The Force Awakens has passed, it’s all about the first spinoff film.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: JediNewsLIVE (via Star Wars Underworld)