It’s been a long, question filled road ever since that day back in 2013 when Disney announced that J.J. Abrams would be directing the next instalment of Star Wars. For some, the wait to see Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens has finally ended – congratulations! Others still have a couple of days left to go before the big spectacle officially hits theaters.
The days leading up to this massive event have been a constant barrage of merchandise, tie-ins and everything in between. Any Star Wars fan who watched the live coverage of recent red carpet premieres in Hollywood and London surely couldn’t help being swept up in the surrounding momentum. That’s completely understandable - at this moment in time, everything Star Wars seems to have an intense resonance and rather than fight it, we might as well enjoy it all. This sort of extravaganza only happens once in a generation.
The latest bits of Star Wars related gear to have found their way into the popular culture aren’t exactly mind blowing, but at the very least, they’ll provide you with something to do while killing time before seeing The Force Awakens. First off, Twitter has released some new emojis that can be included in any tweet by adding a hashtag: Rey’s speeder, Kylo’s ship, General Hux, Leia and Han Solo are all now available. These will come in handy when reminding ticketless friends via Twitter that you are in fact, about to see the film. A cute little General Hux emoji in the body of any message will provide just the right level of wound salting.
Next is Google Chrome's Lightsaber Escape, an app you can download to any desktop and smartphone. Once downloaded, your smartphone becomes a lightsaber, responsive to the slashing movements any Jedi wannabe will undoubtedly unleash. Your desktop monitor will reveal the hordes of Stormtroopers sent to stop you, so as you move down corridors your skills will be tested.
Obviously Lightsaber Escape isn’t going to provide the immersive worlds capable of consoles like Xbox One or PS4, but it is a bit of fun that can be enjoyed prior to heading to the theatre. Unfortunately, the game requires a desktop to play and tablets are not compatible. Probably the best thing to do here is tweet your ticketless friends, letting them know that they can play Lightsaber Escape at home while you watch The Force Awakens in the theater. Don’t forget to add the new emojis to that tweet as well.
These new items should be among the last bits of pre-Star Wars tie-ins that we’re likely to see. Even the wide release of The Force Awakens won’t stop the merchandising, but it will shift things into a new direction: no longer concerned with spoilers, a vast array of new Star Wars goods will be available - and no Star Wars fan can deny being intrigued by that.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.