With J.J. Abrams' hotly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens hitting theaters this December, 2015 has been a year to celebrate for fans of the franchise. Over the last few months, the film has been a key player at several major pop culture events, such as Star Wars Celebration, San Diego Comic-Con, and the D23 Expo, using every opportunity to unveil new details about the movie.
The next major Star Wars event will take place on September 4. Dubbed "Force Friday," it marks the official release of new Star Wars merchandise, which of course includes Hasbro's massive toy line of action figures, vehicles, and several other items from a galaxy far, far away.
As we've seen in leaked images of MicroMachines play sets and action figure packaging, some of these collectibles boast some key information about the largely secretive Force Awakens plot. So for multiple reasons, fans will take great interest in flipping through the recently released Force Friday catalog.
Collider has an electronic version of the publication, and pulled out several key pages that showcase some of the biggest products Hasbro will be offering in a few weeks. Everything from Nerf guns to electronic voice changing masks to customizable lightsabers will be available for consumers to buy, which sets up a very profitable holiday shopping season for the toy company.
Fans will most likely be scouring through the new action figure collection to see if they provide any new revelations about the upcoming film, but the people who do are most likely to be disappointed. The catalog includes only the names of the figures, which simply coincide with the names of the characters. Of note will be a version of the Rey (Daisy Ridley) action figure that's labeled "Starkiller Base" (there's a separate one called "Jakku"), indicating that the young heroine will eventually end up on the unknown planet that houses the First Order's headquarters, but that's about all the new information we get.
Some will point to the page showcasing Poe Dameron's (Oscar Isaac) black X-wing, which clearly has new astromech droid BB-8 going along for the ride. However, this is just further confirmation that the little robot belongs to Poe (and not Rey), so it's understandable why he'd be included. That page in particular shows the X-wing flying during some kind of battle on a snowy planet (which could be the location of the Starkiller base), or - like some marketing items - it could be completely unrelated to the film.
Readers hoping to find clues about the wellbeing of original trilogy stalwarts Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia in the catalog are out of luck. Just about all of the new figures of the older characters are taken from the previous movies (i.e. a Han and Leia two-pack from A New Hope). The only exceptions are R2-D2 and C-3PO (who is sporting his new red arm) and Chewbacca, who based on the second teaser trailer hasn't changed much in appearance from Return of the Jedi. It is a little odd that a Force Awakens Han figure hasn't been revealed (yet) since he is one of the new movie's main characters, but Lucasfilm seems content keeping the veterans mainly out of the spotlight for now.
So while this product catalog may not have spilled some juicy tidbits about the film, it's still exciting for Star Wars fans to see. Hasbro appears to have gone all-out putting together a bunch of items that moviegoers of all ages will be interested in purchasing and there are many worthwhile additions for new and existing collections. And with the third trailer coming out this fall, all this catalog had to do was generate excitement for their merchandise.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars film on May 25, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars standalone film in 2020.