With the first Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, hitting theaters this holiday season, we've already started to get our first glimpses at the toys that will be accompanying its release. The grimdark, black-suited Death Troopers, are already a huge talking point in wake of the film's trailers. They're also looking to be a major selling point on the merchandise front.
Two recent looks at upcoming toy releases have proven this to be true. Both Hot Toys and Hasbro are revealing these new "Storm Troopers that can actually kill people" as the tip of their merchandising spearhead.
Hot Toys is, perhaps, the most premium toy line in existence, crafting often eerily realistic sixth scale versions of characters from Marvel, DC, Star Wars and more. They recently revealed the Death Trooper as the first entry from their Rogue One line, which is now available to pre-order for $234.99 via Hot Toy's U.S. distributor, Sideshow Collectibles.
CNET is also reporting Hasbro's marketing of the voice-altering Death Trooper mask, set to retail for $35 USD and requiring three (included) AA batteries. Now you'll be able to look and sound like the Empire's most elite warriors that lack force powers. Eat your heart out, Chewbacca Mom!
As Mel Brooks once said in his Star Wars parody, "Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made!" One of the Star Wars series most lasting legacies was its ability to turn a blockbuster movie series into overwhelming merchandise sales. Last year, Disney created an entire, widely reported, Force Friday event to reveal Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens tie-in products, to rousing success. Whether you love or hate what that says about Hollywood commercialism, it's clear that there's an appetite for a wide range of collectibles to promote the beloved franchise.
With any luck, Rogue One will live up hype befitting of its franchise, and the Death Troopers will provide a thrilling new sinister force for the heroes of the rebellion to combat. Their striking new Trooper design is an, unfortunately, pointed reminder of Captain Phasma's caped, chrome, pre-Episode VII-release popularity. Let's hope that the Death Troopers' use in Rogue One is more prominent and terrifying than hers turned out to be.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.