Force Friday is a holiday now. While it doesn’t entail commemorating a notable figure from history, or carry religious significance, it does involve celebrating two things that many genre fans can get behind: Star Wars and toys.
Although it almost seems greedy for me to celebrate both “National Drink Beer Day” and Force Friday in the same week, such is the case with today’s new annual tradition of unveiling a bantha poodoo-load of Star Wars toys and collectibles. Specifically, today’s release targets merchandise for the standalone film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, opening Dec. 16.
Obviously there is no need to have a shortage of Star Wars toys in your life, but from 3.75” figures, to vehicles, to Nerf guns, to collectible Black Series figures, Funko Pop Vinyls, and more, there are dozens of new items hitting shelves today. Instead of listing all of them, I’ve selected these five standout items I am dropping some cash on -- you know, in the spirit of celebrating the holiday.
K-2SO Star Wars Black Series figure
The Star Wars Black Series 6-inch figs are always a win in my book because the sculpts are so incredibly detailed, but they are ultimately still action figures. For Rogue One, I’m already a big fan of the liberated Imperial Droid K-2SO, or “Kaytoo.” Performed via mo-cap and voiced by Alan Tudyk, the droid not only seems to have a pragmatic attitude -- that sets him apart from C-3PO -- but the look strikes me as steampunky. He’s tall and lanky, with oversized hinged joints, and slightly hunched over. The Black Series version of him ($20) is going to look great on my desk. The other Rogue One Black Series figures include Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, the Imperial Death Trooper, and an Imperial Hovertank fig (exclusive to Toys ’R’ Us).
Funko Pop Vinyl Exclusives
Funko continues its world galaxy domination of collectibles with 18 new Rogue One Pops! hitting the market, as well as three Wobblers. Although last year saw a dearth of Rey toys and collectibles, there’s plenty of Jyns out there to make fans happy, including three Pops and a Wobbler. But I’m more interested in the Dark Side of things. Specifically, chrome Imperial Death Trooper ($9), available exclusively at Walmart, has caught my eye. It looks the shiny new toy I need – and one that is going to be hard to get. Speaking of exclusives, the Bistan aka “Space Monkey” Pop is going to be my chase item at New York Comic Con next week. Developed by Neal Scanlan’s creature shop, and unveiled at Star Wars Celebration in July, the character (who is of the Iakuru species) is a gunner on the new U-ship craft. There’s just something about him that reminds me of an Original Trilogy cantina creature, or a background character from Jabba’s Palace. Frankly, I want to hang out with this guy and get him cackling like mad over jokes about Ewoks. But I’ll settle for having him in Pop form.
Stormtrooper replica mask
Introduce a little Star Wars roleplay into your life with Hasbro's Stormtrooper Black Series talking helmet ($80; available at retailers in classic white, or in Shadow Trooper black exclusively at Amazon). The helmet includes a voice changer so you can make certain to avoid being identified by rebel scum.
A Death Trooper half mask with voice changer and lights is likewise available for $30 at other retailers.
They light up, make noise, and, best of all, unleash hell in the form of a barrage of foam darts. The Nerf blasters are amongst my favorite of Hasbro’s Star Wars toy line. In fact, I currently have a pump-action First Order Stormtrooper one at the ready by my computer in case I encounter a surly commenter (don’t feed the trolls; blast them). The Rogue One character blasters include Jyn ($50), Cassian ($20), and a Death Trooper ($35). I’m split between the Jyn and Death Trooper versions. On one hand, Jyn’s has a nice weight to it, and fires off six darts in rapid succession. However, design-wise the Death Trooper blaster has an edge. It can easily be held in one hand, and the blaster sounds and are incredibly satisfying. It holds three glow-in-the-dark darts, and the muzzle lights up as you pump and fire.
Remote-controlled AT-ACT vehicle
Not to be confused with the classic AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) vehicles, the new AT-ACTs (All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport) introduced in Rogue One are bigger, with different blaster mounts, and a more trapezoid grill. The Hasbro toy version unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con for the 3.75” figures, is remote controlled (via smartphone) with the ability to fire four Nerf darts at a time. It moves its head, lights up, and makes a variety of sounds. There is also a detachable cargo hold that can be connected to the main vehicle with a zipline, and comes with three figures: Jyn, an Imperial Astromech, and a driver. There is a steep price of $300 for all this awesomeness, but let me restate: It’s a remote-controlled AT-ACT. I mean, this thing looks sweet, and might even fetch me my slippers and newspaper.
As a notable mention, I have to bring up the LEGO Death Star set that is not technically a new Rogue One toy, but is still a new item available today. For $500, the 4,000-piece set is pretty epic in both detail and size, and comes with 23(!) mini-figs.
Let me know in the comments below if you plan on picking up Rogue One toys before the movie comes out, and what's topping your list of Force Friday items. And before I leave you, take in the nerdy splendor below of me in my new half-mask and blaster pose. It's basically my version of a Christmas sweater on Force Friday.