The Force Awakens: The light and dark side of Star Wars merchandising
Your lack of integrity disturbs me.
George Lucas loves money nearly as much as Disney loves money, and he repeatedly proved this by whoring out the franchise until every soap dish, trash can and lunchbox had some iconic character plastered over it. Well, now that the beloved series is in the House of Mouse, tacky merchandising has gone into hyperdrive. However, amongst the dark forces of Death Star spatulas and C-3PO tape dispensers, there are a few bright lights that give us hope.
Here’s the best and the worst from Star Wars’ long line of merchandise.
Dark side: Frylo Ren Mr Potato Head
Why?! Frylo ren?! It’s like they came up with the name before making the toy. Can we please not ruin the character’s imposing image before the movie has even been released? I have no doubt in my mind that Kylo Ren will become as iconic as Darth Maul and Darth Vader before him, but no thanks to an outdated toyline. If you’re considering purchasing the Frylo Ren this Christmas, stop, consider your actions and invest in this…
Light side: Pop! Funko Kylo Ren
Pop! Funko has become the go-to manufacturer for pop culture figurines. At first glance, they don’t look like much. But there’s something satisfying about the way your Dragonball Z, Game of Thrones and Star Wars figurines can all sit on the same shelf as if they hail from the same universe. If it’s a Kylo Ren figurine you’re after, this one will be a surefire hit.
Dark side: Angry Bird X-pilot costume
Not only is this just the laziest design in the history of Halloween costumes, that glorified bib will set you back close to 70 dollarydoos – can you believe that? This one is clearly aimed at the kids who got hooked on Angry Birds early on and are too young to realise any self-respecting Star Wars fan would put it in the bin.
Light side: Poe Dameron X-pilot costume
We don’t know much about Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron except that he once led a squadron of X-Wings for the Resistance against the villainous First Order. He is known for his “strong commitment to the Resistance and his duty”, so whether he’ll be a straight shooter or a more lax Han Solo type is yet to be seen. Either way, this costume is legit and your kid will be the belle of book day with this rebel get-up.
Dark side: Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
The free-to-play (F2P) mobile game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes sells a tantalising concept: Create your own team of heroes and villains from across the Star Wars ethos. From bounty hunters Cad Bane and Boba Fett, to some of the galaxy’s greatest rivals, like Han Solo and Greedo, they’re all here and ready to engage in strategic turn-based combat. What’s not to love? Well, long story short F2P games were created by the devil. In Galaxy of Heroes, you’re constantly asked to spend real money on “blind packs” and in-game currency. Not a problem in moderation, but it’s easy to get caught up.
Light side: Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4, XBO, PC)
If you grew up with a PlayStation 2, there’s a high chance you’ve dabbled in this series. The idea is simple: shoot down enemies and complete objectives as infantry for either the rebels or the Galactic Republic. If you excel at that, you get the chance to control one of the overpowered heroes and villains from the series (Luke, Leia, Han, Vader, among others). 2015’s Battlefront is the first Star Wars game for current-generation consoles and it doesn’t disappoint. The graphics are crisp, the gameplay is tight and the controls are easy to learn. It’s one of the easiest online shooters to get on board with by a long shot.
Dark side: New Era Kylo Ren cap
Who in their right mind buys this for their kids? Not only is this just straight-up tacky, if you look closely you’ll notice the hat is actually pleather with some chrome emblazoning. It’s essentially a repurposed pair of Supre leggings. It’s a douchey tribute to one of the film’s most sinister characters and it wouldn’t be out of place in a Scumbag Steve meme.
Light side: Kylo Ren Voice Changing Mask
If you’re heading to a Christmas bash as the soon-to-be crown prince of Sith, there’s really no better option than this voice-changing mask. It’s got prerecorded dialogue from the The Force Awakens, an attached cloth hood and, best of all, adjustable straps to fit apprentices and sith lords alike.
Dark side: Star Wars Crocs
Why Crocs haven’t fizzled out of existence by now is anyone’s guess. Wearing a pair of crocs in public is pretty much social suicide, so how are they still making sales? Are the Crocs fanatics meeting in abandoned factories, sharing their tales of woe? Away from society where they can be free to feel the air on their feet, as well as be sufficiently protected from jagged pebbles and hot footpaths?
Light side: Adidas Millenium Falcons
Truthfully, these sick kicks reek of tenuous merchandising as much as the crocs, but there’s something about the understated off-white colouring and flecks of blue and red that is so very cool. On top of that, there’s the dark red lettering across the back, spelling out Millennium Falcon. They manage to say something about your fandom without sacrificing style.