Saturday, September 2, 2017

Force Friday II Unleashed: Malaysian Star Wars fans hyped for The Last Jedi

Geeks around the world are absolutely excited for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi this December. Although the movie is still more than three months away, Star Wars fans celebrated early by "poisoning" themselves with new merchandise from this next chapter in the epic saga! At the stroke of midnight on 31st August Merdeka Day, Toys R’ Us in Mid Valley Megamall held a launch event called Force Friday II for these new toys and associated merchandise. Fans of all ages were attended the event to be the first in Malaysia to get their hands on Star Wars The Last Jedi products, some queueing up for 3 hours since 9pm.

Vulcan Jedi Smock reporting from Force Friday II.

Our resident Vulcan Mr. Smock attended this event to gain better cultural understanding on our human devotion to Star Wars and the franchise's place in popular geek pop culture. He also partook in the activity of costuming dressing up as a Jedi to experience human fandom first hand.

The countdown timer to midnight at the entrance of Toys R Us Mid Valley.
A massive Star Wars inspired prop was placed at the entrance of Toys R Us mounting a countdown timer to 12am when doors to the toy store will be opened for fans to get first dibs on the  new merchandise. The couple of hours to midnight, fans were already gathering in significant numbers to form a queue along the perimeter of the concourse atrium.

During the lead-up to midnight, the event emcee offered giveaways to the waiting crowd via movie trivia.

Meanwhile Lucasfilm recognised fan communities were out in force costuming as characters from the franchise.

Members of the 501st Legion Malaysia Garrison.

Members of lightsaber performers from Force Arts Stunt Team (FAST) with Kylo Ren from the 501st Legion.

Members of Rebel Legion Malaysia Outpost.

A Jedi and Padme Amidala costumers.

Jedi Smock joins the costumers.

Vulcan opening diplomatic ties with the Jedi and Rebel Alliance.
Costumers comprised representatives from 501st Legion Malaysia Garrison, Rebel Legion Malaysia Outpost, Force Arts Stunt Team (FAST), FightsaberMY, and Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club.

Event attendees and mall shoppers were delighted for the opportunity to snap photos with costumers.
Once the countdown timer reached zero at the stroke of midnight, the shutters of Toys R Us were lifted. Fans prompted marched in to prompted grab their most sought after products.

The store area was quickly filled to capacity once doors were opened.
 New Star Wars toys released by Hasbro includes action figures, vehicles & role-play merchandise.

Hasbro 3.75in series action figures from The Last Jedi.
LEGO Star Wars from The Last Jedi.

The opening shelf stock for new LEGO building sets were quickly depleted but refilled shortly after.
There are standees placed in toy stores this weekend offering the opportunity to unlock Augmented Reality (A.R.) Star Wars characters. In order to do so, you need to download the Star Wars app either from IOS store or Google Playstore first. Once you downloaded it, open the app. The go around the shop and find any posters that have signs that say ‘Find the Force’. Use the app to scan it and you will be able to unlock the characters and take pictures with them! 

Find this standee to scan and activate Augmented Reality content.
Watch this video for more visual instructions:

"It's a Trap!" LOL!

Listen to what Mr. Smock has to say on Force Friday II plus view the scene at this midnight launch event:

=== / ===

Now the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) will present a closer look at some of the toy products launched during Force Friday available locally in Malaysia; prices shown below at time of publication at retailer sources available.

3.75in series action figures are priced at RM59.90 each.
3.75 inch series action figures & vehicles by Hasbro have always been fan favourites since being introduced from the very first Star Wars movie in 1977 made then by Kenner. As usual, each solo-packed figure comes with accessories and priced at RM59.90.

The Rathtar seems to share rather similar traits as that tentacled creature in the opening scenes of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Get a Rathtar for RM139.90 together with someone named Bala-Tik.

3.75in series vehicles released. Expect Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer to be a HOT buy!

Avid fans of the classic Star Wars Trilogy will want to get hold of that Imperial Probe Droid (top right) as seen in EpV The Empire Strikes Back. Priced at RM139.90 together with Darth Vader.

3.75in scale vehicles include action figure of their pilots. Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer (above bottom left) is priced at RM329.90 while Poe Dameon's Ski Speeder (above bottom right) is priced at RM269.90. Great for kids to play and adults to collect!

Listen to dialogue or sound effects from the movie with the Force Link wristband sold for RM169.90.

For readers too young to recall when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, Hasbro 3.75in action figures had with a special datachip accessory to use with a communicator device to play the dialogues from the movie; communicator sold separately of course! History repeats again this time, just repackaged like Episode VII The Force Awakens! The new 3.75 inch figures for The Last Jedi as well as vehicles are planted with a concealed microchip  to be detected by a Force Link wristband to play special dialogue or sound effects. Wristbands sold seperately of course for RM169.90.

Black Series 6in action figures are all priced at RM139.90 each.
The new characters appear highly sought after by collectors except for classic Darth Vader and to a lesser extent Emo... er, Kylo Ren.
For more adult collectors in mind, Hasbro launched the Black Series 6in action figures a few years back. These come with more detail than their 3.75in counterparts plus better articulation. However only 3 figures released during Force Friday are actually from The Last Jedi, i.e. Rey, Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren in new movie attire. Other figures comprise classic Darth Vader and Stormtrooper, plus fan favourites Grand Admiral Thrawn (hurrah!) and Hera from Star Wars Rebels. Expect these last 2 to be very hard to find! Each figure is priced at RM139.90.

Samples of Hasbro role-play toys.
Unsure whether your calling is to the Light or Dark? Then get this Bladebuilder to be either Jedi or Sith.

Every Star Wars fan has likely dreamed of becoming a Jedi or a Sith? Fortunately plenty of Role Play toys are being made by Hasbro! The blade building lightsaber (above centre) is where kids (and adults) can choose to be a Jedi or a Sith by inserting the proper hilt. The set is at RM 329.90. There is also Kylo Ren’s new lightsaber (third to the left) and it is priced at RM469.90. Two voice changing masks are available as well for Stormtroopers or Kylo Ren priced at RM199.90.

Feel like a Resistance pilot with this replica helmet by Hasbro.
For fans who instead aspire to be a starfighter pilot, they would really, REALLY want this pilot helmet. Modeled after the one used by Poe Dameron in the Resistance, this electronic 1:1 scale helmet comes with surround sound speakers inside to simulate flying a X-wing. This Black Series replica helmet is priced at RM419.90. Stay tuned for our unboxing and review video with a special guest. Meanwhile watch this below from Hasbro to find out a bit more about this product:

When Star Wars and LEGO teamed up in 1999, it was a perfect match for fans of both franchises. Many years on, Star Wars building sets contribute massive sales for LEGO and thereby offer a huge assortment of character figurines, vehicles and playsets from the saga. The Last Jedi pose-able character figures are priced between RM99.90 to RM199.90 and consist of Rey, Chewbacca, Elite TIE Fighter pilot and Elite Praetorian Guard. 

Build a figure sets (top left, clockwise): Elite Praetorian Guard 75529 RM119.90, Chewbacca 75530 RM199.90, Rey 75528 RM119.90, and Elite TIE Fighter Pilot 75526 RM99.90.

For building sets of the First Order, another Star Destroyer is a must-have plus Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter. On the ground, the First Order muscles-up with the "gorilla"-looking Assault Walker supplemented by "crabby"-looking Heavy Scout Walkers.
First Order vehicles: Star Destroyer 75190 RM799.90 (left) and Kylo's TIE Fighter 75179 RM399.90
More First Order war machines: Assault Walker 75189 RM699.90 (left) and Heavy Scout Walker 75177 RM299.90.

For the fledgling Resistance forces, there are only 2 vehicle sets available: a Resistance Bomber which seems to be a labour-intensive set of space wings requiring 5 crew (lots of mini-figs) and a boxy looking Resistance Pod.  
Now the good guys: Resistance Bomber 75188 RM549.90 (left) and Resistance Pod 75176, RM199.90.

But everyone's new fav droid since EpVII The Force Awakens receives a collector's series BB-8 building set (below) to be assembled from 1,100 pieces priced at RM499.90.

Finally, a new Star Wars Advent Calendar set (above) is already out priced at RM149.90. Find out more about each of these LEGO sets from the official LEGO website.

Assortments of Star Wars themed vehicles by Hot Wheels priced RM24,90 for solo cars and RM29.90 for starfighters.

Another toys licensee worth mentioning are Hot Wheels by Mattel of cars inspired by Star Wars characters, and toy model starfighters / spacecraft. There are also playsets form by larger scaled toys of the Millennium Falcon (above).

Geeky Star Wars bags ranged in price from RM229.90 (left) to RM139.90 (right).
Apparel such as tshirts and accessories like bags, tumblers, etc. were also launched.

Finally for techies or geek collectors of interactive gadgets, Sphero is releasing the evil BB-9 droid (above right) to no doubt make things difficult for BB-8. BB-9 should be priced the same at BB-8 at RM799. Their older droid "brother" R2-D2 also comes to life from Sphero, scaled accordingly to the smaller droids and priced at RM979.

These are some of the first wave of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi toys being released at Toys R Us in Malaysia, as well as major retailers and hobby shops. Collectors here may also hope that some of the US retailer exclusive products (Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc.) will be distributed here at a later stage to selective retail channels. So prepare your wallets / credit cards and happy Star Wars shopping. May the Force be with Us!

in cinemas 14 December 2017

Disclaimer: Star Wars and other trademarks are copyright to Lucasfilm and/or Disney, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

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