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This Friday is set to be Triple Force Friday. It's the day that a massive amount of merchandise is set to be released promoting three major Star Wars projects, video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Disney+ series The Mandalorian, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Based on the preview event that I attended last week, and everything that was shown during the livestream reveal, there's a lot of stuff set to come out. Although, possibly not as much as you might think.
I spoke with Hasbro's Senior Director of Global Marketing, Mike Ballog, at Lucasfilm last week and he estimated that, at least in the case of Hasbro, only about a third of the products that are being produced for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will actually hit the streets on Triple Force Friday. The primary reason that the rest of the stuff wasn't coming out, was potential spoilers. According to Ballog...
We have clear conversations about what can come out when, and what needs to stay under wraps. We work around things with that in mind. At least from a Hasbro stand point, [the product on display is] maybe 30-35% of our full line.
Assuming that number is somewhere close to the same for the other major merch manufacturers on display, like LEGO, Funko, etc. then we're looking at the vast majority of action figures and other cool Star Wars stuff waiting in the wings because to show it to us now would reveal things about The Rise of Skywalker that Lucasfilm doesn't want us to know quite yet.
I was more than a little surprised about how much that we didn't see during the Triple Force Friday reveal event last week. While I certainly wasn't expecting to get intricate details about who or what "Dark Rey" was, the fact that we had seen the character in a trailer would seem to make her free for Hasbro to make action figures, and yet, we didn't see anything of the kind.
Paul Southern, the Senior VP of Licensing at Lucasfilm echoed Mike Ballog's comments, saying that the rest of the stuff won't be hitting store shelves until after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has hit theaters.
The key thing here is when we release products a couple months in advance of the film, we are focusing on a very select group. There are products that you’re not seeing, that you won’t see until after the film comes out. Even the characters that we are releasing, we're not really giving you much narrative for them.
There were a couple of new characters unveiled during the Triple Force Friday event, an alien named Boolio comes along with the new LEGO Millennium Falcon, and another guy named Babu Frik is included with the Black Series figure for C-3PO. We now know these names, but as Paul Southern mentioned, we were given no narrative for them, so we have no idea how they fit into the story.
As far as what sorts of merchandise is being held back, it could be largely anything. Certainly the unveiling of new characters has the potential to give us more insight into the movie, the same goes for new vehicles or anything that hints at locations.
Of course, there are always going to be leaks regarding new toys, so not everything is always going to stay under wraps just because Lucasfilm wants it to. But it does say a lot of that keeping these secrets is as important to Lucasfilm as the release of the products in the first place.
We'll get to see the other two thirds of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's merchandise on or around the film's release on December 20.