Christmas comes in September for Star Wars fans. Today, Lucasfilm has released a horde of amazing new Star Wars merchandise, including a lot that's related to December's next blockbuster — The Last Jedi. Needless to say, fans are combing through the shelves in search of spoilers. According to director Rian Johnson, though, we're not going to find anything too major...
Although everybody's eyes are usually fixed on box office takings, the most important modern film franchises are successful because of their merchandise. That's a model Star Wars essentially pioneered back in 1977, and by 2015, Fortune estimated that action figures, LEGO kits and other merchandise had netted the franchise an eye-popping $17 billion. Not even Harry Potter comes close to that.
Merchandise Can Often Spoil The Plot
Attentive fans have learned to watch out for spoilers, though. Take this year's Thor: Ragnarok, where a Funko pop seems to have revealed a major plot-twist with implications for the entire MCU. Meanwhile, a Sideshow Collectible unveiled at SDCC 2017 also dropped tantalizing hints as to Loki's role in the film.
That said, merchandise can sometimes be misleading. A LEGO playset for Wonder Woman suggested that the final battle would see Diana battle a giant-sized Ares, with Steve Trevor bombing the God of War from the air. A Doctor Strange LEGO playset also hinted that the cosmic entity known as Shuma-Gorath would appear in the film, even though it didn't. Studios have noticed that fans are on the lookout for spoilers, and these days, they've become a lot more strategic in response to that.
In the case of The Last Jedi, it's clear that Rian Johnson has worked hard with the marketing and merchandise teams to ensure that there are no major spoilers. But notice the qualifier in that sentence; major ones. After all, as he rightly notes, the toys will give you an idea of what characters and ships look like. As a result, here at Movie Pilot, we've already been able to discuss the implications of the Supreme Leader Snoke and Stormtrooper Executioner action figures. That said, those articles have only been possible because we're already spoiler-savvy, and can put the merchandise in context.
Still, Johnson's comments can allow the fans to relax somewhat. Force Friday doesn't mean fans are going to be spoiled for the film. Instead, it just means that we're about to get our hands on a lot of cool new action figures and LEGO play sets. Those who are hoping for major spoilers are set to be disappointed and those who prefer to remain spoiler-free will be delighted.