Toys ‘R’ Us wants to make sure the force is with all Star Wars fans well before “The Force Awakens” — the seventh movie in the saga — is released in December. To that end, it is hosting Force Friday on Sept. 4 at all of its stores — worldwide.
The hoopla begins at 12:01 a.m. when stores around the globe will open their doors with hundreds of new products related to the popular franchise on their shelves. Some of the merchandise will be exclusive to Toys ‘R’ Us. In addition, the midnight festivities will feature giveaways, including an exclusive poster and a limited edition LEGO Star Wars Commemorative Brick while supplies last.
For Star Wars fans visiting Walt Disney World, the closest Toys ‘R’ Us stores in Central Florida are at Florida Mall, 1631 Florida Mall Ave., and Orlando Outlets, 8200 Vineland Ave.
The company’s international flagship store, Toys ‘R’ Us Times Square in New York City, will host a historic Star Wars toy exhibition leading up to the grandest midnight opening celebration of all, welcoming legions of eager fans with costumed characters, signing events, giveaways and more all day on Sept. 3.
The exhibition, which will be on display from Aug. 26 through Sept. 7, will feature prototypes, originals and early editions of some of the best-known Star Wars toys in the world, curated by Rancho Obi-Wan, Inc., a nonprofit museum that houses the Guinness World Record-certified largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia. Presented prominently throughout the store, “Destination: Star Wars — The Experience,” will showcase dozens of notable collectibles based on all six feature films from the Star Wars Saga, including the original first four mail-away action figures from 1978, a large-sized Chewbacca figure in never publicly-released The Empire Strikes Back packaging from Kenner Products and a rare 2003 LEGO Star Wars Cloud City building set.
During the day on Sept. 3, the Toys ‘R’ Us Times Square in New York City will offer:
** A book signing and meet-and-greet with Steve Sansweet, Chief Executive Officer and President of Rancho Obi-Wan, Inc., storied Star Wars author and former Head of Fan Relations and Director of Content Management at Lucasfilm Ltd.
** An art class and meet-and-greet with fan-favorite Star Wars and science fiction artist, Jeff Carlisle.
** Star Wars product demonstrations and activations throughout the store, including Star Wars-themed 3-D action figure creation with 3D Plus Me, video gaming on Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars kiosks and experiencing intergalactic sound on Star Wars-themed headphones powered by SMS Audio.
** A LEGO Star Wars make and take for rebels looking to build their toy empire brick by brick.
** A Light Saber Academy with members of New York Jedi, a community of cosplayers, martial artists and teachers who share practical stage combat techniques oriented toward Light Sabers.
** Photo opportunities with costumed characters, including Furbacca, a character versioned after the Hasbro toy that makes wookiee sounds like Chewbacca, and Geoffrey the Giraffe.
** Ice cream flavors inspired by the Star Wars Saga from Scoops ‘R’ Us, the flagship store’s in-house ice cream shop located on the lower level.
** Star Wars-themed cookie decorating at a “Wookiee” Cookie Party on Level 1.
** A panel discussion with Steve Sansweet and Jeff Carlisle for select lucky fans, which will also be live-streamed via Periscope @Toysrus on Twitter.
Those who cannot make it to a Toys ‘R’ Us store in person can purchase the new products online at Toysrus.com/StarWars beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 4.