LONDON (Reuters) - Actors from the “Star Wars” franchise headlined a global livestreamed event at Britain’s famed Pinewood Studios on Thursday to unveil new Walt Disney Co merchandise tied to the latest movie instalment and series spin-offs.
The new toys, clothes and gadgets will officially go on sale on Friday Oct. 4, a date marketed by Disney as “Triple Force Friday”, as it seeks to build buzz ahead of the premiere of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in December.
Disney also launched merchandise for “The Mandalorian”, the first Star Wars live-action spin-off series that will debut on streaming service Disney+ in November, and “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order”, a forthcoming video game.
The event at Pinewood, the studios just outside London where “The Rise of Skywalker” was shot, was hosted Warwick Davis, who started his career playing an ewok in 1983 release “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”.
“As an actor in Star Wars, the first time you see yourself immortalised as a Star Wars toy is a very exciting moment, however old you are,” Davis said in an interview.
“The first time it happened to me was when I was 11 years old in Return of the Jedi, and as a young boy to actually have a toy of yourself is a mind-blowing experience.”
Naomi Ackie, a newcomer to the franchise who plays the role of ‘Jannah’ in the latest movie, said it was “super surreal” to see a bobble-head doll version of her character for the first time.
“All you can hope is that you do a great job, that people are excited about your character and they want to include it in their repertoire of knowledge,” Ackie, 26, said of the huge fan base for the franchise.
New merchandise included products from Hasbro Inc, Funko Inc and The Lego Group.
Disney, which paid $4.05 billion for Star Wars production company Lucasfilm in 2012, held the first “Force Friday” merchandise launch in 2015 ahead of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.
Reporting by Hanna Rantala and Paul Sandle; editing by Jane Wardell