New Star Wars toys go on sale on Force Friday

The world's biggest 'Star Wars' collection
The world's biggest 'Star Wars' collection

Don't underestimate the Force ... or the power of its galactic marketing machine.

Toys and other merchandise tied to the eagerly awaited "Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens" movie will go on sale Friday at 12:01 a.m. -- an event that has been dubbed Force Friday.

Force Friday promises, in the words of Luke Skywalker, "more wealth than you can imagine" for Lucasfilm owner Walt Disney (DIS) and other companies with licenses for Star Wars products, such as toy kings Hasbro (HAS) and LEGO. ("I can imagine quite a bit!")

Disney Stores in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco will be open at midnight to kick off Force Friday. So will all Toys R Us stores as well as some Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) locations.

Toys R Us is promising a free poster to shoppers.

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Walmart is offering exclusive trading discs featuring Star Wars characters from Topps. Walmart will also give out a $5 credit for its streaming video service Vudu to customers who pre-order the new "Star Wars: Battlefront" game from Electronic Arts (EA) in stores.

But Target may be the retailer showing the most "devotion to that ancient Jedi religion."

It has an epic, two minute viral video showing fans of all ages reliving their favorite Star Wars moments and has set up a site inviting people to chime in with their top memories of the series. It's even extending Force Friday another day, with special Star Wars shops set up for what Target is calling Share the Force Saturday.

And for those who don't want to be caught dead waiting on line at midnight with people dressed like Boba Fett, Greedo and Yoda, you can order new Star Wars merchandise online from Amazon (AMZN).

But diehard fans of the Star Wars saga will probably want to show up in person to get their hands on the toys immediately instead of waiting a day or two for new products to arrive.

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They're looking for clues about the movie's plot and hungry for more details about new characters, such as the adorable, soccer-ball shaped droid BB-8, Rey -- is she the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia? -- and the villainous Kylo Ren, who carries a light saber with a controversial crossguard.

Unless you've been frozen in carbonite for the past year, you're probably aware that "The Force Awakens" comes out on December 18. It is expected to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2015 -- and possibly all-time.

It is the first new Star Wars movie since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion.

"The Force Awakens" takes place a few decades after the events of "Return of the Jedi." Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C3PO are back along with the new characters.

But hopefully there will be no Jar Jar Binks. Or any mention of the maligned Episodes I through III for that matter. Okay. Maybe Mace Windu. Samuel L. Jackson is supercool -- especially with a purple lightsaber.


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