Of all the movie franchises in the universe there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest – or is it simply light years ahead?
The sheer popularity, and enduring appeal of Star Wars was surely one of the key reasons why Disney agreed to purchase Lucasfilm, and the Star Wars name, from George Lucas for a reported $4.05 billion in 2012. With a deal like that they had to be 100% confident that it was something that wouldn’t just make their money back, and more, at the box office but also to be good for many millions of dollars’ worth of merchandise too.
More than just a toy
Of course they’ve got the films’ 40 year history as a track record to look back on. From the earliest days fans of all ages clamoured to buy the action figurines of all of their favourite characters whether it was Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader or Han Solo. Then, as more and more films hit the screens and the cast of characters increased, so did the demand for them.
These weren’t just toys either. Some of the earliest figurines are collectors’ items now and reach incredible prices at auction. So it’s a big money business, there’s no doubt about that.
The Lego phenomenon
Another great example of how merchandise has moved from being a pocket-money investment to a serious expense is the range offered by Lego. While there are models for just a few pounds if you wanted to build your own Millennium Falcon the 7,500 piece model would cost you almost £650 – and take more than just a few evenings to build.
A galaxy of games
Of course one area of merchandising that was ripe for exploitation for die-hard Star Wars fans was the video game. After all, who wouldn’t want to get the chance to battle to save the Empire for themselves?
But video games were in their early days back in 1977 when the saga first hit the screen, so the most exciting galactic experience you could have at the time was a game of Space Invaders. It wasn’t until the 90’s that the first of the games appeared with the launch of Super Star Wars. It was still a fairly basic game but, unsurprisingly, over the years the games have developed to ever higher levels of sophistication. These reached their pinnacle with 2015’s Battlefront which was rapturously received by gamers everywhere and whose eagerly-awaited sequel is due out later this year.
The franchise has also rolled out into other gaming areas including online slots, it is little surprise that they have taken advantage of the growing online slot industry. Wink Slots offer a huge range of slot games that leaves users wanting more due to their impressive gameplay. The slog game is a big favourite with both fans of the films and online gaming, it also captures a lot of the spirit of the films and features many of the leading characters.
This is just the beginning
But even with all these examples, it also seems like Disney have barely started on developing the franchise. Star Wars Episode VIII is due for release in December and there are also spin-off films like Han Solo and possibly Boba Fett rumoured to be on their way.
So it seems like the force is going to be with us for some time to come.