A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…flew a Millennium Falcon.
Surrounded on all sides by a 6-inch Darth Vader, Stormtrooper (he was kind of small for a stormtrooper) and Boba Fett the Falcon rattled and swooped and occasionally made a laser sound as it evaded capture before heading to do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. It was a beautiful sight as the old (brand new) rust bucket took on the Empire and various other assembled baddies that included two knights, a dinosaur and the cat (who was feigning interest I later found out, laugh it up fuzzball).
OK, so it wasn’t quite the Star Wars universe we were in, it was a family house in Oldham, but the young me was thrilled by my Star Wars presents. The Millennium Falcon (circa 1985) was a stunning piece of plastic manufacturing. The original trilogy (as we now must refer to them) were are their height and they influenced a whole generation of children as they have done ever since.
It’s difficult to get away from the sheer spread of publicity and comment as the NEW Star Wars film looms into view – the premiere is later this week. Official and unofficial social channels have been abuzz with previews, teasers and reaction, and a whole new generation of fans and children have all kinds of new ranges of merchandise at their fingertips.
The new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, now under the stewardship of the Disney corporation, is expected to generate in the region of $3 billion in merchandise sales this year alone. A phenomenal figure when you consider that is the official merchandise figure. As always a whole industry has sprung up around “unofficial” merchandise, and with such a global phenomenon as Star Wars policing this rebel force will be difficult. There is no chance of wiping them out.
The nostalgia button is always pressed for me when Star Wars is mentioned, so when I came across pictures from an original 1985 Argos catalogue that was it…
It reminded me of Christmas’ and birthday’s past, sitting down with the Argos catalogue to mark up the numbers of the latest toys, often merchandised from the latest cartoon.
Indeed, Star Wars was one of the very first films to spark the now accepted connection between a film/TV/cartoon and merchandise. Writer and director, George Lucas, passed up a larger fee to write and direct the original film and instead took a share of the merchandise deal, which proved to be an inspired move. The studio, Fox, were happy with the deal as their previous attempt at merchandising for the original Dr Doolittle film had proved a disaster. Their lack of faith was disturbing, it was the foresight that was to Lucas’ benefit.
Kids big and small in 2015 won’t have the problem of a lack of choice when it comes to Star Wars merchandise. One look at the shelves in my local supermarket is enough to show that there are going to be a huge number of stocking fillers with a splash of lightsabers on them.
I am unapologetically a Star Wars fan and the Happy office has its fair share of fans, who like me, cannot wait for the new film. The Force is strong with us.
As for that original 1985 Millennium Falcon, it’s still at my parents’ house. There is no way that was ever going to the jumble sale!
May the Force be with you…always
ps. Yes, this piece is stuffed with Star Wars lines, re-read and enjoy.
Simon Brooke is a Director and creative thinker at Happy Creative, a strategic marketing and creative branding agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk or tweet us @Happy_Creative