For the Annual Review we look back at the biggest conversations of 2015 through the lens of entertainment and how could we ignore the force of nature that is Star Wars? In hot anticipation of the film’s release this weekend, we spend some time with the best Star Wars toys of the year and let you know what we think of them.
As the world waits for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to descend on theater screens this weekend, we’ve been entertaining ourselves with the slew of toys that have launched this year around the film. And it seems that we aren’t the only ones. Every department store and large retailer have huge displays of Star Wars toys almost as soon as you walk in the doors, but finding the toy you’re hunting for without an “out of stock” sticker in its place is certainly not guaranteed. In such huge demand, the toys have made their way onto every conceivable gift guide this year. They even feature throughout mainstream media, like the story of a Sotheby’s auction this week where a block of rare Star Wars toys fetched $505,000. But the pinnacle to the fame of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ toys? That happened on Saturday night when SNL spoofed adult toy collectors with a commercial for the Star Wars toys that are for “made for ages six and up – “way up.”
The hype and excitement surrounding these toys is endless, which might have a hand in the estimated sales figures. Along with the rest of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise, the toys are estimated to generate $5 billion in sales in the first year of the film’s release. Yes you read that correctly. $5 billion. So even if the film is a failure, it will still be a total success. But we all know we don’t need to worry about that.
Here are our picks of the best Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys:
BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero
Sphero’s BB-8 Droid is by far the best Star Wars toy, possibly of all time. The smart phone-controlled droid looks and moves remarkably like the one in the film - the head stays on top no matter how fast you make its body roll. It’s such a cool toy it really does take some time playing with it to believe it exists. One of the coolest features is the fact that it reacts to your voice with little head movements and a bunch of adorable noises. (We kinda fell in love with it.)
The BB-8 Droid is a bit of a splurge at $150 a pop, but we think it really is the best toy of the year.
Air Hogs Star Wars Remote Control Ultimate Millennium Falcon Quad
The Millennium Falcon Quad drone is a lightweight but powerful remote controlled quad copter that allows anyone to fly the iconic aircraft. As one of the most hyped toys surrounding the film, we just had to try it out. Our in-house drone enthusiasts took the Millennium Falcon Quad for a spin and were not disappointed. Featuring lights and sounds (including Chewbacca’s roar!) it’s a really fun toy.
Clocking in at about $110, it’s not cheap, but offers hours of flying fun.
Star Wars The Black Series Kylo Ren Force FX Deluxe Lightsaber
Superfans and collectors are giving The Black Series Kylo Ren Force FX Deluxe Lightsaber very high marks. At $200 each, they’re on the high-priced end of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens toy list, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring fans. It’s a hefty and super slick-looking weapon that just begs you to take it out of the box, light it up, and battle for the fate of the galaxy. The toy has a metal hilt, light and sound effects and comes with a display stand.
LEGO Poe's X-Wing Fighter Set
LEGO and Star Wars have a famous partnership so there are many LEGO sets surrounding The Force Awakens, but our favorite is Poe’s X-Wing Fighter Set. With lots of moving parts and even extra missiles and ammunition, the set is tons of fun. It comes with Poe Dameron, Resistance ground crew and a Resistance X-Wing Pilot, plus an adorable BB-8 droid. At around $90, it’s a LEGO set to savor as you build, and even possibly put on display when you’re finished playing with it (for hours and hours and hours).
It’s impossible to imagine being a true Star Wars fan and not owning at least a few action figures. Hasbro is one of the main toy manufacturers for Star Wars and their line of action figures is the bread and butter of that business. The 3.75 inch figurines are great for their simplicity – they only have 5 points of articulation – and are being marketed more towards kids. For adults, though there’s something so refreshing about old school action figures and going by the fact that stores can hardly keep them on shelves, it seems as though adults are buying them, too. If you’re not giving them to kids or saving them as collector’s items, they work perfectly as an obstacle course for BB-8! Plus they’re easy on the wallet, costing from $8 to $14 each.
This article was originally posted in Moviepilot Magazine – Annual Review where we look back at the biggest conversations of 2015 through the lens of entertainment.