Any thoughts I had about resisting the barrage of Star Wars merchandise being released for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith were pie-in-the-sky at best. I talked a good fight but knew deep down in my darkening heart that it was a losing battle.
The first piece of bait that I took was far and away the funniest Star Wars item I’ve ever seen. Playskool was set to release a new Mr. Potato Head that came with a Darth Vader mask, helmet, cape and lightsaber. The name of this toy is Darth Tater. Part of the packaging for the toy has Tater saying, “Together we shall rule as father & spud!” I was sold.
The toy was still several weeks away from its release when it first appeared on eBay. Jerry and I were tracking the toy to see what it was doing. It was bringing in $40 or more as a pre-sell item. We checked the Playskool web site and found that we could order the toy through Toys R Us. We each bought more than a couple of the Taters with an eye towards selling them on eBay.
Gentle Giant Studios, the creator of the Star Wars busts and statues that I own, has a history of doing exclusive busts for special events. The Han and Luke stormtrooper disguise busts were created for a pair of shows last year. I checked the Gentle Giant and Celebration III web sites to see if they would have an exclusive for CIII. The first thing I found was a new Princess Leia in Boussh disguise bust being released later this year. I ordered it. A few weeks later they announced a new Han Solo bust, which is easily the nicest looking bust they have designed so far. I can’t order it yet. A week or so later they previewed the CIII exclusive – a sandtrooper from Episode IV: A New Hope. (You can’t understand how much it pains me to call it A New Hope. To me, it is just plain Star Wars.) The bust will be sold this weekend at CIII with two sandtrooper variants being released later this year.
The other forms of merchandise are the tie-in products. Kellogg’s, M&M’s, Pepsi and Frito Lay are the major players in this arena.
Kellogg’s is best known for their cereals but also owns Keebler Cookies and Sunshine Biscuits, maker of Cheez-It Crackers. The day their tie-in products hit the shelves was a particularly weak day for me. The local grocery I go to had Keebler Cookies and Cheez-Its on a really cool Star Wars display. The cookies had a special offer for cookie jars based on Darth Vader, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Cheez-Its as an Episode III poster offer plus has limited edition packaging with Threepio on one box and Vader on the other. The Cheez-Its were 2 for $5 so I bought one of each.
The cereal aisle was like running a gauntlet. I didn’t make it through unscathed. Nearly every Kellogg’s cereal had some kind of Star Wars theme. Corn Flakes had Threepio and Artoo on the front of the package. A couple cereals had offers for a free copy of The Phantom Menace on DVD. Mini-Wheats had those two annoying shredded wheat creatures wielding lightsabers. One package had a trivia card game on the back of the box. The item that caught my eye (since obviously none of the others did) was Apple Jacks with its light up saber spoon that came in the box. Pop Tarts has a new “lava berry” flavor with Vader on the front of the box.
M&M’s has a new dark chocolate flavor with new, darker colors. The old flavor of chocolate has new, lighter colors. Those annoying M&M creatures are decked out in robes, dresses and armor to look like characters from both trilogies. The evil characters are on the bags of dark chocolate while the good guys can be found on the light chocolate bags. M&M Mars is also putting out a bunch of products that can be ordered through the Star Wars Shop online. Among them are enamel pins and plush toys that look like the M&M creatures.
Frito Lay had a cool display but no special products. Not yet anyway.
I can’t stand Pepsi and will probably manage to avoid their beverages. As far as I know, they are coming out with two types of Mountain Dew – one of them with a dark-colored, berry flavor with Vader on it and a green-colored special flavor with Yoda. Now that I think of it, Mountain Dew isn’t so bad.
By the end of my shopping spree, I had one package of E.L. Fudge cookies and two boxes of Cheez-Its. I didn’t see the Pop Tarts and they didn’t have the M&M’s yet.
Oh yeah. I also bought a box of Apple Jacks. And in case you were wondering, my saber spoon is red, appropriate what with my fall to the Dark Side and all.
Spoilers in comics and books, oh my!