Star Wars Triple Force Friday Marks Release of Episode IX and Mandalorian Toys

New toys and other merchandise for Star Wars: Episode IX and The Mandalorian are set to hit stores during October’s Triple Force Friday.

Star Wars: Daisy Ridley as Rey in The Last Jedi, and an image from Disney+'s The Mandalorian

The arrival of a new Star Wars movie is usually heralded by a major merchandising blitz; a tradition that became obligatory 20 years ago with the buildup to 1999’s The Phantom Menace, continuing ever since in advance of nearly every major franchise offering. However, this year’s event, called Triple Force Friday, might just be the biggest one yet.

Lucasfilm and Disney have officially announced that October 4 will be designated Triple Force Friday, a day that will strike fear in the bank accounts of Star Wars fans everywhere, as toys and other logo-branded tchotchkes for Star Wars: Episode IX, TV series The Mandalorian and video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be unleashed in one fell swoop. While specific items were not revealed, the event itself is scheduled to commence at (when else?) 12:01 a.m. of the designated date. Additionally, and by no coincidence, this will also be the date on which Disney releases its inevitably ubiquitous Frozen 2 merchandise.

According to the statement, Triple Force Friday will see the arrival of products that will, of course, include the venerable bread-and-butter bounty of Star Wars merchandising, toys, as well as other collectibles like housewares, books and apparel. While retailers around the world will be joining the festivities with in-store events and midnight openings, the bankruptcy and chain-wide closing of Toys “R” Us will certainly be felt that evening, since it always held the biggest pre-Star Wars toy release events. – Of course, as usual, the products will also yield the incidental benefit of unveiling plot-peaking preview material for the releases they promote.

Yet, there’s another narrative to Triple Force Friday, since it will represent the first merchandising bonanza to be held after the widely-reported slump of Star Wars toys mostly attributed to 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which saw the revenue of toy company Hasbro dip 2% (which is a lot) in Q4 2017, and a 7.8 percent loss in shares value. Indeed, it was clearly the realization of a forecasted trend, resulting in the far-in-advance merchandise planning for the following May’s Solo: A Star Wars Story arriving noticeably scaled back in volume.

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Regardless of the reason for said slump (be it oversaturation, Marvel movie intrusion, Disney’s overall direction of the franchise, or just overall ennui), Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner made a March 2018 admission that the company has been mishandling the release strategy of its Star Wars merchandise, stating:

“The fact that we began to merchandise the film in September [of 2017] and the film [The Last Jedi] came out in December was just too long a period of time to sustain retail interest.” He added, “It didn’t help that lots of other toys were hitting around the same time, he said, “with an array of entertainment initiatives coming to market.”

Thus, the company has made a major adjustment from its previous September Sequel Trilogy-hyping rollout strategy by setting the later date of October 4 for 2019’s Triple Force Friday, which will now yield a crucial test for the future of Hasbro’s slightly-less-mighty Star Wars merchandising machine.

While October 4’s Triple Force Friday, is about eight months away, the releases it will promote are even further away. Star Wars: Episode IX (which has yet to even release its formal name,) is set to hit theaters on December 20, with TV show The Mandalorian set to premiere on the imminently-launching Disney+ on a date (clearly after October 4,) to be revealed, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also set for an unknown late-2019 release date.

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Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

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