One of the big rallying cries for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the 14-acre Star Wars-themed land at both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida, was that the land would be the only place you could buy exclusive, Galaxy’s Edge-themed merchandise. Well, that isn’t exactly true anymore. Today it was announced that Target would soon be carrying Galaxy’s Edge merchandise, including some of the things that you could previously only buy in the land, alongside exclusives for the retailer. Ready to make the jump to lightspeed?
The selection of Galaxy’s Edge merchandise features an exclusive Funko POP figure that is just designated as “R5 unit” (couldn’t even give the droid a name?); an incredibly expensive Hasbro Millennium Falcon that ties into the Galaxy’s Edge attraction Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, with Chewbacca and Hando Ohnaka figures and sound effects (also porgs, even though they aren’t in the ride but you see their nests in the queue); a “Hyperdrive BB-8 unit” remote controlled droid that isn’t that different from a droid you could build in the land; Black Series figures of Captain Cardinal, aka Archex, a character from some of the novels that is referenced by Galaxy’s Edge walk-around character Vi Morandi (she refers to him as “Emergency Brake” because of his red armor) and DJ R-3X, everyone’s favorite cantina DJ and former Star Tours pilot (he was previously only available in an $80 three-pack with C-3PO and R2-D2); and a new LEGO set of the Resistance I-TS Transport, a vehicle that appears in the Rise of the Resistance attraction but a LEGO set that has been available for preorder for a little while now from the official LEGO site.
Is there anything you should rush out and buy, or at the very least hastily pre-order? Not really. The Millennium Falcon is pretty cool, especially given its “Vintage Collection” packaging and new sound effects, but its $400 price tag is a lot (especially during the economic uncertainty of a global pandemic) and, perhaps unsurprisingly, preorders have already sold out. If you love R-3X like I do, you probably already have his Black Series figure from the land, and the LEGO set will be readily available from LEGO locations.
A bigger, and more interesting question is: what happened to the hardline stance that Galaxy’s Edge merchandise would only be available inside the land? This is especially true of things like the remote-controlled droid, considering what a big draw the Droid Factory experience was to the land and the story that the Walt Disney Imagineers had painstakingly put together. Well, a few things: one, the opening of Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland (which debuted first) was rockier than the petrified forest of Black Spire Outpost, with attendance levels well below what the company was expecting, badly hurt by pre-opening buzz that it would be impossible to get into the land and a surprising lack of life/vitality in the land itself, mostly due to extreme budget cuts implemented by current CEO Bob Chapek that badly affected character interactions and live entertainment. (Undoubtedly Captain Cardinal, too, was a walk-around character at some point before getting the ax.) They need to be able to get the word out about Galaxy’s Edge, to those who aren’t already indoctrinated, like, say, kids and families strolling through Target. This is especially true during the pandemic, when both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have been closed for months (Walt Disney World just reopened while Disneyland remains shuttered for now); Disney’s big $1 billion investment has been sitting there, unoccupied, with merchandise going unsold, for the entire spring and most of the summer. This Target partnership is a great way to reignite excitement and also get rid of some back stock. Everybody wins!
From the looks of the preorders already being sold out, these are sure to be hot collectors’ items, and without Star Wars Celebration this year (or next year!), maybe it’s the right time to splurge on an unnecessarily expensive LEGO set or POP figure you don’t really need. These new items will be available starting August 30. May the Force be with you.