Saturday, September 5, 2015

Eric's Report: Midnight Madness Strikes on Force Friday

Force Friday is here and many of you hit the midnight events around your respective cities. I took my two sons, one dressed in a homemade Kylo Ren costume, to a couple of different stores before dropping them off and heading to one last destination before calling it a day. We started off at Target before journeying over to Toys ‘R’ Us to get a peek at what they were doing differently.

We arrived at the Target in Arlington, TX to find they were lining people up around the back left corner of the inside of the store. There was easily already over 200 fans waiting to get access to the latest “Star Wars” items for sale. The store was giving away three huge stuffed Chewbaccas to winners of a raffle. Unlike many stores who found out the hard way that greed overcomes compassion and morality, Target put a limit on how many folks could get into the product area at a time to avoid a trampling rush of idiocy.

The selection at Target wasn’t as varied as I was hoping for. They had a lot of different items such as action figures of different sizes, books, t-shirts, Lego sets, and other odds and ends. I was expecting way more “The Force Awakens” t-shirts, but they only had around three designs specifically for the movie. They barely had any shirts for children, none of which were “The Force Awakens.” How could they not have a BB-8 one for kids?

Everyone was in good spirits and held their treasures in their hands. One guy I was standing next to was looking at an oversized Chewbacca plushie and said, “Kind of ugly, eh?” I laughed and replied, “It could be worse. It could be an Ewok.” After a short pause, he commented to me, “You’ve got a point.”

The big giveaway at Target for people who purchased an item was a reusable “Share the Force” bag. They feature the pattern of BB-8 made up of stars in the sky like a constellation. It was right up my wife’s alley.

We next ran across the street to Toys ‘R’ Us to see what they had going on for Force Friday. Their setup was way more impressive with promotional banners, standees, and posters hanging everywhere. They had a better selection of toys and such than Target did. The shelves were picked rather clean by the time we got there. After a quick walk around the “Star Wars” area, we took off for home.

Upon dropping off the kids at home, I made my way over to the Wal-mart in Grand Prairie, TX to meet up with Eddie Medina and JediCole Houston, the hosts of Dallas-based podcast and live show the Rantcor Pit. The store hadn’t even set up their Force Friday area. All they had was a two sided aisle display with lightsabers and Black series and regular action figures for Kylo Ren and the First Order Stormtroopers. There was also a table of giveaways that included Connexions starter packs, Lego "Star Wars” posters, pins, catalogs, and cupcakes.

One thing I noticed was missing from all the stores was any classic character action figures for "The Force Awakens." Surely Hasbro had to know that aged Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia figures would be a big hit with collectors. I didn't even see a Chewbacca one in any of the stores.

Also missing from toy shelves was the Guavian Enforcer which I've taken a liking to. Everyone I've talked to says he reminds them of Deadpool. One friend said he didn’t look like a “Star Wars” character, but I don’t agree and think he looks cool.

I haven't been back out to any stores during the day to see what’s been added to their shelves. Judging on their midnight event performances, Toys ‘R' Us most successfully captured the essence and excitement one would expect as a fan of "Star Wars" anxiously awaiting Force Friday. I'm still holding out for any new Tarkin collectibles to be released.

You can see pictures from the Force Friday events right here.

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