In the wake of Han and Chewie beckoning fans home, it’s easy to forget the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But let’s look back to the halcyon days of last November, where, amid inverted Millennium Falcons, sleek stormtrooper helmets, crossguard lightsabers, and water-skiing X-Wing fighters, there was one moment that stood out above the rest: BB-8, the bouncy, jaunty FIFA-droid that captured the covetous eyes of every 7-year-old in the western world—not only the 7-year-olds we’re raising, but also those that reside inside every one of us. Helpless to deny BB-8, a single question remained: “how will we come to own this!?” And ever since we’ve been shaking ourselves, and those around us, angrily demanding to know the answer.
Well, shake no more: Disney and Sphero—whose technology was already used in a fan prototype—have made it clear that come Christmas, BB-8 will be rolling out from under our trees, and into our hearts. The Telegraph reports that even though they haven’t figured out all of the mechanics yet, the two companies have figured out that mass quantities of smartphone-controlled BB-8s may be the only thing that prevents full-scale rioting at Toys R Us this holiday season.
But while Sphero has put up a landing page with the obligatory mailing list/notification engine, it falls to Disney to run its proprietary algorithms for converting emotion into hard currency. Having already secured a December 18 release date for The Force Awakens, much of the merchandising strategy is complete. Disney now merely needs to incrementally remind us that buying this unholy offspring of R2-D2 and Wall-E is our destiny.