In his contract for Star Wars, George Lucas passed up an additional $500,000 directing fee in return for keeping licensing and merchandising rights for himself, a move that ultimately cost the studio billions and made the director one of the richest men in the galaxy. The demand for Star Wars toys was so high after the release of A New Hope that in 1977 Kenner, the company that Lucas granted an exclusive license to produce Star Wars toys, sold an empty box to kids for Christmas, promising Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 sometime in 1978.
And while the money no longer goes into George Lucas’ pocket—the bearded one sold his merchandising rights when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion in 2012—Star Wars toys are still big business. And with the opening of The Force Awakens only six months away, Disney has unveiled images of the first three official toys from the seventh entry in the Star Wars saga. The images premiered in Entertainment Weekly earlier today:
The most impressive of the new playthings, of which you will buy three—one to keep in the box, one for you to play with, and one for your child to not appreciate on as many levels as you do—is the Star Wars Black Series First Order Stormtrooper. Hasbro’s Black Series of six-inch dolls feature quite a bit of detail to pore over and try to find plot clues for the new film. The initial run of the new Stormtrooper toy will be a Comic-Con exclusive, with packaging unique to the San Diego gathering ensuring its collectibility. According to EW, a limited number will be available for sale afterward via HasbroToyShop.com for $24.99, or on eBay for over $150. The doll is recommended for ages 44 and up.
Also on display at Comic-Con will be Lego’s Buildable First Order Stormtrooper, and continuing the retro vibe of the Star Wars marketing, a First Order Stormtrooper Hot Wheels car:
Comic-Con begins July 9, 2015, and The Force Awakens is slated for release on December 18, 2015.