December 15 is three-and-a-half months away, but to a certain portion of our population, that date feels like it’s in a galaxy far, far away.
But fear not, young Padawans, for Force Friday II is upon us and with it comes a load of new toys and revelations to hold us over until Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits the big screen. We’ve rounded up all the best gear, droids, and—that’s right—even new characters that you’ll need to prepare yourself for.
APP-ENABLED DROIDS (SPHERO)
There’s a new droid on the block and his name is BB-9E. He seems to be a bit of a bad boy working for the First Order, and looks to be like an evil BB-8 with a flat head and a sleek black bod. If the dark side isn’t for you, don’t fret because the OG beep-booper, R2-D2, is also new this year. Both droids, controlled through an app on your own device, allow users to explore some of the series’ iconic ships, react while watching Star Wars films next to you, and patrol your home. These two dudes will interact with each other, as well as with Sphero’s previously released BB-8 App-Enabled Droid.
STAR WARS HERO DROID BB-8 (SPIN MASTER)
I have two words for you: life-size BB-8. You game? Yeah, me too. Spin Master has given us the most lifelike BB-8 experience we will probably ever have in this universe. In the “Follow Me” mode, you can feel just like Rey or Poe, with the most adorable 16-inch ball of fun rolling along beside you. BB-8 can also respond to certain key phrases and names, or can be directed with an RC controller. Does it really get better than this? I’m not quite sure it does.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES POE DAMERON ELECTRONIC HELMET (HASBRO)
For all the fighter pilots out there, get ready to fly in style with this Poe Dameron helmet (Poe’s dope jacket not included, unfortunately). As soon as you put this noggin bucket on your head, you are immediately immersed in the middle of the action. From beeps and boops from BB-8, to whishes and whooshes of the X-Wing flying around, the effects are amplified with the surround-sound speaker system, making it feel like you really are on a mission. You might have trouble realizing you indeed don’t have the luscious locks of Oscar Isaac and will, in fact, have some serious helmet hair (totally worth it though).
FORCES OF DESTINY ADVENTURE FIGURES (HASBRO)
Now if you’re like me and you’re dreading the moment in the film that will ultimately be Princess Leia’s final scene, the Forces of Destiny doll line may bring you some much-needed comfort. These dolls feature some of the strong, independent women of the Star Wars films, of course including Leia, Rey, and Gyn. They come as either single dolls or with a little pal (PRINCESS LEIA COMES WITH EITHER R2-D2 OR AN EWOK. DON’T MAKE YOURSELF CHOOSE, JUST TREAT YO’SELF).
FORCE LINK (HASBRO)
The Force is strong with these toys. The Star Wars Force Link line includes a wearable wristband that activates a collection of sounds, phrases, and lights when other toys from the line are nearby. The modestly-priced starter set includes the wearable with a Kylo Ren figure, and other sets in the line include a BB-8 2-in-1 Mega Playset, which comes with Supreme Leader Snoke and Elite Praetorian Guard figures, and the Tie Silencer Vehicle, which also includes a Kylo Ren figure. Pick up or tap any figure and activate unique sound effects, phrases and more, to feel just like you are channeling the Force.
BATTLING DRONES (PROPEL)
If you like a toy to make a grand entrance, Propel’s Battling Drones won’t disappoint. These collector drones are highly detailed and hand-painted to look exactly like different vehicles in the movies, such as the Tie Advanced X1, the T-65 X Wing, and the Speeder Bike. These are a beaut to fly, but the best part is in the packaging. The collector’s box that these ships are packaged inside lights up when the top is lifted, and themes from the films play emphatically as you gaze upon the majestic beauty.
DROID INVENTOR KIT (LITTLEBITS)
Have you ever thought about R2-D2 and thought: “Blue is so not his color.” Well, now you can build your own OG droid and customize him. Once the droid is built, users can teach him new tricks, take him on missions, or invent new parts with items from around the house. Hopefully kids won’t turn to the dark side after building this droid, unless they’re into that kind of thing.
FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER SMARTWATCH (VTECH)
There’s no better way to teach kids how to read time than with a Stormtrooper staring them down. This smartwatch includes Star Wars themed photo effects, a voice recorder, an alarm, a calendar, and numerous other tools. But the best parts are the motion sensors that trigger Lightsaber, droid, and spaceship sound effects. There are also mini activities that include blasting asteroids, escaping Stormtroopers, and racing with BB-8.
STAR WARS BIG-FIGS (JAKKS PACIFIC)
Guard your house with the cleverest pilots, a skilled Jedi, or the Praetorian Guard. Jakks’ Big Figs come in multiple sizes that can either deter people from approaching your desk, or scare your family as they walk into what they think is an empty room. Some figures come with removable accessories and soft capes to jazz up their already-impressive looks. And ALL are modestly priced for all Star Wars fans to enjoy.
FIRST ORDER STAR DESTROYER (LEGO)
In a new line of LEGO sets for The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke is coming in strong with his First Order Star Destroyer. This LEGO set has all the pieces needed to defeat enemy ships. When the Star Destroyer opens, kids can ride the elevator to Snoke’s command center where the mini hologram is located, give fleet orders from the bridge, prepare for battle, or monitor from the control room. If it’s time to fly this baby, close it up and grab the handle to race through the galaxy, or multiple galaxies. Whatever you see fit. Building this will take a few hours, but the imaginative play will last a lifetime.
Laurie Schacht, also known as The Toy Insider Mom, has covered the toy industry for more than 20 years. The Toy Insider is a year-round resource for parents, grandparents and other gift-givers looking for the best toys for their kids. The Toy Insider also produces an annual holiday gift guide featured in Family Circle magazine. Visit thetoyinsider.com for the latest toy news, reviews, giveaways, and more.
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