Space junk or Ewok essentials? The best and worst Star Wars products

Lightsaber chopsticks? Wookie carpets? Duck Fadar? When it comes to Star Wars product tie-ins, the force is strong with Disney - to the estimated tune of $5 billion

From stormtroopers to light sabers, there's no shortage of Star Wars memorabilia for sale. But how much does it rake in for Disney? And is it a potential money-spinner for fans?

 

A long time ago, in a Dealz far, far away, all manner of tat was being sold in the name of Star Wars. New movie The Force Awakens is the first release since the Star Wars brand became the property of corporate giant Disney, so it’s only a mini-surprise that Dealz purvey Star Wars expandable flannels, 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and jumbo pens for the bargain price of €1.49 each.

If that’s disturbing to purists, look away now. In the next year, product tie-ins are set to earn Disney $5billion, seemingly aided by a new form of merchandising entitled Everything, All The Time. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you can have a Star Wars-filled day if inclined.

Some of the merch is welcome – the voice-commanded droid BB-8 Droid is high up on this year’s Christmas lists, and we’re sure many happy marriages began with a Princes Leia outfit at a Hallowe’en party. But the franchise inspires such loyalty – and sales figures - that all manner of goods, from laptops to barbeque tongs, bear the all-important brand. Even handwarmers, questionable in their necessity at the best of times, are given an equally questionable Star Wars makeover. And why would you think of enjoying Chinese take-out without lightsaber chopsticks? (their tagline is “Rice eating you is!”, so we forgive them).

Such is the breadth of products on the virtual shelves that the quality is now… varied. While previously, official merchandise had to pass certain stipulations to be worthy of the stamp, we suspect that the modern-day gold rush has caused Disney to let their standards slip. For instance, the idea of wrapping oneself in Chewbacca certainly works in bath robe format, as Argos prove with their €41.99 version of the walking carpet. But it’s not quite as comfy to wear slippers direct from the Disney Store, in which Chewbacca, with sadness in his eyes, laments the loss of his facial features and stylish quiff as you continually tread on the back of his head. At least as an actual carpet, the wookie’s sad, dead face is omitted.

It gets worse. Misrepresenting Chewie’s image so woefully again that you’d have to wonder if Disney merchandisers ever watched the film, they present shoppers with a Chewbacca sock puppet. Which is a totally standard sock puppet that’s brown and has a bandolier.

Disney’s other doozy is the Stormtrooper Christmas tree decorations, which finds our soldiers stripped of any ability to incite fear or authority as they’re comically left dangling off an evergreen branch. It’s almost as against the spirit of the film as the C3P0 tape dispenser, which sees our hero permanently shocked at what he finds between his legs. Us too, C3P0, us too.

Pets needn’t be left out in this materialisticfest. Dress your dog up in an Ewok costume, or better still buy them Star Wars dog treats. Because Star Wars-shaped dog treats taste so much nicer to dogs, who are notoriously picky with their snacking choices.

Arguably the winner of the Terrible Merch competition is this pair of heels, which will never, ever been seen on any person ever, unless they found themselves in Siberia with no shoes, no socks, a life-threatening case of frostbite, and no one in a 50-mile radius to judge them. If we’re talking Star Wars heels, we’d direct you to Etsy, which has handmade platform heels featuring a retro comic book strip collage – now that’s classy. Relatively speaking.

But it’s not all bad. Some products fare better, like a series of rubber ducks including Duck Fadar, a Pondtrooper and Luke Pondwalker, or this Death Star tea infuser:

Obi Wan will also be glad to hear it’s perfect for your Star Wars teapot.

Indeed, R2D2 has proven himself to be the kitchen aid you always wanted, taking on the forms of an egg timer, bento lunch box, salt and pepper shaker, egg cup, and $8,000 moving fridge.  

A niche market for sure, Star Wars fans are spoiled for choice with themed fridges; we’d probably opt for the Han Solo fridge, which is disguised as a carbonite block containing his frozen body. If it’s not worth the €147, try the equally nifty Han Solo ice tray.

Of course, with Christmas around the corner, may of these tie-ins are created with presents in mind. So when it comes to buying presents for the lady in your life, would she prefer this cute Darth Vader dress  or a BB-8 infinity scarf? We reckon a tasteful ‘I love you’ ‘I know’ bracelet is a super romantic Christmas present that’s both beautiful as it is thoughtful.

Lacy panties bearing the words ‘Use The Force’? Maybe not so much...

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