When Disney acquired Lucasfilm — and the iconic Star Wars property as a result — it became only a matter of time before Star Wars items would hit the shelves at Disney Store and we are pleased to share that time is arriving very soon — very, very soon. But before we get into the details, let’s take a step back and appreciate just how momentous this occasion will be.
First — and most importantly — Disney Store merchandise is typically exclusive to their stores. Basically this is because Disney Store products are home-grown. That is they are designed from concept to end product in-house by a small team of designers. That said, you will find Disney Store products (usually related to films) at the Disney theme parks, because Disney Parks and Resorts purchases inventory from Disney Store, but you won’t see them anywhere outside places owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company (save for the new Disney boutique at JC Penney). While DisneyStore.com does sell merchandise produced by Theme Park Merchandising (including a long-running Star Wars line of merchandise), they are not sold at the stores. So in essence, this means all new Star Wars merchandise is being produced and it will be exclusively at Disney Store around the world (and perhaps the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts). In addition to producing their own exclusives, Disney Store has also leveraged deals in which outside manufacturers have provided items exclusively to Disney Store, such as with Minimates from Diamond Select Toys.
Disney Store has confirmed this much to us, noting that some items at launch will be Disney Store exclusives, while other items will be licensed items found elsewhere, but more exclusives are on the way. Unofficially, we have heard that launch items will include Disney Store trading pins as well as trading cards focused on Episode IV: A New Hope and clothing. Sources have also told us that non-Disney items such as Hasbro’s line of Black Series figures will be in stores. As for a long term strategy, sources have told us the plan is to introduce new products every couple of months, focusing on the individual films in the saga, either in episodic or release order (it appears to be unclear at this time), building up to the release of Episode VII.
We also anticipate that there will be merchandise related to ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ which we hope to confirm next week during the New York International Toy Fair.
So now the burning question: just how soon will this new, exclusive Star Wars merchandise appear in stores? While Disney Store would only confirm the roll-out should occur by end of this month, we have heard dates as early as next week, ranging from the 16th through 19th.