Now a three-day global fan event—spawned by the phenomenal success of the first Force Friday in September 2015 for The Force Awakens—Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s Force Friday II kicks off today with a wave of new products celebrating Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hits theaters on December 15.
Following the breakout success of its BB-8 bot, Colorado-based Sphero has expanded its app-enabled Star Wars line to include beloved Rebel Alliance droid R2D2 and brand-new evil droid BB-9E, which can both be controlled through the Droids by Sphero app for iOS and Android devices.
In a first for any R2D2 robotics product, Sphero’s R2 unit can go from bipod to tripod stances and also features the droid’s humorous emotive waddles. Additional features include fully functional LED lights, four internal motors and an integrated speaker, allowing for R2′s beeps and boops to come directly from the unit itself. (Sphero’s BB-8 has sounds come from the user’s phone.) R2D2 does, however, have the same type of programmable patrol mode found in BB-8 and will be supported by Apple’s new coding app for kids, Swift Playgrounds, at launch.
Sphero’s R2D2 and BB-9E both feature holographic AR simulation, effectively tapping into Disney’s increased involvement in augmented reality. (The House of Mouse’s three-day global AR retail experience, Find the Force, also launches today.) Launched in Canada at 12:01 a.m. ET on September 1 at Best Buy and Apple Stores, Sphero’s R2-D2 and BB-9E are retailing for CDN$239.99 and CDN$199.99, respectively. (Sphero has yet to disclose US price points.)
All other Force Friday II products across toys, collectibles, books and apparel also went on sale from September 1 at 12:01 a.m. around the world and at Toys “R” Us locations in the US.
Additional items announced by Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) for Force Friday II include Hasbro’s Star Wars Force Link Starter Set including Force Link, a Droid Inventor Kit that includes R2D2 from New York-based startup and 2016 Disney Accelerator participant littleBits, three drones (T-65 X-Wing Star Fighter, Tie Advance X1 Quadcopter and 74-Z Speeder Bike) from drone-maker Propel, as well as The Last Jedi LEGO sets including BB-8 and three First Order ships (Star Destroyer, Heavy Scout Walker and Heavy Assault Walker). Hasbro’s offerings also include detailed figures and role play from Star Wars: The Black Series collection—which features characters like Luke Skywalker and Rey—as well as themed NERF blasters.
Sphero’s new droids follow the recent launches of its app-enabled Spider-Man Interactive Super Hero toy and Ultimate Lightning McQueen interactive talking racecar, which just made Amazon’s top 25 list of the most sought-after toys and games for the 2017 holiday season.