Rogue One Second Official Trailer Released

After a surprise announcement on yesterday's episode of The Star Wars Show, this morning saw the release of the third and final trailer for Rogue One. You can check it out below:

Immediately prior to this release, I was confidently claiming that I didn't need another trailer. The previous trailer had been damn-near perfect, and gave me everything I needed to reach Force Awakens-levels of anticipation for this film. It turns out I was wrong. So, so wrong.

While August's trailer stoked the fires of nostalgia, this latest morsel aims directly for the heart. It's clear that Rogue One will - perhaps more than any Star Wars film before - focus on the sheer grit and heroism of those soldiers fighting evil in that galaxy far, far away. These aren't vaunted Jedi - they're simple, everyday souls trying to better the galaxy. It's a side of Star Wars that we've never really seen before, and if Rogue One  can pull it off, it might very well find itself a place among the best films of the saga.

The Hunt is On - Rogue One 3 3/4" Figures Found

While there was no sign of the new Micro Machines packs, I was able to nab all of the Rogue One 3 3/4" figures on my wishlist on Force Friday last week. While there will always be residual grumbles about continuing reduction in articulation, this first wave features some phenomenally good figures.

Let's start with the two-packs. Each contains a highly desirable new class of trooper from the film (the Imperial Death Trooper and the Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader) coupled with a currently unfamiliar alien denizen of the Star Wars universe (Moroff and Rebel Commando Pao respectively). Both troopers feature great sculpts that work well in a natural pose, and the Scarif Stormtrooper is adorned with a particularly intricate paint deco and weathering. Surprisingly, however, it's the pack-in aliens that are the real stars of these packs. Moroff is simply fantastic - a hefty chunk of plastic that resembles some kind of bizarre hybrid between a wampa and a sloth. Pao, on the other hand, is more diminutive, but comes with some superb detailing and an articulated opening mouth. All four figures in the two-packs come with their blaster of choice, and Pao also features a removable backpack.

Force Friday 2016

Last year's 'Force Friday' arrived with great fanfare, and heralded our first opportunity to buy merchandise from the highly anticipated The Force Awakens. Advertising was rife for weeks in advance, and many retailers opted to hold 'midnight madness' events. This year's Force Friday was much more low-key - there were no late-night openings, and announcements regarding the new line of stock were minimal.

Despite the lack of promotion, the New Plymouth Warehouse, Farmers, and Toyworld stores all managed to have a comprehensive (if limited) range of the new Rogue One merchandise out in time for store-opening on Friday September 30th. Of these, it was Farmers that made the best effort - with a dedicated Rogue One endcap and a full-size Imperial Death Trooper out front (both pictured above). Farmers further sweetened the deal by having all 3 3/4" figures (which usually retail for $17.99) down to 2 for $25. The Warehouse also had a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal on all Star Wars products.

Nevertheless, there were no eager throngs at opening time. While stock did deplete during the morning, I didn't come across any other collectors enthusiastically rifling through the new products. It's unclear whether this apathy is indicative of a more general decline in excitement for new Star Wars merchandise, or simply due to the fact that Rogue One is the first film to fall outside of the central saga. I guess we'll have to wait until Force Friday 2017 to find out!

The Hunt is On - Rogue One Hasbro Products

Tomorrow marks this year's 'Force Friday' - the day on which merchandise for Rogue One begins to hit stores. Excitement has been somewhat subdued this time around, with no New Zealand retailers holding a midnight opening like they did for last year's release of Force Awakens products. Nevertheless, I'll still be out first thing in the morning to get my hands on some of these newest items.

As usual, my main focus will be on Hasbro's 3 3/4" action figure and Micro Machines lines. A short while ago posted scans of Hasbro's official Rogue One product guide, and after some careful consideration I've whittled my wishlist down to the following items:

  • [ACQUIRED] 3 3/4" Rogue One Sergeant Jyn Erso (Eadu)
  • [ACQUIRED] 3 3/4" Rogue One K2-SO
  • [ACQUIRED] 3 3/4" Rogue One 2-Pack: Imperial Death Trooper and Rebel Commando Pao
  • [ACQUIRED] 3 3/4" Rogue One 2-Pack: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader and Moroff
  • Micro Machines Deluxe Pack: Assault on Scarif
  • Micro Machines Deluxe Pack: Fight the Imperial Might
  • Micro Machines Deluxe Pack: Mandalorian Melee
  • Micro Machines 3-Pack: Rebel Pursuit
  • Micro Machines 3-Pack: High Speed Rebel Raid

While it seems we'll be getting the full first wave of 3 3/4" figures on Force Friday, it's unclear whether or not the new Micro Machines will be appearing at the same time. I guess we'll find out tomorrow!

September 2016 Empire Magazine

The September 2016 issue of Empire magazine is now in stores, and this month it's all about building anticipation for the impending release of Rogue One. The magazine's coverage features some stunning new on-set photographs, as well as an illuminating interview with Gareth Edwards. If there were any lingering doubts about whether Edwards knows what he's doing, this feature will undoubtedly put them to rest.

Of course, the real coup with this issue of Empire is the inclusion of four giant Rogue One posters (spread over two double-sided sheets). The first poster features the enigmatic new 'Death Troopers', the second shows Baze Malbus huddled next to a downed X-Wing, the third is a spread of the core cast of the film, while the fourth features the gorgeous official poster for the film. Not bad for $10.95!