J.J. Abrams Replaces Colin Trevorrow as Director of Episode IX

With the last Star Wars director swap only a few months in the past, Lucasfilm have dropped another bombshell - J.J. Abrams will be replacing Colin Trevorrow as the director of Star Wars Episode IX.

(Image courtesy of www.starwars.com)
I, for one, couldn't be happier. I've been a fan of Abrams ever since the first episode of Lost, and the announcement back in 2013 that he would be directing Episode VII filled me with all kinds of hope. Hope that - I would argue - wasn't misplaced. After doing a phenomenal job with The Force Awakens, it seems only fitting that he returns to round out the trilogy. The release date for Episode IX has now been moved back from May 24th 2019 to December 20th 2019 - most likely in light of this change-up.

What are your thoughts on this announcement? Be sure to let us know via Facebook or Twitter, or by sending an email to relicsoftheforce@gmail.com!

Maryland Toy Store Tour - September 2017

After a few months on holiday in my homeland of New Zealand, I've returned to Maryland, USA. One of my first priorities after getting back was to scope out the range and distribution of The Last Jedi products stateside. First up on my toy store tour was Target, and I was shocked at how picked-over everything was.

Earlier last week, I checked my local Farmers store in New Zealand and there was still a plentiful supply of the entire range of 3 3/4" figures - even Old Man Luke. Here, however, there was only Rose, Finn and Hux. No Luke's, Kylos, Poes, Chewies, 3POs, Stormtroopers, Paiges, or Reys (either in single-carded or two-pack form). One thing that was in stock - and which had been completely absent from New Zealand stores - were porgs. So, so many porgs...

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Second Trailer Released

This morning saw the release of a brand new trailer for the fourth (and final) season of Star Wars Rebels - and it's a cracker. You can check it out below:

It's clear from this trailer that the last season of Rebels is going to dovetail beautifully into the events of Rogue One and A New Hope. As Ezra says: "all the paths are coming together." The fourth season of Rebels begins airing on October 16th.

What are your thoughts on this trailer for the final season of Star Wars Rebels? Be sure to share them with us via Facebook or Twitter, or by sending an email to relicsoftheforce@gmail.com!

2017 Force Friday II

After months of anticipation, September 1st 2017 - dubbed 'Force Friday II' - saw the official release of the first wave of merchandise for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. There were no 'midnight madness' events in my area, so my fiancée and I were up bright and early for the opening of our local Warehouse store the following morning. Unfortunately, things were a little underwhelming at first. There was minimal promotional signage, and - by some error - no 3 3/4" or 6" figures on the shelves. Staff soon remedied this, however, and were kind enough to give me first choice of the unopened case assortments.

The Last Jedi displays at The Warehouse and Farmers.

Next up was Farmers, where things were slightly better organised. Stock was still being shelved at the time of opening, but the store had a healthy supply of the full 3 3/4", 6", and 12" range of figures and vehicles. Best of all,  they had their 3 3/4" figures reduced down to $11.99 each, as well as a 20% reduction on all other stock.

The final visit on our tour was Toyworld, which had the most limited (and most expensive) range on the day. While they were offering a 20% discount on all Star Wars toys, this couldn't bring their high prices (such as $19.99 for a 3 3/4" figure) down to a level that could compete with the likes of Farmers.

The Hunt is On - The Last Jedi Hasbro Products

(New items from the Last Jedi line will be added to this list as they are announced.)

Despite 'Force Friday II' still being over a month away, the first leaked images of toys from The Last Jedi are already hitting the internet. All of these items are supposed to be strictly embargoed until September 1st, but it seems a lot of stores haven't got that memo. Disney's loss is our gain, however - as these leaks give us collectors a good chance to compile and refine our wishlists in advance of the big day. That being said, the list below is based on blatant leaks. So if you're wanting to be surprised on Force Friday, read no further!

As always, my focus will be on the Micro Machines and 3 3/4" lines. So far, the leaks (which I won't be linking to on this site) have only shown what will be on offer for the latter line. Insofar as The Last Jedi products go, it looks like we'll be seeing a large playset, four new vehicles, eleven single-carded figures, and a single two-pack on Force Friday II. Budget and space constraints have had me shying away from 3 3/4" playsets and vehicles in recent years, so my main interest will instead be in those figures.