Star Wars: Episode IX lands in theaters next December and, ahead of its release, will bring with it all-new merchandise and collectibles celebrating the new film. Over at YakFace.com, sources claim that the launch of these new items, dubbed "Force Friday," will be on October 4, 2019.
The site noted, "Barring leaks and official early first looks and preorders, this will be the hard street date for the copious amount of licensed products (toys, books, clothing, etc.) from not only Episode IX but from other sources throughout the franchise as well."
The very first Force Friday took place on September 4, 2015, which celebrated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Merchandising has always been a major part of promoting the Star Wars brand, with the first event garnering as much excitement as the first sequel to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi itself. Ahead of the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a similar event took place in the preceding September, though it wasn't until 2017 that we got another official Force Friday, building excitement for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
This year's Solo: A Star Wars Story also earned a Force Friday-esque event, which took place six weeks before the film's release.
What does it all mean? Well, if Force Friday is shifting closer to the actual release of the film, it potentially confirms that Disney and Lucasfilm are clearly making some changes to their marketing strategy for this final installment of the Skywalker Saga. This Force Friday event taking place closer to the actual release of the film might not be the only marketing strategy change, which would include the timing of the film's first teaser.
Recent reports have claimed that audiences will get to see the first footage from Star Wars: Episode IX before the end of the month, a full year before the film hits theaters. This would closely mirror the strategy for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, whose first teaser debuted 13 months ahead of the film's release. That film went on to take in more than $2 billion worldwide, so it would make sense that Episode IX would want to repeat that film's successes.
By comparison, The Last Jedi's first teaser debuted eight months before its release and, while it was still a huge success, took in $1.3 billion, which is far shy of The Force Awakens' totals. Solo, meanwhile, debuted its first teaser merely three months ahead of the film's release, with the film going on to earn $400 million worldwide.
Data might not necessarily confirm a direct correlation between how far in advance a teaser debuts to a film's success, or a merchandising release in relation to the film's opening, but Disney and Lucasfilm will likely pull out all the stops when it comes to building excitement for the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga.
Stay tuned for details on Force Friday and Star Wars: Episode IX, which lands in theaters in December of 2019.
Do you think Lucasfilm will be changing its marketing strategy for the new film? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!