Around fifty adults are queuing outside a shop at midnight, some having been there for several hours. It’s all for Star Wars. It’s all for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The new range launches on September 30, with last year’s event dubbed Force Friday, and this year tied into the Go Rogue marketing effort. But this particular part of the launch is known, very appropriately, as Midnight Madness.
The new movie range consists of eight LEGO products, five traditional sets along with three constraction figures. Alongside the LEGO Group’s offering sits multiple scales of Hasbro action figures, vehicles, Funko Pop! Bobbleheads, role play toys and more. The amount of space given over to Rogue One is smaller than it was for The Force Awakens, suggesting the movie is not expected to live up to what a Star Wars ‘saga’ movie would.
The turnout reflects this too, with around fifty fans arriving at the Brent Cross branch of Toys R Us – not a poor showing at the time of night, but half that were there twelve months prior. Mike Coogan, Marketing and eCommerce Director for Toys R Us UK, explains; ‘The Force Awakens was huge because it was the first movie for a number of years, anticipation was just massive at that point. We did midnight opening at five stores, we had lots of costumed characters and competition prizes, so it went down really well. So last year was a real eye opener for us.’
It’s the first opportunity to buy Rogue One merchandise.
The LEGO sets have been given a significant share of the space on the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story feature wall, sitting alongside some older LEGO Star Wars offerings. 75156 Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle is the largest, with 863 pieces and a price tag of £79.99. The growing space for the LEGO range emphasises the way that Star Wars toys have evolved since the nineties.
’I think the range is much broader these days,’ says Mike. ‘LEGO is a much more important part of the range than it was when the last movies came out, we’ve got high hopes. K-2SO has been huge. So that’s the one that everyone’s after at the moment.’
Fans are led into the store at midnight to queue inside, although thankfully the weather was not unkind to these hardcore collectors. Five fans at a time can visit the feature wall, select their products and head to the checkouts with time for a quick photo-op on route. Everyone who attends is given a free poster, and t-shirt too.
Turning back to Mike, he explains why not only this event is important, but how Star Wars is constantly on the Toys R Us radar. ‘We’re all about supporting Star Wars 365 days a year, rather than just cherry picking whether there’s a movie going on. So we have a great relationship with Lucas and Disney, with a lot of the blogs and superfans. It’s a great relationship which we cherish and nights like tonight underline our commitment to the franchise.’
It seems as long as Toys R Us is committed to holding such events, a number of the most dedicated fans will be committed to turning up.