Star Wars merchandising has always been a key part of the Star Wars story. It's also part of the reason that George Lucas is so filthy rich. When Lucas made the initial deal for Star Wars, he took less money than he could have demanded (following the success of American Graffiti) in exchange for the merchandising rights for Star Wars. At the time, as Lucas explained in the documentary, Empire of Dreams, he thought that the studio (Fox) wouldn't promote his "little science fiction film," so he thought he would do it himself. By acquiring the merchandising rights, he could make posters, T-shirts, etc., and get them out to science fiction fans via conventions and such to promote the film.
Of course, as we all now know, that little twist of fate has largely made George Lucas a multi-billionaire. Not only did the Star Wars films go on to break box-office records, but virtually every little boy in the modern world has included a list of Star Wars toys they'd like on their Christmas lists since 1977.
However, Lucas was actually pretty stingy when it came to licensing rights for products that wanted to jump on the Star Wars success bandwagon. Sure, there were the action figures and the posters and the bedspreads et al., but Lucas clearly didn't slap a Star Wars logo or Princess Leia likeness on every offer that came along.
Then the prequels happened. By the time The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, George had gotten older, acquired a couple of kids, and seemed to have mellowed when it came to allowing the Star Wars brand to be used on a variety of new products, (hence, the Darth Tater Mr. Potato Head doll). Now that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm -- including Star Wars and all its licensing -- for around $4 billion, they are doing everything within their power to make the money back, and it isn't all going to be on movie tickets.
Since the purchase, there has been a marked influx of Star Wars-related merchandise. Star Wars is everywhere, and we can only surmise that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once the JJ Abrams Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released in December (and probably well in advance of it), there will no doubt be an onslaught of toys and products everywhere we look.
Perhaps the first salvo of that onslaught will arrive later this week on Star Wars Day. As every true Star Wars fan knows, May the Fourth is when fans worldwide celebrate Wookies, Astromech Droids, Protocol Droids, Sith Lords, Jedi's, X-Wings, B-Wings, A-Wings, AT-ATs, and even The Force itself.
On Star Wars Day, the California-based boot manufacturer, Ugg, will be launching its new Star Wars-themed boots. Retailing between $100 and $225, Ugg is featuring eight different styles of their boots for men, women, and children that are all inspired by Darth Vader.
Of course, if you're not a fan of Darth Vader black, Ugg says it will offer two other lines later this year, (in advance of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) based on two other characters. (I'm guessing we'll see a brown, furry pair of Uggs with bandolier accents as an option...)
What do you think of the merchandising attached to Star Wars? Is it too much already, or would you like to see more? What products do you think need to be Star Wars themed?
[Images via Ugg Australia/Footwear News]