Yours truly was a teenager when "Star Wars" hit screens in 1977 (They now call the first film of the franchise "A New Hope," but it will always be "Star Wars" to me).
Back then, merchandisers were caught off guard by the film's popularity — all I could buy was a button saying "May The Force Be With You" and a poster. Fans often had to make their own stuff to pay homage to the greatest sci-fi movie ever. Wish I held onto that special T-shirt I commissioned with "Star Wars" on the front and "Star Trek" on the back. Yep, I was that kid.
Nearly 40 years later, those same kids are waiting for the next installment of the "Star Wars" story. Along with their kids and maybe their grandkids.
Fortunately, the multibillion dollar "Star Wars" merchandising machine is ready. In fact, "Star Wars" toys, gadgets, and clothing will probably outsell actual movie tickets. Analyst estimates for merchandise sales range from $3 billion to $5 billion, while the movie itself may be the first $2 billion motion picture ever.
Why? IT'S "STAR WARS," and we are now going on three generations of rabid fans.
Here are the top, best, most outrageous "Star Wars" stuff big kids can buy.
Realistic Kylo Ren Helmet
That $50 "Star Wars" Halloween costume you bought? Throw it out. Real fans are willing to spend real money to look like the real thing. That's where Anovos steps in. The company is taking pre-orders for replicas of the helmet worn by new villain Kylo Ren.
However, patience you must have, young padawan. Deliveries won't happen until spring. Don't be patient in deciding to buy, however. Prices are $560 if you order before the end of November, but after that they jump to $699. You can also pre-order a First Order Stormtrooper helmet for $250, which will be delivered in January.
But if you can't wait, and you have a ton of cash, buy the full Darth Vader costume now. May the Force be with your wallet. The faux leather edition costs $2,750, but the high-end genuine leather outfit is priced at $5,780. Impressive.
The Galactic Empire Laptop
"Unleash your inner Sith," boasts the promo for an HP "Star Wars" laptop starting at $699. Notice it's not about unleashing your inner Jedi. Oh no, Darth Vader and the Dark Side have always been more powerful with fans. The black distressed laptop with red backlighting on the keyboard is loaded with special "Star Wars" screen savers, sound effects and 1,100 images from the franchise. It's powered by a sixth generation Intel Core processor, which — one hopes — makes the jump to lightspeed.
Darth Vader Toaster
Luke, Han and Leia have to toast the Darth Side. Lord Vader rules when it comes to sales. What better gift to give the "Star Wars" newlyweds you know — and we all know them! — than a toaster in the shape of Darth Vader's helmet. For $50, you even get the "Star Wars" logo branded into every slice. It is your destiny to own this.
You could buy Princess Leia's bikini costume from "The Return of the Jedi" at Target for $30, but only if you have lots and lots of confidence and an immensely positive body image. I do not. Instead, HerUniverse sells "Star Wars" themed every day apparel, like a $75 lightsaber skirt or a $50 Tarkin's patch sweater. I got the full "geekanista" makeover treatment from owner Ashley Eckstein at this year's Comic-Con.
Add some special "Star Wars" makeup from Cover Girl and the most amazing shoes in the history of the Empire from Aberrant.Flashing lightsaber heels for $345 a pair, or for a little less, buy heels supported by Yoda. Still, at $300, a lot of money that is, on shoes, to spend.
Lego for the 1% crowd
Sure, you've bought the Lego Millennium Falcon (I did), or the Lego Imperial Star Destroyer. You know they ain't cheap. But get ready to skip the groceries this December and put $400 to something more awesome: the Lego Death Star kit. The 16-inch tall orb includes multiple levels, moving parts, laser cannon and 24 minifigures, "plus all-new Dianoga trash compactor monster!" (Dianoga is already trademarked!)
Your own personal Droid
Wouldn't it be fun to have your own personal droid to follow you around and do whatever you told it? C-3PO is too much of a nag, and R2D2 may be off somewhere hiding out with Luke (theories abound). That leaves BB-8, the adorable little scamp featured in the new movie. Sphero has made a miniature version of the droid that's controlled with an app for $150. The 4-inch tall droid "shows a range of expressions" and its "unique personality is adaptive, changing as you play." Whatever that means. In addition to guiding BB-8, you can also send it on an autonomous patrol, or create holographs. "BB-8 is more than a toy — it's your companion." Because a lot of us who are nuts about "Star Wars" don't have many companions.
The Millennium Falcon drone
Now you can irritate your neighbors in style! The $199 Millennium Falcon drone from Hammacher Schlemmer can go as high as 250 feet and fly for 10 minutes on a 45-minute charge, "With a subspace hyperdrive." Hahahaha. Get it? They said "subspace hyperdrive" because we TOTALLY know what that is.
And my favorite...
There's no place you can hide from the Force. Not even in the shower. Let Lord Vader's Force Grip reach you there with a $33 Darth Vader shower head. I have the feeling no matter how hot you want the water, it'll always come out cold. Don't believe me? I find your lack of faith disturbing.