The new wave of Star Wars films that launched in 2015 with The Force Awakens has become such a juggernaut that even the launch of merchandising is an event in its own right. The new product line for this year's film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi launches on 1 September, and for the first time, Disney has partnered with UK retailer John Lewis for an AR experience designed to engage fans.
The 'Force Friday II' event will be supported by the Find the Force AR experience, enabling consumers to access a global treasure hunt and unite with fans around the world in the battle against the dark side. The AR experience will be accessible at over 20,000 retail locations across 30 countries, with John Lewis partnering with Disney to bring the event to its stores in the UK.
"This is the first time John Lewis has collaborated with Disney to bring Star Wars Force Friday to our customers," said Sara Gamble, the Star Wars buyer for John Lewis. "We're looking forward to delivering a truly unique experience for Star Wars fans with exceptional products from tech to toys, and some recognisable features from the world-renowned movies."
Find the Force will be accessible via the Star Wars app, and when users scan graphics at John Lewis and other retailers, they can reveal characters, take photos, record bideo and share the experience on social media. 15 characters will be accessible over the course of the three-day event, with users getting an early look at the new Porg characters.
"Force Friday II is a major milestone in the countdown to Star Wars: The Last Jedi," said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. "Star Wars has always championed new technology, and we are excited that augmented reality will allow fans to experience the univese in a whole new way."
John Lewis will be adding to the Force Friday II event by opening its flagship Oxford Street shop at midnight. The department store will be transformed using iconic Star Wars replicas, enabling visitors to enjoy a complimentary drink at the Mos Eisley Cantina and explore other items and locations throughout the store. Further Star Wars events are planned at Oxford Street throughout September and October, including being able to code and build your own droid.