Get ready to open up those wallets, Star Wars fans as we're about to see a whole bunch of new merchandise coming our way for this year's Force Friday event. This has become an annual tradition for Lucasfilm during the Disney era and this year's event is being billed as Triple Force Friday. That's because we're getting merchandise for The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian and the new video game Jedi Fallen Order, and you can watch the livestream reveal right here.
The livestream kicks off at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. Star Wars favorite Warwick Davis is set to host the event with a ton of guests popping by to help reveal what's coming to stores next month. Daisy Ridley Rey, John Boyega Finn, Oscar Isaac Poe, Anthony Daniels C-3PO, Billy Dee Williams Lando Calrissian, Joonas Suotamo Chewbacca, Keri Russell Zorii, Naomi Ackie Jannah and Kelly Marie Tran Rose will be representing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. For The Mandalorian, Pedro Pascal The Mandalorian and Gina Carano Cara Dune will there and, last but not least, for Jedi Fallen Order, Cameron Monaghan Cal Kestis will be popping by.
Related: Rumored Rise of Skywalker Opening Scene Is Very Different from Previous Sequels
Undoubtedly, the main attraction will be Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Directed by J.J. Abrams, this is set to be not only the final chapter of the sequel trilogy, but the final installment of the Skywalker saga overall. This is a movie more than 40 years in the making and Lucasfilm is sure to pull out all the stops when it comes to new toys. The only thing we've really seen are leaks of some of the Funko Pop! figures set to hit shelves. Beyond that, we'll have to wait and see.
This will be an important moment for The Mandalorian, which is the first ever live-action Star Wars TV series. The show launches on Disney+ on November 12 and, so far, we've only had one trailer and several images to let fans know what is in store. Lucasfilm will surely want to get some of these characters represented in stores with action figures and other merch. In part, to help let people know this is on the way, but also to perhaps help see what the appetite is from the fanbase for the show ahead of its launch.
As for Jedi Fallen Order, this is the golden ticket for certain fans. If Disney's Star Wars has been lacking in any one area so far, it's in the video game department. Here, we're finally getting a single-player focused, campaign-driven game that will feature a canon story. This looks to make up for the lackluster response to the revamped Battlefront games, which missed the mark for many. Triple Force Friday takes place on October 4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to hit theaters on December 20. Both The Mandalorian and Jedi Fallen Order arrive in November, on November 12 and November 15, respectively. Be sure to check out the livestream from the Star Wars YouTube channel.
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...