Aside from being a cultural phenomenon, Star Wars is first of all a franchise generating millions and millions of dollars revenue every year. The sci-fi saga makes money not only from its 7 movies (2 more are scheduled for 2017 and 2019), but also from merchandise and various media products. Here are some of the most successful items that carry the Star Wars logo or have been inspired by the space opera:
1. Animated series
One of the first Star Wars animated series was Star Wars: Droids, which aired between 1985 and 1986 on ABC. Current animated projects include Star Wars Rebels, which has been running since 2014 on Disney XD. The action in Star Wars Rebels is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and it follows a group of rebels who are fighting the Galactic Empire.
2. Television films
There are three made-for-TV films about Star Wars: Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984), and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985). No other television films have been launched recently, probably given the higher success of video games and other media products.
3. Comic books
The first comic book company to publish Star Wars comic book series was Marvel; rights belonged to Dark Horse between 1991 and 2014, and starting with January 2014, it’s Marvel again that has the rights to publish Star Wars comic books. An interesting fact is that George Lucas adopted elements from comic books and used them in Star Wars films. For instance, the Aayla Secura character, created by Dark Horse for the Star Wars series, was included in Attack of the Clones.
4. Video games
It all started in 1982, when the game Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was published for the Atari 2600. Dozens of video games have been launched ever since. The license for Star Wars video games is currently owned by EA games.
There are more than 350 published Star Wars books by over 75 different authors, and it’s rather uncommon to see a film franchise inspire writers to create books about it. The Star Wars universe has fascinated dozens of authors who have made their contribution to the original trilogy. So, if you are dreaming of alternate plots or new characters, you can try reading titles like Kenobi by John Jackson Miller, or Dawn of the Jedi, by Tim Lebbon.
Star Wars toys include light sabres, stormtroopers, holodisplays, stuffed toys, miniature starships, puppets, and the list could continue for pages. The imagination of toy creators is endless and there are few children who don’t have a Star Wars toy in their collection. There are many manufacturers targeting Star Wars fans, but the most successful seems to be Hasbro, which has sold 15 collections between 1995 and 2011, with a total of 5,537,000,000 items.
Those who want to feel as if they were living in the galaxy far, far away, can try Star Wars cosplay costumes, such as imperial officer uniforms, Luke Skywalker costumes, or Darth Vader cosplay costumes. These products are popular choices for Halloween or costume parties.
• Gadgets and electronics
For Star Wars fan, every gadget inspired by their favourite series is cooler than a regular one. Manufacturers provide lights, wall chargers, headphones, speakers, portable chargers, selfie sticks, portable power banks, USB hubs, and battery backups among others. People need many of these products anyway, so why not choose something that reminds them of Star Wars?
You don’t necessarily have to wait for Halloween or a costume party to express your love for Star Wars; you can choose various items and accessories, from purses and jackets to watches and ties. The most unusual items are probably the Chewbacca furry bag and the BB-8 sphero slippers.
• Pet clothing and accessories
The Star Wars pet clothing range has been extremely successful not only because people love the series so much, but also because their pets look very funny in these costumes. Many pet owners upload videos of their four-legged friends wearing Star Wars clothing on the Internet.
• Tools and survival
Whether you’re camping or organizing a barbecue party, as a Star Wars fan you may want to feel the force is with you and use items like tape measures, aprons, lights, and multi-tool kits.
There are simply some items that can’t be included in any category, like kites, car decals, lawn ornaments, or sunshades. You may not visit a fictional Star Wars planet, but at least you can bring the spirit of the space saga to your home or with you, everywhere you go.
Chances are you’ll bump into a Star Wars production or item every day, from seeing on TV an ad for Star Wars toys to meeting someone in the bus wearing a Star Wars T-shirt. The success of these products shows how popular the Star Wars universe is and how it continues to be a source of inspiration and revenue.