WHAT: “Star Wars: Go Rogue,” a two-minute stop-motion film–created by fans through Tongal, but officially sanctioned by Disney–that reveals the wide variety of Star Wars toys that’ll be coming out this fall and winter.
WHO: The video features toys from Hasbro, Lego, Jakks Pacific, Mattel, Funko, and the Disney Store. It was directed by Dan MacKenzie and Tucker Barrie–both of whom worked on Charlie Kaufman’s Oscar-nominated Anomalisa, with a script by Kevin Ulrich of the stop-motion animation fan channel Brotherhood Workshop.
WHY WE CARE: Post-The Force Awakens, the rollout of a new collection of Star Wars merch is going to be a part of our lives for as long as Star Wars continues to make a bunch of money–so pretty much forever, most likely. Sometimes that’ll be random tie-ins, but the release of the new set of toys for the latest film is a big deal for kids and collectors alike. Finding a creative way to unveil what those toys look like, meanwhile, is a chance to do more than just slap a bunch of pictures on a website’s “buy” page–and that makes the “Go Rogue” short a cool use of the material. Tapping people who are giant Star Wars fans to create an officially sanctioned film that looks like the sort of thing they do on their own for fun just makes sense, and letting them show off the toys–from the Legos to the Funko Pop! line to the realistically sculpted Hasbro action figures and more–is a way to get people who don’t normally follow toy news to pay attention. The fact that the video stars Jyn Erso, the character that Felicity Jones plays in the film (and also, you know, the movie’s main character), is a subtle thing, but a big deal, too. Last year’s release of The Force Awakens toys was marred by the fact that Rey, the film’s protagonist, was frequently left out of toy sets and advertising (#WhereIsRey spent some time trending on Twitter), so the fact that the most prominent character we see here, besides a zillion Stormtroopers of various sizes, is the female lead suggests that, at the very least, the people responsible for the short were paying attention.