There’s been a disturbance in the force of Star Wars imports. New research from Panjiva shows that U.S. seaborne imports of all Star Wars-related merchandise have dropped 22% in the 12-month span from April 2016 to 2017. That included a 12% slide in costume imports, despite the fact that Halloween and Comic-Con featured their usual number of Slave Leias and wookiees, a dramatic 69% slump in video games, and a 13% drop in figures and models, perhaps because kids these days just don’t want to reenact Kylo Ren’s patricide like they used to.
Panjiva suggests that imports’ turn to the Dark Side wasn’t due to Darth Vader, but Rogue One. There simply weren’t as many merchandise tie-ins for the one-off story. (58 items vs. 120 for The Force Awakens). There is (new) hope, though: Lego tie-ins climbed 270% over the last year, so people are still interested. Plus, merch imports are expected to rise faster than the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run when Luke Skywalker returns to the franchise in The Last Jedi.