In the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, we see Daisy Ridley as Rey, followed by a card that reads “Every generation has a legend.” That phrase is a callback to the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, in which the same phrase was shown alongside Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker. That film, released on May 19, 1999, was a central focus of last month’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago — a 20th anniversary not just for Celebration, but for The Phantom Menace itself.
But before the movie, something else happened. On May 3, 1999, Star Wars fans gathered at retailers around the country for what was arguably the best Star Wars product launch of all-time — the first-ever Midnight Madness.
As I noted in an installment of Transmissions last year, I not only attended Midnight Madness, I worked it, witnessing a re-energized fandom that hadn’t seen a new Star Wars film in theaters since Return of the Jedi hit theaters in 1983. It was an event that’s never been topped, though it continues to inspire with the forthcoming Triple Force Friday looming like the Death Star on the horizon with new toys from The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the way. It seems like so long ago, … a simpler era before smartphones and social media, when the prequel trilogy was just beginning, creating a lineage that will conclude with the end of the sequel trilogy this December.
Hasbro Pulse to Offer The Black Series Phantom Menace Exclusives
If you didn’t make it to Star Wars Celebration, or you did and just didn’t win the lottery for a shot at purchasing them, Hasbro Pulse is making the exclusive Star Wars The Black Series Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi available for Star Wars Day. The 6-inch figures feature Hasbro’s photoreal face technology and are packaged on a 6-inch-scale replica of the 1999 card backs from The Phantom Menace toy line. A limited quantity will hit Hasbro Pulse at 1 p.m. ET on May 4, so get ready to crash the site.
The Star Wars Show Celebrates Star Wars Day Early
In this week’s episode, Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni sit down with comic writer Charles Soule and throw down some details on the opening reservations for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — which you’ve already missed if you’re reading this now. Fans were met with mixed experiences using the registration system, according to the Twitterverse.
Razer Brings The Dark Side to Your Desktop
Functional. Reliable. Imperial. That’s what Razer says about its new collection of Stormtrooper-themed computer peripherals and accessories. Remember when HP released those Dark Side computers a few years back? These would be the cherry on top of that rig. For those of us with non-Star Wars-branded computers, Razer can add the Imperial flair with keyboards, mice, and keyboard mats.
- There was a disturbance in the Force this week as news hit that actor Peter Mayhew, the originator of Chewbacca, has died.
- Star Wars Day is tomorrow, and the Pop Insider has a hand-picked list of some of the best deals on must-have Star Wars merch!
- Speaking of Star Wars Day, Target will unleash a limited-edition red chrome Darth Vader Funko Pop! in honor of the holiday.
- It may seem sad in light of Mayhew’s passing, but Hallmark is offering a Keepsake Ornament based on the Medal of Yavin. Famously, Princess Leia did not bestow a medal upon Chewbacca at the end of 1977’s Star Wars. Instead, Chewbacca simply let out a roar, inspiring Peter’s longtime social handle, The Wookiee Roars.
- There’s more news to come, but we can’t tell you until May 4! That’s right, thanks to the all-powerful embargo, there’s some Star Wars stuff happening that we can’t tell you about yet, so be sure to keep those browsers pointed toward the Pop Insider!
Photos: Razer, James Zahn, Lucasfilm (top)