It's been 32 long years since we last saw our heroes on the big screen in Return of the Jedi. But on Dec. 18, one of the most famous franchises -- if not THE most famous franchise -- in movie history is returning to theaters in the much-anticipated next chapter of their story with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Over the next 20 weeks, we will celebrate the franchise by looking back and ranking the best, the worst, the weirdest and the most amusing moments in Star Wars history.
The merchandising roll out is just ramping up for The Force Awakens, but Lucasfilm has been cranking out Star Wars gear for decades. As you can imagine, some of it can get a little weird.
Dating back to the action figures and lunch boxes that accompanied the original trilogy, Lucasfilm has built its empire on cashing in on the intellectual property created by Darth Vader and the gang. Though the toy spaceships and coloring books at least make sense, things have gotten very strange over the years when it comes to Star Wars merchandise.
So, while we wait for The Force Awakens to arrive this December, here’s a walk down the weird side of memory lane:
One of the most famously weird Star Wars products in existence, this surprisingly comfy sleeping bag is a play on the famed scene from The Empire Strikes Back in which Han splits open a Tauntaun and proceeds shove Luke's hypotermic body into it to stay warm. If you're thinking, "What kid wouldn't want to pretend to sleep in the stinky carcass of a space lizard?", the answer is none. Get all the cozy fun without the entrails.
These are insanely rare and require the tracking skills of a bounty hunter to find on eBay. Though an officially licensed guitar sporting Boba Fett’s face may sound a bit odd, it’s still extremely cool. Boba Fett may not have been a musician ( that we know of), but he definitely embodies the cool mystique of an actual rock star.
The product is the result of a 2001 collaboration between Fernandes Guitars International and Lucasfilm, and there are allegedly just a few hundred of these guitars in existence. If you actually happen to track one down, don’t destroy it at the end of an epic concert. Set it aside, grab a cheap guitar, then thrash away.
Simple, geeky and effective. If you’re eating food that requires chopsticks why not do it with some Star Wars flair? Modeled after tiny lightsabers, they should provide an effective replacement for boring ol’ chopsticks.
These are admittedly a bit hard to track down these days, but it’s hard to argue against this being one of the weirdest cross-marketing moves ever conceived. Basically, they plastered a Star Wars poster on the side of an airplane barf bag in an effort to promote the video game adaptation of the film. I know I always check out the side of that thing I just puked into for vide game recommendations, don't you?
If you’re looking for the perfect options to fill the table for that Star Wars dinner party, this should do the trick. First published in 1998, this cook book tie-in includes recipes for Wookie cookies, Boba Fett-Uccine and Princess Leia Danish Dos...which, you know, are essentially just regular food with Star Wars-y names plastered on them. Though, I must note, the cookbook does include some quirky Star Wars-inspired cooking tips, etc., which are a nice addition. Sadly, it lacks the recipe for the bowl of blue goo Aunt Beru made in A New Hope.
I'm obviously not one to judge, and if folks want to dress up their doggies for Halloween that’s awesome (and adorable). But, the fact that an officially licensed doggie Princes Leia costume actually exists is mind-boggling. Adorable, sure, but mind-boggling.
Because, sure, nothing screams “Jedi warrior” like a hairy-chested guy dripping with Axe body gel fresh out of the shower. If you’re looking to lounge around your living room in the gear that Ben Kenobi made famous, you can apparently do that now. Ladies obviously love that homeless-Jedi-shuffling-around-the-mountains-in-a-bathrobe look. Come to think of it, did Ben even have a bath or shower in that cave he lived in?
How and why anyone would ever think this is a good idea is beyond me. Seriously, how did this make it all the way through design and production with no one thinking it’s a bit strange to pull tape out of C3PO’s crotch? But, if you’re looking for the geekiest and most awkward desk ever, this is the product you need.
This is obviously meant to be silly, but it doesn’t make it any less impractical. The fact that Lucasfilm would actually license for a device that is essentially cosplay meets an automotive accessory shows just how insane this has really become. We're far beyond the tipping point, people.
This is another one of those products that came out of the original trilogy era, when Lucasfilm was willing to plaster the Star Wars logo on just about anything if they thought it’d make a quick buck. The idea of combining the wise Yoda with a Magic Eight Ball obviously fits narrative-wise, but flipping Yoda upside down to look at his butt for the answer to a question? That’s just weird.
That's our list! What do you think of our choices? What are some of your favorite, most random Star Wars merchandise? Let us know in the comments!
Previously in 20 Weeks of Star Wars..