There may still be a few hours left of Force Friday, but we’ve already been to Toys-R-Us, two Walmart stores and Target in a quest for the newest Star Wars: The Last Jedi toys.
Although there were a lot of product leaks at retail over the past couple of weeks, with a mixed outcome for those trying to buy, we didn’t see much locally until the past couple of days when we spotted a Lego Rey figure and Hot Wheels Finn character car at Target and a polybag First Order Heavy Asssault Walker Lego set at Walmart. Still, between the leaks and the excellent Yak Face checklist, what would be released last night was quite well documented.
We started with the midnight opening of the Horseheads, NY Toys-R-Us store. There were about 10 people already in line when we arrived at about 11:30 and probably 20 people when the doors opened. It was a cold night in Upstate NY and if that wasn’t an indication of how the event would go, having the store turn off the outside lights about 20 minutes before midnight probably should have been the giveaway.
Toys-R-Us handed out a free poster, t-shirt and, at our store, a Lego Stormtrooper minifigure. Not sure if every store had the Lego figure or if everyone received a Stormtrooper but the people directly in front of us were handed figures that were white so we’re assuming most were Stormtroopers. The store had new toys in the main Star Wars and action figure aisle but they also had a display at the front by the doors which was mostly populated with Hasbro product but there were items from other companies as well.
Word got out late in the day yesterday that Toys-R-Us stores might be receiving wave 2 of the 6″ Black Series figures and that turned out to be the only new 6″ figures Toys-R-Us had. And only one case at that. That included new figures of Kylo Ren, Finn in disguise, Poe Dameron, General Leia, and the Elite Praetorian Guard from The Last Jedi along with Maz Kanata from The Force Awakens. There were also carry-forward figures of the AT-AT Driver and Snowtrooper. They also had the new Black Series Centerpiece sets. We’re not sure if they had the deluxe Rey and Luke speeder sets but may have missed them.
All of the new vehicles seemed to be on the shelf, including the new A-Wing, Kylo’s TIE Silencer, and Ski Speeder with Poe Dameron. New 2-packs, the Force Link Starter Set, NERF, Hero Series 12″ figures, deluxe figure sets (Rathtar & Bala-Tik, Probe Droid & Vader), and the BB-8 Mega Playset.
Wave 1 of both series of action figures were in the store but it didn’t look like more than one case of each made it to the floor. The Orange wave, as it’s designated, which includes Luke, Rey and Kylo among others, was stocked at the front of the store but only one each of Rey, Finn, Kylo, and a Stormtrooper were on the pegs. We didn’t see anyone else stop at the front ahead of us so it’s uncertain where the second set of those characters, along with Luke and Poe, were. The main action figure aisle had the Teal wave, which was Chewbacca, C-3PO, Rose, Paige, and Hux. There only seemed to be one case of those as well, but they were all accounted for when we first arrived.
All of the new Lego sets were on the shelf and didn’t seem to be marked up over MSRP. We especially like the new 75187 BB-8 set which clocks in around $95-99. Toys-R-Us was running a promo on Lego that if you bought $30 worth of sets you could pick up a polybag of R3-M2. After striking out on the main figure we were looking for, Black Series 6″ Hera, the R3-M2 figure turned out to be the only thing we bought, buying him for $5.99 vs spending $30 to get him free.
It was quite disappointing to find Toys-R-Us lacking in inventory and selection, when it came to Black Series and 4″ figures. It seems to be the third year in a row that they had and underwhelming turnout although they did go the extra distance of putting a featured section at the front of the store, something that Rogue One didn’t get.
Last year for Rogue One the Horseheads store didn’t have anything out at midnight but this year the stepped up. We stopped in after Toys-R-Us and found many of the people we’d just seen already there. The Black Series wave 1 was in stock, although mostly picked through when we arrived, and we snagged Hera before she sold out. We didn’t see Thrawn on the display and assume one of the other shoppers beat us to him.
The cardboard floor displays also included the Force Link Starter Set, NERF, and lightsabers. There was one whole display of Hot Wheels vehicles which included some re-packs but mostly the new TIE Silencer, Resistance Bomber and Ski Speeder. We may have missed them at Toys-R-Us, if they had them, but Walmart had the Black Series Luke and Rey deluxe speeder sets along with the Centerpiece Vader and Luke sets.
The Funko Pops! had their own aisle display and it didn’t look like many, or any, were missing when we arrived. Walmart also gave us a first look at the new littleBits R2-D2 droid kit. While we were shopping, employees brought out a Lego display that had the new Advent Calendar but the other sets in the display were ones released last month.
There were no 4″ figures in the store and we didn’t see any new Lego sets either. We were happy with finding Hera and left after checking out.
The final stop last night was the local Walmart in Ithaca. They probably weren’t done putting everything out, at about 1:30, but we did spot the littleBits R2-D2 again, along with a display of the Lego Advent Calendar, and Rey, Sabine, and Jyn Forces of Destiny figures.
On the 4″ figure side of things, there was one case of the Teal wave and they were all accounted for when we were there. The Ithaca store also had the 2-packs but there were no vehicles, Black Series 6″ or their exclusive 4″ Black Series figures.
Most if not all of the new Lego sets were also out in the main aisle.
Of the four stores we stopped in, Target appears to have done the most to embrace the launch of new toys. While Walmart did have a couple photo op standees in the toy section, Target had a Rey window cling in the front door, a large cardboard standee near the registers featuring the Praetorian Guard, and another standee in the back aisle pointing people to the seasonal section where Star Wars had taken over two sides of an ailse along with some back wall shelves and a couple end caps.
There were still some bare pegs and shelf spaces this morning, but there was also a decent selection of toys in all scales. On the Black Series front there were several 6″ figures from wave 1, although we didn’t find Luke, Hera, or Thrawn. They had the Luke and Rey deluxe speeder sets and the Poe Dameron helmet along with our first sighting of the 4″ Titanium Figures. They had both waves of the 4″ figures and all or most of the vehicles, 2-packs and deluxe packs. Plenty of role play items were on the shelves along with plush, Jakks pacific Big Figs, and Hot Wheels vehicles and character cars.
Although not fully stocked, they also had a what’s shaping up to be a nice selection of clothing items. Target was also our first look at the new Phasma and Leia books which were in the seasonal aisle along with some of the bigger Lego sets and even an end cap of food items.
Target was also our first look at the new Sphero BB-9E and the Propel Star Wars drones. They didn’t have the new Sphero R2-D2 but BB-8 was on display again with the new droid.
Forces of Destiny was featured along with Funko Pop! figures, new plush and Star Wars themed bedding and kitchenware.
Target is currently running a promotion where you receive a $10 gift card with a $50 purchase or a $25 card with $100 purchase. Because of that, we passed on the A-Wing at Toys-R-Us but picked it up at Target this morning. We added on 4″ Luke and Rey figures and a Hot Wheels Resistance Bomber to make it $50.
If you weren’t able to make it out to stores last night, or you don’t have any of the larger retail stores near you, don’t worry, everything is online. From Entertainment Earth and BigBadToyStore to Target and Walmart, you can pick up everything that was on shelves last night and more, including store exclusives.
Even though, as a shopping event, Toys-R-Us was kind of a bust, after visiting all four stores we spotted most, if not all, of The Last Jedi toy merchandise that was expected to be available for this launch.
The free items from Toys-R-Us are nice but the $10 and $25 gift cards with purchase from Target is probably the best deal if you’re going to be spending that much on non-Lego merchandise. If you’re interested in Lego, VIP members can take advantage of double VIP points this weekend along with a free Scarif Trooper minifigure and posters when spending amounts are reached.
Events like Force Friday can still be fun but it’s getting to the point now that if retail isn’t going to meet the demand of the customer during these midnight openings, we’d rather go back to just having a dump of new merchandise at retail as it comes in rather than wait for a street date.