In Depth

Star Wars toys 2015: These ARE the toys you are looking for

The eight best video games, blasters, models and lightsabers released ahead of Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens, the first episode of the eagerly anticipated trilogy of Star Wars films, is preparing for its UK release on December 18, and Star Wars fans, young and old, are getting ready to welcome a new group of characters into their lives. But this isn't just about ticket sales and movie theatres, it's about toys.

Star Wars toys have sold well every year since the first film hit movie theatres back in 1977. George Lucas spotted the commercial potential of the franchise when he agreed to a lesser salary in return for the rights to the film's merchandise.  This was one of the many lucrative decisions Lucas made. According to celebritynetworth.com, Star Wars-themed toys have now generated more than $12 billion.

"The Star Wars franchise has broad appeal across ages and genders," says Laurie Schacht, publisher of Toy Insider. "Nostalgic parents who grew up with the original trilogy are going to buy Star Wars toys for their kids and start a whole new generation of fans."

The Force Awakens opens in UK cinemas only a few days before Christmas and it's no surprise the film is set to get the full Disney merchandising treatment.

As Yoda said: "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Here are some of the best Star Wars toys and games available in the aftermath of the new film's release:

Sphero's BB-8 Droid

Perhaps the most original Star Wars toy out there is the Sphero BB-8. The BB-8 droid is set to become the new film's most marketable new character and Sphero's new remote control robot based on the lovable droid allows you to take a little piece of the film home with you.

The remote control ball has the ability to balance itself and can be navigated directly from a user's Android or iOS device. Controlling the BB-8 means moving a circular blue indicator light towards the direction you're facing in order to ensure BB-8 correctly follows your commands.

Setting the droid to 'patrol' will allow the BB-8 to autonomously explore your home thereby terrorising your pets and endlessly amusing your guests. You can also send your friends augmented reality messages a la R2D2 in Star Wars Episode IV: The New Hope.

The critics are impressed. Mobile Syrup calls it the most impressive and best Star Wars licensed toy of all time, so there you go.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"85901","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

This year's must-have toy for all Star Wars obsessed children (and some adults) will undoubtedly be the Millennium Falcon. Described as Hasbro's "most innovative and action-packed Star Wars vehicle" yet – the new Battle Action Millennium Falcon boasts a pop-up blaster, a turbolaser turret and light-up LED cannons. The play set comes with Chewbacca, Finn and BB-8 figurines but your other favourite Star Wars characters will, of course, have to be bought separately. The toy requires two AA batteries, but the hardest thing might be acquiring one in the first place. Toy Insider claims it will be the "hard-to-find toy of the season".

Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber

The perfect accompaniment to every prospective Jedi in training, the Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber not only lets young Skywalkers act out the film's fight scenes, but also gives them the opportunity to create new combinations through the Bladebuilders kit. Team this up with the Kylo Ren Bladebuilders Lightsaber (a re-creation, sold separately, of the villain from the new film's weapon of choice) and the possibility for 'hero vs villain' duels becomes quickly apparent. With 100+ combinations available, the definitive Lightsaber comes with two independently-lit 'lightdaggers' and four separate connectors. Most important of all, three AAA batteries are also included.

Disney Infinity 3.0 – Star Wars Starter Pack

Where there's a film, there's a video game and this year Disney's  'toys to life' series continues with the Disney Infinity 3.0. The concept behind Disney Infinity allows toys to be connected to games consoles to enable fans to play out scenes from their favourite films and mini-games on their console or PC.

The Star Wars Starter Pack includes the game disc, a USB Disney Infinity base peripheral to read figurines into the game, the Twilight of the Republic play set, as well as two toy characters, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker, to get you started. This offers users the chance to play an adventure set between Episodes II and III. Those who wish to play out scenes from the new film, Episode VII, will have to wait for The Force Awakens play set that's due out in December. Available on: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Star Wars Battlefront

For those looking for a more straightforward video game that gives the full Star Wars experience, the release of Star Wars Battlefront will be keenly anticipated.

Players cross planets from the Star Wars universe, such as Endor, Hoth, Tatooine and Sullust, the new planet from The Force Awakens film. To navigate the world, players use a variety of vehicles, both air and land-based. The battles remain planet-based, restricting players from exploring space completely. The video game's weapons, characters, gear and abilities are customisable and the game lets players choose to control either a Rebel Alliance soldier or an Imperial Stormtrooper. Star Wars Battlefront also features playable characters from the films, such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett, as well as non-playable characters, such as R2-D2 and C-3PO.

The makers have promised extra downloadable content featuring playable scenes from the new film. Available on: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows.

Chewbacca Electronic Mask

For those wishing for something a little less serious – but no less scary – the Chewbacca Electronic Mask will tick all the boxes. The electronic mask will transform every little – and big – monster into everyone's favourite Wookiee. The mask works by tracking the wearer's mouth and activating the growls of Han Solo's companion in line with how wide and how scary they are feeling.

Star Wars Loopin' Chewie Game

Continuing the Wookie theme, the Star Wars Loopin' Chewie Game is another excellent example of this year's Star Wars-ification. A replica of the popular 90s board game 'Loopin Louie' (see what they did there?), 'Loopin Chewie' finds a wayward pilot replaced by the famed Wookie as a motorised Chewbacca. This must be flipped out of the way of the player's Stormtroopers and into the path of any opponents. Definite family thrills for Star Wars fans of all ages.

Star Wars Nerf Blasters

For those who find some toys are just too sedentary, this year's Star Wars themed Nerf Blasters are perfect to bring the fight to restore order to the galaxy into your home and garden. Would-be Stormtroopers can get their own Clip-fed blasting with 12-dart clip, while those on the Alliance side can get a Chewbacca blaster with real crossbow action.  The Nerf Blasters can fire darts up to 65 feet, meaning no unsuspecting parent is safe.

Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Furbacca

It wouldn't be a list of toys without a Furby featuring in it somewhere. First created in 1999, the Furby is an electronic robotic toy that reacts to motion and touch. Back then it was so successful that it was banned from National Security Agency buildings for fear it could spy on its users. This year Hasbro is releasing a Furby with a twist. Furbacca is a fully integrated toy and app that makes wookie sounds like Chewbacca, hums Star Wars theme songs and plays virtual activities. Unfortunately the 4 AA batteries required are not included and there's also no word yet on how many Edward Snowden may have pre-ordered.

Star Wars Hero Mashers Deluxe Figure

For fans who always wondered what Luke Skywalker's head would look like on Jabba The Hut's body, the Star Wars Hero Mashers Deluxe figures are the perfect gift. The six-inch figures all come with extra accessories and detachable body parts which means you can reconnect them wherever to whoever you'd like. The Hero Mashers collection also features Marvel characters, meaning a Spiderman/Han Solo mash-up figure is perfectly possible.

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