September 1st has already been pegged as the day that toys from Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be hitting store shelves, but today Disney is announcing that launch will also include an augmented reality component that will allow fans to unlock and collect different characters from the franchise. It’s all part of Force Friday II, the elaborate, weekend-long promotional event that will start with special store openings at 12:01AM on Friday the 1st, and run through Sunday, September 3rd.
The AR component, called Find the Force, will be tied to physical displays in various stores selling the new toys. (Disney says some 20,000 different retail locations will be taking part in the promotion across 30 different countries.) Depending on the size of the retailer, they will have up to five different displays, each featuring characters like Rey or the new Executioner Stormtroopers. Using the Star Wars mobile app, fans can scan the displays, which will then trigger a “life size” digital version of a character. They can then take photos with the characters — and if they’re using an iOS device, they can record video of the digital avatar as well.
The displays will each invoke a new character for every day of the event, resulting in a total of 15 different unlockable characters. In the demos shown to The Verge, the app included Admiral Ackbar, the Execution Stormtrooper, Chewbacca, and a member of Supreme Leader Snoke’s Praetorian Guard. On September 1st, the initiative will also be used to unveil an entirely new character that hasn’t otherwise been revealed.
Fans that trigger multiple characters will also gather what the app is terming “data chips”; essentially digital tokens that will unlock other promotional items like video clips and character emoji. While the full suite of characters won’t be available until the Force Friday weekend, the update for the Star Wars mobile app is already live. Those eager to give it a try can scan the image of Rey above to bring up a trio of Porgs, the furry, penguin-like creatures that inhabit the planet Ahch-To in The Last Jedi.
While linking it to characters reveals and the Force Friday retail push may be new, the Star Wars app itself has a history of these kind of digital characters. When the app launched in 2015, it was able to summon an AR Stormtrooper, and that’s only been expanded upon, with characters like BB-8 and K-2SO since added to its repertoire. And while the emphasis for these new Last Jedi characters may be on the Force Friday weekend promotion, fans that don’t feel like trudging across multiple toy stores on a crowded weekend won’t be left out. The store displays will be active through the end of the year, with the different characters continuing to cycle through on a daily basis.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled for release on December 15th, 2017.