Star Wars has arguably been the heart of Disney+ since the platform launched in November 2019. The Mandalorian's first episode was available to subscribers on Day 1, shepherding in millions of viewers as Mando met who was then referred to as "Baby Yoda." Nearly three years later, the series remains among the most popular in the service's content library.
It comes as no surprise that The Mandalorian has been such a smash hit. Audiences worldwide are invested in Din Djarin and Grogu's journey, and there's a little something in the series for everyone. Diehard Star Wars fans have been treated with the major appearances of Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, and Ahsoka Tano, the latter of whom have since received their own spin-off series. Little Grogu has stolen the show, and he's unsurprisingly been a cash cow for Disney and Lucasfilm.
The two companies are built on the shoulders of strong merchandising, with loyal fans always turning out to collect the latest offerings. In the coming months, some serious changes will be taking place with Disney+, as the streamer looks to unveil different subscription tiers to align with product output. A new report reveals that merchandise will be a heavy player in this effort - with Star Wars, and specifically The Mandalorian, naturally being at the forefront.
Star Wars Toys & Merch Tied to Disney+
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Disney plans to introduce a membership program for Disney+ subscribers. Though in its early stages of development, word is that the program will offer exclusive perks and merchandise opportunities for consumers.
Among the kinds of merchandise to be offered are t-shirts, themed accessories, and kid's costumes that tie in to the platform's shows. Disney+ will be QR-code enabled to send subscribers to the shopDisney website, where special access to products will be available.
For Star Wars fans, WSJ pointed to the Darksaber from The Mandalorian as a specific toy exclusive to members:
One example that executives have discussed as a possible merchandise tie-in is offering an exclusive toy version of a “darksaber”—a weapon from the Star Wars-themed series “The Mandalorian”—for sale only to Disney+ subscribers, a person familiar with the plans said.
The ultimate goal driving the initiative is data collection. Disney is looking to further understand consumer trends and behaviors, with the program tracking the shows watched, trips taken, and merchandise purchased. Results will allow the company to recommend programming most related to the members' interests on Disney+. The retail option could reach the streaming platform by the end of the year.
What Products Can Star Wars Fans Expect?
The Darksaber is just going to scratch the surface of what will be available for purchase. While it wasn't specified, the best bet is that the version of the Darksaber in question is the legacy lightsaber currently on sale at Disney Parks. Though currently exclusive to Galaxy's Edge, other lightsabers in the line have been available on shopDisney, so it stands to reason that program members could gain access to more unique offerings.
Lightsabers will undoubtedly be the biggest draw for Star Wars fans looking to join the program. With so many new Disney+ shows set to feature lightsaber-wielding characters, a few may be made exclusive to just members and kept out of the perks. Ezra Bridger, set to make his live-action debut in Ahsoka next year, is a strong option, as well as the Inquisitors' lightsabers from Obi-Wan Kenobi and any new weapons introduced in The Acolyte.
On the lower end of the price tags, t-shirts will be a big draw. Disney and Lucasfilm have made a habit of releasing shirts with the logos for each new Star Wars movie and show, an offering that can continue for subscribers in the coming years. Shirts with unique designs for key characters are also a given, as well as hoodies for Hoth-based fans.
This is Star Wars, so there will be numerous options available for the younglings, as well. Costumes of Ahsoka Tano, The Mandalorian, and Obi-Wan Kenobi are lay-ups that should be good for fun beyond Halloween. Additions to Disney's line of mini-figure playsets should also be expected, along with interactive toys along the lines of the animatronic Grogu.
More details should come in the following weeks when Disney meets with fans at the D23 Expo convention from September 9 - 11.