It seems like only yesterday that Star Wars: The Force Awakens transported us all back to our childhoods. The fever has yet to die down, and now we have The Last Jedi, as well as next year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story to look forward to.
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And what do we always see accompany such big-budget movies? A truck-load of tie-in toys, of course. After all, the movie merchandise market barely existed before the original Star Wars trilogy.
But with so much choice available, how do you know which merch is worth your cash? Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve played with and tested a bucket-load of Star Wars goodies, so you can buy with confidence.
May the Force be with you.
Related: Best and worst Star Wars games
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Imagine Darth Vader actually seeming to be projected in your living room. You have a lightsaber in your hand, and the blade is also projected as you swing the hilt at his ugly flowerpot head. Welcome to Jedi Challenges.
The kit includes the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, a Bluetooth-connected lightsaber hilt, and a positioning beacon. Download the app onto your phone, insert it into the headset and you can start your augmented-reality training against droids, Stormtroopers, and Sith lords.
But this isn’t just about lightsaber battles. The game is split into three parts, with the other two being the Holochess played by R2-D2 and Chewie, and a real-time strategy game where you command your troops in battles against AT-ATs, hover tanks and all sorts.
It’s amazing fun.
At the time of review Jedi Challenges was available for £199/$199.
LEGO Star Wars: Luke's Landspeeder
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If you’re old enough to have started your Star Wars viewing from Episode IV, among the most iconic scenes of your childhood is surely when ol’ Ben Kenobi comes to Luke’s rescue, showing those Tusken raiders that crazy old hermits aren’t to be trifled with.
This LEGO set (no.75173) may not offer the greatest value in the number of pieces (149) or time to build, but if it’s nostalgic value you’re after, this is right up there.
The Landspeeder itself is a decent representation of the movie original, and is even raised on some clear pieces to give the impression of hovering. It’s a much better colour than the previous LEGO version (8092), although still doesn’t have a domed enough windshield.
The minifigures included are Luke (obviously), old Obi-Wan, C-3P0, and a Tusken raider. There’s even a tiny womp rat thrown in. It’s a shame there’s no R2-D2, but that’s probably just being greedy.
At the time of review LEGO Star Wars: Luke’s Landspeeder was available for £19.99/$19.99.
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Sphero’s BB-8 and BB-9E app-controlled droids are adorable and incredibly clever, but this interactive Artoo is on another level.
Thanks to built-in speakers and a range of true-to-the-original’s movements, it has bags of character. Preset actions recreate moments from the movies, or you can just drive him around your home, separately swivelling his head as he goes.
Set R2-D2 down in front of some of the Star Wars movies and he’ll even react to certain things on screen.
Add to all that the fact that this is just a really well-detailed model and it starts to look decent value.
At the time of review the Sphero R2-D2 was available for £179.99/$179.99.
Star Wars The Black Series Kylo Ren Force FX Deluxe Lightsaber
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As soon as its flamey red bars were seen in the first Force Awakens trailer, the crossguard lightsaber used by baddie Kylo Ren got the interwebs talking.
This replica is one of the finest lightsaber recreations around, with a heavy hilt, vivid red glow and authentic sounds that alter depending on your swing.
Due to the high-price, however, we’d probably say this is more for the collector. It even comes with a slick stand that rams home the point further that this is meant to be stored on a sideboard rather than thrust into dual recreations.
At time of review the Star Wars The Black Series Kylo Ren Force FX Deluxe Lightsaber was available for £219.99.
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More a toy for the ‘older generation’ this, but they’re just so darn cool we couldn’t help but include here.
Often speakers made to look like something from a film are badly done, but not these. Along with having a stunningly accurate design recreating some of the most iconic Star Wars characters, they sound pretty great too.
You can pair two together for proper stereo sound, or use it by itself, and there’s high max volume. Each speaker comes loaded with 32mm, 3W speakers. The speakers are backed up by a downward-facing 102mm, 10W ported Subwoofer. For its part, AC Worldwide claims they’re loud and powerful enough to “drown out a Wookiee battlecry”.
As speakers they don’t match the sound quality of more focused products, like the Sonos 1. But that’s not surprising given their focus on aesthetics and authenticity to the movies.
At time of review the AC Worldwide Star Wars Speakers were available for £149 each.
Star Wars Nerf Chewbacca Bowcaster
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To create a truly authentic costume, pair the Wookie mask with Chewie’s weapon of choice: the Bowcaster – remade here by those fellas at Nerf.
Again, this one is aimed squarely at kids as a result of its size, but it has quite a powerful range and can spit out foamy bullets at speed. Four pellets are supplied in the package and they sit on the bow in a handy holster.
It isn’t quite the perfect replica – Chewie’s version wasn’t orange – but it’s no less fun nonetheless. The added bonus? It doesn’t cost the earth, either – unlike a lot of these toys.
At time of review, the Star Wars Nerf Chewbacca Bowcaster was available for £24.99.
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Any Star Wars fan has probably imagined piloting an X-Wing or the Millennium Falcon, Now, thanks to Propel’s Star Wars Battle Drones, this dream has become a reality. Available as a Speeder Bike, X-Wing or TIE Fighter (the Millennium Falcon will be released soon), these drones have amazing attention to detail that is guaranteed to make any Star Wars fan smile.
They’re also great fun to fly, and if you pick up more than one you can have infrared laser battles in the sky. The remote controls even play sound effects and music from the original trilogy, making for an insanely fun and immersive experience. Even the unboxing is an experience itself.
At time of review the Star Wars Propel Battle Drone was available for £199.99.
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Probably the most recognisable Star Wars toys for The Force Awakens era, Sphero’s little app-controlled BB-8 is a joy.
You control it via the special BB-8 app for Android and iOS, which allows you to steer him around and also perform certain tasks such as “saying” yes or no, patrolling an area, or just staying alert.
Be sure to crank up the volume on your smartphone or tablet, as BB-8 makes some awesome little noises via the app.
Especially for The Last Jedi, Sphero has also launched BB-8’s darkside cousin, BB-9E. He’s based around the same design, but has LEDs in his head for a little extra personality.
At the time of review Sphero BB-8 was available for £129.99.
Star Wars Bop It R2-D2
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If you’ve ever played classic Bop-It then you’ll know how addictive it is. The game has been reinvented for the launch of The Force Awakens in the form of this little R2-D2 version.
It lacks the diversity of the actions required on the main Bop-It game, as you can only “Bop It”, “Twist It” and “Pull It” here.
However, how you play the game is rather cute. You tap R2 on the head to Bop It, twist his head to Twist It and pull his legs to Pull It.
All commands are dished out using the dulcet tones of CP30, with R2-D2 reacting accordingly when you deal the various twists, bops and pulls.
Bop-It remains as addictive as ever, especially in this dinky R2-D2 form.
At time of review the Star Wars Bop It R2-D2 was available for £19.99.
Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber
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Although it might not be the best lightsaber on offer, the Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber is a great toy for those not wanting to splash out a tonne of dosh on the more expensive Star Wars toys.
There are three blades in total, the main blue lightsaber plus two additional short green blades. They’re added to the main frame using attachments.
It’s a great way to be a little more creative, even if it isn’t quite true to The Force Awakens.
The Bladebuilder does require a number of batteries, though – three AAA batteries for each of the blades. However, the noises that it produces are well worth the cost.
At time of review the Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber was available for £49.99.
Yes, this is off-the-charts expensive for a Lego set. You could argue it’s even beyond the realm of toys and into the land of premium collectibles. Well, yes, but look at it! A whopping 7541 pieces make up this super-detailed monster, which is one of the biggest sets Lego’s ever produced. Quite where you’re going to put it when you’ve finished the mammoth build is another problem entirely. Let’s focus on the buying first, eh? Worry about silly details later.
At the time of the review the Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon Ultimate Collector Series was available for £649.99.