Sunday, November 19, 2017
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Merchandise push for new 'Star Wars' movie includes a digital treasure hunt

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The marketing machine for the latest Star Wars movie will officially rev to life Sept. 1.

Toys from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens Dec. 15, hit the shelves in stores that day. But on what is being billed as Force Friday II, fans with the Star Wars app will be able to find digital characters from the movie. The augmented reality ploy is similar to Pokémon Go, sending fans on a smartphone treasure hunt for characters superimposed in their real-world surroundings.

The digital characters are connected to displays found in stores selling the toys. New characters will be revealed each day Sept. 1-3, Disney has said, and there will be 15 in all.

While the emphasis will be on these new characters for the weekend promotion, fans have been promised the store displays will be active through the end of the year, with the characters continuing to cycle through on a daily basis.

It starts with the Star Wars app, which has a history of creating these kind of digital characters since it launched in 2015. The app has been able to summon an AR Stormtrooper, BB-8 and K-2SO .

Fans can snap photos of the Find the Force symbol to find old favorites, like Adm. Ackbar, and discover a new character from The Last Jedi, a Disney news release said. Find a list of participating retailers at starwars.com/findtheforce.

The first characters will be available to find beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 1.

Star Wars fans around the globe embraced Force Friday in 2015, with hundreds of thousands turning up to stores at midnight to be the first to get their hands on merchandise from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the eighth installment in the Star Wars franchise that follows the Skywalker family.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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