The big planetary event celebrating the release of the merchandise for The Last Jedi took place last Friday and it may have been generally a success in the United States more or less but in Europe outside of the United Kingdom, it was a whole different situation. Giving European fans as usual the impression that the big companies don’t really care about us and they only care about the US sells because it is not the first time, things aren’t great when it comes to merchandising in Europe (outside of UK).
Last year, for Force Friday (Go Rogue) there was nothing on the shelves of toy stores for Rogue One, absolutely nothing except at Disney Store a few Elite Series were there and one or two mugs. I was told that the reason for that was because a few stores had put the toys on shelves before the street date and Hasbro France had reacted to it badly. Leading Hasbro to force toy stores not to put anything on the shelves the day of the street date. This is indeed totally crazy but it seems to be the truth. I had gotten that same answer from two different people working at toy stores and saw that other people also got that explanation for why there was nothing in stores for the Go Rogue event. I personally saw boxes of U-Wing last year at Toys R Us La Défense next to the checkout, put there for weeks because they didn’t have the right to put them on shelves. This was absolutely scandalous. The worst in all of that is when stores put on shelves toys before the street dates in the US, nothing happens, Hasbro US just lets things happen but it seems in France, the company is a lot more strict. As you can imagine, there were obviously no midnight opening events in France. And let’s not forget other European countries where there was simply nothing until a few months after the Go Rogue event actually took place.
One could believe that this year Hasbro France would avoid another fiasco but no, it was just another debacle but at least we have to admit there were a few things on shelves this year. For Force Friday II, there were actually two stores doing a midnight opening in Paris – Toys R Us La Défense and Village Joué Club. Joué Club had basically all the basic 3.75 inch figures, the 2-packs, the creature packs and the most surprising thing Rey Black Series figure, not wave 1, but just Rey. I’ll just let that sink into your minds. For Toys R’ Us, the only difference is that they had Luke and Kylo Ren in Black Series along with Rey. So there again, not wave 1 but just three figures of wave 1. How is possible that Hasbro just cut a wave of Black Series? Well, it’s a mystery at the time, maybe the rest of the wave will be released later on, maybe not but it is not the first time this kind of situation happens in France, Hasbro had already cut waves for no apparent reasons.
That’s for the midnight openings, but what about all around France? Let’s just say it was a total disaster. King Jouet advertised on their site they had the Force Friday II products but if you looked on their site they had nothing Hasbro, just a few lego sets and at my local King Jouet in Ajaccio, they had nothing. Joué Club stores, I have heard they had nothing apart from Village Joué Club who had done the midnight opening. For Toys R’ Us, it was random. Some had nothing, others had a few things. For example, you can see what Toys R Us Montpellier had:
It was not a lot indeed. So let’s not even think about Black Series wave 2 along with the two speeders while in the US many stores had it.
Disney Stores had their own products and a few 3.75 inch figures but anyway, DS don’t usually sell Black Series as they focus on their own Elite Series line.
Now about online stores like Amazon France and CDiscount. Amazon had Luke, Kylo and Rey Black Series so the same situation – not even half of the wave, the two speeders and that’s all. CDiscount had in preorder Luke, Kylo and Rey, plus they had a few items like BB9-E Sphero but nothing more.
For Spain, the situation was even worse than in France. There was a midnight opening but there only were legos and mugs, no figures. Thanks to @HurricanOfFire on Twitter for reporting this.
Surprisingly for Germany, it wasn’t the same thing, at least for some stores who had the entire wave 1 of Black Series with Hera and Thrawn in a Toys R Us store. Thanks to @kenobi_domi on Twitter for reporting this.
So, maybe Force Friday II was a success in the United States and the United Kingdom but for the rest of Europe it was a real mess. Maybe it would be time for Hasbro to rethink their strategy when it comes to Europe because us fans living in France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and the rest of Europe, we would like to be able to buy the same toys as there is in the US, we matter too, we are fans too. Let us know in the comments your Force Friday II experience.