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I've long-held the opinion that Toys "R" Us is an important retailer - perhaps the most important for children, as the last great toy retailer to have a National presence here in the United States. Families deserve a true toy store with real selection (the other "Big Box" places just don't cut it - not even close), and while TRU has some ongoing woes to deal with (many of which I could solve, but they haven't called me yet), they're making strides to win customers back through making a visit to the House of Geoffrey an "event." While I doubt kids today will ever see the pegs as packed as I recall them during the initial run of the Original STAR WARS Trilogy from 1977-1983 (towering, cavernous, dimly-lit aisles stacked to the ceiling with new Kenner STAR WARS action figures and vehicles), Toys "R"Us is declaring themselves to be "DESTINATION: STAR WARS" starting with International STAR WARS Day (technically May 4, but their celebration is May 3) and leading up to and through the release of THE FORCE AWAKENS this December. Here's the details...

At STAR WARS CELEBRATION in Anaheim this weekend, visitors were treated to their first look at STAR WARS REBELS' forthcoming second season. Debuting later this year on Disney XD (no premiere date has been revealed), there's twice as many episodes, new characters and the return of some familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away. A four-minute trailer was shown, and now that trailer is available for all to see. Where the first season of REBELS seemed like it had so much more to tell, this trailer unleashes just how big this thing really is - a fascinating bridge between REVENGE OF THE SITH and A NEW HOPE... one in which we will get to see Darth Vader (yes, it's James Earl Jones) in his most villainous days. Take a look...

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With the official release of STAR WARS: The Digital Movie Collection upon us, many are taking time to reflect on the pop-cultural impact that George Lucas' creation has had since the release of the first film - Episode IV: A NEW HOPE - back on May 25, 1977. With the release of J.J. Abrams' THE FORCE AWAKENS coming to theaters this December, and STAR WARS REBELS currently welcoming new fans to take "their first step into a larger world" on Disney XD, 2015 may well be the best time ever to be a STAR WARS fan - and I've been there for the ups-and-downs that this fandom has experienced. In fact, my wife and I have been there since the beginning - and that's fueled a love for a galaxy far, far away that we're now sharing and passing along to our daughters. STAR WARS is so big in this house that I've given it it's own dedicated section here on THE ROCK FATHER, so when The Walt Disney Studios asked if we'd be interested in doing a "mystery" edition of UNBOXED in celebration of the new digital releases, we were on it quicker that Han and Chewy making the Kessel Run. It's all a part of sharing #MyStarWars Memories with the girls, while making new ones along the way.

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When the Season One finale of STAR WARS REBELS - Fire Across the Galaxy aired Monday night, fans were treated to some big surprises. When we got to view it on the DVR at lunchtime on Tuesday, one thing was very clear - my little girls were quite pleased to see "another girl Jedi" saving the day. Having missed much of THE CLONE WARS (we'll catch up), they weren't familiar with Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein), and that doesn't matter. What does matter is that there's now a trio of powerful girls at the forefront of STAR WARS REBELS, with Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla and Ahsoka fighting the good fight. While we're still on the hunt for the elusive Sabine/Stormtrooper Mission Series two-pack, Hera is shipping soon packed with a "Stormtrooper Commander" (who we used to call a "Sandtrooper" back in the day), and now Ahsoka will be joining the 5POA (five points of articulation) action this fall. But she's not alone. In fact, she'll be packed with her former Master, the one who used to be called Anakin Skywalker before fully turning to the Dark Side and becoming Darth Vader...

It seems like STAR WARS REBELS just had its premiere, and here we are looking at the Season One Finale coming up this Monday night, March 2 at 9/8c on Disney XD. In FIRE ACROSS THE GALAXY, it looks like we'll be getting some classic Old Trilogy-style action, including a lightsaber battle between Kanan, Ezra and The Inquisitor, a fleet of Star Destroyers, and an appearance by Darth Vader himself! Since it's the first season finale, the episode will not be available to stream earlier (if it was, I'd be watching it already), but I do have a preview to share with you below. The Force is strong with this one...

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Jedi vs. Sith. Empire vs. Rebels. Hasbro vs. Mattel. Polar opposites in some cases, fierce rivals in others. For the latter two, they're more alike than different, a pair of the most recognizable toymakers in the galaxy. While their competition is heated, for the first time in forever they're both bound by something greater than them both... a license known as STAR WARS. While Hasbro continues the lineage started with Kenner in bringing forth 3 ¾-scale STAR WARS action figures (among many other things), this past year has seen STAR WARS married to Mattel's iconic Hot Wheels line through a series of Character Cars, retailer exclusives and playsets. Bottom line: It's a great time to love STAR WARS, and as Disney and Lucasfilm ready the release of J.J. Abrams' THE FORCE AWAKENS for this December, there's some cool new toys that are slowly making their way into retailers. To have a little unofficial celebration of The Force here at Rock Father HQ, I've decided to offer-up a little something special - a Galactic Prize Pack featuring a pair of STAR WARS Hot Wheels Character Cars from Mattel, and a sought-after STAR WARS REBELS action figure from Hasbro's Saga Legends assortment. Will The Force be with YOU?

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