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Tuesday, April 19 2016 10:27

STAR WARS: Awakening The Force at Home...

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When the original STAR WARS Saga (aka "The Old Trilogy") first rolled out between 1977 and 1983, it was a great time to be a kid, though one that seems archaic by modern standards. Back then, viewing STAR WARS was an experience that was reserved as a cinema-only event... unless you were among a very select few that were lucky enough to have an RCA SelectaVision player (video disks that were encased in a square plastic cartridge), or one of the early VHS machines. Even then, you couldn't watch 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE at home until the latter half of 1982. For our family, it was when HBO scored the rights to STAR WARS in 1983 that we'd get to see it at home on the small, square, screen. In fact, I distinctly remember eating Aurelio's Pizza while watching the film, the brightly-colored wicker paper plate holders still fresh in my mind. For us, the STAR WARS adventures were brought to life and continued daily through Kenner's STAR WARS collection of action figures, playsets and vehicles, with the films essentially recalled from memory. Being there the first time around, it's astounding to think that families in 2016 were able to enjoy J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS at home... a mere four months after its theatrical debut. But like their parents before them, our girls are creating their own STAR WARS adventures daily with Hasbro's extensive collection of STAR WARS toys, and to celebrate the in-home release of THE FORCE AWAKENS earlier this month, our friends at Hasbro sent a box of goodies so we could have a slightly belated premiere party right here at Rock Father HQ. And we did it with pizza... just like back in '83!

Sears STAR WARS Cantina Adventure Playset
I always use this picture because it's my favorite picture of me... ever.

Our Hasbro STAR WARS collection is sizable - and growing... another thing I would've never expected, me in my pre-parenting days once having an entire STAR WARS room once upon a time. For our family, Disney XD's STAR WARS REBELS was the gateway - "a first step into a larger world," as Obi-wan Kenobi would say. Role-play items like lightsabers and NERF blasters are essential, and they pair well with the sizable costume collection we've amassed in our closet.

The Rock Daughters and their latest STAR WARS Box!
The Rock Daughters and a box of glorious STAR WARS treasures!

But the meat-and-potatoes of the collection are the basic figures and vehicles - just as it's been for nearly 40 years. While both girls are well-versed in the ways of The Force, it's little Finley that's particularly attached to figures. Even during our recent trip to Disney World this month, she just had to have an Unkar Plutt ("One quarter portion!") figure - one that she so cutely described as being "Rey's friend."

STAR WARS + PIZZA?

Our party pack from Hasbro was really cool - with some TFA-themed plates/napkins/cups accompanying the much-requested 12-inch Hero Series Rey figure, a pair of masks, Kylo Ren's Blade Builders Lightsaber (something the kids had been asking me to buy), a NERF First Order Stormtrooper Blaster, and the first appearance version of a character that the girls had wanted since the moment they first saw her on screen... Maz Kanata, included in the new Takodana Encounter multi-pack. Funny enough, The Rock Daughters don't really "get" that their Daddy has met with and interviewed Maz' motion-capture alter-ego, actress Lupita Nyong'o twice within the past four months, first at THE FORCE AWAKENS press event, and later at THE JUNGLE BOOK junket

STAR WARS Party!

Looking ahead, our STAR WARS adventures will only continue to grow, with STAR WARS REBELS Season 3 on the way, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY hitting theaters this December, and the next adventure with Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and the whole crew coming next year with STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII. With each new film, Hasbro will certainly be there with new toys, and you can bet we'll be eager to add new characters to our in-home adventures as the galaxy continues to expand.

The Force will be with us, always.

For all the latest from STAR WARS news from a galaxy far, far away, bookmark
James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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