As the great philosophers Aqua once said in their song “Barbie Girl,” “Imagination, life is your creation.” In other words: toys, by being actors on the stage of imagination, can help birth a new reality. While this “creation,” and the life within it, may never leave the realm of the mind, movies offer one arena in which toys can interact, literally and metaphorically, with a greater mythology and have actual, in-universe consequences. Furthermore, because toys can exist both in-narrative and in the hands of viewers, these objects provide a unique opportunity for a story to transcend the screen and extend into the audience’s reality—perhaps even taking with them a bit of the source material’s mythos. And there’s no clearer example of this than one of the single most popular sources of both film and toys in popular culture: the Star Wars franchise.
Star Wars has had a ubiquitous presence in toy aisles for years, and much has been said about the cultural impact of wave after wave of Star Wars action figures, vehicles, and role play toys. But what about the significant presence of the toys we see in the Star Wars universe itself? Let’s consider a sampling of the toys present in the Star Wars films so far—in doing so, I think we’ll find that Star Wars toys mean as much to Star Wars characters as they do to us here in the real world.