Adorable—and officially licensed—Star Wars items are nothing new, especially around Star Wars Day. Several years ago, Hasbro unveiled Darth Tater, a Mr. Potato Head spinoff spud that adopted some of the breathing apparatus of the franchise’s key villain. He was followed by Luke Frywalker. There are R2-D2 handbags and popcorn makers, Chewbacca throw rugs (which carry a somewhat sinister hint of Wookiee slaughter), and others.
Now, the popular stuffed animal factory franchise Build-a-Bear Workshop and Disney are teaming up to up the cute quotient by a considerable margin. In honor of May 4, an unofficial Star Wars fan day dubbed May the 4th Be With You (or simply Star Wars Day), Build-a-Bear will offer a stuffed R2-D2, which will be available exclusively online. Standing 13 inches tall, the Droid will come pre-stuffed with a sound chip that can chirp six distinctive warbles.
This latest and most polyester-filled iteration of R2-D2 is one of several Build-a-Bear-themed Star Wars products to see a recent release, following a 16-inch Dark Side vs. Light Side Bear, whose loyalties can be determined by its owner: Rebel supporters can make sure the blue side of his ears face forward, along with the Rebel Alliance logo on his paws; flipping either around reveals First Order colors. It’s hard to conceive of the Empire rising from the ashes based on the support of a cute plush animal, but at least the option is there.
Previously, Build-a-Bear issued Bears sporting the distinctive features of Kylo Ren, a Stormtrooper, Boba Fett, an Ewok, and Yoda, the latter of which really doesn’t look like a bear at all. Existing Bear owners can also shop for accessories that can be used on their more conventional models, including a Han Solo vest and lightsabers.
Are these items slightly bizarre? It depends on your reference point. In the 40 years that licensees have adopted the franchise’s characters for store shelves, there have been Wampa arm ice scrapers, fishing kits, and air sickness bags. Famously, Kenner pulled off the boldest cash grab in toy history when they sold an empty cardboard box with a voucher for Star Wars figures that they hadn’t been able to produce in time for the 1977 holiday season.
The web exclusive R2-D2 retails for $42 and will be available only while supplies last. To further incentivize Star Wars fans, the company is also offering a free lightsaber (for bears, not humans) with a $50 purchase.
The current, plush R2-D2 should not be confused for their Bear who is not actually R2 but more of an R2 fan, sporting a Droid hoodie and blue jeans. He’s out of stock anyway.