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Toys and Tabletop Games

Force Friday II brings 'Last Jedi' to Star Wars fans early

Friday brings a blitz of new products from Lego, Sphero, Hasbro and more sure to get Star Wars fans excited -- and feeling the dark side hit their bank account.

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"The Last Jedi" hits theaters in December. But fans who don't want to grow as old as Yoda while waiting to pick up collectibles from the next big Star Wars film can do so a lot sooner. This Friday, the Disney/Lucasfilm marketing juggernaut known as "Force Friday" is back to storm stores and bank accounts worldwide.

Participating retail stores plan to stay open until midnight, just like they did during the Force Friday in 2015 that promoted collectibles from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Those willing to stand in long lines -- hey, Star Wars fans are used to it! -- can get their hands on new (and sometimes spoiler-filled) "Last Jedi" products from a host of companies. 

These include Hasbro, whose new wristband brings Star Wars toys to life with sound effects; Sphero, which just made the best R2-D2 robot ever, according to CNET reviewer Scott Stein; Lenovo, out with an official Star Wars AR game system; Lego; LittleBits; and drone maker Propel, which is updating its Star Wars-themed remote-controlled drones with a flight simulator app. 

For an early look, take a peek at the videos and galleries in this post, and find more details below.

Oh, and may the Force be with your wallet.   

Brick-and-mortar and online stores participating in the Force Friday frenzy include Disney Stores, Target, Apple, Amazon and ThinkGeek. Walmart is getting in on the action too, with some stores planning a Force Friday II weekend parking lot event with "Be Jedi Ready" games and activities. Stores will also dole out free posters and feature photo ops and other Forcetastic stuff. Here's more information from Disney/Lucasfilm on what participating retailers have planned.

Fans can also participate in a massive augmented reality treasure hunt from inside the official Star Wars app. That will let them unlock and interact with 15 Star Wars characters, including a new one from "The Last Jedi." To "meet" one of these AR characters, fans can go to 20,000 toy stores across 30 countries from Sept. 1 through Sept. 3 and look for hidden AR markers on cardboard stand-ups. 

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If you're trying to steer clear of "Last Jedi" spoilers, you should probably avoid Star Wars retailers and stop reading this article on upcoming toys, since many of these products reveal the names of creatures, characters, ships, weapons, battles and planets. In fact, unplug your computer and don't go back online again until January 2018, if you really want to be on the safe side. 

Star Wars at 40: CNET celebrates 40 years of the Force. 

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.