This is the kind of thing you would have thought of as science-fiction in 1977, when Star Wars first came out, but in the days of the internet, unicorn-moments like this one are possible. For the first time ever, Hasbro has issued a custom Star Wars figure of not a character, not the creator of the films, but of a fan. This is probably also the first time that someone has used nothing but their own infectious enthusiasm to get the allotted 15 minutes of fame and really, really hit paydirt.
When Candace Payne filmed herself trying on a Chewbacca mask and uploaded it to the internet, she might have thought that her few followers would have been happy to see her happiness. What she couldn’t have guessed is that she would be invited on morning shows, late shows, and given hundreds of thousands of dollars of free stuff and scholarship money, just for nerding-out in the most delightful way possible while trying on that Chewbacca mask.
The mask, of course, sold out. (But you can still pre-order it here.) It sold out, big time, and almost entirely because of the viral video. As a special thank you from Hasbro (maker of the platinum-selling Chewbacca mask), Payne was honored with her very own likeness on a 12-inch action figure. Viewed in the right light, the figure is a physical rendition of the face-swap Snapchat feature: that is, instead of this being Candace Payne wearing a Chewbacca mask, this is Chewbacca wearing a Candace Payne mask!
Payne received the mask with the kind of happiness and enthusiasm that we’ve come to expect from Chewbacca Mom.
Of course, Star Wars and Hasbro are both well aware that fanatics such as Payne are what fuels the empire that they’ve built, so it makes sense that they would want to say thanks in some way. This instance is a timely marriage of medium and message, as the viral video has helped to make sales soar at a time when the resurrection of the Star Wars film franchise didn’t look like it could get any stronger.
As for rumors of a Chewbacca Mom spin-off movie, we hope that they remain just those.