While "Baby Yoda" from Mandalorian threatens to overshadow it, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters next week, which means it's time for Disney and Lucasfilm to increase their marketing strategy.
And there is little surprise that augmented reality is part of the marketing toolkit for the conclusion of the Skywalker saga.
Not too long ago (Thursday), in a galaxy … actually the same galaxy we are in, Facebook introduced a lot of Star Wars-branded goodies, designed in collaboration with Disney, for the Messenger app, including themes , sticker packages, and, you guessed it, amplified reality camera effects.
Unlike Sith, where there are always two (no more, no less), Messenger offers three AR options, available in the camera effects carousel on iOS and Android, for those who want to add some sci-fi action in their video calls and stories.
First, the Lightspeed experience has a background segmentation effect to immerse the user in a cosmic environment.
When users open their mouths, they can jump into hyperspace, with stars zooming past their heads.
Second, the Cockpit effect continues the space travel themes with a body mask that puts users in a Resistance pilot uniform and the cockpit in an X-Wing (especially Poe Dameron's suit and ship). When users turn their heads, they get a glimpse of the cockpit environment, and when they open their mouths in that position, the virtual X-Wing makes a thin scroll.
Finally, it is time to choose a page in the experience of Dark vs. Light. When users activate the effect, they are prompted to select a page by tilting the head. A gradient to the left produces the red glow in the dark side light bulb, while a gradient to the right calls blue illumination. It would have been nice to put a virtual light saber in the user's hand, but even if the Skywalker story ends, Disney has plans for more Star Wars content.
Messenger camera effects come just as Magic Leap and H&M launch a star Wars AR fashion experience in Japan.
Star Wars has had a long history of augmented reality, including AR experiences in the official Star Wars mobile app, the Star Wars Jedi Challenges game for Lenovo's Mirage AR headset, hologram effects in the Apple Clips app, AR porgs on Snapchat and Magic Leap, an AR sticker package for the Google Pixels Playground app, and AR campaigns with car brands Nissan and Renault. And with several AR experiences used to promote Star Wars: The Last Jedi we can expect more immersive deals for Skywalker .
Why has Disney not presented its big star at the moment in a single AR experience, though? Sure, an opportunistic creator of Lens Studio has gifted Snapchat users with a 2D version of Baby Yoda but we long for more!
Star Wars fans shouldn't worry much though, as the strong connection between Star War and AR suggests that it won't be long before an officially sanctioned version of the young man enters our personal space.