Angry Birds meet Star Wars

The makers of Angry Birds continue their campaign to cover every single niche of popular culture. The latest extension of the addictive game is a Star Wars version, targeted at the hardcore fortysomething sci-fi nerd.

The launch of the game was announced at the New York Toys R Us store, but was already an open secret thanks to internet forums. The game is a triumph of licensing, creating Angry Birds modelled on Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia. Their enemies the stormtrooper pigs are led by a Darth Vader pig. Even the famous theme tune by John Williams has been given an Angry Birds makeover.

George Lucas has never been too picky about who he licenses the Star Wars rights to, which explains why the films have earned him so much money in merchandising. "They are not Angry Birds dressed up as Star Wars characters," LucasFilm's president of licensing and consumer products marketing Paul Southern said, somewhat bafflingly, "they are characters in their own right." The "characters" will also soon be available as collectable action figures, always a lucrative Star Wars line.

The tie-in is simply a case of the major popular culture phenomenon of the 1970s forging an alliance with the major cult of the 2010s. Angry Birds continues to smash sales records for games downloads. Since launching in 2009 the game has been downloaded nearly 650 million times in various forms. The Angry Birds Space version which was released in February 2012 sold 100 million downloads in just 76 days. The force is obviously with this one.

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