It has a chilling, bone-white face. Its spooky appearance brings to mind a reanimated skeleton. And in the dark, it glows a ghostly green.
Is this a supernatural specter, returned from beyond to haunt the living?
Nope. It’s R5-B0019, the latest ghoulishly great astromech in Disney Parks’ Halloween-themed droid series of figures.
Over the last few years, Disney Parks have created an annual tradition that celebrates both Star Wars and our collective love of all things Halloween with this clever line. The series kicked off in 2016 with R2-B00, an astromech sporting an of-the-season black, orange, green, and purple color scheme.
“We received an amazing reaction to our first release, R2-B00,” says Cody Hampton, senior merchandiser, strategy and product development of Disney Parks. “Fans are really drawn to new, unique, and fun types of droids. I don’t think guests were expecting a Halloween-themed droid and it was something they had never seen before.” R2-B00’s success confirmed that the line would continue — and the figure’s “B00” name would carry on with each subsequent entry. (Why mess with puntastic perfection?)
The Halloween series has origins in the Droid Factory Experience within Disney Parks, where guests can build and name their own astromech droid or protocol droid, as well as Disney Parks’ line of Christmas and New Year’s holiday-themed droids, which launched in 2015 with R2-H15. Moving the line into Halloween was a no-brainer for Hampton. “We received such positive feedback from R2-H15 that we extended the series to a Halloween-themed droid the next year,” he says.
Each year, the Disney Parks merchandise team takes classic Halloween elements, throws them in a brainstorming cauldron, and creates their latest dreadful droid. This has led, so far, to four astromechs truly possessed with Halloween spirit: the original R2-B00, 2017’s ghostly R3-B0017 (“A nod to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes that feature green mist that swirls through the air on Dathomir,” Hampton says), 2018’s Halloween-treat-colored R4-B0018 (who comes, amazingly, with a candy-inspired accessory), and 2019’s R5-B0019, whose black-and-white paint applications draw from creepy skeleton costumes. All have original box art featuring bios that tell a story; for example, R3-B0017 serves Darth Maul, while R5-B0019 “awaits his fate in the dark and formidable bowels of a sandcrawler.” And if you want to play mad scientist, you can mix and match parts to create your own unnatural Frankendroids.
“I enjoy this line of astromechs because I really love to see the creativity of the Disney Parks merchandise team year after year,” Hampton says. “R5-B0019’s cool design and fun glow-in-the-dark features really makes this droid a great new addition. I am so excited to see these four droids continue to grow as a series and I can’t wait to see what droid is next.”
When it comes to astromechs, Star Wars fans will always love R2-D2, BB-8, and Chopper. But during Halloween season, these are the droids you’re looking for.
Halloween-themed droids are available every September and October at Star Traders at Disneyland Park, Tatooine Traders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Galactic Outpost at Disney Springs, and other locations across Disney Parks.
Photos by Kyle Kao.