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9 of the best Star Wars gifts not named Baby Yoda
Baby Yoda merch is on the way, but these Star Wars gifts are available right now.
- Since the launch of Disney Plus, the internet has gone crazy for Baby Yoda.
- Merchandise for the cute character was intentionally delayed, but there are other options.
- The items in this gift guide are for anyone who loves Star Wars or wants to learn more.
Since the launch of Disney Plus and the premiere of The Mandalorian, Star Wars fans have been obsessed with one thing and one thing only: the asset, or as he is known to the internet, Baby Yoda. Not a lot is known about the character or his species, but the overwhelming cuteness has won the hearts of fans old and new, and they can't wait to get their hands on the merchandise.
Having successfully kept the character and by extension the puppet a secret leading up to the show, director Jon Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter that he knew the risks of keeping Baby Yoda out of all pre-release marketing. "By holding back on that one product, we knew that we may have had the disadvantage of not having toys available day and date," he said, "but what we got in exchange was an excitement surrounding the character, because everybody felt like they discovered him together."
Pre-orders have begun to crop up for Baby Yoda plush dolls, T-shirts, and other licensed products, but Star Wars as a property is much bigger than one cute asset. The gifts on this list include toys of other adorable characters as well as resources for learning more information about a galaxy far, far away.
Whether you're completely new to Star Wars or you've seen the films dozens of times, there's no better way to learn than to watch what director George Lucas and his collaborators created back in 1977. This box set features the first six episodic films, beginning with the original trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) and including the prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith). There are also over 40 hours of special features, including commentaries and documentaries that take fans behind the scenes of one of the most influential stories ever told. Sure you could stream the films on Disney Plus, but there are some things that everyone should own physical copies of.
We still don't know how (or if) Yoda and Baby Yoda are connected beyond them being the same species, but that hasn't stopped everyone from referring to the new character by his predecessor's name. This official LEGO set lets you build the centuries-old Jedi Master using over 1700 pieces. A Yoda minifigure is included, as is an informational card that lists his age and his apprentices.
Introduced in 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, porgs are bird-like creatures native to the planet Ahch-To. Before The Mandalorian, porgs were widely considered to be the cutest animals in Star Wars, with fuzzy plushes like this one flying off the shelves. Some Baby Yoda merch is on pre-order until March 2020, but porgs are still adorable and their merch is available to purchase right now.
Developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is the newest video game set in the Star Wars universe. Chronologically, the game takes place after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith but before A New Hope. It focuses on a young Jedi in training who, along with the rest of his kind, is being hunted by the Galactic Empire. IGN rated the game a 9 out of 10 and praised Respawn's attention to detail, brilliant animation, and well-crafted story.
"Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy" by Amy Ratcliffe profiles over 75 women from all facets of Star Wars, including the films, comics, video games, and novels. It's the perfect gift for anyone who wants to learn more about dozens of dynamic heroes (and villains) who have contributed to universe and continue to make it feel real.
George Lucas is the architect that built Star Wars into what it is today and forever changed cinema. This biography by Brian Jay Jones tells Lucas' story from the mid-1940s up to 2016, one year after The Force Awakens released in theaters and one year before The Last Jedi. Extending beyond Star Wars, the book paints an almost complete portrait of who George Lucas is and how the work has shaped his life.
Ranging from easy to extremely difficult, this version of Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit includes questions about all of the saga films to-date. Designed for 2-4 players, the game is all about testing your fandom while also teaching you more than you ever thought you would know about Star Wars. Grab a few friends or family members and see which of you is really one with the Force.
A pioneer in science and science fiction studies, author Mark Brake tackles questions in "The Science of Star Wars" that most fans never knew they had. What would it cost to build a Death Star, why are Wookiees hairier than humans, and could we actually live on a gas giant planet like Bespin? Grab a copy of the book for these and more interesting explorations.
Most of us will never own a fully functional Astromech droid like BB-8, but this app-enabled version from Sphero is the next best thing. Steer the adorable ball using the interface on your smartphone, or turn on the autonomous mode and watch it come to life in your living room.
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Scientists use new methods to discover what's inside drug containers used by ancient Mayan people.
- Archaeologists used new methods to identify contents of Mayan drug containers.
- They were able to discover a non-tobacco plant that was mixed in by the smoking Mayans.
- The approach promises to open up new frontiers in the knowledge of substances ancient people consumed.
PARME staff archaeologists excavating a burial site at the Tamanache site, Mérida, Yucatan.
While not the first such minister, the loneliness epidemic in Japan will make this one the hardest working.
- The Japanese government has appointed a Minister of Loneliness to implement policies designed to fight isolation and lower suicide rates.
- They are the second country, after the U.K., to dedicate a cabinet member to the task.
- While Japan is famous for how its loneliness epidemic manifests, it isn't alone in having one.
The Ministry of Loneliness<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I5FIohjZT8o" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p><a href="https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114749.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tetsushi Sakamoto</a>, already in the government as the minister in charge of raising Japan's low birthrate and revitalizing regional economies, was appointed this <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">month</a> to the additional role. He has already announced plans for an emergency national forum to discuss the issue and share the testimony of lonely <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/12/national/loneliness-isolation-minister/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">individuals</a>.</p><p>Given the complexity of the problem, the minister will primarily oversee the coordination of efforts between different <a href="https://www.insider.com/japan-minister-of-loneliness-suicides-rise-pandemic-2021-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ministries</a> that hope to address the issue alongside a task <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">force</a>. He steps into his role not a moment too soon. The loneliness epidemic in Japan is uniquely well known around the world.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Hikikomori</em></a><em>,</em> often translated as "acute social withdrawal," is the phenomenon of people completely withdrawing from society for months or years at a time and living as modern-day hermits. While cases exist in many <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00247/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries</a>, the problem is better known and more prevalent in Japan. Estimates vary, but some suggest that one million Japanese live like this and that 1.5 million more are at <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/article/japan-hikikomori-isolation-society" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">risk</a> of developing the condition. Individuals practicing this hermitage often express contentment with their isolation at first before encountering severe symptoms of loneliness and <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200110155241.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">distress</a>.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodokushi" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Kodokushi</em></a>, the phenomenon of the elderly dying alone and remaining undiscovered for some time due to their isolation, is also a widespread issue in Japan that has attracted national attention for decades.</p><p>These are just the most shocking elements of the loneliness crisis. As we've discussed before, loneliness can cause health issues akin to <a href="https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">smoking</a>. A lack of interaction within a community can cause social <a href="https://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/how-religious-neighbors-are-better-neighbors" target="_self">problems</a>. It is even associated with changes in the <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/loneliness-brain" target="_self">brain</a>. While there is nothing wrong with wanting a little time to yourself, the inability to get the socialization that many people need is a real problem with real <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-loneliness-hunger" target="_self">consequences</a>.</p>
The virus that broke the camel's back<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hp-L844-5k8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> A global loneliness pandemic existed before COVID-19, and the two working in tandem has been catastrophic. </p><p>Japanese society has always placed a value on solitude, often associating it with self-reliance, which makes dealing with the problem of excessive solitude more difficult. Before the pandemic, 16.1 percent of Japanese seniors reported having nobody to turn to in a time of need, the highest rate of any nation <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">considered</a>. Seventeen percent of Japanese men surveyed in 2005 said that they "rarely or never spend time with friends, colleagues, or others in social groups." This was three times the average rate of other <a href="http://www.oecd.org/sdd/37964677.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries</a>. </p><p>American individualism also creates a fertile environment for isolation to grow. About a month before the pandemic started, nearly<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/23/798676465/most-americans-are-lonely-and-our-workplace-culture-may-not-be-helping" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> 3 in 5</a> Americans reported being lonely in a <a href="https://www.cigna.com/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> issued by Cigna. This is a slight increase over previous studies, which had been pointing in the same direction for years. </p><p>In the United Kingdom, the problem prompted the creation of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. The commission's <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/active-communities/rb_dec17_jocox_commission_finalreport.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">final report </a>paints a stark picture of the U.K.'s situation in 2017, with millions of people from all parts of British society reporting feeling regular loneliness at a tremendous cost to personal health, society, and the economy.</p><p>The report called for a lead minister to address the problem at the national level, incorporating government action with the insights provided by volunteer organizations, businesses, the NHS, and other organizations on the crisis's front lines. Her Majesty's Government acted on the report and appointed the first Minister for Loneliness in <a href="https://time.com/5248016/tracey-crouch-uk-loneliness-minister/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracey_Crouch" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tracey Crouch</a>, and dedicated millions of pounds to battling the problem. </p><p>The distancing procedures necessitated by the COVID-19 epidemic saved many lives but exacerbated an existing problem of loneliness in many parts of the world. While the issue had received attention before, Japan's steps to address the situation suggest that people are now willing to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.</p><p>--</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. The suicide prevention hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.</em></p>
MIT professor Azra Akšamija creates works of cultural resilience in the face of social conflict.