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Build-A-Bear Unveils an Exclusive Stuffed R2-D2 for Star Wars Day

Build-A-Bear
Build-A-Bear

Adorable—and officially licensed—Star Wars items are nothing new, especially around Star Wars Day. Several years ago, Hasbro unveiled Darth Tater, a Mr. Potato Head spinoff spud that adopted some of the breathing apparatus of the franchise’s key villain. He was followed by Luke Frywalker. There are R2-D2 handbags and popcorn makers, Chewbacca throw rugs (which carry a somewhat sinister hint of Wookiee slaughter), and others.

Now, the popular stuffed animal factory franchise Build-a-Bear Workshop and Disney are teaming up to up the cute quotient by a considerable margin. In honor of May 4, an unofficial Star Wars fan day dubbed May the 4th Be With You (or simply Star Wars Day), Build-a-Bear will offer a stuffed R2-D2, which will be available exclusively online. Standing 13 inches tall, the Droid will come pre-stuffed with a sound chip that can chirp six distinctive warbles.

This latest and most polyester-filled iteration of R2-D2 is one of several Build-a-Bear-themed Star Wars products to see a recent release, following a 16-inch Dark Side vs. Light Side Bear, whose loyalties can be determined by its owner: Rebel supporters can make sure the blue side of his ears face forward, along with the Rebel Alliance logo on his paws; flipping either around reveals First Order colors. It’s hard to conceive of the Empire rising from the ashes based on the support of a cute plush animal, but at least the option is there.

Previously, Build-a-Bear issued Bears sporting the distinctive features of Kylo Ren, a Stormtrooper, Boba Fett, an Ewok, and Yoda, the latter of which really doesn’t look like a bear at all. Existing Bear owners can also shop for accessories that can be used on their more conventional models, including a Han Solo vest and lightsabers.

Are these items slightly bizarre? It depends on your reference point. In the 40 years that licensees have adopted the franchise’s characters for store shelves, there have been Wampa arm ice scrapers, fishing kits, and air sickness bags. Famously, Kenner pulled off the boldest cash grab in toy history when they sold an empty cardboard box with a voucher for Star Wars figures that they hadn’t been able to produce in time for the 1977 holiday season.

The web exclusive R2-D2 retails for $42 and will be available only while supplies last. To further incentivize Star Wars fans, the company is also offering a free lightsaber (for bears, not humans) with a $50 purchase.

The current, plush R2-D2 should not be confused for their Bear who is not actually R2 but more of an R2 fan, sporting a Droid hoodie and blue jeans. He’s out of stock anyway.

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Researchers Uncover What's Believed to Be the Oldest Shipwreck in Lake Erie
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iStock

In the fall of 1829, a ship had departed from Put-in-Bay, Ohio, but failed to reach its final destination. Now, researchers believe they have finally found its remains, which would make it the oldest shipwreck ever recorded in Lake Erie, if their theory is confirmed.

Remote sensors detected the wreckage three years ago, and the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio, has been working to identify the ship ever since then, according to The Blade newspaper in Toledo. Experts believe they have narrowed down their search from 200 possible shipwrecks to three. The museum is now raising money via Indiegogo to fund an underwater survey and partial excavation of the ship.

Strong evidence suggests that the wreckage belongs to one particular schooner—a sailing vessel with at least two masts—that was built in Cleveland in 1821. It was named the Lake Serpent in reference to a carving of a sea serpent on its bowsprit, according to the museum. In the fall of 1829, it left from Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, where crews loaded limestone onto the ship. It's unknown what happened after that, but we do know that the ship never reached its final destination. Local newspapers reported that the bodies of the captain and other crew members washed ashore in Lorain County, located about 25 miles from Cleveland, the ship’s intended destination.

It’s a wonder that the shipwreck was even detected at all. Tom Kowalczk, director of remote sensing for the Cleveland Underwater Explorers, which has a partnership with the Toledo museum, nearly wrote off the wreckage as a “small, barely noticeable anomaly” when he first detected it in 2015.

“The target was so small it was almost dismissed as a natural artifact,” Kowalczk wrote in a discovery report. “We were looking for shipwrecks! Curiosity got the upper hand and the boat was turned for a second look.”

Museum officials hope this finding will reveal unknown details about the design of early 19th-century ships from that region. Shipwreck hunters continue their search for another schooner called Lexington, which sank in the 1840s.

[h/t The Blade]

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entertainment
Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in May
Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment

While Netflix has got plenty of laughs in store for its streaming customers next month, the loss of several contemporary classic films likes Goodfellas, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Ocean’s Eleven, and The Hurt Locker means that if you’re in desperate need of a British rom-com fix or badass Scorsese crime drama fix, you’d better start streaming. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in May.

MAY 1

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Casper
Chappie
Charlotte’s Web
Field of Dreams
Goodfellas
Ocean’s Eleven
Sahara
Silent Hill
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Hurt Locker
To Rome With Love
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

MAY 2

12 Dates of Christmas
Beauty & the Briefcase
Cadet Kelly
Camp Rock
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
Cow Belles
Cyberbully
Disney’s The Cheetah Girls
Disney’s The Cheetah Girls 2
Disney’s The Cheetah Girls: One World
Frenemies
Geek Charming
Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas
Hello Sister, Goodbye Life
High School Musical
High School Musical 2
Jump In!
Lemonade Mouth
Little Einsteins: Seasons 1 – 2
My Fake Fiancé
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension
Phineas and Ferb: Seasons 1 – 4
Princess Protection Program
Princess: A Modern Fairytale
Read It and Weep
Revenge of the Bridesmaids
Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure
Special Agent Oso: Seasons 1 – 2
StarStruck
Teen Spirit
The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Seasons 1 – 5
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

MAY 7

The Host

MAY 12

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

MAY 30

Disney’s The Jungle Book

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