I will freely admit that I have watched the Facebook video of Texas mom Candace Payne and her Chewbacca mask no fewer than five times. I just can’t stop hitting the replay button and giggling right along with her. And, as a Star Wars fan, watching Payne belly laugh by herself in her car got me all geared up to head to Kohl’s or Toys 'R Us for my own mask — and my own Happy Wookie moment. So I quickly googled “what stores carry the Chewbacca mask” and let’s just say, the results were not encouraging.
The Chewie mask was sold as part of the merchandising hoopla surrounding last year’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And as Star Wars merch went, the original price tag was a pretty reasonable $29.84, according to the product listing on WalMart.com. But all of that changed once Candace Payne, her Chewbacca mask, and her infectious belly laugh went viral on Facebook this month. As of Tuesday, more than 141 million people have tuned in to watch Candace Payne’s Facebook video, making it the most-watched video on Facebook Live since the platform launched earlier this year. And not a full day after Payne’s video became a hit, the Chewbacca mask was sold out at major retailers including Walmart, Target, Toys 'R Us and Kohl’s, according to Mashable.
So now, Star Wars fans who want to share the kind of joy that the “Chewbacca mom” has in her now-famous Internet video are in for a big surprise. The only way to get the toy — an electronic mask that trills like Chewie when the wearer opens his or her mouth — is to head over to a third-party retailer like Amazon or Ebay. But according to a CNBC report, shoppers should be ready for a serious markup on the electronic Wookie masks. The price tag now ranges from around $50 to upwards of $1,000, according to CNBC.
As for Ebay, shoppers should prepare to pay as little as $50 or as much as $850 for a new Chewbacca talking mask, according to the website. The CNBC report added that one Ebay shopper paid $499 for a new mask over the past weekend and at least three others paid around $119 on the auction site.
So where does that leave shoppers who just want to be Happy Wookies, like Payne? So far, there hasn’t been any word from Hasbro on whether the company plans to step up production on the electronic masks to match Chewie’s burst of popularity. And with the next Star Wars movie due in 2017, a huge merchandising push coming from Disney or Lucasfilms wouldn’t be likely until the holiday season.
But, as Master Yoda might say to would-be shoppers, “Patience, you must have.” A Toys ‘R Us rep confirmed to the New York Daily News on Monday that the retailer plans to restock its supply of Chewie masks in stores across the country and online later this week.
That's good news. And it leaves fans like me just enough time to watch a few more loops of Payne and her belly laugh in that hilarious video.
I mean, seriously. That just gets funnier every time I watch it.
Like Payne said, "It's the simple joys."