BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- You don't need a galactic starship to reach the land of droids and Death Stars.
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" held its world premiere in Hollywood on Monday night. It's the final episode out of nine movies in the celebrated cinematic saga that goes back to 1977. The movie will be in theaters worldwide on December 20.
That galaxy far, far away is closer than fans in the Kansas City metro may realize. Business owner Shawn McConnell said he opened Fanboy Toys in Blue Springs with a new hope. McConnell opened his doors in March, specializing in wall-to-wall Star Wars keepsakes. Business is booming, with the upcoming movie's arrival just days away. McConnnell joked that the holiday shopping season is significant too.
"I have toys. I have collectibles," McConnell smiled. "I take great pride in trying to make "Star Wars" collecting affordable again. The internet has gotten things out of control. I try to keep things affordable."
Some of McConnell's top stock will cost you thousands, such as lifelike working droids like C-3PO and R2-D2. Other small items will cost customers as cheap as two dollars apiece. McConnell said Fanboy Toys is one of only two "Star Wars" only retail shops in the U.S. McConnell said the other is based in Dallas, Texas.
"I get a lot of customers who come in and thank me. Thank you for being here. I've been looking for a store like yours all my life," McConnell said on Tuesday.
McConnell said there's an intergalactic assault of sorts on his store, with the holiday shopping season using the force. Fans of the movies are coming by the bunches to check out his store. Fanboy Toys' owner says his customers range from all ages and backgrounds, and they're all excited for Thursday night's premiere from a galaxy far, far away.
"When I first came in and met Shawn, it's great. He`s another enthusiast. He`s not just here to make money. He`s here because he loves Star Wars," Kyle Ray, a customer, said.
"I grew up with Star Wars all my life. I collected stuff when I was a kid. When I walk in here, it`s like I`m going back in time a little bit," Mark Ditzenberger, another regular customer, said.
"Here I am, 42 years later, and I get to see the very end," McConnell said. "I`m also excited to see where it`s going next."
Hollywood business analysts report an expected box office take of $450 million from "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" in its opening weekend. "Star Wars" has also seen a recent boost in popularity, thanks to the Disney Plus streaming series "The Mandalorian."