Remember that Tauntaun sleeping bag that was supposedly for sale on Think Geek but wasn't, because it was April Fools and they were only kidding? So many people wanted it and got angry that it wasn't available. The company has now decided to try to bring it to life for real--if the suits at Lucasfilms will grant them a license.
Think Geek has done great April Fools prank products before (caffeinated meatloaf, anyone?), but this one was exceptional. It had the head of a Tauntaun, a fur outer lining, an inner lining with an intestine pattern, and a tiny light saber on the zipper to simulate the slicing action Han Solo performed to open the animal up so he could stuff Luke into it.
Think Geek's PR guy, Shane Peterman, talked with me on the record about the perils of Tauntaun sleeping bag pranks.
On the website it says an "overwhelming tsunami" of people tried to buy it. Can you quantify that tsunami for me?
The "overwhelming tsunami" is in the tens of thousands, and that's just taking into account people that have signed up to be emailed if/when the idea becomes a reality. I'd guess that between the people that are signed up, and people that are just keeping an eye on it, waiting to see what happens, that number is a bit higher.
Will you ever sell the Tauntaun sleeping bag for real?
We are definitely trying to make it in to an actual item to be sold on our site. As of right now, it's still an "if," but it's turning in to more of a "when." Things are looking pretty good, we just don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. There's certainly been enough of a demand, both from customers and from those of us that work here. Right now, we're aiming to have it available for the holidays, or at the latest, the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back next spring.
Have you gotten the go-ahead from Lucas?
We're still working with Lucas to get approval for a final design. Again, it's looking good, we just can't say too much right now since it's still in the works.
What was the genesis of the Tauntaun sleeping bag?
It was originally posted as an April Fools joke, though the idea for it had actually been floating around our office for a good while, along with a couple of different sketches of what it could look like. The initial sketches are pretty close to what the prototype that we "launched" on April Fools Day ended up looking like.
Did people actually try to order the thing?
Actually yeah, a LOT of people tried to order it, I think more than any previous April Fools products. We got a ton of emails and phone calls from people after they tried to order it, ranging from "Ha ha, you got me" to downright angry at us, since the product wasn't real.
Who came up with the original design?
The initial idea, like a lot of ideas for our products, was the result of some brainstorming between a couple of people here, with the original design being handled by our graphic designer, Christian Blado. Once he came up with the initial design of it, Ty Liotta (who is the mastermind behind the product, really) worked with him to make the transition from drawing to product. The end result, once it is for sale on our site, will more than likely look a bit different than that design.
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The joke price was $39 bucks. Is that how much it will really cost?
The price will very likely go up a bit once we actually make the sleeping bag. Since we haven't gotten to the production stage yet, it's hard to say what the price will be, unfortunately. I think it's safe to assume that the kids size will be at a lower cost than the adult size, that much I'm pretty sure of. The cost of material and the actual production of it will dictate what the retail cost will be.
So, is there a prototype model floating around somewhere?
If I'm not mistaken, there are a few prototypes that exist right now. The one used for the product shots is owned by us, and there are a couple of others that have been made for Lucasfilm to review.