We’ve learned many things in the ThinkGeek office over the years. How to write “geek” in binary. The molecular composition of caffeine. How to solve a Rubik’s Cube. But by far the most important life lesson for us came earlier this year: don’t underestimate the power of the Force.
Calls! Letters! Emails! Tweets! We’re just happy you didn’t actually carry out your threats to burn down our offices…so far. One look at the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag we announced on April Fools’ Day, and you guys had to have it. Trouble was, it didn’t actually exist. That didn’t seem to matter much, because the begging (and threats) didn’t let up. In the end, we decided to take the course of self-preservation and put it into production.
So how did it happen?
Well, let’s fire up the ol’ holocron and take a look back.
The idea for the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag had been floating around our offices for a while, and during a brainstorming session for April Fools’ Day it got dusted off again.
Everyone appreciated its brilliance and hilarity, but no one was quite sure we could pull it off. Then, two of the more over-caffeinated members of the staff, Christian and Ty, used some crazy Jedi mind tricks and figured out what it would it would take to make it come to life. Without the horrible smell!
After we finished shoving as much irony into the product as possible (props to Hans for adding the lightsaber zipper pull!), we handed everything over to fellow geek and super-crafter, Misty, who sewed the whole thing up.
After a few minor Photoshop tweaks, the prototype was final and incredibly similar to the original sketches. The final product is nearly identical to that prototype, so we like to think we stayed true to our initial evisceration vision.
The prototype debuted on ThinkGeek on April Fools’ Day and the Internet exploded. Thousands of Star Wars fans tried to order it, and a tsunami of press coverage followed. We soon realized that we simply had to get approval from Lucasfilm and put it into production.
Fortunately the Star Wars overlords had seen the massive demand for the product and gave us their blessing. It didn’t hurt that most of the folks at Lucasfilm wanted a sleeping bag for themselves. We think they’re planning a totally awesome slumber party at Skywalker Ranch if you want to crash.
After that, the manufacturing monkeys got busy with the packaging monkeys and now our warehouse is filled with Tauntauns-a-plenty. All soft and snuggly and waiting for you to curl up inside for a game of “Rescue Luke from Hypothermia.”
And just in case you need further convincing that you absolutely must own the carcass of a Hoth biped, check out some of the other goodies we’ve posted for you, including Internet buzz, shots of the bag in action, and our personal favorite, a video re-creation of the pivotal Tauntaun disemboweling moment from Episode 5. Enjoy!
If you find yourself shivering on the ice-planet Hoth, it's good to have not only a mount, but temporary shelter. Slit open the belly of a Tauntaun, and it'll keep you warm as long as you can stand the smell!
Check out some of the Tauntaun coverage from around the INTERWEBZ! These are just a sampling of the mass hysteria we @ ThinkGeek have caused humanity over the past year.
ThinkGeek Releases New Tauntaun Sleeping Bag
Lets STAR WARS™ Fans Weather Harsh Hoth Nights
FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 19, 2009 – From the geniuses at ThinkGeek Labs, the furry Tauntaun responsible for saving Luke Skywalker from Hoth’s harsh climate will soon be providing warmth for long winter nights right here on Earth.
Originally displayed on the ThinkGeek website as an April Fool's Day joke, the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag quickly became a favorite of bloggers, prompting tens of thousands of customer requests. As a result, ThinkGeek worked with Lucasfilm to transform the concept into a fully licensed collectible.
The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag is a humorous take on the classic scene from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. In the movie, Han Solo saves Luke Skywalker from the freezing Hoth climate by cutting open the belly of a Tauntaun and shoving Luke inside for warmth.
"Shortly, everyone will be able to enjoy sleeping inside the cozy skin of a Tauntaun," said Ty Liotta, head of ThinkGeek Labs. "The mainstream availability of this product resulted from massive fan support, the encouragement of Lucasfilm and the expert manufacturing skills of Comic Images. Of course, we want to assure everyone that no actual Tauntauns were harmed during the development of this product."
The outside of the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag features the finest replica Tauntaun fur in the galaxy. Small touches - such as the lightsaber zipper pull, a plush head pillow and a saddle - contribute to a comfortable and authentic STAR WARS-style creation. On the inside, a custom-designed pattern mimics the look of intestines and completes the Tauntaun experience. Thankfully, the pungent odor of the Tauntaun is not replicated in the product.
"Invention is really at the heart of our business," said Caroline Offutt, president and GM of ThinkGeek. "Whether it's one of our interactive shirts, an innovative device like the Eviltron or the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, the brains behind ThinkGeek Labs continue to delight customers with products they can't find anywhere else."
The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag is available exclusively from ThinkGeek for $99.99 at thinkgeek.com/tauntaun.
ThinkGeek is the premier retailer for the global geek community. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Geeknet, Inc. (NASDAQ: LNUX), ThinkGeek was founded in 1999 to serve the distinct needs and interests of technology professionals and enthusiasts. Today, ThinkGeek has grown to become the first choice for innovative and imaginative gifts that appeal to the geek in everyone. For more information, please visit thinkgeek.com or call 1-888-GEEKSTUFF.
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