With all eyes on Anaheim, California, on Thursday for the premiere of the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Japan's All Nippon Airways used Star Wars Celebration to unveil the latest addition to its fleet: an R2-D2-themed Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Part of a five-year agreement with Disney and Lucasfilm, the new livery will debut this fall, although its international routes haven't been determined. Both the announcement and the website ANA Planet suggest the "ANA Star Wars Project" will extend beyond a single jet's droid motif, but no details were offered. Perhaps C3-PO and Darth Vader will get their own aircraft as well.
"We’re excited to be involved in this collaboration with ANA, one of the world's leading 5-star airlines,” Kayleen Walters, Lucasfilm's vice president of marketing, said in a statement. “We’re proud of the innovative R2-D2 design, and we look forward to witnessing the first-ever flight of a passenger aircraft featuring a Star Wars character. We’re confident that Star Wars fans around the world will absolutely love this design."
While this marks the first time a Star Wars character has been emblazoned on an aircraft, it's certainly not the first time a carrier has embraced such cross-promotion. Air New Zealand famously teamed with Warner Bros. for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, while Taiwan's EVA Air has its own Hello Kitty craft. More recently, Brussels Airlines introduced a Tintin-themed Airbus, and Thai Smile rolled out its new Adventure Time livery.