As announced back at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, Disney and Lucasfilm have teamed with FIRST, the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as part of the Star Wars: Force for Change philanthropic initiative. As a result of this partnership, Star Wars Kids has launched “Galactic Builders,” a new digital series.

  • The new series, which debuted yesterday, will have a weekly run of four episodes and will show kids how technology and robotics play a key role in making Star Wars stories and products come to life.
  • The first episode features FIRST students Daniel and Lyndsay as they visit Hasbro HQ and meet Phil Sage and Melissa Hershey, who helped create the Ultimate Interactive D-O App-controlled Droid toy.
  • In addition to the series, Disney and Lucasfilm have provided FIRST with a $1.5 million in-kind donation and mentorship resources.
  • FIRST‘s global robotics community consists of over 600,000 students, who work in teams to build robots that they then put to work at competitions, fostering an environment of creativity and cooperation.
  • “Galactic Builders” gave some of those students the opportunity to meet and discuss engineering and robotics with makers from Hasbro, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Industrial Light & Magic.
  • Each episode will be hosted by FIRST students who  ask the spokespeople how they intersect technology and robotics with their work in the Star Wars universe.

What they’re saying:

  • Lucasfilm general manager Lynwen Brennan: “Lucasfilm and FIRST are a great match. Our hope is that the Star Wars movies will help inspire the next generation of innovators, to work with their teammates and have fun exploring robotics and pushing technology. We hope it will be a first step in their journey into engineering and computer science careers and maybe even lead them to being part of the Lucasfilm team someday.”
  • Matt Denton, co-creator of BB-8, on speaking with FIRST students: “It’s always a huge pleasure, to be honest. It’s very nice being able to tell people about another area of engineering that they might not have thought about, in films and entertainment. I think that gets people a little bit excited. They probably see the glamorous side of it — not that it’s all glamorous — but it is different. Working in film suits me because the creative side of my brain fights the engineering side all the time. I think it’s quite good for kids to see that there are alternatives. It doesn’t have to be straight engineering if they have a creative streak. That, I think, is pretty important.”