in Lucas created the current form of merchandising. But Walt Disney himself was the first to mass license a popular character. Mickey Mouse was appearing on everything shortly after he appeared. Before Lucas pre-release merchandise was reserved for television series. It was seen as marketing and if a show was a success it could be on the shelves for years. Lucas was the first to use this approach for a single film. I wonder what would have happened if Walt Disney had been still alive when Lucas pitched it to the studio? Walt was a forward thinker. I think he would have seen the potential in Star Wars and Lucas himself.