In brief: If you are a Star Wars fanatic and have Facebook Messenger on your phone, you could be in for a treat. The company has partnered with Disney to promote the next episode of the franchise, The Rise of Skywalker. The app will be getting limited edition Star Wars features in an update that started rolling out today.
Facebook announced on Thursday that it is bringing Star Wars-themed features to its Messenger app. The new "limited-edition" goodies include a chat theme, stickers, reactions, and AR effects. The company said it has partnered with Disney to promote the December 20 release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The chat theme frames your messages in a way that is very much similar to the dark mode on other apps. Users' text appears in a blue balloon, while replies from others are in a dark gray. Messages appear on a starlit background. This one for me is the coolest feature.
The stickers are expectedly cartoony and a little bit cheesy, but show me chat stickers that aren't. The reactions replace the usual smileys and such with Star Wars characters emoting those feelings. It's all a bit cutesy, but cool if for no other reason than being a change of pace.
The AR effects utilize Messenger's camera to provide backgrounds and overlays during video chats and when taking selfies. There are three options. One uses a star-streaked backdrop resembling a jump to hyperspace. Another has an overlay to make it look like you are wearing an X-Wing pilot's suit and helmet against a cockpit background. The third adds a strange-looking blue and red lighting effect representing the battle between the dark and light side of the Force.
The features started rolling out today and are free to use. It is unclear what Facebook means when it says "limited-edition." It could indicate that the effects are limited-time, but the announcement did not say one way or the other. If you want to check them out, it's probably better to do it now versus later. Facebook Messenger for Android is available to download here.