• Bloomberg

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Not since the days of the Millennium Falcon has R2-D2 had such a sweet ride.

All Nippon Airways Co., Japan’s largest airline, will start flying a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner painted with the image of the famous robot on its Tokyo-Vancouver route from October, ahead of the release of the latest “Star Wars” movie later this year.

The unit of ANA Holdings Inc. also will paint another Star Wars character, BB-8, on a 777 serving North America from March, and decorate a third with the franchise’s name to fly domestic routes from November, the carrier said Tuesday in Tokyo. ANA will also offer the six currently released Star Wars movies on its in-flight entertainment system, it said.

Walt Disney Co., which acquired the rights to the “Star Wars” franchise in 2012, is teaming up with companies worldwide to promote “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” to be released Dec. 18. Sony Corp. has unveiled a Darth Vader-shaped version of its PlayStation 4 game console and Electronic Arts Inc. announced a Star Wars Battlefront video game, both to be released a month before the movie starts screening.

“We look forward to providing our passengers with an engaging in-flight experience as they travel our planet,” Osamu Shinobe, president of All Nippon Airways, said in the statement.

The airline will also feature Star Wars characters on headrest covers, paper napkins and cups in the planes, it said.

ANA has put science fiction characters on its planes before, painting Gundam, a giant robot, on aircraft in 2010.

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