When things were leading up to Rogue One’s first trailer, some Star Wars fans were complaining that Lucasfilm wasn’t promoting the 2016 movie enough. I was even guilty of this. But when you look back at how the previous Star Wars movie was advertised, this new one is actually being a lot more open with information to fans.
Lets look at The Force Awakens first, and things with that were a tiny bit different as it was the first new Star Wars movie in a decade as well as the first one of the Disney era. But after the release of the movie people seemed to forget about the suffocating mystery surrounding the movie.
We got the first teaser for The Force Awakens on Black Friday in 2014. It was basically an announcement teaser, and really less than a minute of footage. The second teaser came out at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last April, and gave us about a minute and a half of actual footage.
Then during San Diego Comic Con last July they released the wrap-party video the cast saw as a Behind-the-Scenes feature. Then of course we got the full and final trailer during Monday Night Football.
Rogue One is being promoted slightly differently, but likely due to a lack of a Mystery Box we’re actually seeing a lot more content and it’s being presented much better.
Lucasfilm wisely decided to not begin promoting Rogue One until Episode VII was released on home video, and that’s likely how they’re going to begin the promotion of Episode VIII. Nearly immediately following the release of The Force Awakens on video, we got the first teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The teaser featured more footage than the first Force Awakens teaser, and it actually discussed the plot.
At Star Wars Celebration in London they released a behind-the-scenes reel for Rogue One (which was also apparently shown at the wrap party). They released that behind-the-scenes thing at Celebration instead of the new teaser because they were saving that teaser release for the Rio Olympics, which happened the following month.
We actually have MORE Rogue One footage and information at this point than we did for The Force Awakens, and there will still be a full theatrical trailer in about a month when tickets go on sale.
Even the merchandise is being promoted better. Lucasfilm learned from the mistakes made with The Force Awakens and decided to reveal all of the new toys before they began to leak out on store shelves early.
It’s not as if the endgame of Rogue One isn’t known, everyone has seen A New Hope, but there are secrets in the movie. Much like Rey using the lightsaber in The Force Awakens there are obviously big spoilers in Rogue One. But even the trailers are already starting to give stuff away. Everyone knows Vader is in the movie, and if you watch the latest trailer closely it looks like Alderaan wasn’t the first planet destroyed by the Empire’s battlestation.
It remains to be seen if Lucasfilm will be this open with Episode VIII next year, but if Rogue One is any indication they’ll take what they learned in 2016 about marketing a Star Wars movie and things will probably be even better for fans than they are this year.