It’s been almost six months since audiences got their first glimpse at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and since then they’ve been hungry for more. But is it possible that less is more when it comes to promoting a movie that everyone wants to see already?
Heat Vision‘s Ryan Parker and Graeme McMillan — no strangers to impatiently demanding trailers from a galaxy far, far away — couldn’t help but wonder whether audiences are really overdue for another look at The Last Jedi, or if it’s all a self-imposed Jedi Mind Trick.
Parker: I can see why fans are chomping at the bit for a new Last Jedi trailer. All excitement and expectations aside, I think a lot of the eagerness comes from all the musical chairs that has been played with the franchise in the past year. Whether fans are nervous or have more confidence for the Han Solo film or Episode IX thanks to the changes in directors, it is clear they want something they can sink their lightsabers into now.
And if it feels like it is taking forever for another trailer, one answer might be that multiple teasers for The Force Awakens and Rogue One had been released by now. The official The Force Awakens trailer was released in October 2015, so it stands to reason next month is when we will get a second Last Jedi trailer.
McMillan: But even that feels surprisingly late, somehow. You’re right; The Force Awakens had two “teaser” trailers by this point in its release year — one from November 2014, and a second in April 2015 — and Rogue One had a teaser and a full trailer (April and August 2016, respectively). That breeds this idea that we should have seen more by now, and not just behind-the-scenes videos introducing the Porgs, as loveable as they are. With everything else that’s going on with the franchise, putting out a Last Jedi trailer feels like the ideal way to remind fans, “Hey, we know what we’re doing.” Stay on target, and all that.
Parker: Honestly, at this point, I don’t want another trailer. I am so hyped for the film and so happy I know next to nothing about it thanks to that first trailer, I would like to experience the movie just like this. And for those who say, “Well just don’t watch it then…” Right. Even if I and others of the same persuasion were to not watch, thanks to the Internet, it would be impossible to ignore. Little pieces here and there will get out.
McMillan: You and Adam Driver are on the same page, apparently; he said a few months back that he’d be into the idea of no promotion for the movie altogether. Me, I’m not convinced — one of my formative nerd experiences was seeing a clip from Return of the Jedi on TV before it was released, with the Rebels in space preparing to storm the Death Star, and I was bewitched by it. I just wanted to know everything that happened before and after it: Lando was piloting the Millennium Falcon, did that mean they didn’t rescue Han? What was going on with the alien he was co-piloting with? Were they going to be successful? It just made me more excited for the movie, not less.
Then again, I also tried to decode the plot of the movie from all the pre-release toys. I think I was in training for what I do for a living now without realizing it. Maybe that invalidates my entire argument, but at the same time, isn’t the speculation part of the fun of being a fan? It really was for me when I was a kid: the toys and the Marvel comics and the clips on TV and the trailers were all part of this growing feeling of it’s coming and it’s going to be amazing.
Parker: Seriously though, do we really need four or five trailers for a film these days? That is a much larger discussion for another time, but I will say now that so much is ruined in multiple trailers, I think. My best argument for this point is that in that second teaser for The Force Awakens, we see Han Solo and Chewie for the first time in decades, I totally teared up. Yup. I did. That tiny glimpse was perfect. Then came the official trailer with way more Han. Was it cool? Sure. But it also ruined what would have been an even more amazing experience seeing Han in the film. Still, it must be acknowledged that there were multiple teasers and trailers for the original trilogy back in the day. It’s not like the bombardment is new.
McMillan: Oh, I totally agree with you that there tend to be too many trailers for some movies, although I don’t think Star Wars falls into that category at all. But you’re right that there are some things that should be saved for the actual movie: Imagine if we’d seen Luke at any point in The Force Awakens trailers! That would have changed the way we’d have watched the entire movie, because we’d know he’d show up eventually. I think that’s one of the problems with the Rogue One trailers, actually. Wouldn’t it have been so much more exciting to have learned that Darth Vader was in the movie while actually watching the movie? But, for me, that’s less about the number of trailers than what you put in them. I want to be teased, not spoiled, you know?
That said: If you think I’m not going to be eagerly dissecting the next trailer no matter what is spoiled in there, I’ve got a defective R2 unit I should probably sell you. One previous owner, fell off the back of a sandcrawler…