‘The Last Jedi’ Director And Star Want Us To Avoid ‘Star Wars’ Marketing, Somehow – Forbes
Over the last week, we’ve been flooded with information regarding Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We still have three full months until release, and the hype train has barely left the station.
Mark Hamill has talked about his reluctance in accepting Luke’s sudden loss of hope, feeling that it went against everything his character stood for.
We’ve heard that Princess Leia’s final moments will be a perfect send-off, and that she has a kind of mother/son relationship with Poe Cameron. We know that Rey’s parentage will finally be revealed, and that it will ultimately turn out to be unimportant. You hear that, fan theorists? Not everybody in the Star Wars universe has to be a secret Skywalker.
Some light has been shed on Benicio Del Toro’s mysterious character; apparently he’s an amoral code breaker who doesn’t pledge allegiance to either side, and is untrustworthy. We’ve even been given a detailed breakdown on the creatures who inhabit Luke Skywalker’s barren island, and the soldiers who guard Supreme Leader Snoke.
All of these details, and much more, are being slowly drip-fed from Entertainment Weekly’s coverage of The Last Jedi. But it’s already more than enough. We, the audience, are like gluttonous children crying out for more sickly sweets, ignoring our aching tummies and stuffing more candy in our mouths. We’re furious at the thought of the film being spoiled. But at the same time, we’ll click every headline that hints at plot details, and pick through every trailer with a fine-tooth comb.
Mark Hamill and Rian Johnston understand that spoilers tend to spoil. Both men, helpless against the incoming onslaught of unnecessary information, tweeted out warnings to the public to ignore the marketing for The Last Jedi. But we won’t listen.
And nobody, star or director, will stop Disney from cutting trailers that show every twist, turn, and perhaps even the climax of the story, like the trailer for Batman V. Superman. They can’t stop the media obsessing over every piece of leaked information, or stop the early reviews from describing the entire plotline.
It’s a shame, because if there’s one franchise in the world that doesn’t actually need marketing, it’s Star Wars. Disney could release a single poster, that states “VIII” in Star Wars font, and fans would foam at the mouth. They’d queue outside the cinema for days, starved by the lack of spoilers. It’d be genius, really.
Imagine the furious, never-ending frenzy of online speculation if we weren’t given any information at all. Fans would have to write their own movie, sewn together from a patchwork of horrible fan theories, just so they could have something to analyze.
It says a lot about modern-day marketing that the director of a blockbuster is urging fans to, somehow, avoid all marketing surrounding the biggest film of the year. They give us far too much, build up the hype to an impossible standard. When we finally enter the theatre, we’ve already built up an image of what the film will be like, and will be invariably disappointed. We’ve already seen the funniest and most dramatic moments from the trailers. We will try to laugh and gasp like it’s the first time, but it’s not.
I was underwhelmed the first time I watched the original Star Wars, because there were no surprises left for me. Every single scene had a weird familiarity. In a sense, I’d already seen the film, through the warped lens of parody and homage. It sucked away the excitement, and made me feel like I was watching something old and tired, instead of groundbreaking. That’s the unfortunate inevitability of watching an influential classic at a late age.
But watching a hyped-up blockbuster isn’t too different. By connecting hardcore fans, lukewarm fans, and inhumanly observant savants, the internet makes it practically impossible to avoid major spoilers.
The lucky ones that saw the original Star Wars trilogy in theatres truly had their minds blown, because they were watching cinematic history unfold before their eyes. Star Wars can never recapture that original spirit of excitement, only the faint echo of nostalgia.