Like most of you, I have been clawing my way out of the avalanche of TV spots for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Just like J.J. Abrams back in 2015 warned for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the marketing heads at Disney will begin to inundate audiences to get their keisters in the seats starting next Thursday. Spoilers and film scenes be damned, crank out those TV spots, social media clips and just to catapult this lunacy over the top, throw in a special event screening recorded on a potato phone. This marketing mania is ridiculous, and as the Owner of this house of ill repute in the clouds, I stopped posting these ads in hopes of not teasing our readers any more than they already are.
I am a firm believer in smart marketing and even spoilers as an excellent way to celebrate Star Wars throughout the year and not just before a film’s release. We love it when a cup of C-3PO with a red arm shows up in a Walmart in Mexico. We can’t wait for the first image of Maz Kanata showing up on a kids porta potty at Target. Even the heavy stuff like the concept art drop in 2014-images that kept us theorizing, debating and talking Star Wars for 20 months. But the latest mudslide of TV spots and ads for a film due for release in a mere few weeks is nuts. It’s getting to a point for the masses where we are willing as a group to forgo the teases and imagery for a few weeks of anticipation. J.J. Abrams was right to keep the Disney Marketing Mad Men advertisers in check and release some ads before the film and some soon after it’s debut. Even then with the deliberate strictness of materials delved out to the public, there still were missteps. Like when Maz was shown handing Luke’s lightsaber to Finn during the attack on her castle. A move that had Disney pulling the ad. Even in the heyday of careful quality control, images and scenes still got out into the masses.
In just the last week for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we have seen a big scene reveal for Darth Vader in the film. The reveal of Grand Moff Tarkin and Jimmy Smitts and even the Death Star attacking Jedha. A scene which I am sure will be a significant emotional plot point for the film. I have always set the opinion in concrete that there is a middle ground for spoilers where they can be healthy for a franchise. But the volume of these movie ads is just space bananas.
Now, just to add the icing on the cake, a tv ad today revealed a split second scene that could spoil fans of the animation series Star Wars Rebels. Hidden away in that beautiful scene of Rebels ships engaging the Empire over Scarif in the latest TV ad, we see what looks to be the Rebels ship, the Ghost. An Easter egg that really would have had fans of the series jumping out of their seats. Especially if the scene includes the courageous voice of Hera checking in over the comms. These are moments that deserve to be seen on the big screen, not as a still on Twitter or worse, on the living room TV with the kids climbing all over you. Lots of effort goes into the secrecy at Lucasfilm to make sure the fans are surprised till the release of the movie and thank God for that. Because in the real world, things are always going to get out, but we hope to put stock in outlets that supply this information to know where the borders of that sandbox lie. We need the steadfast information rampart of Lucasfilm and the decency of those mid-level trades and Star Wars fan sites to make the right call on a story. However, all the care in the world is all for not if Disney Marketing is doing what they always do -take the best scenes and moments of a film and splatter them across every platform possible. In most respects, Disney marketing has released more spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in these few weeks than all the fan sites and Hollywood Trades combined in the last two years.
Marketing is a vital cog in this movie machine to make it a commercial success and I have no illusions of that. However, the same care that goes into the creation and production of these films must be quality controlled in the marketing materials in the final stretch. It doesn’t take much to sit someone in front of a projector, and have them say “Hey is that the Ghost?”.
I would like to know what you guys think on this. Have I finally become the old man screaming to get off my lawn? Leave your comments below or head on over to our brand new forums and give us your take.