After spending the last two months breaking down every frame of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser, fans are ready for the second preview for this year’s blockbuster, but they will probably have a little ways to wait. Lucasfilm gave viewers their first taste of Rian Johnson’s film at Star Wars Celebration Orlando back in April with a short trailer that established the tone and posed some intriguing questions for viewers to discuss. The studio continued the marketing campaign in May with a Vanity Fair spread that revealed new photos and details from the film, but nothing can truly take the place of actual footage to dissect. With just six months to go until the film’s premiere (as of this writing), many are wondering when a full-length trailer will make its way online.
As is frequently the case with the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the ever-churning rumor mill has been a source of supposed information, with “leaked” footage descriptions and possible rundowns of what’ll be shown in the next trailer emerging recently. However, fans can’t believe every piece of speculation they hear, and if Lucasfilm’s history is anything to go by, it’s not worth reading too much (or anything) into the latest theories. Disney may not even know all the ins and outs of the Episode VIII advertising yet, so fans (who have minimal information to go off of) are certainly in the dark.
Looking at the Last Jedi trailer, it’s apparent Lucasfilm is trying to emulate the strategies that were so successful for The Force Awakens. That teaser bears strong amounts of resemblance to the iconic “Chewie, we’re home” preview that brought the house down during Celebration 2015. Given the tremendous box office numbers posted by Episode VII, it’s no wonder the studio is interested in replicating a similar pattern. Just like its predecessor, Star Wars 8 has largely been shrouded in mystery from day one, with Internet speculation fueling much of the talk about the film. Granted, many of these reports have been confirmed through quotes from the filmmakers and merchandise packaging, but it’s always been difficult to get a read on things. J.J. Abrams is no longer directing, yet the mystery box remains in full effect.
Both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi saw teasers come out in April the years of their respective releases. In the case of the former, it did not receive another trailer until October 2015, coinciding with tickets going on sale. Yes, the first official Star Wars 7 teaser was released in November 2014 (featuring a “roll call” of the new cast), but that was a special situation. Fans had yet to see anything from the movie, the first new Star Wars installment in 10 years. That announcement teaser was conceived as a special gift for moviegoers and not much else. Last year, Lucasfilm let spinoff Rogue One have its moment in the sun and didn’t unveil the first Episode VIII teaser until the anthology film was out on Blu-ray. Just because Episode VII got three trailers doesn’t mean the other two entries of the sequel trilogy will.
Viewers may recall that Rogue One likewise received a trio of trailers, as the original April 2016 teaser was followed by longer trailers in August and October of that year. However, that scenario was also somewhat unique. Gareth Edwards’ movie was the first ever live-action spinoff, so Lucasfilm had to operate differently in order to get casual audiences on board. Even though Rogue One followed The Force Awakens on the release schedule, its events were set 34 years before Episode VII in the timeline and it featured a new cast of characters. Going a little overboard on marketing (two trailers in a three month span) was a necessity in order to sell everyone on the premise and clear up any confusion. In contrast, the Episode VIII teaser shows Rey, Luke Skywalker, BB-8, and the other recognizable faces from The Force Awakens, so everyone knows this is the sequel to the 2015 phenomenon. There’s no real need to overdo it with previews this time around.
And that’s really the point here. Lucasfilm has very little to gain by releasing another Last Jedi trailer at some point in the near future. The Celebration teaser debuted just two short months ago and has been playing in front of several major tentpoles throughout the summer movie season. Releasing another preview this summer would come across as arbitrary. Unlike last year, when the summer Olympics were in full swing when the second Rogue One trailer dropped, there are no major events that could serve as a similar platform in 2017. It’s true July sees two big conventions in the form of D23 and San Diego Comic-Con, but fans should temper expectations before looking to those for a possible trailer date. The former has never been the place for massive trailer reveals, and Lucasfilm could skip the latter altogether. After Celebration and a key Star Wars presence at D23, Disney may not have much to bring for the Comic-Con crowd. It’s possible fans are treated to a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel, similar to Force Awakens and Rogue One at the same point in their pre-release phases, but probably nothing else.
The bottom line is that there’s no real reason to release another Episode VIII trailer at this point in time, and there probably won’t be another until the fall around the time tickets are available for pre-order (just like The Force Awakens) and the studio wants to get the hype train rolling again. It’s expected D23 will contain details about the upcoming Han Solo spinoff film and a possible announcement regarding the third Star Wars anthology, so Lucasfilm wouldn’t want to detract from those revelations with a big Last Jedi push. Star Wars 8 is in the unique position where awareness is already sky-high even though so little has been revealed. It conceivably could enter theaters with no marketing at all and still challenge commercial records, making an overabundance of trailer and TV spots a moot point. One of the key selling points of The Force Awakens was the great unknown, and many would prefer things stay the same for the followup. With everyone already on board for the continuation of the Skywalker saga, it’ll probably be a while before fans get another proper look at the film, keeping in line with how Lucasfilm has conducted business before.