Ever since the infamous "Empty Box" campaign by Kenner in 1977, moviegoers have been enamored with Star Wars merchandise. The franchise's widespread appeal has turned it into one of the most popular properties in all of pop culture, and fans of all ages eagerly collect all the latest products that come out. With Disney releasing a new Star Wars film annually for the foreseeable future, tie-in products are aplenty on store shelves these days. The last two years, Lucasfilm has organized the Force Friday holiday, making the unveiling of the first wave of toys a major event.
The studio got extremely creative with how they promoted their line for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, teaming up with a group of fans for the "Go Rogue" stop-motion animation series. The videos were made with actual Rogue One toys that are now available. And with people lining up to buy their own Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor action figures, they too are going to have a chance to show off their storytelling talents thanks to a new contest launched by Disney.
In a press release, the Mouse House announced the commencement of the Go Rogue Contest, where fans can submit their own videos, using the various products bought to celebrate Force Friday. Rogue One director Gareth Edwards is part of the judging panel that will choose the winning video. Winners will be invited to an early screening of the spinoff at Lucasfilm in San Francisco, with the added bonus of seeing their short play before the film. This is a global contest, meaning Star Wars fans across the world are eligible.
Go Rogue runs from September 30 through October 21, 2016. Teen and adult fans can visit StarWars.com/GoRogue to learn more information and download an asset pack that includes music and background scenery. Those aged 8 - 12 can go to Disney.com/MyRogueStory to see how they can enter. To inspire participants, Maker Studios has posted a YouTube playlist consisting of videos made by their leading digital creators, which include an adventure where toys come to life and an imaginative unboxing featuring Star Wars super fans. More videos will follow, but as of this writing three are online to watch.
Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Jimmy Pitaro discussed the contest by saying, “Fans play a special part in Star Wars storytelling, posting thousands of videos online every day. This contest is a tribute to all the creativity and passion that fuels Star Wars fandom across generations." It's true that there is no shortage of Star Wars fan films on the Internet, and it's nice to see the studio behind the mega franchise get in on all the fun with this contest. Since the Disney acquisition, Lucasfilm has done an admirable job of showing appreciation towards their expansive fan base, and this is just another example of that.
Per the official sweepstakes site, there are only three grand prizes available, meaning that competitors will have to think long and hard about how to make their video the best. The criteria is multifaceted, as the judges will look at aspects such as understanding of animation/filmmaking, quality of storytelling, character development, and originality. It won't be easy, but all who enter should have a lot of fun - even if they don't come out on top.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.