Along with directing and editing The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson had specific requirements for what was allowed to be shown in marketing for the new movie. Thanks to new details about the film and the promise of a full trailer, The Last Jedi nearly topped last week in social media buzz. With last night's release of the new trailer, however, it's likely all anyone will be talking about for quite some time.
While the first teaser and a handful of images from the film have clued fans into what they can expect when The Last Jedi arrives this December, the marketing has been very scarce so far. Part of that is the continuation of Lucasfilm's strategy with their new Star Wars films. After all, they practically promote themselves. But it seems that another factor was Rian Jonhson's specific aims for what the audience should be exposed to before the film arrives.
Yahoo had a lengthy chat with Johnson, the writer and director of The Last Jedi, which touched on porgs, Carrie Fisher, and what he wants to do next. As for the new trailer, Johnson reveals he had more than a little say in it.
“A year ago, maybe even more than that, my producer Ram [Bergman] and I sat down with the folks at Lucasfilm and said, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to reveal here and there, and this stuff we’re never going to reveal until the movie comes out.’ We came up with a ‘no-fly list’ of, under no circumstances is this shown or that shown. It is a fascinating process. It’s something that for me, just having been a fan my whole life, suddenly being behind the curtain and seeing how it works and seeing how deliberate it is, has been really fascinating.”
Before the release of the trailer last night, Johnson warned that moviegoers who wanted to see the film fresh should avoid the trailer. Though he didn't say there would be spoilers necessarily, he continued to make it clear that he thinks fans should avoid the marketing for the movie.
Now, we know that Johnson actually helped to craft the marketing strategy. While a big blockbuster has a number of departments out of the director's hand, it's not unusual for certain auteurs to still have a say in promotion. James Gunn, for instance, helped decide which scenes and songs would appear in the trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that wouldn't then be in the movie.
It looks as if Johnson took a similar approach, but this time blacklisting certain moments that weren't allowed into any trailers. Thanks to his oversight, it seems that there will still be plenty of surprises left when The Last Jedi arrives.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019