Lucasfilm didn't waste any time shifting gears from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Two days after the former became available on Blu-ray, the studio unveiled the teaser trailer for the latter, giving audiences their first real taste of the first live-action spinoff. Ever since the preview debuted, fans have been studying each frame, trying to piece everything together and figure out what all the new characters are all about. Obviously, theories have been aplenty with little official information out there.
As many people know by now, the arrival of a new Star Wars film is merely the tip of the iceberg for Disney. The property is a massive licensing machine, with all sorts of tie-in materials being produced to capitalize on the hype and anticipation. As was the case last year, there's a Force Friday event planned for September 2016, which will serve as the coming out party for all the Rogue One toys and collectibles. Though there's still a ways to wait before everything hits shelves, fans can now get a good look at the packaging the merchandise will be housed in.
The design was shared on the official Star Wars Instagram account, meaning it has been finalized as Lucasfilm prepares for the next Force Friday. There's a strong Imperial presence on the box, which features AT-ATs, TIE Fighters, and one of the new Death Troopers that will be making their first big screen appearance:
Those who were never enamored with the A Star Wars Story subtitle for Rogue One will note that the packaging makes no mention of the classification and presents the title as simply Star Wars: Rogue One. However, this is not out of the ordinary. Throughout the franchise's history, very rarely has the full name for the movie promoted been used on action figure boxes and the like. In 1980, Kenner sold toys from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, not Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. There's a limited amount of space on the case, and Star Wars is the name that draws people in. It was always going to be in big letters on the front, so this shouldn't be read as a sign that Lucasfilm is now experiencing doubts about their branding for the anthology films. The movies need some differentiation between the saga films and the spinoffs; the merchandise does not.
While there isn't much to garner here, it nevertheless is exciting to see Lucasfilm begin their big push for Rogue One. The studio was tremendously successful in their build-up to The Force Awakens, so there's little reason to doubt they'll be able to put together another stellar marketing campaign. They already got off to a great start, since the teaser was generally well-received by the fan community. Under the Disney leadership, Star Wars appears to be in strong hands, making it no surprise that Rogue One entered 2016 as the most anticipated film of the year. And if it's anything like Force Awakens, the wait will have been well worth it.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will see theatrical release in the U.S. on December 16th, 2016, followed byStar Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 2017; the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018; Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019; and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.