Star Wars movies have never been short on buzz. Following the release last year of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which became the highest-grossing film in U.S. box office history, the Star Wars franchise undoubtedly reclaimed its spot as the biggest thing going in American popular culture. And with Star Wars movies set to arrive every year for the foreseeable future, that’s probably not a title that it’s going to surrender easily.
The next Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is set to arrive this December and the second trailer for that film made its debut last week, during NBC’s broadcast of the Summer Olympics. The trailer was generally well-received - and not only because it included a long-awaited appearance by Darth Vader. Now though, we know that the online buzz around the new film is off the charts.
According to figures from the social media research firm RelishMix, as cited by Deadline, the new trailer for Rogue One went viral at a rate of 25:1, compared to the 10:1 average rate for a movie trailer. In addition, the trailer has notched 34.2 million online views as of Monday morning, including 16 million on Facebook and more than 14 million from the official Star Wars YouTube channel.
That’s not all the good news for the Rogue One trailer either, according to RelishMix. It notched 1 million views per hour for the first 24 hours, which is in line with the performance of the trailer for The Force Awakens that was launched during a Monday Night Football broadcast last October. Now, the Rogue One trailer's online performance has dwarfed those of promos for Captain America: Civil War, Jason Bourne, X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool and The Jungle Book that debuted in conjunction with the Super Bowl in February.
Clearly, Rogue One has a lot going for it. Set prior to the events of A New Hope and featuring a nearly entirely-new group of characters, the film offers a look into a previously little-explored corner of the Star Wars mythology. And most importantly of all, it’s a new Star Wars movie. Those tend to drive certain amounts of excitement regardless of other elements.
True, the idea of a Star Wars movie outside the main “Episode” structure of the previous films is somewhat untested, and there isn’t exactly anyone in the cast who’s a proven box office draw. But Darth Vader certainly is - as is the Star Wars name itself.
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.