Fans of a galaxy far, far away are still caught up in the hoopla of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it continues to single-handedly rewrite the box office record book, but soon they'll be turning their attention to the next Star Wars film. In December 2016, Lucasfilm will release the first movie that takes place outside the iconic Skywalker saga: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The project revolves around the group of Rebels responsible for stealing the original Death Star plans, a band of heroes alluded to in A New Hope's famous text crawl.
In the lead up to The Force Awakens, there was some speculation that Lucasfilm would include a teaser for Rogue One with Episode VII (either a trailer or a post-credits button), but that did not happen. Since the spinoff is not connected to the plot of The Force Awakens, it arguably made the most sense to hold off on any Rogue One promotional items. Still, moviegoers are greatly anticipating Gareth Edwards' film, so when might they get a look at what he has in store?
According to Star Wars Time, the first Rogue One trailer will be attached to prints of Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, which hits theaters May 6, 2016. This development is rather obvious, seeing that Disney owns both Lucasfilm and Marvel. It's only logical for them to advertise one big tentpole in front of another and begin to truly raise awareness for the Star Wars standalone.
In all likelihood, Lucasfilm will unveil a trailer online prior to Civil War's premiere. Fans may recall that the second Force Awakens teaser trailer debuted in April 2015 at Star Wars Celebration and later played in front of various summer films. Like The Force Awakens, Rogue One will open in the middle of December, so it makes sense for the studio to follow a similar trailer release schedule and put something out in the springtime. Given how successful the Star Wars 7 marketing campaign was, it wouldn't be surprising if any Rogue One preview was light on story details and just set the tone at this stage in the game.
Holding off a Rogue One teaser until April or May also makes sense for the Star Wars franchise as a whole. Coming out just three weeks ago, The Force Awakens is still dominating the pop culture zeitgeist and continues to draw in large crowds. Lucasfilm is being smart by keeping the focus on Episode VII for now, since they'd run the risk of Rogue One being overshadowed if they came out with a trailer now. In a few months, the buzz surrounding The Force Awakens will have cooled down (the movie will be available on home media by then) and everyone will be ready to move on. And that still gives Lucasfilm about seven months to promote Rogue One, which is plenty of time.
The first Rogue One trailer will be a great point of interest for Star Wars fans. Lucasfilm has stated they plan to blend multiple genres with the Anthology films to give each one its own unique feel. Edwards intends for Rogue One to have the tone of a war movie, which will certainly be different from the space opera vibe of the saga installments. How this is executed will go a long way in determining Rogue One's longterm success, and the best way to sell audiences on the idea is to put together a compelling preview that leaves fans wanting more. With the Mouse House behind it, Rogue One should be able to pull that off.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Star Wars Time