Geek Girl in Hollywood: 'Star Wars' is doing fan service just right
Unlike many franchises, the powers behind "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" know how to keep fans stoked in the months leading up to its release.
This week we got a new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” from the “Star Wars” Korea YouTube channel, with a couple seconds of new footage. I, like many of you, watched it over and over again, freezing the frame and speculating about what it all means. I’ve had discussions about this with less, um, fanatical “Star Wars” fans than myself, and argued about why it all means so much to me. Why should an extra two seconds of footage make me all teary? (Shut up. I have allergies.) Why did I watch the trailer from “Star Wars Celebration” multiple times? Why does it matter?
I’ve said this publicly numerous times, but I love the way the marketing campaign is being run here. We’ve seen all kinds of stuff, and yet we really know very little. I hate films that give away everything in the trailer, yet I’m poring over this one to squeeze out every little detail. I think that’s the point.
Fans like me want to watch these things again and again for the sole purpose of spending hours talking with friends and fellow fans about what it all means. Who is that new alien? Can you really fight with a lightsaber with cross bars? (I just moderated “The Science of Star Wars” panel at San Diego Comic-Con, and, according to our weapons expert, you can.) Where is Luke hiding out? Is that Rey’s hand taking that lightsaber? Who are her parents? Oh god, tell me no one is going to mention midichlorians! We want the anticipation and the possibility that we ferreted out a detail or an idea before our friends do. We want these final few months to be about speculating and enjoying the anticipation, not knowing everything before we even see it.
Keeping the mystery while giving fans something to chew on is the perfect way to go about it, in my opinion. I’m excited, but by December 18, I won’t be burnt out. I loved “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” but the constant, almost daily, stream of set photos and character portraits (and it’s happening again with “X-Men: Apocalypse”) got so boring after a while, that it took me weeks to care enough to see the film. I felt like I’d watched it already. “Terminator: Genisys” gave away every plot point in the trailer.
There is a lot riding on “The Force Awakens.” Will it make up for the prequels? Can you un-break my heart? Is this film going to be so good that I’ll be willing to watch stand-alone films and sequels and buy all your toys? (Yeah, I’m probably going to buy all your toys.) Every “Star Wars” fan feels the fear (and we all know where fear leads). However, we also have the anticipation that this might just be good enough to change everything. In the meantime, this is a glorious tease and it’s nice to know that someone can do it right.