The Super Bowl has been and gone, and unlike many fans had predicted, we weren’t given a trailer for Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. While a lack of Super Bowl trailer was a disappointment, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Fighting through the Super Bowl noise is not how the Star Wars franchise rolls. After all, Star Wars: The Force Awakens did break 24hr trailer viewing records without the help of any major televised events to spread the word.
People will be quick to point out the fact that, based on the release schedule for The Force Awakens, we’re overdue for The Last Jedi trailer. But, TFA can’t be expected to be the norm for future Star Wars releases. Back in 2014, we hadn’t had a new Star Wars movie for almost an entire decade, so it’s perfectly reasonable that Disney wanted a longer promotional period. Here’s how that period went:
Teaser Trailer #1 – November 28
Teaser Trailer #2 –(Star Wars Celebration) April 16
BTS Footage – (San Diego Comic-Con) July 10
Final Theatrical Trailer – October 19
Compare that to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and you should get a good idea of what future promo schedules will look like.
Teaser Trailer – April 7
BTS Footage –(Star WarsCelebration) July 15
Theatrical Trailer #1 – August 11
Final Theatrical Trailer – October 13
With Rogue One’s theatrical run all but complete, the path is clear for the release of a trailer for The Last Jedi. But, as you can see with Rogue One’s schedule, that trailer might not come for at least another two months. Unlike TFA’s elongated promo schedule, future schedules will have to take into account the box office run of the previous year’s movie. When you’re only releasing one movie a year, it doesn’t make sense to release a trailer for next year’s Star Wars movie before people have even been to see this year’s.
So, just when can we expect to see the first footage from Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
This year, Star Wars Celebration (an annual, weekend-long event featuring cast and crew from Star Wars movies and TV shows) will return to its April slot, so it seems likely that Disney will look to emulate the scenes from Star Wars Celebration 2015, when they caused a huge stir and released the first theatrical trailer in front of 7,000-strong arena crowd and global streaming audience.
A recent rumor from StarWarsNewsNet has suggested the first footage will indeed be released at Star Wars Celebration, but it goes on to suggest that this will be in the form of a behind-the-scenes video, just like the ones shown at Celebration 2016 and San Diego Comic Con 2015. That would certainly be an odd move, but with Disney and Star Wars, we’ve come to expect the extraordinary.
If that rumor doesn’t come true, there are still a number of solid options for the trailer’s release:
March 17th – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Released in Theaters
Attaching a trailer to another major Disney release always seems like a good fit, especially when that movie is as big Beauty and the Beast. But, this really feels like a long shot. Just as Disney doesn’t feel the need to tout Star Wars to Super Bowl fans, it probably isn’t too interested in an exclusive attachment to one of its other 2017 tentpoles.
April 13th – Star Wars Celebration
If I was a betting man, I’d be putting my money squarely on this date. If the aforementioned rumor of a behind the scenes reel being released first doesn’t come true, there will almost certainly be a teaser in its place at Celebration.
Opening Celebration with a new trailer has worked well in the past, making all the right noises both inside and outside the event thanks to global streaming. Expect Mark Hamill, John Boyega Daisy Ridley and more to all make an appearance on stage to help introduce new cast members like Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
May 4th – Star Wars Day
If I’m proved wrong with my Celebration prediction, there’s another suitable date just a few weeks later. Disney has been embracing the unofficial Star Wars day (May the 4th be With You) in an increasingly positive manner. But, this remains more of an unofficial event than anything else, and unless the studio decides they really want to own the date, I can’t see them releasing the trailer at this point.
The Element of Surprise
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) November 24, 2014
Of course, it’s quite possible that Disney will surprise us all by releasing a teaser on a random day in the next few weeks. If they do, be sure to keep an eye out on social feeds where they’ll probably tell us to tune into Jimmy Kimmel or give us a date to log onto their Youtube channel. Not quite as exciting as a Celebration reveal, but the trailer really is all the excitement we need.
If you really want an outside bet, how about the possibility of no trailer being released at all? TFA star Adam Driver has rightly suggested it would be a brilliant move to not release any footage from the movie in advance of its release, and I certainly agree. Of course, such a move would be unprecedented, and in this day of shareholder-related responsibilities, the studio won’t want to risk reducing The Last Jedi’s box office potential in any way.
What’s your bet for the trailer release date? Let us know in the box below…