How ‘The Force Awakens’ Is Doing Promotion Right

I had been waiting for last Thursday for weeks. I kept refreshing the front page of IGN the whole morning to see if it had been put up. I knew it probably wouldn’t be posted until mid-afternoon, but I just kept pressing the circular arrow for hours in desperation. Finally, at about two in the afternoon, it arrived. After refreshing my webpage for about the 100th time, the newest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was finally online.

The second preview of the newest Star Wars film did everything a trailer should do. Actually, I should refer to it as a teaser—maybe that one word makes all the difference in the world. It teased the film. It didn’t give away any of the supposed major plotlines of The Force Awakens and we didn’t see any of the gargantuan battles or epic lightsaber duels that the film might include. The closest any moment came to spoiler territory was the beautiful shot of the abandoned X-wing and star destroyer, but I would bet this is only one of the multitudes of epic scenes in the film.

This might have only been the second preview in the long line of trailers and TV-spots that come out in anticipation of The Force Awakens, but it’s so far been clear director J.J. Abrams and his crew are doing a fantastic job of avoiding the traps and pitfalls many trailers for today’s films stumble into.

Today, it seems that advertisement tends to win out over great storytelling, at least in a few instances. The second Avengers film, set to release next week, has used a few key details to channel more interest in the final weeks before the film is released.

Based off the success of the first Avengers film, I would think that advertisers for the second film would have to do little more than promote the main conflict between the Avengers and their newest villain, Ultron, but, instead, they keep previewing clips that should have just been left to the silver screen. Iron Man and Hulk battling it out is awesome, but it would have been so much more powerful to see that clash unfold in the theater, not on my 13-inch laptop. Do I have a clue why the two are fighting in the first place? Not really. But with an assumptive box-office smash like The Avengers, why not hold off huge reveals like this until audiences are in the theater?

The newest Terminator installment recently broke a cardinal rule of previews. The first trailer for Terminator: Genisys was strange, but, unlike the second trailer, it didn’t reveal that John Connor was a terminator, or at least that a new terminator has taken on the form of John Connor. I don’t even enjoy the Terminator films, but why spoil something that massive in a two- or three-minute preview months before the film is released?

There’s an obvious answer to these questions I’m posing: It’s all about getting people in the door. There’s apparently no better way to spark an audience’s interest than releasing a big unexplained spoiler in a trailer months before the film is released. But, at least to me, this ruins a lot of great moments in the theater for audiences. I know the advertisers for The Force Awakens have at least a few more previews for audiences before the film’s release in December, but I think it would be epic if these two trailers that they put out were all that they showed viewers before we go to see the film.

I love that I have no idea why Finn, a new character in the series, is running away from the Imperial fleet or who his apparent companion, Rey, could possibly be (though I’ve got my suspicions). It was awesome to see Han Solo and Chewbacca together again, but I want no official explanation of why the gang is assembling before I walk in the door to see The Force Awakens.

Action films preview way too many of their legendary battle sequences and some comedies are notorious for wearing out some the best jokes of the whole movie in trailers being shown months before the films are released. As excited as I get about new trailers, I notice more and more how they dull down some of the most impressive and awesome moments that today’s blockbusters offer. At the same time, if there’s a new Star Wars trailer put up on the Internet, could I possibly avoid it? Not a chance in hell.

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About Chris Fuller 166 Articles
Chris is the Arts & Review Editor for The Heights. He is obsessed with 'Star Wars,' The Bee Gees, and funk in general. He tries to live life to its fuller. (Get it?)