The Force ‘Awakens’ a Whole New Realm of Movie Publicity

Star Wars 7Marvel does it. DC Comics is learning it. Star Trek did it. But there is no movie series in history that has created the kind of hype as the Star Wars saga.

The year was 1977, and some “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder” named George Lucas came up with the odd idea to begin hyping a movie months before it hit theaters.

At the time, observers considered the three-month-long teaser period even more ambitious than the movie itself, but the film did okay — it’s still number six all time on the top-grossing flick list.

That teaser campaign created a new model for publicizing movies…one closely followed by Lucas’ successor, J.J. Abrams.

Ever since the Star Wars saga was given its own new hope in January 2013, the headlines have kept coming. And we can thank Abrams for much of that buzz.

First, this picture leaked and the Internet exploded:

JJA-Flickr

What has happened since that day has been a page from the sage Jedi’s playbook: leak nothing, protect everything, and announce something all in due time.

It’s a winning formula for entertainment PR.

ICYMI (yeah right), the first trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens drove everyone berserk this weekend because someone at Lucasfilm/Bad Robot understands how to share a story without going overboard.

new sith

The movie will open December 2015, but in the meantime both fans and haters have plenty to discuss: a black stormtrooper; a female Padawan; a new Sith; a cross-shaped lightsaber; another desert planet. Most importantly, the Millennium Falcon is back — and no, you’re not the first person to come up with the “Millennial Falcon” joke.

We trust that Abrams has enough material to sustain this promo campaign for another 13 months.