How Lucasfilm Have Nailed Their Promotion For Star Wars: The Last Jedi


With less than a hundred days until Star Wars: The Last Jedi bursts into cinemas worldwide, many fans are bemoaning the lack of a full theatrical trailer to sink their analytical teeth into. After all, haven’t we come to expect a certain amount of exposition and explanation ahead of the release of every new blockbuster these days? Between teasers, trailers and TV spots, it’s extremely rare to sit down to a new movie without at least half an idea of exactly how the events are going to play out. We have to wonder, however, does this really make for a truly exciting experience?

Ever since the official teaser gave us a whistle stop tour of some of the upcoming scenes from The Last Jedi back in April, fans have been crying out for more. Numerous Disney events and conventions have been and gone since and, despite every new spectacle supposedly being the one to bring us a second look, we’re still none the wiser as to how the story is actually going to play out.

So, what do we know at this point? Well, the first trailer served largely to remind us of the current status quo following the conclusion of The Force Awakens. We know that we’ll be spending time with Luke Skywalker at his hideaway on Ahch-To, and that Luke will be helping the fledgling Jedi to hone her skills and tune herself in to the Force. After the initial preamble, we see flashes of Leia at a command centre, Finn under medical care, Poe bursting into action and Kylo Ren doing his weird, intense stare thing. Throw in a few battle shots, some new (and old!) vehicles and a final teasing line of dialogue about it being “time for the Jedi to end” and that’s your lot!

Since the teaser debuted, we’ve been treated to a behind-the-scenes video and a number of promotional stills from magazine covers and posters, but nothing official has arrived to reveal the major details of the story. While this may seem like something of a modern day anomaly, it’s difficult to really imagine that this is a bad thing. After all, what else do we need to see ahead of December 15?

A full theatrical trailer would ultimately involve revealing large chunks of story detail in an attempt to do two things. Firstly, the additional footage would firmly establish the expectations of viewers by tunnelling the potential outcomes. The more we learn about what’s definitely going to happen, the less room for manoeuvre there is when the events are played out in full. If we know a certain character is journeying to do a certain thing at a certain time, we know that a whole host of narrative possibilities are then logically ruled out. This has a limiting effect on what we can expect to see and in many cases could completely disprove certain hopes or theories people have about the film.