Sunday, December 13, 2015

Star Wars: The Franchise Awakens

I remember all of the hype prior to the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999. The prequels, as with the original trilogy, had its all of its marketing and advertising aimed at a primary audience of elementary school students- children aged 6-10 or so. Nevermind the massive numbers of adults who became fans starting with the original film's release in 1977, and stayed with it over the years; by 1999, those of us who were children in 1977 had come of age and began our adult lives- and yet we too came out in droves for the prequels (and those of us with kids brought ours).

Yet, Uncle George insisted that Star Wars was a kids' thing, and all the marketing and advertising (as well as the tie-in shows, comics, etc.) made that crystal clear. You can still see this with the most recent series, Star Wars: Rebels, but I think that is now the last production with this as policy.

There's been a tremor in the Force. If you are at all savvy to public relations, advertising, and marketing then you could not escape noticing it now that The Force Awakens is just days away from its release into theaters. The ads for this film are very, very different than for all of the previous films. There are multiple car ads, branded adult makeup, branded fucking groceries, and the usual stuff aimed at kids- but on shows that are watched primarily by adults.

They're aiming this film at us, the adults.


That, actually, gives me a bit of hope that J.J. Abrams won't fuck this up. Sure, the film seems to be built on the same structure as A New Hope, but that's not necessarily bad; after what Uncle George did in the prequels, this film franchise needs a return to the Monomyth roots of Joseph Campbell. Furthermore, what I'm seeing in the trailers and TV spots confirms what I heard last Summer when I got word of what the shooting script was and what happened there. (No, no spoilers here; if you want to know, go look for yourself.)

And yes, that means we're going to rely a fuck of a lot on J.J. and company executing this film properly to make it work. If the delivery blows harder than a black hole, then Rogue One and Episode 8 are going to be in trouble. I want them to deliver, because I want to see where J.J. and company are going now that Uncle George is finally in retirement.

May the Force be with you, The Force Awakens, because you need all the help you can get.

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