Few movies have permeated culture in the way that the Star Wars franchise has. You can say, “May the force be with you,” to just about anyone older than 11 and they will know what you mean. You can guess that the guy on the train next you thinks Yoda kicks ass and Jar Jar Binks was a tragic mistake. That’s why it’s no surprise that the release of the trailer for the next installment, episode VII, The Force Awakens, generated a lot of buzz. Let’s take a look at exactly how much.
There’s always a low hum around all things Star Wars, but on November 6, 2014, the official title of Star Wars Episode VII was released on Walt Disney Pictures' twitter account. Then, on November 28, 2014, the official movie trailer was released, sending fans and journalists alike racing to the web to share, analyze, opine, and parody.
The Force is such a force, that it even made the Huffington Post News Quiz. As you know, this installment represents the first Star Wars movie that will not be directed by George Lucas, so fans had a good time with, “What would Lucas do?” style parodies of the trailer.
We could have guessed that George Lucas and Disney would be key themes in Force coverage, but John Boyega? We’d never heard of him until the trailer’s release, which prominently featured the actor, who is black, in a stormtrooper uniform. Seeing a black stormtrooper (or perhaps a black rebel in a storm trooper suit?) gave fans and critics alike something to talk about. #BlackStormtrooper became a thing.
Overall, we’d say these are some pretty impressive PR results for a movie release that is still a year away. It will be interesting to see how Disney keeps up the momentum over the next 12 months as anticipation builds. If you’d like to see how your public relations campaigns fare in analysis like this, just drop us a note. (Or, better yet, program a hologram into an R2 unit and send it over. That would be cool.)