A recent decisive marketing strategy is to dramatically reveal in trailers something we’ve all being dying to see. This was the case for Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse this year, among others. Now, the Star Wars’ franchise new anthology film, Rogue One, has joined the pack. None other than Darth Vader himself has become the man of the hour, thanks to a dramatic appearance at the end of the latest trailer. While this reveal confirms the Sith Lord’s appearance in Rogue One, this doesn’t mean he’ll play a significant role in the film.
Is this reveal a good strategy? Is giving the audience what they want to see, right in the trailer, good for the movie overall?
A Trailer Reveal Can Hurt The Movie
Because the story taking place between Episode III and A New Hope, we knew Darth Vader would at least be mentioned in Rogue One. Now that he will physically be in the film, as we saw in the trailer, the reveal doesn’t necessarily help the movie as it prepares for its premiere. Let's talk Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Before Spider-Man made his trailer debut back in March, we had already seen how a trailer reveal could harm a movie. The reveal of Doomsday was not welcomed with open arms, and while it was mostly due to Doomsday’s fan-unapproved appearance, that reveal basically assured that Batman v. Superman was going to be mostly a team-up movie, rather than a duel between heroes.
This came to fruition when Dawn of Justice hit theaters. Batman and Superman’s “versus” scene only lasted a little over eight minutes, while the Doomsday battle took a larger portion of the movie. While this doesn’t mean that Vader will act as a "Doomsday," overshadowing the plot and appearing as a major addition of the film, it does create anticipation for a character who audiences really want to see, but ultimately probably won’t see very much of.
Fans have demanded answers as to why many of Joker’s trailer scenes were not shown in theaters — going as far as suing Warner Brothers! We can’t blame the studio for cutting out scenes to make a movie flow smoothly, but when a trailer depicts a character in a way that intrigues audiences who later realize “wait, that’s not the same Joker,” fingers start pointing.
Of course, we didn’t see much of Darth Vader in the new Rogue One trailer, but his presence alone, even for a few seconds, is more than enough to make us feel excited. Which eventually, just makes us hope that we’ll see a lot more of him when the film comes out. Moreover, part of the Joker’s let-down was due to his misleading importance to Suicide Squad overall. The same can be applied to Darth Vader’s reveal to some extent.
Fans were irritated that Leto’s screen time was solely for the purpose of background for Harley Quinn. It could be that Darth Vader has virtually no real purpose at all in Rogue One. That being that the story doesn’t revolve around him. We know Rogue One turns mainly on Felicity Jones’ character Jyn Erzo, a new character that will be an important part of the franchise going forward, but it would be a disappointment if Darth Vader was only present for one or two scenes.
But taking the reveal in a different direction, akin to Civil War or X-Men: Apocalypse, can the reveal actually help catapult the movie to success?
A Trailer Reveal Can Help The Movie
Hey, it’s Star Wars! Just because of that, Rogue One will probably succeed, but can the same be said for Captain America: Civil War? Just because a movie comes from a powerhouse series (Marvel, Star Wars) doesn’t mean the movie will be successful. Look at Independence Day: Resurgence.
Regardless, the point is that even though Captain America: Civil War carries “Marvel” in its title and Rogue One carries “a Star Wars story,” a trailer reveal can highly affect the overall reception of a movie. (Ahem… Tom Holland’s Spider-Man). People in general react to trailers that actually show something they want to see. So the Darth Vader reveal could actually help Rogue One reach greatness… on one condition though: How much screen time will Vader have?
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As previously mentioned, I doubt Vader will have much time on screen at all. He probably won't be seen as much as Tom Holland was in Captain America: Civil War as Spider-Man, or even as much as Hugh Jackman's Wolverine was in X-Men: Apocalypse. The question now facing Rogue One is: Will people come into theaters expecting a Darth Vader movie? If that is the case, then Darth Vader’s reveal will be put to the test on December 16.
What do you think? Does Darth Vader’s reveal help or hurt Rogue One? Leave your thoughts down in the comments!
Check out Darth Vader in the new Rogue One trailer below: