Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has the unenviable task of wrapping up over 40 years of Star Wars storytelling, and the new footage out of film's recent D23 panel indicates that director JJ Abrams is more than up for the task.
Moreover, the tease of new footage -- which comes at the end of a sizzle reel re-capping key moments and characters from both the prequel and original Star Wars trilogies -- perfectly satisfies Abrams' less-is-more "Mystery Box" storytelling style. Showing without telling (or showing too much) is a lost art when it comes to modern marketing for blockbusters. We usually get trailers that show off one too many money shots or set pieces while summarizing the main plot and beats of the movie in a way that feels like we've already seen that which the trailer wants us to pay to see. The special D23 footage below welcomingly subverts that trend and shows us how a literal teaser can be more effective than a full-blown trailer. Watch for yourself below.
Pretty cool, right? Our sources can confirm that Dark Rey and her badass flip phone lightsaber is definitely from a Force vision.
Even cooler is how this footage builds to maximum "can't wait to see the movie." And it does so with very little other than a flashback to the characters and movies from the franchise's beginnings helping set the stage for the future heroes charged with wrapping up more than four decades of storytelling from that galaxy far, far away. While Abrams' Mystery Box ways tend to land less than they intend, their practice here seems to be right on target. The takeaway here is always less is more, especially in the early stages of marketing your project. Money shots and spectacle are fine, in moderation.
Leave fans wanting more. Make them want to see what you've been working on as you intended: Walking in as cold as possible.
Rise of Skywalker opens everywhere Dec. 20.