Disney announced on Monday its purchase of Lucasfilm, and with Lucasfilm comes Star Wars. Disney’s also said that a new Star Wars trilogy will be made. This is interesting timing for science fiction, when new Star Wars movies are being made alongside new Trek. What does this latest announcement mean for the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness film? Op-ed guy Joe Dickerson takes a look at the merger in this latest editorial. Hit the jump for the story.
Timing is everything.
As you have probably noticed there is not a lot of news about Star Trek Into Darkness out there… Intentionally so, because JJ Abrams has always been agressively secretive about his movie and TV projects. The most recent news of note was the announcement that Heather Langenkamp (Nancy from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies) will have a role, and that a trailer would be out “this year” (announced by JJ Abrams on this Ain’t it Cool News video):
That’s it. Keeping your cards close to your vest until you are ready to play them is all well and good, except when another science fiction franchise trumps your ace. As all fans with a pulse know by now, Disney announced Monday that they would be buying Lucasfilm and all properties owned by the company… including, of course, Star Wars. Along with that announcement was the announcement of a new Star Wars film, Episode VII, a sequel to the original trilogy. The fan press speculation and buzz went off the charts and is still going strong – it’s hard to find a site on the Internet that ISN’T talking about it.
Here’s the (potential) problem… this Star Wars buzz will fade over time, but it won’t go away completely. The window to promote the new Star Trek movie is about to open (some say it should have opened several months ago, but that’s another discussion). All this Star Wars Episode VII buzz and future news could “suck the oxygen” out of the room, distracting media attention from the new Star Trek movie when it needs it the most.
“No big deal,” some of you may think, “Star Trek is different than Star Wars – they can mutually coexist.” True, and many people (like me) are fans of both franchises, but the fact of the matter is for either a new Star Trek or Star Wars to succeed it has to appeal to casual fans and “normal” people… that’s why studios spend so much marketing their films. Disney has historically started promoting movie projects VERY early (TRON: Legacy, for example, had a teaser trailer two years before release), and with a $4 billion dollar purchase of LucasFilm, they will want to maximize that investment as soon as possible.
Disney CEO Bob Iger with George Lucas as he signs the deal to sell Lucasfilm to Disney
Both franchises can coexist, but in my opinion there’s a real possibility that early coverage and promotion of Episode VII will make people ignore Star Trek Into Darkness… or confuse people (yes, there are people out there who don’t know the difference between the two series). I’d wager that the marketing people at Paramount are concerned about this as well, and (hopefully) are adjusting their marketing plan accordingly.
So, what say you? Do you think that Episode VII buzz will help or hurt the new Star Trek? Let us know in the comments (and please, be somewhat civil to each other, OK?)
Speculation that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher may return in Episode VII is one of the many rumors already swirling.
Joseph Dickerson is a writer, User Experience Architect (and Star Trek fan) focused on designing effective and innovative on-line and mobile applications. For more from Joseph visit josephdickerson.com or follow him on twitter: @josephdickerson.