Will Star Wars Episode VII announcement hurt Star Trek Into Darkness marketing rollout?

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.


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There’s more than enough room for both Star Trek and Star Wars. This won’t be a problem. Who here won’t be seeing both? Don’t lie!

I think it’s too early to say whether the news about SW VII will help or hurt the advertising for the new star trek movie. However, it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of people will hear more about Star Wars (like we haven’t already) because it does seem to get more attention than Star Trek ever has in the media.

Gotta say, the fact a trailer, teaser or poster artwork hasn’t been released yet to be completely baffling.

I’m not a hardcore Trek fan, but just seeing something (other than the 4 frames…..) would be nice…..

Thanks for the article!

In before more complaints….

Resistance is Futile.

J.J needs to get things going and when he does he needs to go on a big time media Blitz and keep the fever pitch up till Star Trek comes out.

The Terran Empire will destroy the so called galactic Empire or Republic. They have no chance.

I think the high interest shown for one will boost the other as was the case back in the 80s when the franchises were first flying alongside each other with wild success for both!

J.J. Abrams has always been the wrong guy for Trek. It’s so annoying that he keeps everything such a secret. What’s the big deal? Just release some non spoiler pics and a teaser.

He should learn from Peter Jackson on how to excite fans. Jackson shares what he has and builds up things for the fans.

Now this whole hush hush thing is going to bite Abrams in the butt.

He should let Bryan Singer or Peter Jackson handle Trek. Or better yet, Manny Coto.

Trek 11 was a great star wars movie. Let Abrams do Star Wars movies. He always said he’s more of a star wars kid anyway.

In a Ship War. Star Trek Ships will always beat the Star Wars Ships. Lol.

The SW789 hype might just help Star Trek. Science fiction will be on many people’s minds, but they have to wait at least until 2015 for ep7. So they’ll say “let’s go see the new Star Trek instead”.

Someone in the Star Trek universe was once quoted as saying “Star Trek was around long before Star Wars, and it will be around long after.”

When we thought we were just getting six films, that statement had a lot of truth to it…now, however, Star Wars is going to be like the James Bond franchise – no end in sight.

It DOES take a lot of wind out of the Star Trek sails, but I don’t think it will hurt NEXT year’s movie. Actually, it would be really nice to have a Star Trek movie in the years we don’t have a Star Wars one. :)

I hope it is a kick in Abrams ass, because it is a big bullshit, he does not show us anything about the new movie. But I am afraid it will not even touch him anyhow.

Why can’t they make a trailer that doesn’t reveal anything about the plot?

Hopefully, Star Trek Into Darkness won’t feel so much like a Star Wars film, and people will think of them separately.

I don’t think it will matter. The movies won’t have to compete for TV ads or other actual promotions. Blog attention could be sucked up by Star Wars, but only fans scour blogs for info.

The only thing that has ever harmed the Star Trek movies is Paramount Pictures.

Star Trek is lost to us, folks.. JJ’s lack of confidence in his own film has doomed our beloved franchise. The children of today are growing up with Star Wars, not Trek… The long last impact of that simple fact will doom our beloved world. No TV, no Movies, fewer and fewer books, because JJ doesn’t want to ‘spoil the story’… and makes fun of his own fans on TV.

The battle is lost. Star Wars has won, Star Trek is dead. JJ killed it for all us, keeping everything a secret, and not allowing the fan base to build the incredible momentum that is usually does.

I agree with #2 in that it is WAY to early to determine the fallout of the new against Star Trek. However, I also believe that the two franchises can coexist peacefully and that fans of both or either can look forward to the next 10 years and beyond.

Admittedly, I took some guilty pleasure in seeing the Star Trek franchise in such great shape after J.J.’s Star Trek movie, and seeing Star Wars struggling after the prequels. Don’t get me wrong. I love Star Wars. I was just happy to see the Trek franchise rise from the ashes and pull ahead.

This is not a competition though. Star Trek has always been science fiction. Star Wars is fantasy. Though to regular people, both involve space ships, so there will be some dilution of excitement on the Trek side to mainstream audiences.

But there is room for both in my world! Live long and may the force be with you.

I´ll go to see Ep VII, but not a JJ-Trek movie. Sorry, not a Trek for me…


Yeah, it is kind of like the mid 70s, when Paramount’s not knowing what to do with TREK kept them from cashing in on the enormous goodwill and interest created by the series, and let SW steal their thunder at a time when TREK was on bestseller lists with the tech manual and the shuttle was being renamed ENTERPRISE. Difference is that this time the so-called creative is the one who doesn’t know how to do it properly (popularity be damned, TheAbramsThing is less TREK than voyager or even Lil ENTERPRISE.)

Not imagining next space system to be called MILLENNIUM FALCON, are you?


4 frames? I only saw 3!! Where is this mysterious 4th frame?! JJ is holding out on us again!!


Gee, it might hurt Trek, IF Trek had any marketing!

“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.”

So maybe it’s good that these Trek guys haven’t, er, blown their (metaphorical) wads yet and revealed details… There’s still tonnes of anticipation.

And, hey, Spiderman, Batman and Avengers all came out in the same summer. There’s room for both — especially since the Star Wars stuff is, as I understand it, barely in the planning stages.

I don’t see this as a problem. They’re on completely different cycles. The SW news will still be all rumor and speculation about story, casting, etc. during the the time STID is ramping up for release. Different kinds of news, different kinds of attention.

I think the Star Wars talk can only help the Star Trek buzz…but in ’08 we had something to see with the Quantum of Solace release. Plus posters. Plus some other buzz. We have had nothing and it does feel like if Paramount and the JJ-Team don’t get to the marketing soon, or even let us know the timeline for the release of the first trailer…iIf they don’t do something to create some kind of buzz…their job will continue to get progressively harder with or without Disney’s Star Wars.



Star Trek is Gene Rod. vision to the future. Star Wars is adventure all its owe. The 2 are totally different and should not be compared

“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…”

Early coverage and promotion of a movie which does not exist yet?
Isn’t that Episode( VII ) targeted for release in 2015?

I’m sorry, I did not understand that part of the article.

I hear Mr. Abrams is “thrillified” by the announcement. Hopefully, he’s not
(too) intimidated by it; as has already been pointed out, there’s room for both franchises, in my opinion.



@26 “We have had nothing and it does feel like if Paramount and the JJ-Team don’t get to the marketing soon, or even let us know the timeline for the release of the first trailer…if they don’t do something to create some kind of buzz…their job will continue to get progressively harder with or without Disney’s Star Wars.”

Yep, this huge Star Wars announcement has “caught JJ sleeping” in the middle of his Trek ultra-secrecy approach to STID. He and the studio had better rethink this dumbass approach immediately in light of the Star Wars news, and get a fracking trailer out no later than The Hobbit release.

This is great news!,,

Nothing like alitlle competition to keep eveyone on their toes!

Darth Vader: What Are You Going to Do Next?


I never agreed with JJ’s idea of marketing (waiting until the last possible moment to start marketing – and keep everything a secret). I think it is a bad, bad idea.

I think Disney knows what they are doing and has proven it for years. Early buzz, early promotion and marketing.

I don’t think though, that Star Wars VII news will cause people to ignore STID in May. That movie won’t come out until 2015, so people will certainly go see movies this summer.

I don’t think one really has much effect on the other. If at all. I just think marketing on STID should have started with at least a teaser trailer by now.

I dunno about any1 else, but I think both trek and wars are dead. There was always a clear distinction between the two – as some1 previously stated ‘star trek is science fiction, star wars is fantasy’ but jj and co made trek for the masses, losing the science and heading into fantasy, and I fear that with Disney at the helm of star wars, we will get cute cuddly ewok and jar jar binks movies. I am a huge fan of both franchises, but there will only be six episodes to star wars and nemesis was the last trek movie for me however bad the prequels and trek 10 were

Well, one thing is for certain – NO ONE is talking about STID, and just about everyone is talking about the next Star Wars movie.

Sad but true.

Personally, I think this is great news. As oppossed to the reboot of 1 great franchise, we now have 2 “Star”Fi films to look forward to. I’m sure they will monitor the scheduled play dates of each others film and perhaps to avoid any conflict will use some marketing common sense and alternate the years of actual theatrical release. With the upcoming releases of these 2 films + all their sequels we are in for years of movie magic to come. I also look forward to attending the sequels of Avatar, Prometheus, Hobbit (prequel to LOTR), Planet Of The Apes, all DC Comics & Marvel Comics live action flicks, Jurassic Park, just to name a few. In other words, I prefer not to drink just champagne, it’s nice to have a mix drink or a beer from time to time as well. The SciFi/Fantasy experience has been reborn. Long live our path to the stars…

#34 I think Star Trek is far from dead and ST09 was the best Star Trek movie since TWOK. Nemesis was pretty awefull in terms of production quality and story. Definitely not as epic as ST09 and it felt (like most of the TNG movies) like a special TV episode more than a movie.

My 8 year old nephew is quite a big Star Wars fan, although he hasn’t seen any of the movies. But he loves the animated series.

I think Star Trek also needs at least an animated series on TV to reach kids. They grow up and will watch the movies in the cinema and if they ever make another live action Star Trek TV series, they may watch it, too.

And the new Star Trek movie should be promoted more. I really don’t understand why Abrams think, that less promotion is better. There should have been a short trailer months ago. And other titbits should have been also released earlier. The more information about the movie is on the Internet on all kinds of different sites, the higher is the chance that non fans stumble over it and get interested in seeing the movie.

#36 I agree. I loved the new feel and direction of Star Trek with the last movie. I’m also interested and excited by the thought of a new Star Wars movie picking up after Return of the Jedi…. Will Mark Hamel return as an older Jedi Master Luke? Harrison Ford as Han Solo? Certainly could be done, while the movie could center around new heros and villains.

I’ve always had Star Trek and Star Wars at the top of my favorites list, but I love most Sci-fi fantasy movies. Especially any dealing with space.

small note: HEATHER Langenkamp, NOT Nancy Langenkamp will have a role in the movie.




#38 Exactly. Where is the website by the way? Wasn’t there a fun webiste for ST09 by this point (6 months before release)? A website with some clues and maybe still images from the new movie?

I think that Peter Jackson should take over Star Trek franchise after he complete Hobbit trilogy.

@ 37 & 39 Jay. Awesome, we’re on the same page. And I guarantee there are millions more out there who would agree. There is more than enough room in the sanbox for our favorites to play.

I think it’s a Plus for a Sci Fi Fans, including Star Trek.
I think there was a time when many movie goers did not know the difference, but i also think those days are gone. In this era most movie goers, especially Sci Fi Fans know the difference.
As for the Star Wars News, I think it will help all up coming Sci Fi movies.
I ‘ll finish with two brief examples; I don’t go to Scary movies very much, but lately i’ve been draged along by my better 1/2, and the odd time that I do enjoy the Scary move,,, well the more likely I’m going to another one soon.
My second example, Retail… If I want a new pair of shoes,,, I go to the part of town that has the most shoe stores, i want to see them all. ( I expect this example was for the movie goer that’s not a fan but it still works to show my point, This day and age, we want more of everything we like, weather it be movies, electronic toys, or shoes.
Nice Job Anthony, I stop by every day, mostly just read and not post. been here since day one, will be here to the end. end

It’s Heather Langenkamp, not Nancy Langenkamp. Nancy is the character she played in A Nightmare on Elm Street.


That statement pretty much sums up exactly what is happening. Everyone is talking Star Wars and nobody is talking Star Trek. So the discussion about whether it will hurt or help Trek has been answered.

As for now, it sure ‘aint helping Trek.

BTW anyone who thinks that Star Wars is dead is woefully mistaken. The fact that the internet blew up over this is all the proof you need. Geeks who love SW (like me) are excited as heck about the announcement. I love both franchise, but Trek was my first love and I will always be loyal. But as a 12 year old when Star Wars came out I will NEVER forget that feeling I had as I first saw the logo flash upon the screen to the orchestra hit of John Williams’ score followed by the now legendary plot titles crawl and then the blockade runner flashing over head pursued by the GIGANTIC star destroyer.

It was utterly mind blowing to me then. I was hooked from that point forward, crappy prequels be damned.

Also just a note: In a recent interview about Lucas’ announcement, Mark Hamill said that George asked himself and Carrie Fisher to lunch this past summer to let them know he was going to make eps 7, 8, and 9. Mark thought this was unusual as George never discussed his upcoming projects with them before. They would chat occasionally but not in this manner. APPARENTLY nothing was offered at the time but it does make one wonder if there is a plan to have the original 3 make some sort of appearance in the upcoming movies. Luke the Jedi master trains a new group of Jedi, Obi Wan Kenobi style. Sort of a passing of the torch.

I’m totally geeked out. I get The Hobbit, Star Trek Into Darkness, and new Star Wars movie series’ coming out in the next few years.

Dolphin Boy, you really need to stop smoking crack before you post here. :-))

“That statement pretty much sums up exactly what is happening. Everyone is talking Star Wars and nobody is talking Star Trek. So the discussion about whether it will hurt or help Trek has been answered.”

Exactly, if there was every any major event that shows how ill-advised the JJ ultra-secrecy approach it, this is that seminal event.

This may have just cemented a third Star Trek