Star Wars fandom has once again hit truly feverish levels, since the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is just around the corner and pre-sale tickets recently became available. Despite the tremendous excitement surrounding the very first ever Star Wars spinoff, fans can't help but look ahead to Star Wars Episode VIII. So the question is, when will we see the first trailer for Star Wars 8? Fans had hoped it would maybe be attached to Star Wars: Rogue One upon release and that almost certainly won't be the case. But the Star Wars Episode VIII trailer may still land in front of Rogue One in the near future. Allow us to explain.

Mike Zeroh recently published a video to his Youtube channel and claims that the first teaser for Star Wars 8 will drop sometime in the first quarter of 2017. That timeline would seem to make sense. It stands to reason that Disney will want to get a trailer out for the movie sooner rather than later, but their focus right now is making sure that people are aware of and excited for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is set to hit theaters on December 16. Even a monster movie like Rogue One will have made the bulk of its money by the end of January and definitely by February. That is where strategy may come into play on the part of Lucasfilm's marketing team.

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After Disney and Lucasfilm are sure they have made most of the box office dollars they can from Star Wars: Rogue One, they could then attach the Star Wars Episode VIII teaser to the movie several weeks after its release to reignite interest in it and get another little box office boost. In this day and age, trailers are easily accessible online so going to a movie theater to see a trailer simply isn't a necessity. If Disney made it a necessity, even for a brief period, that could be a lucrative, if potentially frustrating, strategy. Star Wars fans are tremendously feverish. The pre-sale for both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story so far have proved that to be the case.

This strategy would also mean that, at least for the immediate future, the conversation would remain focused on Star Wars: Rogue One. Assuming they did release the first teaser for Episode VIII on opening weekend December 16, people would probably be talking about that just as much if not more than Rogue One. Lucasfilm would be shooting themselves in the foot. They could give us a title for Star Wars 8 in that timeframe to sort of satiate fans a bit, but the trailer would be counterproductive to their interests. Honestly, it might not work great for fans either, because they would probably be thinking about Star Wars Episode VIII the whole time instead of truly absorbing Star Wars: Rogue One. The strategy of attaching it to the movie a month or so later makes way more sense.

Not so much in the age of the internet, but this is a strategy that has been used before. Years ago, the trailers for both Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi were attached to re-releases of the previous entry in the franchise. That brought fans out in droves to see the movie again, if for no other reason than to see the trailer for the next installment. Similarly, thousands of Star Wars fans bought tickets for the Brad Pitt movie Meet Joe Black in 1998 just so they could see the trailer for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It will be more difficult to pull off in the modern age, but if anyone can do it, Disney can.

We will have to wait and see how Disney and Lucasfilm want to handle it, but this is a possibility. Another option is that they could wait and release the trailer at Star Wars Celebration in April, but nobody wants to wait that long. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for release on December 16 with Star Wars: Episode VIII slated to come out a year later on December 15, 2017.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott