By John Schlicher, Senior Copywriter
Image Source: Milner’s Blog
I admit it. I’m a Star Wars nerd. I’ve memorized tons of useless trivia, like where the Millennium Falcon was docked at Mos Eisley Spaceport (docking bay 94, of course). I have a pretty impressive collection of vintage Star Wars toys (including a rare, working, remote-controlled Sandcrawler — in its original box no less). I’ve also dressed up like Luke Skywalker with Yoda on my back for Halloween (which my son and nephews proclaimed was the coolest thing they’d ever seen).
So, of course, like many other fans I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest movie to join the Star Wars canon — Rogue One. And just like those fans, every time the moviemakers released a new trailer for the movie prior to its December release, I’d watch and rewatch it…and rewatch it. One scene in particular that got myself and my fellow nerds all riled up was a scene where one of the characters is shown walking to the edge of a very high platform where she comes face to face with a TIE fighter. A pretty cool and unique shot. And one that definitely stood out and got lots of social media attention. (Like I said, a Star Wars nerd.)
Well, I finally got around to seeing Rogue One recently (it takes me awhile to see movies; I have two very young children). And guess what? That scene is not in the movie! There’s a very similar scene, but without the tie fighter. And not nearly as cool. And the one scene they showed with Darth Vader…that wasn’t in the movie either! And..well, you get the idea. I was angrier than Princess Leia was when she called Han Solo a “scruffy-looking nerf herder.”
I understand movie making to a degree and I know that script changes and reshoots are common these days…and if the trailers are produced before such alterations, some original scenes make it into the pre-release promotion and not necessarily the movie itself. I get that. But it’s typically a brief snippet or two. After I did some online snooping, however, I came across a fan-made video that took all the missing scenes from Rogue One trailers and other footage that did not make the final cut. 46 shots that totaled over two minutes in length. That’s a lot of missing footage.
And then I found numerous articles written about how it’s believed many of these scenes were placed in the trailers by Disney with the full knowledge that they weren’t going to be in the film after the reshoots were done — but they looked great and would get fans excited, so they chose to use them in the advertising. It seemed hard to believe until I finally read the article where the movie’s director pretty much admitted this was the case. In fact, he confessed that he filmed several shots spontaneously just because they looked cool in the moment and he knew they were not warranted by the script. One of these was featured prominently in the very first trailer.
This isn’t the first time fans have cried foul over a movie’s misleading trailers and promotion. Most recently, Suicide Squad was criticized (even by one of its own stars) for falsely inflating the Joker’s role and screen time in the movie (he was barely in the film, though the movie’s trailers gave quite the opposite impression).
And Star Wars fans were again in a tizzy when the Force Awakens came out in 2015 and contrary to all the hype and what the trailers suggested (SPOILER ALERT) Luke Skywalker wasn’t even in the movie until the last minute.
So unfortunately, this trend seems to be on the upswing despite the apparent disapproval by die-hard fans. Personally, as someone who has very little free time and has to go to great lengths to see a movie in the theater, I give this recent trend of misleading false advertising — and that’s really what it is: false advertising — two big thumbs down.
As Yoda would say, “Very disappointed that they would do this, I am.”