One hole shot in each foot: The LFL marketers vs. Lucas' obsession with secrecy

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by 1BAT4U, May 25, 2003.

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  1. 1BAT4U Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 1
    Though my time here has been relatively short, it would not surprise me to hear that many of you find me to be a "basher." But I have a legitimate question to bring about that in no way, shape, or form decries any of Lucas' work.

    It does have to do with the ludicrous levels of protection Lucas goes to to insure that his story is unadulterated and fresh on opening day. I don't think I need to remind those present about the numbered and incounterfeitable scripts given to production crew members, the refusal to give any info on the movie to any media (save starwars.com), and the gag orders placed on the actors, all in the name of secrecy.

    Now, in this day and age of superfast information transfer, it is almost inevitable that someone will learn something about any given movie they wish to expose. There are some measures that can't be accounted for; i.e., post-production crew stealing rough cuts of the movie and showing them to the world's biggest (no kidding) and least credible movie-scooper, Harry Knowles. I hate that it happened. I hate it for those who read the review before they saw the film, and I hate it for George, because it is such a huge slap in the face to have his security breached like that by one of his own.

    However, this is not what I came here to talk about.


    I cannot stress how important secrecy is to a movie as large in scope and interest, in order to keep the movie tense, taut, and dramatic. When I saw Dooku take off Anakin's arm, I was like, "woah, holy potatoes! Didn't see that coming," and that was important. But I knew long before the film came out that Dooku was in league with Sidious. Did I read spoilers on TF.N? Was this learned by reading Aint-He-Fat's review? No. Sadly, this detrimental spoiler appeared when I cut through the toy section of my local Wal-Mart a few days before the movie opened, and saw the action figure for "Darth Tyrannus" with Christopher Lee's mug on it. I was so dissapointed, and even more so after I saw the film. Learning Lee's duality is a major plotpoint, very important as a payoff in the closing of the film. A part of my enjoyment was stolen.

    And it was stolen by a company run by Lucas.

    Had Lucasfilm Liscensing held off a scant few weeks with the release of the Darth Tyrannus promos, spoiling (something Lucas reportedly loathes) would have not been an issue to those who remained spoiler-free.

    Likewise, in the spring of 1999, every major music retail chain was pushing the release of the TPM soundtrack. So, being the mindless automaton that I was, I immediately ran to Sam Goody and swooped up my very own copy, only to recoil in horror upon reading the title of the track, "Qui-Gon's Funeral." Via media outlets and posters and whatnot, I knew that this Qui-Gon guy was a good guy, a jedi, and somehow connected to Anakin. An he gets killed?!? So when I was in my seat opening day, and I saw Obi-Wan get separated from Maul and Qui-Gon, I was like, "Well, here it comes. So long, Liam."


    The taste in my mouth was one of disgust and disappointed, and not all of that was brought on by Jar Jar. It was brought on by carelessness. And Jar Jar.


    I can only hope that come April of '05, I'm not cruising around the mall, and see an add for "Chewbacca Action figure w/ bowcaster and Nute Gunray's head on a stick," or "Grando Clarissian/Mon Mothma two-pack." I mean, what could be worse? A "Dead Padmè and Yoda delivery-room playset, w/ infant twins accessories?" "Last-Stand Mace Windu, complete with bisected torso and death-throe pose?"
  2. YodaJeff Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2001
    star 7
    If you don't want to be spoiled, you probably shouldn't be looking at the merchandise before you see the movie. Everyone is bound to want to buy certain figures right after seeing the movie. Did seeing a Yoda figure with a lightsaber spoil people? Possibly. However, it would be bad marketing to not release a Yoda figure with a lightsaber until weeks after the film was released. By then, some people wouldn't want the toy as much as they may have immediately after seeing AOTC.
  3. 1BAT4U Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 1
    I agree that proper marketing is key to Lucas' plans to maximize profit, but c'mon!

    Did the toy have to say "Darth Tyrannus?"

    Did the track have to be called "Qui-Gon's Funeral?"



    No. They could have very easiliy been repectively call "Count Dooku action figure" and "Funeral Requiem," or somthing along those lines.


    Believe me, I know the LFL merchandising machine ain't gonna slow down as long as there are hordes of rabid geeks with checkbooks. I'm not trying to stop them. I just wish that they were more careful, and more intuned with Lucas' policies. It'd sure boost fan morale.
  4. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    My dad got my brother a couple of AOTC trading cards a few days before it came out. Unfortunetly for all of us one of the cards was of Anakin getting "dis-armed" so I know how you feel. I feel that in today's while some marketing is nessecary, they tend to make poor choices sometimes. They could have easily renamed "Qui-Gons Noble End" or "Qui-Gons Funeral" something else. I do agree with YodaJeff though. When a kid sees something in a Star Wars movie he KNOWS that there's a toy for it. How upset is he gonna be when he finds out that his EP III Darth Vader figure won't be relased for 3 months? He wants it NOW. And LFL and Hasbro are happy to sell it to him. In three months he might have lost intrest. It's all about the $$$.
  5. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    The "Qui-Gon's Noble End" track listing on the first TPM soundtrack was a legitimate screw-up, though. It was obvious what was gonna happen to him, unless John Williams had suddenly felt the urge to compose a tune celebrating Liam Neeson's backside or something :p

    But that's the thing, you have to get the merchandise ready for release and it comes with the territory.

    Lucas tries for a high level of secrecy, but several other blockbusters these days do as well.
  6. 1BAT4U Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 1
    MATRIX AND X2 SPOILERS
















    I agree with what every one has said about the merchandising, but it still boils down to the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

    As for the secrecy of other films, I've yet to see anything out in public just blow major secrets intentionally, vis a vis company products.

    Was there a "Jean Grey/Phoenix Action figure?"

    Did the posters for Matrix Reloded show Trinity getting killed or Neo using his powers in the real world?.




  7. KÃ¥l Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2000
    I think the idea of the secrecy on major films during production is more to do with stopping other producers churning out a cheapo rip-off before the film actually comes out. Whether this is still relevant in the Internet age, I don't know. It's a fair point that licensed publications and merchandise can spoil stuff, but so can trailers and stills. I guess it makes economic sense to have stuff out before the movie. It's not just Star Wars. I don't think the Dooku/Tyrannus thing was a major spoiler though. I didn't know about the Death Star and Anakin's hand in AOTC, so they worked as dramatic surprises for me. It's a bummer that we can inadvertantly find out plot points just prior to seeing a movie, but this has been happening for years.
  8. vw_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2002
    star 4
    whatever happened to the good old days when GL believed in ding things "blue harvest" style.............
  9. MikeSolo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2002
    star 4
    If ya don't wanna be spoiled shouldn't have even looked at the ATOC stuff before you saw the movie. I remember seeing all the Toys and all the books at Borders I just ignored them had no interest in looking at the stuff till I saw the movie. Just don't look at the stuff it's that easy but I guess not for some people talked about not being able to control yourself.

    As for that X-Men 2 post...That is not a spoiler if you knew your X-Men :) I knew something like that was going to happen just didn't know when.
  10. 1BAT4U Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 1
    Well, I wasn't actually in search of Star Wars merchandise, at the time. In the past, I did collect some action figures, but this time, I was honestly passing through that particular section as a shortcut to the DVD section, and there it was, Darth Tyranus hisself.

    It would be silly to discuss the evils of spoilers if I did pick up an EpII book or magazine, wouldn't it?
  11. mrslush50 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2003
    star 4
    "Grando Calrissian"

    [face_laugh] lol

  12. Muellman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 2001
    star 1
    I can't wait to go out and buy the Dead Padmè and Yoda delivery-room playset, w/ infant twins accessories

    ;)
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