Every single entertainment site today, that I know of, ran with what was essentially the same stories about the new images and information available from Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in Vanity Fair. Continuing a tradition started in 1999 for the under-appreciated Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, exclusive pics taken by the massively talented legendary photographer Annie Liebovitz appear within the context of an article about what the movie makers are willing to tell us about the upcoming chapter in the Star Wars saga. (One of my favorite bits will always be that shot of Obi-Wan and Darth Maul in the desert, lightsabers ignited, for a scene that never happened.)
People will parse the clues, analyze the hints, and debate the minutiae until we’re all as sick of the hype as I was with Avengers: Endgame. Will The Rise of Skywalker be another $2 Billion Box Office bonanza blockbuster everyone is done discussing a month after its release, or will it be an enduring testament to the merit of an artistic exercise started by George Lucas decades ago that grew into a franchise?
The article in Vanity Fair doesn’t indicate either way. It cannot indicate either way. This is a marketing piece, tightly controlled, with occasional insights into process and images designed to titillate fans. I haven’t bothered reading it because I just don’t see the point anymore.
Besides, every single entertainment blog and news site’s entertainment pages have already parsed it out into bits that I can consume at my leisure. A long-form piece that could bear some interest when read from start to finish instead becomes bite-sized chunks of every outlet saying the same things.
Everything is a battle for relevance and search engine results page placements. They publish these things out of obligation, and in doing so, allow Disney®©™ to maximize their marketing dollar to get everyone talking. It’s useful as well to mask the middling reviews for the live action Aladdin remake, by flooding the social sphere with hype for a movie that’s still months away.
These outlets are doing Disney®©™’s dirty work for them, and I have to say that I’m proud of Disney®©™ for demonstrating exactly how masterfully they can manipulate “the system.”
I mean this sincerely, too. As much as I’m having fun with it, it’s a sobering reminder of the power that large companies like Disney®©™ wield, and how we’re perfectly content so long as it keeps feeding us what we want to eat.
I’m in awe that this codependent circle is so perfectly maintained. It’s a shining example of what a science Disney®©™ has developed in a digital marketplace which provides limited space on its front pages and featured results. We are consumers/addicts, and Disney®©™ is a masterful dealer of brain candy.
Each of these articles – whatever article we read – is nothing more than regurgitation of what someone wants us to know. They are steering us along, avoiding hard questions, and happily resell the same thing you can buy just down the street. We may choose a different dealer, but it’s all the same drug.
So enjoy that cheerful note while listening to your favorite podcasts…that will be delivering “fresh” reaction shows to the same revelations.
I’ll be over here, watching weird stuff, thinking strange thoughts, and ignoring it until the fall.