Essay Calls Out Anti-PT Marketing

An essay on The Cantina Cast, “Hate Casual: Awakening The Prequel Shadethrower”, calls out the subtle and not-so-subtle anti-prequel bent TFA marketing has taken:

It seems to be very carefully constructed to attract a particular kind of customer: the Prequel hater. It’s here to remind them of the “good old days” when there were only the three movies they loved when they were kids. I think all the “Prequel bashing” we’re now hearing from the torchbearers of the franchise is part of that strategy. It’s to show the loudest (not largest) portion of the fan base that they “get it” and it’s okay to hate “those films” and still like the new ones. They are preemptively gathering good will from this segment so they will accept and help promote or, at the very least, not actively rip apart The Force Awakens.

I’d commented at the end of the article, but I’ll add further thoughts here. The essay asserts de-emphasizing “episode” numbers is part of this marketing but I agree with other sources that claim it’s so that those new to Star Wars don’t think, “Gee, I have to watch six other movies first?” Specifically calling TPM Episode I was to let moviegoers know it took place before the existing Star Wars films.

The other thought is, what’s in this for Star Wars’s real core audience, kids? These interesting tidbits came up when the folks working on Disney Infinity discussed why Clone Wars characters were being put in the game first:

When we started peeling back the data and looking at our primary demographic with Infinity which is 6-12 (ages), they’re most familiar with The Clone Wars and Episodes I, II, and III.

Here’s the baseline, we are primarily a kids and family game. When you think about what Star Wars means to people that are under the age of 15 right now, it is actually closer to The Clone Wars stuff than the Episodes IV through VI.

Instead the PR seems to be geared toward the nastiest bullies on the playground, many of which aren’t playing with a full deck, who spend their days obsessively looking for any opportunity to trash the prequels or at the very least, playing into the nostalgia of aging filmgoers. Usually when Hollywood tries to get the 45-65 crowd to see a movie, it’s a romcom with Diane Keaton or something. And with at least some of them, it won’t stop them from savaging the film anyway.

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47 Responses to “Essay Calls Out Anti-PT Marketing”

  1. mes520 Says:

    Don’t get me wrong I’m glad they are doing PT era stuff, but I just don’t why they think kids are only familiar with I-III, TCW, and Rebels, I’m sure they all have parents who showed them the OT too.

    • madmediaman Says:

      Because they know their market and clearly they’ve done their research through surveys and have found that most kids today are far more familiar with the characters from the PT and TCW than they are characters from films released some 30 years before they were born.

  2. madmediaman Says:

    I appreciate Mark’s article, but I believe there’s A LOT more going on here. Lucasfilm/Disney are actively running away from Lucas. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

  3. blade57hrc Says:

    The other thing is…
    The hate-trolling is RAMPANT right now with all the SW hype…and i do mean rampant!

    Just one example…
    (disclaimer warning: comments may include profanity)
    I can contain 1 guy with whatever he throws at me and make him quit, but 2-4 simultaneously in 2 sites drives you nuts…

    Whatever the reason, we are fewer it seems.
    And i think all this hype is making it spread. I even saw many more than usual ”critical” (you know what i’m talking about…) comments in my countries SW FB page…

    • madmediaman Says:

      No you’re not fewer… the rabble is fewer… they just whine and complain the loudest.

      • Jim Raynor Says:

        Exactly. Normal people get on with their lives and spend their free time on things they like.

        Disney is of course catering to the loud aging hater demographic to avoid bad buzz leading up to the new movie. IMO they should have nothing to fear. The mainstream audience of families and kids will come if you present an attractive product. No amount of internet whining will change that. A movie series like Transformers (which I don’t even like myself) shows that the nerd media is basically meaningless.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Or Twilight for that matter.

      • Slicer87 Says:

        Disney altered one of of their theme parks based on complaints from Disney park fan sites that complain about everything. Ripped out whole rides and changed entire park sections to try to appease them. They are called foamers (like a mad dog) and are the Disney park versions of SW hateboys.

    • bansheegun Says:

      It’s a shame Kathleen Kennedy turned out to be a blubbering mouthpiece for Disney, rather than a worthy successor to GL who respects his vision.

      • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

        I don’t think Kennedy has any real power right now.

        On the creative side, Abrams is running the show and making the decisions. On the business side, it’s up to Disney execs.

        I think George chose Kenendy before the sale because he wanted to keep Lucasfilm in the hand of the famility, not his biological family but the intellectual family.

        Unfortunately, it appears Disney saw the same thing and wiped out Kennedy’s power when taking over the company. George should have waited another one or two years, until Kennedy could have gotten more used to Lucasfilm as an indepentent company, for the sale.

      • madmediaman Says:

        I suspect Alan Horn (the head of Disney Studios) is really the power behind the throne. He and Kennedy have a pretty bad history together. When horn was at WB Kennedy was producing Benjamin Button which was wildly over budget and behind schedule. Kennedy did stick up for the director, but Horn threatened to take the film from him. Things got so bad between Kennedy and Horn that they were not on speaking terms by the end of production. Horn took it a step further and refused to invite Kennedy to the premiere of her own film.

        Their mutual friend, Steven Spielberg, stepped in and patched up things to the point where Kennedy at least went to the world premiere. But I doubt their relationship is much better today. So while Kennedy is apparently well regarded by Iger, I suspect Horn still views her with suspicion and wants things run his way… after all he has a VERY successful track record at Disney right now..

        So while their’s a happy face about all things Star Wars coming from the magic kingdom, I suspect there’s quite a bit more wrestling between egos going on behind the scenes.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        A lot of this has to do with the behind the scenes sexism in Hollywood today. Diana Argnon from “Glee” said that actresses don’t get paid as much as their male costars even if the actress is more famous and female directors have a hard time keeping control of a movie set because many male crew members won’t listen to them. I suspect that that’s what Kennedy is facing as well. She’s like that former CEO of Sony, she doesn’t have as much power as we think because she’s up against a bunch of manchildren.

      • bansheegun Says:

        I don’t think Gender has anything to do with it. I think it’s about Disney having too much control.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        Disney can be just as sexist as the next studio.

      • Slicer87 Says:

        When Lucas was directing A New Hope, the crew didn’t listen to him either. The crew for Return of the Jedi was a rough bunch, Fisher woke in her trailer and found a crewmember passed out on her floor with his face in a puddle of nitequil. Must have drank alot of it to get drunk.

      • Noah Says:

        M. Marshall… creative differences and business decisions have NOTHING to do with “hollywood sexism”. And to examine that view on the matter, Hollywood right now is doing it’s “best” to please a movement which is built upon sexism yet claims everything is sexist… Feminism (Maleficent is an example of how it’s corrupting cinema) which also likes to interfere with anyone’s creative process. Also, it’s funny that this matter should be brought up, since when Lucasfilm was still indie, Clone got away with a lot of stuff regular television would take off air, such as “violence against women”. Plus, the female characters were strong yet had issues. With Disney’s Rebels, violence only happens against males, the male characters sometimes act stupid or rash while Hara & Sabine make little mistakes, and… that’s pretty much current Disney TV.

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      It’s true, the hate-trolling is out of hand. And as with any kind of trolling, calling out the trolls just gives them the attention they seek. There’s a guy who responds to nearly every article posted at with the same anti-PT/anti-George rant regardless of the topic (and I’m sure he’s getting chubby in the pants if he’s reading this right now) and it poisons every discussion. It’s exhausting playing whack-a-troll with these people.

      • lovelucas Says:

        I know it gets exhausting but never back down. Even if it means the sand from AotC – oh, yes there is an answer to everything.

      • blade57hrc Says:

        Let me guess…lovelikewinter. LOL
        He and that other guy S.Vimes who could write an essay about the trajectory of a turd being awesome if it’s in the OT (who i called ”pretencious” and got banned for it, NO REGRETS) are really on a mission…LOL

        Outside of TFN though, in YT or every article mentioning SW, the trolls are rampant. It does make me wonder at times…Are these people getting paid to do that? I mean, i have engaged a few in these ”epic” battles and it seems as though they ”sleep-eat-troll SW related stuff hating Lucas/PT-sleep-eat…”.

        What’s more, they’ve trolled every ratings site giving 0s to PT films which lowers their ratings, which influences people negatively…and the cycle continues bringing the ratings down…

        The truth is, people are influenced by these things. We all are to some degree. Imagine being a kid who loved all SW, suddenly being bombarded by these people and their ”facts”. You will quickly lose it. It saddens me when i see kids/adolescents/young adults saying ”i was a kid…but when i grew up i REALISED…”.
        I wish we couild beat them at their own game, but at this point the PT is where the OT was back in the 80s. It’s just a ”series of dumb movies and not good cinema like in the 60s”. Can it turn around when young people (like those who changed the view on the OT when they reached a certain age) are being bombarded like that??

        Anyways i digressed…
        I think we need pro-PT videos. good & lots of them, showing new perspectives.
        That Nostalgia-critic top PT things did right, even though it was ”it sucks…but…this…” gave some perspectives people now either parrot or thought about for a moment.

        The ”problem” is that Lucas made, what in my opinion are, 3 avant-guarde-experimental-art films disguised as blockbusters (put simply, add explosions & battles to THX-1138 & 2001:ASO and you have the PT) and this works against it because it requires many things from the viewer, least of all engagement.
        People need help to see what we see. We need to show them that.

        P.S. It’s extremely funny to me that every YT ”reviewer” has to shit on the PT to gain geek-cred…and viewings money 😉
        First it was RLM…then every other wannabe…then Schmoes…than Jahns…now Stuckman…
        why is it that 16yo ”bad” films still get reviewed & these reviews watched by those who ”wished they didn’t exist or could forget them”? The world will never know…LOL

      • lazypadawan Says:

        A big part of what’s driving their rage is that in spite of everything (or perhaps because of) they’ve done, the movies still haven’t disappeared.

      • Slicer87 Says:

        I argued with Vimes many times over at Jedi council forums, at least he doesn’t name call but is still quite annoying. Also know another guy like that named T. Hartwell aka Fynn who bad mounts the PT films every chance he gets. A classic case of he used to like the PT as a kid but grew up and thinks he knows how Lucas ticks.

        As for RLM and other online reviewers, they are hacks, film school drop outs or wanna bes riding Lucas’s coat tails fo hits. Most online clebs like Rifftrax are that way.

      • Jim Raynor Says:

        blade, you’re right that the Prequels have great artistic ambition dressed up with blockbuster action. They truly do “demand” things from the viewers.

        Other recent blockbusters make attempts at thematic depth, but it’s usually no more than scratching the surface.

        The SW Prequels have great and extensive messages emotional health, parenting, growing up, and how these things affect the way that individuals shape their society and govvernment. These themes are executed in a way that retroactively infuses the Original Trilogy with even more depth, for what is IMO the greatest single story told across six films.

        However, the fanboys, the people who proclaim to know SW better than its own creator, don’t see any of this. Ask them about themes and morals and they’ll be lost. Their minds are agitated at the mere brief mention of learned subjects, such as all of the griping about “taxation of trade routes” after sixteen years. SW is a feel good cartoon show for them and nothing more. A fun shoot-em-up that reminds them of their childhoods, which they struggle to describe beyond simplistic memes like “Western,” “used feel,” or “practical effects.”

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yes, it’s definitely the case and it’s why prequel fans have to get LOUD. I don’t mean engage with every psychopath who comments on some clickbait piece. I mean look for the BIG venues and put pressure on the official front. We have to stop being invisible.

      • lovelucas Says:

        Exactly. Blowing horns, taking on all comers. Get your patriotic rhetoric ready to respond, citing verse and chapter. Puff your chest out and bellow. Proud of my bad ass rep.

  4. M. Marshall Says:

    Here’s an interesting article:

    • Bob Clark Says:

      I remember this article. Doesn’t say anything bad about TPM. Doesn’t say anything good about it, either.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Very interesting take on TPM WITHOUT bashing it (unless I missed something). Even “branded” movies and franchises prior to TPM had big Hollywood stars. Disney’s animated movies depended on at least one big star doing voice work and a big pop song. Pixar’s “Toy Story” starred box office dynamo Tom Hanks and popular t.v. star Tim Allen. All of buzz around the Joel Schumacher Batman movies was about which celebrities were going to be in it next. TPM had no Tom Hankses, Julia Robertses, Tom Cruises, or Jim Carreys. Its biggest draw was that it was Star Wars. That set the tone for LOTR/The Hobbit, Harry Potter, and every superhero/comic book flick to follow since. In 1995, everybody saw “Batman Forever” because Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Drew Barrymore were in it. In 2008, everybody saw “The Dark Knight” because it was Batman.

  5. lovelucas Says:

    Aye, sadly. Feels like the Dystopian world we heard tell of and we’ve finally found survivors. Thanks for that – to all.

  6. Daniel Xie Says:

    It’s a shame that nowadays the most vocal and negative “fans” of anything are the ones that get rewarded.

    I watched Agents of SHIELD and I as a follower of the MCU understands this fact. They just responded positively to the backlash against the character of Ward, that his fangirls are all Charles Manson-worshippers, Nazi apologists, racists, etc. Now I’ve never stood with Ward in an apologetic way or shipped any pairing in the show, but I think he is an intresting character and looking at how he resonates with both the casual viewer like me as an intresting villain character and the people who sympathize with his backstory, and as such I frankly don’t think that these “social justice warriors” on tumblr that claim to despise that character of Ward should represent. And it seems that the production is listing to these extremely vocal haters…..and not in a good way for the rest of us……

    The reveal of Ward as the Big Bad for Season 3, something that Arune said would make us Ward fans(said in a way directed to the causal fans, through the stand with Ward movement and the haters both intrepreted it in their way) excited really worries me, because are they developing him into a complex villain, or the sort of caricture that the so-called SJWs rail against. I know the stand with Ward movement isn’t happy, so I have my worries. Again I do not give any characters apolegetic or leather pants treatment but I actually felt that the character resonating with abuse victims is what makes him dynamic.

    As someone who LIKES Ward as a villain, I don’t want him to be redeemed, especially since the show’s gotten a lot interesting since he was revealed as a HYDRA member. I do however, want a detailed and interesting and layered antagonist of which society is just as much responsible for his descent into darkness, maybe have us sympathizing for him in a certain point of view as Obi-Wan would say. But his haters in the tumblr SJW community would want society to be blameless, it’s all his fault, everyone else deserves a second chance, his backstory is just himself making excuses with invalid justifications. They turn him into a brutish carichture without considering why he is the way he is.

    Not to mention how they react hypocritically to the actions of the heroes that really makes the show more morally ambigious, but they want to see it black-and-white. And not to mention that the ending of the show is offensive and disgusting in it’s own way.

    And I fear that instead of getting a complex and interesting villain, we will get what his haters think–and I fear that the same thing is already manifesting with Disney’s treatment of the SW fanbase.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Somebody else commented about the Ward thing not too long ago.

      In some ways, it’s like what Anakin fans and Anakin/Padme shippers have to endure from other people.

      • Daniel Xie Says:

        Intrestingly enough, tumblr is much nicer to Anakin and Padme than it is to Ward, since you’ve talked about tumblr being more pro-PT.

        And out of all the blogs against the Stand with Ward movement, only one of them actually appreciated him as a villain, the rest degenerated into character bashing quickly.

        I don’t actually Stand With Ward, I felt he shouldn’t be excused for his actions but I fear that the “haters” might actually make the character uncompelling..

    • bansheegun Says:

      I can’t stand Tumblr. The SJW hive mind will get offended by anything. Directors and Producers should never listen to what those people have to say about their work.

      • Daniel Xie Says:

        Exactly! Even worse is that the SJW hate of Ward is borderline hypocritical.

        We had a intresting female of color in her own right(Agent 33), die so Ward could become a villain. The Stand With Ward movement called the show out on sidelining female characters as plot devices to advance to story. Yet all we get from the SJW community is “hurr durr, why whine for your nazi white cis male”, despite the fact that they should be in arms about this if it is any other case.

      • bansheegun Says:

        I love the memes making fun of Tumblr SJW’s calling white men “CIS” that use a picture of a B1 battle droid xD. I don’t know if you’ve seen The Legend Of Korra, but there is no doubt the Tumblr SJW crowd is responsible for what happened in the series finale (The show creators even said so!).

      • Daniel Xie Says:

        To be honest, I actually liked the Legend of Korra ending. I thought it was a bold move. It isn’t just sjw influence but there was some buildup starting in season 3. But then again I’m kinda of a “pro social justice and representation, but anti tumblr-sjw type go guy”.

      • bansheegun Says:

        Bold? Yes. Overly political? Definitely. They might have done it as a last ditch attempt to make the show actually memorable because, before that, the show was a let down. Oh well.

      • Daniel Xie Says:

        I think we should stop this discussion, it`s getting into places against the rules of the blog and into our own personal worldviews as to why Korrasami should/shouldn`t be canon.

        Let`s just leave it here.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        Trust me, my dear Daniel, Korrasami is nothing compared to Xena and Gabrielle shippers. And it came back to the producers. And they ran with it. Since the show’s end. No one can mention the show without bringing up the “subtext” and it’s practically eclipsed everything else about the show ever since.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        As somebody who loves the haven that the Prequels enjoy on Tumblr (and as someone who runs his webcomic on Tumblr) I’m not about to bite the hand here. Also I’m something of an SJW myself, so I’m cool with all this. If progressive provocateuring is what gets us more diverse heroes like Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales, I’m down with it.

        At the same time, I understand the frustration sometimes. After all, I’m an Asushin shipper, and it gets lonely in the Kawoshin world of Evangelion nowadays…

      • bansheegun Says:

        I’d rather these “Diverse” characters be brought into the story for actual, compelling story reasons and not because some loud, angry SJW Tumblrites demand they be there just to be there. But I’m stopping there, like what Daniel said, before this gets out of hand. It’s not fair to LP and this is not a place for this discussion.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        I think there are compelling story reasons, too. Miles Morales fills the void that the Ultimate Peter Parker left. Kamala Khan provides a nice new youth-oriented take on superheroing (as well as a justification for the stupid corporate-mandated Inhumans whatnot). Sure, SJWing might’ve stoked the flames a bit and continues to do so, but that’s just vox populi. If we ever want to see Disney treat Prequel era properties right, it’ll only be because we’ve learned to make our voices heard, just like everyone else.

  7. Daniel Xie Says:

    And this negativity is also why Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire is the only fandom I consistently talk about along with SW, because GRRM does his own thing despite what the haters may want.

    To be fair, there are times where I’ve supported what is majority fandom opinion(I supported the Oilicity shippers in the now forming DC Televised Universe with Arrow and Flash), but as long as it made sense(at the same time. I did not support Snowbarry over Westallen unlike many unfamiliar with the comics and are solely judging couples on the basis of chemistry(sound familiar?) because that pairing would violate the fundamental principles of DC Comics set up in the first place

    The hate Westallen gets from some circles does make you think of Anakin and Padme dosen’t it? People hate it in favor of slash pairings and Obidala, or at least a vocal minority does, but they are an essential part of the story(as without Westallen, we wouldn’t get Wally West, just as A/P is needed for Luke and Leia to be born).

    • M. Marshall Says:

      I’m not a big fan of Westallen myself. Not because of shipping or being against canon, but because of the way Iris is written. She just doesn’t seem to be Barry’s type. He’s a massive nerd and she’s practically a “popular girl”. It’s the typical couple you see in Hollywood and I’m fed up with it. If Iris was written to be more like Felicity, then I could buy into their coupling. But…

    • bansheegun Says:

      I’ll admit, I’m a little bit of a hypocrite when it comes to my other fandoms. I love Halo, but I despise the Techno-Call of Duty trash coming out of the new Halo “Saga”. I much more prefer the original games.

      I can kind of see where the Anti-PT crowd is coming from when I think about my opinion of Halo but it’s really not the same because 343 drastically changed Halo to the point that it really can’t be called “Halo”, whereas George Lucas kept things consistant and kept the same feel throughout all six films. Not to mention, the Anti-PT crowd just grasps at straws and attacks the most pointless of things in order to feel empowered.

  8. Jim Raynor Says:

    Grant Ward from Agents of SHIELD been mentioned here before, and while I hesitate to get into this since it’s not at all the point of this blog, I feel the need to defend the show and its writers.

    Ward was not “just” turned into a villain. He’s been consistently portrayed as a monstrous villain for more than an entire season already. He betrayed his team, his agency, and his country by serving undercover for a terrorist group. He murdered numerous agents, some of whom were in the process of helping him. He fled from justice by murdering the FBI agents taking him to a legal trial for his crimes. He acted like a possessive stalker toward the female lead, kidnapping her more than once. He tortured his brother and burned him alive along with both of his parents.

    He had a long criminal record with a consistent pattern of evil behavior. All of that was before this week’s season 2 finale, where the writers made his villainy extra-explicit by having him graphically torture another female hero.

    When Anakin went that far by betraying the Jedi and murdering younglings, Revenge of the Sith was very clear about him being a villain.

    I say this as someone who likes Ward a lot, because I think he’s an interesting, well-written villain. He’s a portrayal of psychopathy. Someone with zero empathy for others and stunted emotions that are often falsified for convenience. Again and again, the camera has given us closeups of his eyes, which are shown as dead cold literally the second he wakes up from bed, as well as whenever he’s about to commit another murder. When it’s convenient for Ward though, he uses his expert spy training (described in the first episode as among the best SHIELD had ever seen) to put on a nice guy facade. His voice and his expressions soften whenever he’s about to sweet talk someone, although even his sweet talk always reveals a self-centered core.

    The show does address societal influences as well as psychology. Ward had an abusive family who were also implied to have psychopathic traits. He was mentored and empowered by a terrorist who was explicitly described as a vengeful narcissist. Both Ward and his mentor display the same sense of entitlement. They constantly pass the buck and blame everyone else, using their suffering as excuses for their evil tendencies.

    The show’s central themes however are about personal accountability, choosing to be better than your predecessors and abusers, and making something better for yourself and others (a message that is expressed by the Star Wars saga as well). The team leader (Coulson) lost his parents at an early age and turned the team into his surrogate family. Agent May was a woman who missed her chance at motherhood, and who was traumatized for years by a mission gone wrong. She copes by being a mother figure to Skye. Skye’s parents were monsters, but she’s turning into a superhero.

    Ward is juxtaposed against all of the actual heroes on the show, and constantly compared to other villains in rather obvious ways. When Ward declared his “love” for Skye after murdering one of her friends, the episode’s one-off monster of the week villain was a super powered stalker. In the same episode where Ward successfully fled the law and used his “second chance” to murder his family, we saw flashbacks of an actual Nazi war criminal being denied a second chance of his own. Later, when Ward kidnapped Skye, we also saw Skye’s insane father also acting like a possessive creep.

    The writers have been very consistent about Ward being a villain, and the majority of the fanbase loves him in that role. Ward however, has just attracted a sub fandom that denies or excuses his villainy, asking for a chance at “redemption” that Ward has already thrown away more than once.

    It’s not a disservice to a villainous character to portray the depths of his evil or give him a prominent place in the universe. He’s basically been positioned as the show’s new big bad. The writers are guaranteeing him a continued presence on the show, even when the show’s actual vocal haters accuse the character of being “boring.”

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