Marketing chief Ricky Strauss talks with THR about balancing Marvel and Pixar, his campaign strategy for March’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ remake and ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ plans.
For Rogue One, how did you strike a balance between capitalizing on The Force Awakens and making sure people know it’s not a sequel?
What was important to set up early on was that this was a stand-alone film and that you didn’t need to see any of the other films. That was also the case with The Force Awakens. We didn’t want to make people feel like they had to see the six other movies to understand what was going on.
How did you make that happen?
By calling it a Star Wars “story” as opposed to an “episode.” The movie builds on the Star Warslegacy and mythology but has a different feel and complexion. In the marketing materials, there are no lightsabers, there are no droids and there is a brand-new group of actors. When you look at the outdoor campaign, the only thing you can see that is similar are Stormtroopers — but like you’ve never seen them before, standing on a beach. It’s very clear that Rogue One isn’t one of the episodic Star Wars films.