Extendable trailer specs

If Day One Trailer Views Are A Contest, Star Wars Loses – To Avatar

I will never forget the morning of the final the The Rise of Skywalker trailer debuted. I was lucky enough to be at Star Wars Celebration Chicago (2019) when the first teaser came out (“roll it again” still lives rent-free in my brain). But as unforgettable as it was, it was different. Maybe it was the music. The images of the whole saga (prequels included). Or the fact that at that time being a Star Wars fan was surreal – I just couldn’t believe we were lucky enough to get all the content we were then. I still can’t now.

I watched this trailer and cried for at least an hour; I had to miss work because I was too overwhelmed with emotions to concentrate. Maybe it wasn’t my experience when the Avatar: The Way of the Water the trailer dropped this week. But admittedly, the fact that it far exceeded day one trailer views of films like TROSS is always impressive. I can’t even be mad about it.

Avatar didn’t make the cultural buzz that the early Star Wars installments did. Its first sequel (but apparently not the last) airs more than 10 years after the original film, while TROSS was the ninth episodic film released in a saga spanning more than 40 years. Why does the second film in a less popular franchise have a better trailer legacy than the Star Wars finale genre? Maybe it’s the hype that comes with waiting for something you’ve forgotten about that could keep you excited for over a decade. Or maybe day one trailer views are just one metric we decided to use to compare one franchise to another… for reasons.

I saw Avatar Once. It was pretty. It was good. I don’t consider myself a fan, although I could easily find myself in a theater opening weekend watching it anyway. That doesn’t mean other people don’t have the right to like it or get excited about it. Somewhere out there are Avatar fans who love Avatar as much as I love Star Wars. I like it for them. Ultimately, the most important thing about fandom is that you love what you’re a fan of, and you spend as much free time as possible sharing that love with other fans.

For long-time Avatar fans, this trailer may carry more weight than a trailer for something like TROSS. It’s been 13 years, after all, almost as long as OT Star Wars fans have had to wait between the original and prequel trilogies. If I had waited this long for a sequel, I would have updated this trailer too.

Let’s not go overboard, however. That first trailer released online might have broken a day one record – at least compared to recent Star Wars films. But if we’re to compare franchises like that, Star Wars has decades of stories and universe-spanning stories behind it. Avatar can and will try to overcome that. But these things take decades. And if there’s another 13 years of waiting until the next sequel (who knows what might happen?), there’s simply no chance of catching up.

Avatar: The Way of the Water hits theaters on December 16, 2022.

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