If you go to page 125 of this PDF (the DK Summer 2014 Trade Catalog), you’ll see the following tasty morsels regarding two pieces of upcoming Rebels merchandise:
In August 2014, DK will release Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide and Ultimate Sticker Collection: Star Wars Rebels.
Most interesting, however, is the publicity and marketing breakdown:
- Fan site/blog giveaway [Note to DK: Star Wars Always is always open to receiving free merchandise in exchange for uncritical, glowing praise!]
- Print advertising campaign
- May the 4th campaign (May 4, 2014)
- Cross promote with other licensees
- San Diego Comic-Con feature title (July 24-27, 2014)
- Children’s Book Council feature titles
- Independent bookstore outreach
- Social media outreach
- Online sweepstakes
Note that the “May the 4th” campaign echoes the reports from a month ago coming out of the European Brand Licensing Show—the same reports that included mention of “Darth Vader themed TV specials”.
Obviously the schedule from those reports, giving Episode VII a release of spring/summer 2015, is out-of-date. However, we now at least have official confirmation of a planned “May the 4th” campaign, suggesting the Vader specials may actually be a real possibility. If Vader suits are being made at Pinewood (as persistent rumours suggest), the picture is indeed becoming clearer.
Disney aren’t mucking about when it comes to getting old-school Star Wars fans back onside. There’s a reason they’ve made the following moves since acquiring Lucasfilm, all in the lead-up to Episode VII:
- cancelled The Clone Wars
- “postponed” the 3D releases of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith
- planned theme park attractions rumoured to focus on classic original trilogy locales
- initiated a new animated series set only five years before the original Star Wars, focusing on the Empire and the emerging Rebel Alliance
- planned rumoured TV specials focusing on Darth Vader
In my opinion, this is about more than just a shift in focus.,This is a concerted effort to once again associate the Star Wars name with the original trilogy at the exclusion of the prequels. “The real Star Wars is coming back” they seem to be saying. “Episodes I-III were a momentary diversion—pay them no mind from here on out…”