This past week Kevin Smith shed some bro tears after witnessing the magical shoot of Star Wars 7 in London, and the new movie couldn’t be more viral, even though it’s miles away from being finished, which brings me to this question : “Why are we so obsessed with Star Wars 7?’
Well, for one thing, the new Star Wars brings back some of the original cast members to the big screen. On top of that, Disney is taking the franchise into a new direction.
Then there’s JJ Abrams, who’s turned the Star Trek universe upside-down and is now the man in charge of re-defining the biggest sci-fi franchise in the world.
However these points we already know, but there is one thing we’ve overlooked and not considered : How the web has changed in the last 9 years.
When ‘Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith’ came out back in 2005, Youtube had only been around for 3 months, and people barely knew it existed. Twitter wasn’t even born (2006) while Facebook only had 5.5 million users worldwide by the end of 2005 compared to over 1 billion as of September 2012. To put it into perspective, our entire movie culture changed after mid-2007 when social network growth exploded, bringing us much closer to the films and the franchises we love.
So in 2014, where we have billions of internet users, people connecting through video, social and on mobile apps, we’ve never been so in on the conversation of the movie than ever before. In fact, only a few years ago most of us would have met up to talk about the films we’re excited about, or love. Remember the DVD store experience? Didn’t you spend a ridiculous number of hours at Blockbuster trying to figure out which terrible or amazing movie you were going to rent?
Now we’re sharing those movie conversations digitally, and the studios know this. Engagement is a hugely important marketing value. As we are updated regularly on the latest happenings of Star Wars 7, instantly a viral conversation begins across the web, and because Star Wars has a big fan base that is also digitally superior since 2005, the Star Wars 7 debate is nothing short of gigantic.
Let me put it another way : We are truly in a new digital era for Star Wars movies, and it’s the first time in history where people of all ages and backgrounds have been able to connect and share their experiences with the franchise on such a highly engaged level across countries with no boundaries. On top of that, the explosive growth of video will account for 79% of internet traffic by 2018 meaning that all the short video previews, interviews and trailers that we will see from the Star Wars production will fuel our obsessive debate, and it won’t stop until it’s released on Blu-Ray in 2016 (that is, if the format survives that long).