Released on the back of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and now more than two decades old, the fan convention entitled Star Wars Celebration recently took a step forward by offering all the action from the event in a live-streamed format. This allows people who were unable to get tickets straight away, to watch the creator panels on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok – free of charge.
But what can the live-streaming format do for the wider Star Wars franchise?
Star Wars Hunters
Star Wars has enjoyed a significant boost to its growth and popularity over the past few years. While its movies are still trapped in a release cycle that takes decades between trilogies, evidence suggests that future projects will come out with increasing regularity. Directors Rian Johnson, Patty Jenkins, Taika Waititi, Kathleen Kennedy, Kevin Feige, and Shawn Levy have all been associated with Star Wars movies since 2019.
Disney’s frantic release schedule for standalone series like The Mandalorian and Andor looks set to be replicated in video gaming too. The production studio has promised to release two video games a year from 2022 onwards, including Jedi: Survivor (Respawn), Star Wars Eclipse (Quantic Dream), Star Wars Hunters (Zynga), and a trio of as-yet-unnamed projects from developers including Ubisoft.
While the threat of overwhelming the fandom with content always looms, as it does with fellow Disney franchise Marvel, all the attention given to the Star Wars universe is merely growing the public’s appetite for George Lucas’ beloved space opera. This is arguably why Star Wars Celebration LIVE! has become the go-to for new information for fans stuck at home.
Industrial Light & Magic
Live streaming is a major growth area in entertainment circles – not just in terms of broadcasting events but in providing content of all types. The Star Wars Battlefront II category on Twitch boasts 1.3M followers, for instance, even though it’s quite a passive way of enjoying the franchise’s various parts. However, a more interactive way of using live streaming does exist, as a quirk of live casino gaming.
The Playstar New Jersey casino launch will utilize live streaming as a way to offer a more social way of playing. This is achieved by having live, human presenters on the screen to chaperone all the games. While this is ostensibly the same kind of thing that Star Wars Celebration LIVE! does, the lack of interaction with the panel hosts make it strictly a spectator sport – yet an infinitely expandable one.
During 2022’s Celebration event, fans received updates about Lucasfilm’s activities, as well as a presentation from VFX masters Industrial Light & Magic. More information about Star Wars: Hunters was revealed but, unfortunately, this was the online game that got its own segment. Hasbro, Marvel, Del Rey Books, and several other merchandising companies were present with their own panels too.
Just as it does with sporting events, live streaming provides an unprecedented level of access to an otherwise exclusive occasion. As the Star Wars brand continues to grow at a prodigious rate, it’ll be interesting to see what Disney and Lucasfilm do with the technology in the future. For now, more than 20 hours of Star Wars Celebration LIVE! footage can be found on YouTube.