Disney can’t promote its ‘Star Wars’ spinoff because of ‘Mission Impossible’

Disney got fans incredibly excited about its second Star Wars movie, Rogue One, when it revealed the title and announced Felicity Jones as the lead actress. But now, a fight over a similarly titled action movie is preventing Disney from saying much else until late in the summer.

The fifth Mission Impossible film will be called Rogue Nation and will be released on July 31. Paramount, the studio that produces the MI films, registered the trademark for the title and informed the Motion Picture Association of America in January. (MPAA clearance is necessary for a film produced within the Hollywood system to move forward.) Unfortunately, Disney didn’t clear Rogue One with the MPAA until several months later, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.

Under MPAA rules, Paramount had grounds to challenge Disney’s use of its planned title. But instead of prolonged legal bickering, the two companies struck a deal.

To accommodate Paramount’s publicity campaign for Rogue Nation, Disney agreed not to promote Rogue One during Summer 2015 “in any promotional materials aimed at the general consumer.”

Rogue One won’t be released until Dec. 16, 2016, well over a year after Rogue Nation hits theaters.

Lucasfilm, the Disney subsidiary producing the Star Wars movies, will host a Star Wars convention in Anaheim, Calif., in April. THR suggested in its story that this convention was exempt from the Disney–Paramount agreement, meaning that fans who attend the event may see an early glimpse of Rogue One—likely the concept art shown to investors when Disney announced the film.

Gareth Edwards is directing Rogue One based on a script by Chris Weitz. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) is the only cast member announced so far. The film’s title suggests that it might focus on Rogue Squadron, a group of X-wing pilots who fought for the Rebel Alliance and—at least in the non-canon tie-in fiction—its successor government for decades.  

Photo via Paramount Pictures | 20th Century Fox | Remix by Jason Reed

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.