Star Wars: How to be Spoiler-Freeby Todd King, contributing writer
New scene in Star Tours begins Tomorrow
A quick update on Star Tours that MousePlanet readers probably already know: Destinations from The Last Jedi will be integrated into the Star Tours attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios and in Disneyland starting tomorrow, November 17. As a guest on the ride, you will be put into a battle on the mineral planet of Crait. For those adventuring to the parks this holiday season, enjoy the additional scene(s)—we'd love to hear comment about it here on MousePlanet.
How to be Spoiler-Free
For the past three years, I challenge myself to avoid spoilers with each new Star Wars movie release. Avoiding them means proceeding cautiously when reading headlines, because they can be dangerous obstacles as I try to keep up with news about Star Wars, the construction of both Galaxy's Edge's parks, and related media.
Fortunately, many online articles offer intriguing titles without much information; they are meant to tease the material behind it and entice you click through to the article itself. But therein lies the rub: it is not the avoiding of spoilers that is difficult, but resisting the temptation to read them.
I have seen the headlines recently about some alleged spoiler revealed in The Last Jedi poster. So from now on, I won't look at the poster too closely. There were a few headlines around Halloween that said Adam Driver had spilled the beans on something. So, I will keep away from Adam Driver interviews. My guess is that these bits of information probably don't contain full spoilers, but it is my best practice to just sidestep the smoke coming from any potential fire.
There are loads of fan sites, forums, YouTube channels, and blogs that discuss news and spoilers at length. Many of them clearly label items and threads as "spoiler-free" and "contains spoilers," which are very considerate. Still, it increases temptation when you're that close to some potentially juicy info. November is a difficult time, when there is little official news to discuss regarding the movie, but a lot of speculations. Again, it makes the spoilers all that more tempting.
Worst of all, I have to circumvent my own thoughts. Before The Force Awakens, I made a few conjectures about the characters and the plot. I was right about somethings but wrong about some others. For example, I thought Luke would surely make a surprise appearance. He did, but not in the way I thought. When the heroes were at their most dire point, I imagined Luke would appear to make the dramatic save.
The point is that I didn't want to think about it too much before the movie was out. I usually don't make the right predictions but I fear that if I contemplate things too much, my mind may accidentally jump to a conclusion that turns out to be accurate. I can see how some fans would like to figure things out ahead of time and feel elated when seeing the movie and finding out where they were right. I don't want that for me.
Trying to go in relatively fresh requires avoiding the trailers and all media. No, I stick to official Star Wars channels so I'm only exposed to their curated information. Lucasfilm and Disney have shown that they value story, plot, and characters as much as anything else, so I am pretty assured that they won't give spoilers. For me, they are risk-free and offer the right balance of revelations and updates. It seems they even shun giving even the smallest clues. I even believe following Mark Hamill on Twitter keeps me safe since he values the keeping of secrets. He even makes all the anticipation fun with jokes and exaggerated teases; it is a great way to be entertained as a fan before we see the final product.
The hardest part about having a spoiler-free Star Wars diet is when you have friends that dive right into the speculation and scoop up every tidbit and rumor out there. Then they can't wait to talk to you about it. Like the sites and forums on the web, however, most friends know when you want to avoid spoilers and will respect your choice.
We've seen in documentaries that that respect extends even to strangers in line at the theater waiting for the movie. Fans will wear badges with marks on them signifying whether they're willing to talk spoilers or not. Even so, sometimes those fans will tease you about something they know, increasing the temptation to learn a spoiler. I haven't been the best in this regard and have cheated on my diet. I blame my fanatical friends!
Now after the movie is out and I've seen it, it's all fair game. I'll go to the sites and talk about the movie, and maybe even go back a little to see which spoilers were out there and if any of them turned out to be true. Usually by then, however, the spoilers are just old news and get lost in the outpouring of reviews.
If you are remaining spoiler-free, do you have any tips, advice, or encouragement? Please share in the comments below.
Spoilers of the Past
In the spirit of spoilers and as we approach the second film in this new trilogy, I'd like to look back and see what rumors were out in the world before the release of the second film in the original trilogy. Here are some conjectures and guesses that fans were discussing before The Empire Strikes Back from an issue of Starlog magazine published February 1980. You can probably find this issue online or perhaps in a library (as I have) or from your own collection. My thoughts follow each rumor in parentheses.
Obi-Wan Kenobi – appeared in trailers so there was a lot of speculation:
- He will only appear as a disembodied voice (somewhat true)
- He will appear in flashbacks (no)
- He appears as an ephemeral shape that on can faintly see through (yes, what we now call a Force Ghost)
- He will be a live and then die again and be even more transparent (no, and it seems redundant)
Princess Leia – her fate seemed more mysterious than anyone's:
- Leia's choice – at the time, we thought she would end up either with Luke or Han, but one rumor suggested she would run off with Chewbacca (nobody believed that one at the time)
- Leia gets captured by Darth Vader and his dark powers make her betray her friends (nope, if we recall, Vader couldn't even get her to reveal the location of the Rebel base; she's strong, that one)
Han Solo – most of the speculation circled around Han and it might have been known at the time that Harrison Ford hadn't signed up for three movies so that fueled the rumors:
- Han will be killed (not exactly, but they left it possible that he wouldn't make a return)
- Han will have a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader (not even close, but this movie did have Han very briefly wield a lightsaber, but only to cut open a Tauntaun to save Luke)
- Said lightsaber duel would turn Han to the Dark Side and Luke would have to confront him (um, no)
Chewbacca – one rumor had a lot of story involving the Wookiee:
- Chewie gets captured by the Empire and much of the film is a rescue attempt (no, but Chewie does get put into a cell on Cloud City, albeit temporarily, and is not really "rescued")
Lando Calrissian – fans weren't too far off
- Lando is a good guy (mostly)
- Lando is a bad guy (somewhat in the beginning)
- Lando sold Han the Millennium Falcon (somewhat true, he lost it betting in a game with Han—something I wonder about appearing in Solo: A Star Wars Story next year!)
- Lando is a villain as a hero (for a bit, yes, then ended up a hero)
Boba Fett –there was a lot of mystery and hype about this character, much of which remains today:
- Boba Fett will rival Darth Vader in his terror factor (not in my opinion, Vader is much scarier in Empire)
- Boba Fett is a remnant of the old Imperial Shocktroopers (well, yeah, kind of... if referring to Clone Troopers)
- Boba Fett is not an old Imperial Shocktrooper but adopted their uniform "as a symbol of his nefarious purpose" (that's pretty true, in regards to him donning a Mandalorian-type uniform like his father, Jango Fett, but was not truly Mandalorian)
- Boba Fett wears Wookiee scalps on his shoulder (true)
- Boba Fett is a bounty hunter and works for the highest bidder (again, true, but I think that was established in the unmentionable holiday special)
The Emperor – didn't have a big part, but was always a big influence:
- The Emperor will appear in the movie (he did, but only briefly in a hologram communication)
- The Emperor will be played by Orson Welles (no, thank goodness)
- The Emperor will be played by Christopher Lee (no, but what a rumor! That could have been fascinating. Luckily for us, Christopher Lee did have a Star Wars role in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as Count Dooku)
Darth Vader – lots of speculation about him, especially since he was so mysterious in the first movie and we knew next to nothing about him:
- Darth Vader will have a fierce lightsaber duel with Luke Skywalker (utterly true, and many fans were wanting to see that)
- Darth Vader is Luke's father (yup, some people guessed it, some people knew it, but most viewers had no idea)
- Ben Kenobi is Luke's father (no, but again, the parentage of characters, like Rey, remains an important aspect of the stories today)
- Ben Kenobi killed Luke's father (no, but this was the passage written in the production script that hid the true revelation, so this rumor had some legs)
- We will see Darth Vader without his mask (only partially true, it's a quick shot from his back in his meditation chamber, but people wanted to see this)
Luke Skywalker – like Leia, little was known about his actions:
- Luke uses the Force to turn Darth Vader to the good side where he joins the Rebels (well, no, that didn't happen, but it was Luke's primary motivation in the Return of the Jedi to turn him to the light side of the Force)
- Luke and C-3PO are captured by aliens and Luke must disassemble or melt down 3PO to fight them (um, no, but wow, this even had them in a water-filled cell with stop-motion aliens)
- Luke and his friends fall into a black hole and travel through time (nope, glad that didn't happen)
- Luke gets killed (no, but speculation like this always centers around character survival, but from a certain point of view Luke is wounded in more ways than one; his innocence certainly dies)
Overall, I'm surprised just how much information was circulating in 1980, long before the internet, and how some of it was right. Today we have our fair share of outlandish rumors and crazy predictions, but there are some ideas written above that weren't too far off the mark. And if they were close in more than one instance, than it makes me wary that today there are rumors out there that are right on the mark. I'm also glad many of these were wrong. So, if you're in the spoiler game, good luck and have fun, just have a healthy skepticism of your sources.