On Star Wars spoilers, and how I treat them

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I’ve avoided saying much about my spoiler policy here on Club Jade, mainly because I firmly believe in taking these things on a case-by-case basis. But there is one hard fact here: I will not treat officially released material as spoilers.

That doesn’t mean I’ll spoil something that’s in The Force Awakens novelization or art book, on the chance they come out before the film does. But any officially released publicity material is fair game. That means trailers, commercials, press releases and anything else that Lucasfilm very clearly wants people to know.

That’s why I posted about Darth Vader on Rebels yesterday: Lucasfilm sent out a press release. They gave it to us – not just fan sites, but bigger news venues as well. The still, the Disney XD teaser, it was all free game as of 7:00 a.m. yesterday.

But I don’t just jump because LFL says I should: I posted it because I don’t feel that Vader is a surprise, any more than Tarkin was. Of course those two were going to show up in Rebels sooner rather than later. (To the point where a lot of us called it long before we knew much of anything about Rebels at all.) Seems that the real spoiler will be Fulcrum’s identity – and I highly doubt Lucasfilm themselves is going to reveal that ahead of time. (And if they did, I’d still post it – but I’d also play it much more carefully than I would Vader.)

I’m not spoiler-free, and I don’t think I could be, being in fandom and in the position of running a news site. Hell, to go spoiler-free in this situation would feel nothing less than irresponsible to me. I do think a lot of the hullabaloo about spoilers and being spoiled in general is a bit ridiculous, but to each their own. (I could do without the shaming, though – believe me, none of us are going to be swayed by that.)

I don’t expect spoilers will ruin my experience comes TFA, any more than spoilers have ruined anything else in the nearly 20 years (omg) I’ve been in fandom. Any more than reading the Harry Potter or The Hunger Games books has lessened my enjoyment of those movies. In a way, the disjointedness and uncertainly of a non-adaption is even more fun – it’s like trying to put together a puzzle only knowing a fraction of what the picture is. Mike Ryan had a great post on this the other day, and I agree with him for the most part – though I don’t think I would read the novelization if it came out today. Well, depending. Maybe. Getting the whole thing at once in a derivative format is a whole different bird than the actual movie.

The trick, I think, is to be realistic about the ‘spoilers.’ Don’t depend on them, because they’re completely divorced from their context. We’re getting only a random selection of puzzle pieces, not a complete picture, and so they don’t all fit together. And in any case, we may know a lot of whats, but not really the how – and that’s the most important part.

Boss Nass remembers.

Boss Nass remembers.

That’s not even touching on the possibility of intentional misinformation, misdirection, or fan interpretations that may have been completely wrong right out the gate. Back before The Phantom Menace, there was a long span of time where almost everyone thought Brian Blessed was playing the king, Natalie Portman’s father, who died in the middle of the action, making her the young queen. That’s… Not how it worked out.

Still, for all my personal inclinations, I do try and respect the wishes of the (somewhat) spoiler-free here. I think I’ve done a decent job of it as regards the TFA rumors, at least since they actually became somewhat plausible. But for all that, this is still a news site: News is going to be posted, and not everything is going to be danced around completely. If your idea of what is and isn’t a spoiler differs from mine, it may be best to find another site, stay out of fandom all-together, or maybe off the internet entirely. (A bunker? I don’t know.) It may mean blacklisting things on social media (Tweetdeck allows you to mute users, hashtags and terms on Twitter; Xkit or Tumblr Savior does the same for Tumblr) or simply unfollowing/muting people and sites you know are prone to whatever you consider to be spoilers. (And for the love of pete, stay off the tags.)

Staying truly spoiler free for a Star Wars movie in this day and age seems nothing less than a Herculean effort, but in the end, it’s up to you. Obviously, we can’t control every site or fan. Some of them are irresponsible with spoilers (ahem, Daily Fail.) Yes, that does suck. But for me, and many of the other fan sites? I don’t write up posts with the intention of spoiling anyone, I try to play things safe, but at the end of the day, either you trust us, or you don’t. It’s your choice.

11 thoughts on “On Star Wars spoilers, and how I treat them

  1. Mike Cooper

    I would love to do a study on the average age of your readership, because I’m betting most of them were like 10 when TPM spoilers were a thing.

  2. dd

    I was 20 for TPM and remained spoiler-free till ROTS. I’m trying to ignore the spoiler itch, but it’s soooo hard not to click on the links…

    You’re doing a great job :)

  3. Eric Brown

    I was 19-21… but I studiously avoided spoilers.

    That being said, clearly the ancient aliens… er… ancient sith interfered in Naboo and Boss Nass *IS* Padme’s real father.

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