My friend Tyler looked at me as if I had just proclaimed I was climbing the Himalayas or living on a crab boat for the rest of my life.
“You’re staying completely away from spoilers for Star Wars: Episode 7?”
I nodded and confirmed that that was the plan. He leaned back in his chair and ask the question everyone else had stated once they’d heard of my choice.
To be frank, I wish I knew. It’s an unsettling life choice. It’s like making an effort to ignore the wind. How can you turn your back on such a monumental force and expect not to still be affected by it? How can you attempt to look away when its presence is all around?
From t-shirts and happy meal toys to video games and bus stop ads, it’s inevitable that Star Wars: Episode 7 will be plastered on every object and medium possible as if it’s a power that needs to still prove itself. Sure the prequels left a bad taste in the mouths of the majority, but it simply shows the absolute magnetism of the franchise that you can make three massive clunkers of cinema and still have every butt that was in a seat for Phantom Menace most likely show up once again.
So, when it comes to SW:E7, everything after that first cast photo (seen in the header) is dead to me. I’ll be ignoring the buzz, missing the hype, and stepping back from the chaos. I’ll be shielding my eyes from the magazine covers at the grocery, disregarding the treading Twitter hashtags, and flat out muting the most spoiler serving Facebook friends. The only exception to the rule is if a trailer projects itself in front of me before another film and then, for only those two minutes, will I get a taste. There will be no rewatching on Youtube. Beyond that, I’m going cold turkey from Star Wars spoilers just as everyone else takes their first hit of many to come.
This is always the follow-up question I get asked and one Tyler had on his lips as well. I try to answer with a question of my own.
When’s the last time you went to a theater and knew nothing about the film?
It’s rare not to have any contact with a piece of cinema before you sit down to view it. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible. Maybe it’s just a promotional photo here or a TV spot there, but we have a connection with the material long before the opening credits. In fact, it’s possible we have more of an understanding of a film’s world and ethos before we see it than past generations did even after their viewing.
We are saturated in tid-bits, gossip, breaking news, and rumors and, by the time we finally have the opportunity to take it all in, we probably already have the action figures at home. Is a film better because we know the villain’s name before we see him on the screen? Is it really okay that the biggest action sequences are the highlights for the trailer? Do we really enjoy a film more after seeing slideshow after slideshow of blurry behind the scenes pictures taken from afar? When did we become a culture that desired so much front-end knowledge?
While some films still desire mystery in the months (or even years) leading up to their release, it seems like an impossible battle both with a fan culture, who can’t seem to get enough, and marketers that believe that “more is more.” But, out of these two camps, I’m still not sure who I blame more. Should I sneer at a studio for showing a trailer at Comic Con or the guy with the iPhone, whose unfocused recording of it forces the studio to pull the curtain back online earlier than intended?
I’ve been one of those fans that shuffle up to the buffet and never leave until the restaurant brings out the final course, but the down side has always been that I’ve never been able to fully enjoy it — I’ve already stuffed my face and am now too full to truly consume what I came here for in the first place.
When I ask people about the last time they knew nothing about a film before going into a theater, I generally told that it’s not happened to them since they were kids and that’s the best reason I can think of for fasting from SW:E7 spoilers. I want to sit down and have no earthly concept of what is about to befall me. I want to take it in with innocent eyes let the experience wash over me. I want to have a nerd like experience that nerd culture doesn’t seem to believe in anymore. How exhilarating that could be. How exhilarating that will be.
Upon hearing me out, a grin formed over Tyler’s face. He had one final question…
Can I join you?