J.J. Abrams on Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens & a little on spoiler etiquette.

In a new article with News.com.au J.J. Abrams says they are still cutting the movie but he could not be happier. He then goes on to address spoilers:

“The level of scrutiny is pretty much unprecedented for me,” he admits. “My dream is that, despite so many rumours — many of which are true, many of which are untrue — when people see the movie, they see something that hasn’t been completely ruined for them by having read spoilers they might not have wanted to read.”

I really could not agree with J.J. Abrams more. As I’ve said many times, for me, reading spoilers and seeing them unfold on screen are two different experiences. Hearing “Darth Vader is Luke’s father” is not the same as seeing it unfold after a climactic lightsaber battle, John Williams rocking your face off, the visual effects of the ‘sabers and the beautiful backgrounds and Mark Hamill’s over-the-top, yet pitch-perfect performance of the reaction to the news. It just doesn’t compare. I don’t believe anything can ruin that and I also don’t remember a time I never knew that particular story twist. When the artistry is right, hearing anything about it cannot compete with the actual culmination of director, actor, visual effects, and music gelling with stellar editing and perfect pacing.

However, Abrams has a very good point when he mentions those that “might not have wanted to read” such spoilers may be spoiled. That’s where it becomes the responsibility of us, the spoiler readers and writers, to protect them. If I report a spoiler and you read it, you don’t need to be specific on Twitter. Chances are we know what we’re talking about without going into deep detail or getting literal like some people do. When you respond to a story and I purposely leave out something about a hero dying, don’t name that person in the response. Someone that didn’t want to read it might catch it by accident.

While for me spoilers ruin nothing, others disagree; we should be as cool as we can be to protect them and accommodate their wishes. Once the film is out, well, they should hide if they haven’t seen it yet and at that point, it’s on them. For now, its on us.

My take has always been that I don’t care about the first viewing of the movie being perfect, I care about the 1000th viewing of the movie still being perfect. If something is so brittle it is ruined by a little bit of knowledge, it probably isn’t that great in the first place and I might as well be spoiled. However, I also subscribe to the holiday analogy that some people care about the day gifts are given out and some people such as myself care about the whole month leading up to the festivities. I don’t think either perspective is wrong. I respect both.

On Now, This is Podcasting! we have divided the show up. Chances are if you listen to our show, you’re a spoiler person. But those degrees vary. Randy, Jeremy, and I are all about spoilers. Johnamarie and Sal waffle on them and to what degree they want to know certain elements. So we came up with a policy on the show that we call “Target Spoilers.” Such spoilers are things you will see on the shelves at Target in Winter of 2015. Designs, very basic plot points, and simple implications or even givens fall into this territory. We do half the show with those types of spoilers and speculations and then the last half is Spoilers with a capital “S,” talking about deaths and huge moments from the new film.

I always try and make light of the titles on our spoilers on the site when I can so if someone retweets our story he/she doesn’t spoil an innocent person not looking to know. I’ll call it “The Mystery of Poe’s clothes” instead of actually detailing what Poe’s actions are in the story that I really wanted to discuss. Or I’ll say “death” in the title and then you know if you click that link you’re going to learn something that might be really huge and it is on the reader, as an adult, to choose to read the article.

Don’t be that guy at the party that has had a few too many and talks really loudly making everyone hear his conversation. On the internet that means with spoilers, just be cool. Speak non-specifically in public forums like Twitter. Don’t assume everyone shares your outlook on spoilers. Keep that stuff in the spoiler forums and direct messages and if you talk about it publicly, be very nondescript.

For the most part, I think we have a great community that doesn’t take to the streets shouting about spoilers. Every now and then I see it, very rarely, but I do see it happen.

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Jason Ward (editor-in-chief)

Owner, Editor and content supervisor of MakingStarWars.net

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