How Will He See Star Wars?
The biggest challenge is yet to come: the day of the premiere. Johnny has tickets to see the movie three times in the first 24 hours, even taking off work for two days to get in line early. But how the hell is he going to avoid Star Wars while standing in line for hours, alone, surrounded by fans in costumes? Will he just give up at that point?
Hell no. He’ll just be anti-social. “I’ll just put my headphones in and be really rude to people.”
His original plan was to wear a sign that said, “Don’t Talk To Me,” like a class clown who has to move his desk to the corner. But as he’s learned from the people who post Star Wars articles on his Facebook wall, trolls should not be baited.
But to put himself through all this trouble, here’s the real question:
Why Do This?
Johnny wants his Force Awakens experience to be “as fresh as possible.” He envies the past pre-Internet generations of Star Wars fans who had the luxury of walking into the original trilogy with no expectations for the plot or knowledge of the reveals.
For example, the “I am your father” twist was so earth-shattering that pretty much any child born after 1980 is born knowing it, even without seeing The Empire Strikes Back. It redefined the very concept of spoilers and remains a go-to pop culture reference, even if the joke itself ruins the reveal for a younger generation of fans.
For Johnny, an episode of Muppet Babies tipped him off.
For others, it was a Simpsons gag about how spoiling Star Wars is a dick move…
There was also Tommy Boy…
Toy Story 2…
The worst Darth Vader spoiler came from Darth Vader himself. Body actor David Prowse spoiled the reveal to a small town in Ohio two years before Empire even came out.
Good thing the internet didn’t exist in 1978.
This is a bigger issue than one Star Wars fan wanting to go into The Force Awakens blind.
Hollywood is spoiling too many of its own movies. Johnny thinks studios are being “pretty fast and loose with trailers nowadays.” And he’s not alone. Recently, trailers for huge franchise installments, from last summer’s Terminator Genysis to last week’s three-minute spot for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, have come under fire for revealing major plot elements.
This isn’t new. When T-2: Judgement Day premiered in 1991, fans walked into the film knowing Arnold Schwarzenegger would switch sides to play John Connor’s friendly bodyguard in the sequel. Never mind that the script intended that twist to be a massive reveal a half hour into the movie.
Similarly, The Sixth Sense‘s script doesn’t reveal Cole’s ability to “see dead people” until the midpoint, despite Haley Joel Osment bombarding us with the terrifying catchphrase throughout the summer of 1999. That’s right, the film with cinema’s greatest twist ending (since Empire, at least) could’ve had a twist middle.
Of course, one could argue that both T2 and The Sixth Sense were critical and commercial hits and that these “reveals” were more functional as “hooks” that drew audiences into theaters. Would as many people have wanted to see Arnold murder a teenager, or watch Bruce Willis hang out with a schizophrenic kid? (Actually, both those movies sound amazing.)
But these examples raise the larger question: how much should we know about a movie before seeing it? Do we enjoy it more having our expectations fulfilled, or no expectations at all?