Growing up, I was never too fond of the traditional spoiler. When it appears essential to the plot, for example: in The Film That We Do Not Talk About, The Usual Suspects and Shawshank Redemption, it can be downright annoying when your friend reveals that all-important ending or crucial plot development. I knew the twist to Fight Club before watching it and this undeniably affected my viewing experience and I came away from the final scene feeling as though I hadn’t properly sat through it. However, spoilers have always held mystical appeal to some. But does just knowing there’s a spoiler or twist in a film, count as ruinous to the watching experience itself? With our current stream-centric media consumption occurring at a whizzing pace, can we ever avoid them? How long is long enough before discussing plot points? It appears spoilers leave you with more questions than answers.
These days it is pop-culture mega-hits such as Star Wars, Marvel and the recently wrapped Game of Thrones that have been at the helm of spoiler-avoidance. Film secrets are a Marvel speciality – given that they have included post-credit scenes in the majority of their films since Iron Man in 2008. This drives buzz as fans are itching to get their hands on what is coming up in the MCU and to tell friends who haven’t yet seen the film. Secrecy and mystery propel sales and the end scenes seem to drive excitement for the next one… and the next one… It changes the cinema-going experience as well; many a time I have sat and actually watched all the credits (something which shamefully we just don’t do a lot of), making friends wait for the post-post-end credits scene.
For some dedicated fans, scouring the internet for clandestine clues about new character involvement or obscure plot points is intoxicating. It would seem die-hard Star Wars fans can’t wait to unearth plot details about the potential reappearance of Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker with the latest TV spot End becoming the latest hunting ground for clues until the next teaser. Both the TV spot and the trailer have developed enough speculation that it is almost certain that he will appear. Is this not seeking out a spoiler, or does this add anything overall to the enjoyment of the film? It could be argued either way.
According to Amazon TV, when it comes to netiquette, with great power comes great responsibility. Back when they planned a release of a Lord of the Rings spin-off, the PR team developed a top-secret bunker to hide the drama’s crucial information – compared to Soviet state security by the host of The Watch, Chris Ryan. It was also seen as unnecessary by even top fans of the books as they argued that the Aragorn origin story inspired by the original Tolkien books cannot be kept as a mystery.
Luckily, despite what seems like an overwhelming presence of spoiler coverage on the web and both the film and TV industry, there are ways in which you can keep the clues confidential. With The Guardian’s Now You’ve Seen It, it is now possible to direct your spoiler inducing friends away to discuss the hush-hush elements of shows and film’s in a spoiler-safe environment, even if they are breaking the first rule of Fight Club in the process.
Image Credit: The Odyssey Online