It’s roughly 10 months until the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I feel fairly confident that I have a good idea of the plot of the movie. I won’t share any of this information in this piece, but if someone asked me to describe what happens in the movie, I’m fairly sure that I could. I don’t know everything, but I think I have the major beats down.
Now, no one ruined the movie for me. I sought most of this information out by either asking “people in the know” or by reading rumor sites. (There’s actually a huge spoiler floating around right now on those very sites.) When the information from “people in the know” lines up with rumor sites, well, I think we’ve got something. And the thing is, I am so happy about this. I love spoilers. I especially like Star Wars spoilers. If there was a way to know what happens at the end of Episode IX right now, I’d want to know. Tell it all to me.
Now, I’m sure not everything I’ve heard is 100 percent true. I remember before Attack of the Clones came out, there was a rumor that Kitster, Anakin’s friend on Tatooine, would up being Boba Fett. You see, that’s why they seemed so familiar with each other in The Empire Strikes Back. It all made perfect sense! There was also a rumor that the Empire ravaged Naboo, which later became Dagobah. I also bought into this rumor because it sounded fun, but made no sense that anyone would look at a war-torn Naboo and say, “Well, I guess we should rename the place. How does Dagobah sound?”
The first movie I saw in a movie theater, back in 1980 when I was five years old, was The Empire Strikes Back. Now, I wouldn’t say I was spoiled, but I had a good amount of The Empire Strikes Back related toys, and I had a large amount of The Empire Strikes Back trading cards. (At The Dissolve, Noel Murray did a great job summing up the joys of owning these trading cards.) Between these, I had a pretty good sense of what was going to happen in the movie, sans the big Vader reveal at the end. (It’s weird to remember how I felt about that reveal at the time, I remember there was a consensus that Vader was lying.)
By the time the original Star Wars was re-released in theaters in 1981, I already knew everything that happened in that movie. First, I had already seen Ben Kenobi as a ghost in Empire, so I knew things would end badly for him, plus I had the Star Wars storybook – so, watching that movie for the first time was basically watching my storybook come to life. I knew the plot, but the movie was still a thrill.
When I was in third grade, a classmate brought the Return of the Jedi storybook to school one day, and I devoured it during recess. I remember the most shocking thing for me was the look of the Biker Scouts – they looked so cool! It’s funny, the big cliffhanger of Empire was the fate of Han Solo, who had been frozen in carbonite near the end of the film, yet Harrison Ford was featured prominently in all of the marketing for Return of the Jedi. There wasn’t even an attempt to keep Solo’s fate a mystery, by the time the first trailers hit, it was basically announcing to the world, “See, he’s fine.”
I do wonder how this would play today. Would people be mad? I suspect people would be mad. People today get mad today over a lot less than that. I do think that would be considered an enormous spoiler, yet, in 1983, it was an afterthought. I find this interesting.
The Star Wars film I knew the least about before I saw it was The Phantom Menace, even though I read every rumor on the Internet. I did now that Qui-Gon Jinn died because there was a track on the soundtrack that revealed his death. Now, looking back, I suspect the lack of any huge spoilers was that so little happens in that movie, there wasn’t much to spoil. (“Oh my God, you won’t believe how these intergalactic trade negotiations turn out! HUGE SPOILER ALERT.”)
By the time we got to Revenge of the Sith, I had already read the novelization before I saw the film (I know this sounds crazy, but the book is really good!) – and the book had more information in it than the movie did. I was over-spoiled.
Having said all of this, if the novelization for The Force Awakens came out today, I would read it right now. J.J. Abrams himself recently admitted he’s not too upset about the spoilers out there. I don’t understand how knowing what happens makes the movie less enjoyable for some people. Now, I respect those wishes, but knowing information beforehand actually enhances it for me. It’s almost as if I don’t have to process the pure information as much and can concentrate more on the pure spectacle. I don’t know, I’m just guessing. The point is: I like spoilers.
As an aside, in early 2013, a friend of mine “in the know” told me that he knew the plot to the ultra-secretive Star Trek Into Darkness. (Not surprisingly, J.J. Abrams’ last film before The Force Awakens.) One night, over drinks, he asked if I want to know the plot of the movie. I giddily answered that of course I did. He told the story of the movie in about 20 minutes. Granted, he’s a great storyteller — a true raconteur — which enhanced this whole experience, but I was riveted. I can honestly say that I had a better time listening to my friend’s interpretation of Star Trek Into Darkness than I did watching the actual movie. Not because he had spoiled it, just because it was such a fun experience listening to him talk about Star Trek.
Anyway, bring on the spoilers. I’m listening.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.