Avoiding Star Wars spoilers this past year has been exactly like Han Solo flying through that asteroid field: a dangerous and near impossible mission that few people come out of unscathed.
(See what we did there? We used a Star Wars reference to intro our Star Wars story. And now you think we're cool and legit. Come on in, let's have some fun!)
When the original Star Wars trilogy came out, the only spoiler you had to worry about was if your friend who saw it before you blurted out: "Dude, Darth Vader is Luke's father!"
But now? In the Internet age? There are spoilers e v e r y w h e r e. You never know when a friend's Facebook post will ruin everything for you. Or when a website you browse every day suddenly decides to post a leaked photo. Like we said, it's almost impossible to remain spoiler-free, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we can talk about how to best ensure the Internet doesn't completely ruin Star Wars: The Force Awakens for you.
To help with our tips, we talked to Kyle, a Star Wars super King Kong mega-fan, who has managed to get through this past year almost entirely spoiler-free. We're not just talking about leaked info that the public isn't supposed to know. He avoided any interview, photo, tweet, GIF, meme and article that carried even a whiff of a spoiler. He still isn't entirely sure which actors are playing which characters. He doesn't even know the basic plot points that have been officially released by Disney and J.J. Abrams. Kyle went dark, and now he wants to help you guys get through these last couple days without spoilers. Plus, you can use these tips for an future movies you want to go in with a completely unspoiled mind.
Why was it important to you to go into Episode VII knowing as little as possible?
Kyle: I want to experience the film the way it was meant to be experienced: by watching it. I've been anti-spoilers since the prequels. When Episode I came out, the Internet was fairly new and I was on a Star Wars news site and didn't realize that people already knew what was going to happen. I had no idea what spoilers were. I was reading along and then saw, "Darth Maul kills Qui-Gon Jinn and then Obi Wan kills Darth Maul."
No matter how hard I tried I couldn't un-read that. It was a hard lesson on spoilers!
How has waiting for this Star Wars movie differed from waiting for Episode I back in the day?
This movie only took two years to finish where as the prequels took three years each. But even though this time around there was less time between development and release, I think spoilers are more prevalent these days. It seems like every site wants to cover every single tiny development in any movie.
What were the rules you set for yourself before setting out on a spoiler-free existence?
My main rule was to only watch official domestic trailers. I don't even watch TV spots because they show/say too much a lot of the time. I also stayed away from reviews, casting news, development and production updates and obviously, absolutely no leaked info or photos.
That doesn't mean I don't want to eventually enjoy all the Star Wars coverage. I have several magazines saved so I can read their Force Awakens coverage once I've seen the film.
How have you managed to avoid Star Wars spoilers for this long?
In the word of Mad Eye Moody: "constant vigilance!" Also I've stopped visiting some of my favorite entertainment/nerd new sites in order to keep from being spoiled. It's not ideal, but it had to be done. I'd rather miss out on some other movie news and photos than risk an unintentional Episode VII spoiler.
Have you been accidentally spoiled on anything yet?
One website ruined Captain Phasma's identity for me. That's actually when I decided to stop looking at all entertainment websites since a lot of them have the tendency to write stuff like: "You'll never guess who so-and-so was cast as in the new Star Wars movie!" And then they'll have a thumbnail of the actor so you don't even have to click into the article to be spoiled.
What's the most extreme thing you've done to avoid a Star Wars spoiler?
I almost tripped over a cable while trying to run out of a room when a Force Awakens TV spot came on the air. Potential person injury is pretty extreme! You would think trailers would have the big spoilers, but it's the TV spots you've got to watch out for. And avoid international trailers if you can, because they also carry potential spoilers that might ruin something for you.
What are some tips you have for people who want to try to remain spoiler-free in the Internet age?
Do or do not, there is no try! But seriously, it's an uphill battle. You may have to unsubscribe/unfollow things on social media platforms for a while. See if one of your friends will volunteer to spoiler check things for you! If I saw an article I wanted to read about Force Awakens, I sent it to my girlfriend to read first so she could tell me if there was anything I might not want to read. Find someone who knows you really well and ask them to be your spoiler filter.
And finally, who shot first?
Han obviously! And I have the VHS and Laserdiscs to prove it!*
*Kyle is still holding out for Disney to release the untouched, theatrical version of the original trilogy on Blu-ray, minus the tampering and unnecessary CGI additions. Isn't that what we're all holding out for?!
Here are some of our own tips to avoid spoilers:
1. Chrome now has a Star Wars spoiler block extension. It will warn you if a page you're about to view might have a spoiler. There are plenty of plugins and extensions you can add to your browser to help purge spoilers from your Internet activity.
2. Go on a social media blackout until you see the movie, especially after the movie screens for media. Just stay off Facebook and Twitter if you can manage it.
3. If you can't stay off social media, there are many ways to alter your feeds and timelines. You can block certain keywords on Twitter and many sites like Facebook and Tumblr have settings that allow you filter out content you want to avoid.
4. Crawl into a bunker, put on headphones and curl up into the fetal position until you see the movie. That's probably the only way to avoid 100 percent of the spoilers. Don't want to do that? Then we must again remind you that you have to accept you will most likely be spoiled at some point. Try not to let it get you down.
Enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens, everyone! And may the spoiler-free force be with you.