The question here is simple, do we want to know the entire plot of movies before they are released? For some, the answer is no, but there is a community of people that are desperate for news about movies so much that they will seek out and consume entire plots of movies prior to theatre release.
Now, curiosity is a powerful motivator, if someone posts a link to a plotline, then there absolutely will be people who then go check that out. However, here is where the problem arises.
Only the people who want to know spoilers actively go looking for that information, but what about when those people decide they can’t hold in the secret any longer and it becomes a game to use throwaway accounts to blast spoilers all over social media, which is far harder to be selective around. And so we have the scenario where fans are forced to stay off social media for weeks in order to avoid spoilers for a movie they want to see.
This leads us to this week, when the entire detailed plot of Wonder Woman 84 appeared online. Many of the staff here at LRM refuse to look at these things, and I have myself for other movies, but for this one, both Kyle Malone and I had a little look. Not only that but we also know that around 70% of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s plot has been online for months. However, this week, that shot up to around 95%.
Don’t worry, we won’t be sharing any of the details in this article for either movie.
With regards to Wonder Woman 84, I don’t know where the leaks came from, I read them on another outlet and didn’t check for the source, but of course, you won’t find much there anyway. Star Wars has been getting leaked by three separate sources, but the main one ‘JediPaxis’ was contacted by someone this week to say they had seen the completed movie and were willing to spill the beans. Once those beans were spilled, JediPaxis was able to corroborate this from his other sources and effectively sew up the final remaining mysteries of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Who is to blame?
I think we occasionally get some collective moans from the actual Hollywood machine about why fans want to seek out spoilers to a movie. However, let’s be clear the enthusiasm to look for spoilers is not the root cause here. The root cause is the people involved with the production who, for some reason, have decided to feel important by revealing information.
Now, I know this might seem hypocritical coming from someone who works on a movie and fan news site like LRM. You may even remember me sharing a few details about The Rise of Skywalker myself once upon a time. For me though, there is a big difference between an actor, or a director answering a question with more information than anyone expected and being able to speculate about what that could mean, that’s a fun part of movie news which I enjoy very much, playing the speculation game. However, as soon as the entire plot and detailed descriptions began appearing, that’s when I stopped sharing because I believe it’s too much, and while we can spoiler tag articles to our heart’s content, that does not prevent any random reader then taking what we’ve shared and posting it unmarked on social media.
Why are we getting such big leaks for two massive movies, one way before release is due? Is this is an unfortunate yet inevitable side-effect of the World Wide Web, and the easy way to post using anonymity? I don’t think it has to be no, and for one studio who have become experts on keeping information contained, we have no farther to look than Marvel Studios. Yes, even Avengers: Endgame had some leaks begin to appear, but I’d say no more than a week or so prior to release and by then people were already being wary of spoilers. That’s a marked difference when compared to either Wonder Woman 84, or Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, both of which have had substantial leaks now, a long time before the release date and before anyone has really seen the movie.
With Wonder Woman 84, well, we know the movie’s production was finished way before release date and that WB have had several test screenings, which themselves can cause a problem in today’s climate. But Star Wars did not have test screenings and it was only weeks ago that J.J. Abrams revealed that the movie had been shown for the first time to some friends and family of people involved in the production. Hence the leaks came not from those screenings (the ones this week may well have, but we are less than two weeks from release now), but must have been coming from people actually involved in the making of the movie.
What’s the harm?
The harm, as I have said above is not for the people who actively seek these. Hey, if you don’t care about spoilers then have at it, it hurts no one, the problem instead is when those people decide for ‘fun’ to intentionally spoil the movie for those who do not want to know.
I know the plot of both films mentioned above, and I have also seen the first five episodes of The Witcher which doesn’t hit Netflix till December 20th. But I have not mentioned a word of anything story related to any colleagues, and friends, family etc. In my job, you just have to accept you will come across details like this on occasion and you have to be prepared to hold your tongue till the appropriate time, usually set by the studio themselves like in the case of The Witcher.
These leaks are not coming from critics or journalists as such, the leaks are coming from people who work within the production for the most part and that’s a serious security breach that these big studios need to deal with.
Want to know how Steve Trevor comes back in Wonder Woman 84, or how Cheetah appears, or how the villain is defeated in the end? Most people really just don’t, because they want to be surprised by the movie. Same with Star Wars, we know what Rey’s fate is, we know what happens to Kylo Ren, The Emperor, Lando, and how the Skywalker Saga ends.
The other problem we then get is overreaction to incomplete and out of context plot details. Dialogue is the one thing leaks rarely get, and this is for two reasons. One, they probably don’t have the script and are just describing the parts they know from their own role in production, and secondly that when people watch the movie early, they very rarely remember the actual dialogue spoken.
As said, for both these movies I put my hand up as being the guy to read the spoilers, but I refused point-blank when it comes to other movies as I am a fan as well. For example, in Avengers: Endgame I wanted to know nothing save the speculative items. It was fun to predict who would die and why. I did predict with that movie that Cap may live his life in the past with Peggy, but I never ‘knew’ that would happen, it was a pure guess. I equally said I thought he could be one to die, so shows you how confident I was either way.
This is not a fan issue, because human nature means people will not be able to resists the curiosity of knowing. If there are ever spoilers on the internet then they will find an audience. No, instead the problem is one of security and integrity within the productions themselves. For me, studios need to do more to protect these leaks form emerging and punish harder when they do. Honestly, if someone is caught revealing spoilers for the next Star Wars movie, then they should never work on a movie again for me. They made that choice and traded their career for a moment of feeling special. The problem is, how to catch them in the first place? A question I do not know the answer to I’m afraid, but the studios having problems need to take a leaf out of the studios who don’t have some many problems and copy what they do.
We now have people taking what has been revealed without the proper context and declaring Wonder Woman 84 as garbage when all we have seen is a trailer, and there are those so desperate to see Star Wars fail, that you can imagine how the leaks for that movie have been received. Check the right (or wrong) places online and you will be assured that both Wonder Woman 84 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are disasters of movies. But let’s be absolutely clear that there remains a huge amount of information, dialogue mostly, that these leaks do not contain and it’s impossible to say whether a relationship or an arc has the right emotional beat without hearing what the characters say about it.
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I can’t warn people to stay off social media till next year for Wonder Woman 84, I’m not sure how you avoid those details, but I certainly advise you to stay clear for the couple weeks or so if you are planning to watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and do not want to be spoiled about the ending. I just hope this isn’t the start of a new trend and we have to be aware of this for every big movies that come out, but really that’s up to the studios themselves to fix, we fans can do nothing but sit back and watch.
Let us know what you think of all this, and what, if anything studios should do to prevent it from happening? Leave your thoughts below as always.
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