Here’s something that in light of the “Ant-Man” news and this current “Star Wars: Episode 7” update, that might be worth remembering: studios, directors and artists working on films owe you absolutely nothing until they are ready to show off what they’ve been putting together. But over the past week, impatient fans and blogs have been posting or linking to set photos from “Star Wars: Episode 7.” TMZ has been the main culprit, managing to get their hands on creature photos and other pics from the secure set of the highly anticipated sequel, while also revealing photo evidence, that the Millennium Falcon is returning to the franchise as well. (Sorry, we’re not linking to them but you know how to use Google, if you’re really curious). But all of this has led to a much larger debate about the nature of spoilers and leaks in general.
This Is Infamous got the ball rolling essentially arguing that if fans want the best experience, they’ll want to go into “Star Wars: Episode 7” knowing as little as possible. As they argue, the internet’s race to be at the front of line of scoops sets up a false relationship between the audience and the film: “How does it help you to see the locations they’ve put together, or the practical effects they’re using? It doesn’t. All it does is ramp up your need for more, heighten your expectations and set you up for failure.” Essentially, less is more but there are those who argue that this is just the way things work now, like it or lump it.
A conversation on Twitter found Slashfilm taking the position that “times have changed” and it’s basically up to studios to stop the leaks, and filmmakers have to live with the new paradigm. But that debate takes responsibility out of the hands of bloggers who have the choice whether to post out of context, watermarked set photos from tabloid sites (or link to them) or be more selective about the intel they want to help put out into the world. It’s something that every blog deals with, including The Playlist, in figuring out what is newsworthy and what’s merely empty fodder, and finding a balance is tricky. But to not pause and take a moment to consider if a post of pure speculation about a movie is worth the effort is not really doing your job.
Either way, J.J. Abrams is hoping fans and movie sites will be more considerate, as he hit Twitter today to ask for leaks and speculation to stop. A filmmaker who has long advocated for as pure an experience as possible when seeing a movie for the first time, they’re words to remember, particularly as the hysteria around “Star Wars: Episode 7” is only sure to get louder in the weeks and months to come.
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) June 4, 2014