What secrets are left to us in an age of internet crowd-sourced sleuthing? We’ll find out where Luke Skywalker is in a few weeks, but the question of who is Peter Quill’s father in Guardians of the Galaxy remains a pleasant little mystery that should get a good reveal in Guardians 2. But the whole internet seems set on spoiling it well before then. Bradley Cooper, who played Rocket Raccoon, had a garbled answer to a red carpet question that some books as one answer. (I won’t say it here but you can read about it in the Daily Mail if that’s your thing.) Heroic Hollywood had a spoiler but buried in a video I’m too lacy to watch. And besides do I really want to know? Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn denied both spoilers (adding that he’s never knowingly lied to fans) and then wrote an impassioned FB post about why people would even want spoilers:
“Is this really what fandom wants to know?” Gunn palliatively asks, and if you’vebene on the internet for more than 30 seconds you know the answer is “Yes it is.” Jill Pantozzi has some comments on the whole matter from a journalist’s perspective:
There is obviously a point at which an entertainment writer has to weigh the value of what they’re putting in a headline or story. You need people to click on your stories. That’s a fact. I would say most writers are good about wording things so as to let people know what they’re getting without actually spoiling anything. But putting headlines themselves aside, as a writer or an outlet, why run a story that potentially spoils a major plot point of an upcoming film?
Being old and cranky, I can only suggest to everyone reading this how amazing it ws to go see The Empire Strikes Back and see, for the first time, unsuspecting, the moment when Darth Vader says “Luke, I AM your father!” The theater gasped. My mind was blown. I spent three years pondering the meaning of “There is another.”
Will my mind be blown by reading the same thing no an internet scoop site? I dunno. I guess that’s how we consume our culture now and no one knows the difference. The game of reading background details, speculating with pals and arguing over theories is part of the entire entertainment process these days. I’m sympathetic to Gunn. Finding out the backstory of Starlord’s parentage is doubtless a part of his film journey and given how the emotional arcs of the first Guardians of the Galaxy made it such a hit, I’d like to give Gunn the chance to let it all play out as he intended.
But that isn’t how things work any more. I can see why Gunn won’t be able to comment on spoilers any more: one of them is bound to be right and if he’s to keep his word, he won’t able to lie about it. Only JK Rowling has been able to keep her secrets more of less intact during the run of her story, and Harry Potter fandom didn’t suffer for not having things spoiled. But that’s a very rare exception these days.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.