WARNING: This article discusses an entertainment writer spoiling major plot details to Eternals, a film that debuts November 5, 2021. If you managed to avoid spoilers until now, do not read further.
On October 18th, after an Eternals press screening, Variety writer Matt Donnelly unleashed a pretty big Eternals spoiler on the Internet. Here’s some spoiler space in case you haven’t yet heeded the warning above and want to avoid this particular spoiler.
Here are Donnelly’s tweets:
Before this tweet, Harry Styles’s presence in the MCU was a mere rumor, but Donnelly revealed it in a still active tweet, spoiling the film for countless fans essentially right after he left the premiere. This unleashed a firestorm across the Internet, but particularly on Twitter, where MCU fans were righteously angry. Disney is even more so, we all hope, for Donnelly breaking embargo. See some fan reactions below:
MCU end credit scenes have been a big deal since they started; so many people would ask people who had seen the movie if they should stay for the credits, and the answer was nearly always “Yes,” but it was rarely accompanied by a spoiler as cavalierly dashed out as this one.
Over the years, spoiler culture has become more and more of a discussion on the Internet: is there a thing as too much protection against spoilers? Is there not enough? Regardless of where you fall on the issue, there’s no doubt that Donnelly, a writer with one of the premier entertainment publications in Hollywood, crossed a line, and he isn’t even the only one from Variety to do so. And Disney, with its Marvel actors continuing to joke that Kevin Feige will get them fired if they are spoiling too much, should certainly revoke future press privileges for Donnelly, and anyone else who has spoiled the literal end to a much-anticipated movie.
At the same time, we here at The Beat can only hope that Disney doesn’t tamp down on all press screenings, especially toward mid-sized and small outlets, as a reaction to an end credits scene spoiler released nearly two weeks before the actual public premiere of Eternals. Often times problems like this lead to punishment for those already at the bottom of the list, instead of the actual perpetrators, who in this case are at the top.
This might just be the “Snape kills Dumbledore” of the 2020s. That meme was started by teenagers, for the most part; this viral reveal was done by an established industry reporter. And he’s not the only culprit of revealing things too soon. While this is an example of early viewers with screeners being vaguely spoilery, certain Twitter users did tease Ted Lasso fans about upcoming twists and turns, making the Ted Lasso tag on Tumblr, for example, something to be avoided at all costs.
Personally, I fall on the side of giving away some things, but only if the creators explicitly come out with them, like at a convention or a press conference. And even then…even then, it’s a reporter’s job to 1) include a spoiler warning, and 2) not openly discuss it without said warning on any forum, but especially not Twitter.
I could yell about Twitter literally until the end of time, but I’ll refrain. Needless to say, social media, in general, has taken away a sense of manners and decorum. You’d think professionals paid to report on one of the more interesting industries in the world would respect those who keep them employed and reporting on news: the studios, the creatives, and their audiences, big and small.