Monthly Archives: December 2015

On Spoilers, and the Self-Flagellatory Joy of ‘The Wait’

There’s a video going around online that features 5 minutes of footage from The Force Awakens, a video made up of scenes from trailers, all of it stitched together in chronological order. This is just another form of spoiler, and with Star Wars, spoiler-fever always hits a peak.

When it comes to spoilers, I always say NO THANK YOU.

I work hard to avoid spoilers. I have no problem with teasers and trailers showing random scenes, but other than that I want to wait until the movie comes out to see where the movie takes me. I want to be delighted, and surprised, and feel sad, and get excited, and shout holy shit! when something awesome happens. I want to do all of that instead of shrugging and saying, “Yeah, I knew that was coming,” like some blasé dipstick. I want to enjoy the wait.

If you let the story unfold as the creators intended to present it, I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. What will disappoint you is bypassing the agonizing pleasure of the wait to feed the beast called instant gratification. That will lead to you becoming jaded, and impossible to please.

When the first Star Wars film came out there was no internet; all we had back then was the rare TV show that might make passing mention of something George Lucas said, or sci-fi-geek magazines like Starlog, and the information on what was to come was thin and scattershot at best. Only a relative few of us cared enough to want to know more, because at that point sci-fi fandom’s big bang had not yet occurred (and I’d argue that the first Star Wars trilogy was the prime mover in that social movement, but back then admitting that you really dug things like Star Wars and Star Trek would get you the same looks as if you admitted you liked jacking off to Casper the Friendly Ghost comics).

After A New Hope blew the minds of kids all around the world, the few details we learned about what might lie ahead—in that limbo between episodes IV and V—proved to be way off the mark, as were curiosities like Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.*

Kids like me went nuts speculating on what future Star Wars films might bring us, and in my case it fueled my imagination even further, because I was already making shit up, and making shit up is one of the most fantastic, amusing, liberating, and empowering things you can do at any age.

I think my best buddy Pete Donaldson was equally fired up; while I wrote absolutely atrocious sci-fi tales that must never see the light of day (and I’m sure a few of you are saying, “What makes you think anything has changed, Swain?”),  Pete built an impressive spaceship from scrap model airplane parts and other bits and pieces he tossed together. We were exercising our imaginations, and that made the torment of the wait vastly entertaining.

The situation was even worse between episodes V and VI, when viewers were left hanging after The Empire Strikes Back concluded with what is arguably the best cliffhanger in the history of American cinema. The wait for the release of Return of the Jedi was excruciating, and now that I look back on it, delightful. I was in my 20s by that time, but my imagination ran rampant whenever I thought of how much the Star Wars universe had been expanded with just two movies, and how much more it could grow, and when I finally stood in line to see the last episode in that trilogy, I felt like a little kid again.

Never underestimate the power of waiting for a thing to be. Waiting is important, it gives the thing you are waiting for weight, and in some cases the wait can be the best part of the experience because your imagination is firing on all cylinders.

Kids, don’t do spoilers. Daydream. Sketch. Build. Create. Write some embarrassing fanfic, or a really good story. Alan Dean Foster’s aforementioned Splinter of the Mind’s Eye proved to be way off the mark, it was still a great tale.

IMAGINE. Work the muscle that is your mind, and when the wait is over and you finally watch the opening crawl for Star Wars Episode VII, you will have primed your mind for a peak experience.

Trust me on this. I wouldn’t lie to you. Not where Star Wars is concerned.

spoilers VS wait

* Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, on Amazon.