I’m going to make a promise to my readers right at the start: I will not spoil anything for you before this article is over.
I find the whole concept of “spoilers” interesting. Not just because of what might be revealed, but also because of the enthusiasm. Some people are dead set against knowing what will happen before they watch or read something, while others will eagerly gobble up and speculate on any tidbit they can find. As for me, I’m somewhere in between. I like having enough hints to keep me thinking and wondering, but in the end, I still want to see how it’ll be pulled off.
For example, I’ve seen the leaked six-minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises. So now I know how that film starts and how the villain Bane is introduced–and that is all I will say on the matter. But what I don’t know is how the film will end. I don’t know if Bane wins or not. I don’t know if Batman will be any better or worse off after the film’s climax. I’ve read a lot of fan theories about what might happen or how Nolan might be planning to end his Dark Knight trilogy, but none of it will matter to me until I see the whole film for myself.
But regardless, having seen what I’ve seen has gotten me very, very excited for the film. And I think that’s really the whole value of spoilers. They’re nuggets of gold that drive us to go searching for more, hoping to hit the mother load. Whether it’s who turns out to be who’s father or who dies at the end or which one of the two she’ll finally choose–it’s the resolution that matters. We want to believe in a resolution that satisfies everything or a surprise development that changes everything.
There’s also that fascination with mystery that’s essential to human nature. We know something is forbidden, prohibited, or classified, and we want to know why. In politics, we have the phenomenon known as the “revealing cover-up.” When Nixon tried to cover up his administration’s connection to the Watergate scandal, it only raised the impact of that incident and ended up bringing down his Presidency. A similar thing happened when Barbara Streisand publicly condemned the release of photos of her home on the Web; it only made people more curious about those photos and where they could find them. So in a way, there’s something risky and empowering about finding out something that you aren’t supposed to know–or at least not yet, according to filmmakers and authors.
I think the Internet has made finding and sharing spoilers easier since nearly all information is far easier to access now, but I think as we move deeper into the twenty-first century, film studios and writers will do more to protect their works from leaks–or perhaps they’ll embrace it and use such “leaks” as part of an effective viral marketing campaign. Either way, the coming years with regard to film, TV, and literature spoilers are sure to be interesting…
Not that I know anything special–and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.