For the past two years, I have been avoiding all coverage of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Please pray for my soul.
I’m a pretty hardcore Star Wars fan. I used to lose entire afternoons combing through Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki. I’d start with something mundane, like Count Dooku’s backstory. Minutes later, I’d have fifteen links open. I can tell you about anything Star Wars, from video games I’ve never touched to the giant monsters that appeared on Naboo in Episode 1. Did you know the weird monster with the lights, the Colo Claw Fish, was cloned and released on Kamino? Bet you didn’t.
When I found out about The Force Awakens, I was pretty psyched. I followed the casting and development of the movie. I learned about all the actors and their past films. I worried for Han Solo when Harrison Ford broke his leg. Despite some drama, the movie appeared to be moving along fine. It was a real thing that was actually happening. Around that time, I read this article on Kotaku. I had watched movie trailers religiously in the past, but Luke Plunkett showed me the light. Earlier in the year, I had watched Godzilla. I enjoyed it, but I also knew almost the entire general plot going in to the theater.
Almost. Almost the entire plot.
The same thing has happened this year, with movies like Terminator: Genisys and Jurassic World. When a friend dragged me to the theater to see Terminator, I complained that the trailer had given away the movie’s biggest twist. My friend, who had not seen the trailer, was pretty frustrated with me for speaking up. Whoops. It was obvious that we would have enjoyed that segment far more if the trailer hadn’t told me what was happening in advance. Kotaku’s article argues that we ruin movies for ourselves by watching too many trailers, and I agree. I knew a lot of the plot going in to Jurassic World. I wish I hadn’t.
After reading Plunkett’s article and watching Godzilla, a few friends and I made a pact: we would do everything in our power to avoid coverage of Awakens going forward.
It’s been difficult, to say the least.
Yet another stupid decision by the high council of my friends.
I’ve rushed out of theaters four times. During Jurassic World, I tripped over my (rather annoyed) family’s legs while running out. At The Martian, I jumped over two rows of seats and ran down the main aisle as soon as “Lucasfilm” appeared on screen. I took this route to avoid body slamming the disabled man at the end of the row (though I did consider it). No place on the internet can be trusted. I’ve stopped going to some gaming sites entirely, and I’m wary on any Gawker media site. I haven’t looked closely at the movie posters, even the image at the top of this post. As soon as a poster appears, I swipe/scroll/exit/run away, though I kinda had to look at it to use it as a header. A few weeks ago, ESPN ran a teaser of some sort for The Force Awakens. Honestly, I don’t really know what it was, because I was busy running out of the room.
Am I overdoing it? Probably. One of my friends was unable to resist the allure of the trailer in the theater. “It was great though, you should watch it.” Thanks for the support, Chris. My dad, a Star Wars fan himself, is mystified at my behavior. Only one friend remains with me on my quest. When Battlefront came out, I lived in fear for some time. I don’t know what movie Sullust is in, or why, or if it’s in the movie at all. I really don’t want to know until December 17th.
Keep it to yourself, Sullust.
Right now I know John Boyega is a (nice?) man named Finn who wears a Stormtrooper outfit sometimes. Another website was kind enough to tell me he had acquired Luke’s lightsaber with a big headline on their homepage. I know about Kylo Ren and his mask thing. My mom bought me socks with his stupid name on them. Dammit Mom (“But they’re from STAR WARS!”). Leia is a general or something. Han, Chewie, and Luke are back, too. There’s a droid that moves on a rolling ball.
I’m doing pretty well. Not as well as I would like, but I’ve survived. Star Wars is almost inescapable right now, even on the movie theater website where I bought tickets. Some web designer decided I should see tweets about the movie I’m buying tickets for. “Han DIEESSS???” was the tweet on the ticket page. I was shocked, then in denial, and then I got over myself because honestly it’s some idiot tweeting.
Right now I’m a few days away. I’m so close to that finish line that I know I’ll make it. I don’t know what the future holds, though. If we’re getting a Star Wars movie every year, there’s no way I can keep this up. Eventually, I will be defeated.
My final question for you, the reader, is why? I understand watching the trailer, trailers are awesome. I understand reading some of the news. I know I’ll be right there with you for the next movie. But, do you seriously want to analyze every element of every trailer? Do you seriously want to subscribe to every fan theory out there? Do you seriously want to know the whole movie before it begins?
Some of you will say yes, totally. Your enthusiasm is certainly appreciated by many. That said, I don’t want that. I knew Darth Vader was Luke’s father when I first saw the movies as a child. In fact, my parents started me with Return of the Jedi (the first child is always a guinea pig). This time, I’m making sure I do it right. I want this Star Wars movie to be unknown and unexplored, like the galaxy it takes place in.
A picture of my dad deciding the order he would show me Star Wars.
I hope we’re all dazzled on December 18th or 17th or whenever. I know I will be, at least by the new worlds and conflicts I’m introduced to. I think Star Wars deserves a fresh start, and I’m hoping my Star Wars abstinence makes it even fresher. I also know that the moment I walk out of that theater, if it was good, I’m diving into everything about The Force Awakens. I will read every article and every press release. I will look into every single theory. If it’s good. I sure hope it is, if only for my own sanity.
And on Thursday 17th, 2015, after I watch the movie, I’ll come back here and read your comments. I don’t trust the internet right now.
Ryan T. Lewis likes to write things. No, he is not “that Macklemore guy.” You can find him at RyanTLewisWriting@gmail.com , which he just made so that he didn’t have to use the one with “Godzilla” in the name.