How Social Media Would Have Killed Vader’s Secret
As International Comic Con kicked off earlier this month with a panel that re-introduced us to Luke, Leia and Han (well – their actors anyway), it occurred to me how one of the coolest plot twists and reactions would have NEVER been possible in the Social Media age.
***SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING IF YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING UNDER A NERFHERDER FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS***
As the story goes, George Lucas really wanted to keep the secret that Darth Vader was Luke’s father from everyone – including the cast of Star Wars. He did this by filming the scene asking the Darth Vader actor to say, “Obi-Wan killed your father” on set. He later dubbed in James Earl Jones’ voice saying, “I am your father.” Only Mark Hamill (the actor who played Luke) and a few of the production staff knew the truth. This produced an all-time great plot twist. Carrie Fisher didn’t know, Harrison Ford didn’t know, R2-D2 didn’t know…even Darth Vader didn’t know (because he read the single line in a voice over booth, not knowing the context of what he was saying).
Could this secret be kept now? Not a chance. Even though Star Wars Force Awakens is rumored to have a motto, “Loose Lips Bring Down Starships.” thanks to Social Media almost the entire movie script is rumored to be online. There are multiple Facebook accounts that provide daily updates about the production of the movie. I am admittedly weak – and I read them all. I knew the shot0for-shot sequence of the first trailer a day before it came out. This is all tied into the fact that a staff of hundreds, maybe thousands, are working on the film…and they all have smart phones.
I can’t imagine not knowing a plot twist of this caliber in today’s age of Social Media. Unless I ban myself from all social networks prior to the days / hours Force Awakens comes out, someone is bound to send a single Tweet with a key plot detail that will ruin it. I remember my brother saw Empire Strikes Back a few days ahead of me, and he knew something that he couldn’t tell me. That withholding of information simply can’t happen today. The 11-year-old me would have already watched hours of YouTube reviews / recaps / reactions before the movie came out, while my phone blew up with “finds” from my other equally obsessed friends. While these activities can certainly enrich the experience beyond our wildest 1977 dreams, that comes at a cost.
The theme of the Force Awakens panel at Comic Con was that they had gone back to their roots, using less CGI and more practical effects. It is too bad we can’t get back return to a simpler time in other ways and stop spoiling EVERYTHING on Social Media (even though I will click/read/watch EVERYTHING)…
~ Jaime Hamel, Digital Strategist, The S3 Agency