A little over a week ago I went with a friend to the movie theater to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I had already seen the movie three weeks earlier, in January, but my friend had not seen the movie yet and I thought it would be worthwhile to watch the movie a second time to further reflect on it and double check to make sure I was remembering it correctly. While I have my opinions on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I’m not going to talk about them here. Rather, the purpose of this post is to tell my story leading up to when I first saw it.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in the fourth quarter of 2015, and in the weeks and months leading up to its release more and more media relating to the movie appeared on television and the internet. A few months prior to the movie’s premier, I decided I didn’t want to know anything more about it and stopped reading or viewing material related to it. I wanted to go into the theater knowing as little as possible and experiencing the plot as it played out. Since I’m not a movie person I normally only see a small number of films each year at the movie theater and usually have no issue with people spoiling films, as the vast majority of them I’ll never end up watching anyway. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens, though, I was intent on avoiding spoilers. Something about this film, being such a major pop-culture event, and the fact that I like Star Wars in general, made it seem worthy of special treatment.
This would not be easy, however. My normal movie policy is to not watch a film in theater until three to five weeks after it has come out, so that I don’t have to deal with crowds. Keeping to this policy would mean I would have a long stretch of time whereby I would be vulnerable to people intentionally or unintentionally ruining the film for me. Social media in particular would be a veritable minefield of spoilers, so services like Facebook and Twitter would require extra caution when I was using them. I even went so far as to deciding to not read any reviews of the movie when it came out, as I knew that other peoples’ opinions might color my own and I wanted my thoughts on the movie to be mine, not a remix of the views of others.
On November 18, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out and my gauntlet began. Over the following weeks I was able to maintain my vigilance against spoilers, though there were perils along the path. While it was fairly simple to avoid any online article with Star Wars in the headline, on social media it was hard to not see stuff that people would just blurt out. When the time finally came for me to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I had come out of my spoiler-dodging ordeal having avoided the worst of the possible spoilers, though one of the movie’s major twists had been ruined. On the day that I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens I went to a morning showtime and once inside the theater I sat down to experience the film that I had been eagerly looking forward to seeing. Delaying my gratification had the positive bonus of there only being four other people in the theater when I saw it, so I didn’t have to endure the annoyance of other people talking or distracting from the film. When the movie was over I emerged from the theater and it felt safe again to use the internet. I had seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My life could now return to normal.