Avert the eyes
Well, it's officially the season again, and I don't mean the surprisingly biting cold or the flu. I am mean it's time to start avoiding Star Wars websites for spoilers. I think the term 'spoiler' itself first officially joined the geek-net lexicon in the spring before The Phantom Menace came out (in 1999) -- I'm hard pressed to think of another film before it that was so highly anticipated and whose fan-base is so rabid. Now, websites routinely have 'spoiler warnings' preceeding insider information, but I found that passive resistance to the probe isn't going to get the job done. You have to actively just say no and look away.

In the weeks leading up to Sith's release, there'll be all kinds of toys and merchandise, books and posters, collectables and CD's stocking the shelves and filling online reports. Despite your fervent need to see the next (and final) Star Wars film, you must resist temptation. You must look away. Even the most innocent glance can cause years of painful regret.

I'll set the way-back machine to that fateful spring of 1999. I was browsing a music store when I happened upon the soundtrack to Phantom Menace in the weeks prior to the release of the film. [For reasons beyond reason, both the soundtrack and novelization are released before the film comes out; this is the devil's work.] I picked it up, and figuring it wouldn't hurt to check out the back of the CD, read down the song title list. A lifelong fan of John Williams', I should have remembered his penchant for detail before I read "Qui-Gon's Noble End" in the song credits. Shit, I thought. Shit.

[Aside, if you think I am violating my own code by 'spoiling' the death of Qui-Gon in Phantom Menace, you are wrong wrong wrong. Anyone who is old enough to have seen it and hasn't by now isn't a fan of Star Wars anyway.]

Would you have wanted to know in advance that Vader was Luke's father, back in 1980? The memory of Empire, and the hope of being shocked and surprised one last time by Lucas, has added pressure to the resistance. You want to recapture the magic, but how long does one have to wait to get a glimpse of the newest planet or villain or evil Anakin glare? Three years, like clockwork. But now the countdown has begun and it's 2005 and let's just get it on (FYI, May 19, just four months from tomorrow).

I'm putting on the advisory today because photos of the book covers for the films have been released. This marks the beginning of the end of harmless web browsing on fan sites. Reading speculation and rumors and little tidbits can now get you into trouble, or tempt you to do things you don't want to do, like read the novelization summary, which is preceeded by this disclaimer:
    Please note: the summary contains spoilers, plot points and info on scenes from 'Revenge of the Sith'. If you're avoiding spoilers, we advise you not to read on.
I'm salivating. Here is clearly information I'm dying to know, but I have to avoid. I'm such a geek that I've read that line and imagined what it would be like to scroll down. Just a little. I'll let my eyes dart for a half-second, then again. Teasing, tempting. Just one little look. What can it hurt? Finally, I come to my senses (read: reluctantly close the window) and do what's best for me. For all of us, really.

Okay, I needed a little reward for being so good, so I allowed myself to see the ultracool model for Anakin's new starfighter. Wicked cool, that is. It will be mine.

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