Take for example, how rumors spread through fandom. With the explosion of the internet in the mid-1990s, absolutely reliable, rock-solid news such as Christopher Walken appearing in the upcoming Star Wars prequels as a Sith Lord could now travel around the world in an instant as opposed to the weeks and months it took to disseminate through fan magazines and conventions.
The blog DaveExMachina has just served up a reminder of those pre-internet days, by reprinting an article out of the February, 1980 issue of Starlog magazine that rounds-up many of the prevalent rumors swirling through Star Wars fandom some six months before the release of The Empire Strikes Back. While there are some wild ones that seem absolutely ridiculous in the 20-20 vision of hindsight – The Millennium Falcon falls into a black hole, with Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, and Darth Vader aboard, and travels through time! – there are plenty of nuggets that actually panned out.
Most surprisingly is the fact that a good half year before the film’s release word was already spreading spoiling the film’s biggest plot twist- the Darth Vader is really Luke Skywalker’s father! For years we’ve heard that this story point was more closely guarded that nuclear missile launch codes, with fake scripts being circulated through Lucasfilm and a closed set when the scene in question was filmed. Now I will concede that it perhaps can never be proven that the story actually leaked out of Lucasfilm or that some fan made it up independently and got lucky. But it does go to show that rumors and spoilers existed before the internet and will undoubtedly continue into the medium that replaces it.