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Avengers: Infinity War directors ask the internet to do the impossible in 2018

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The Avengers’ mightiest villain, Thanos, is demanding your silence

Avengers: Infinity War characters Marvel Studios

If its directors are to be believed, Avengers: Infinity War is a movie that’s full to the brim with possible spoilers, and they’re kindly asking that fans don’t spoil what they see until everyone’s had the chance to watch it.

Joe and Anthony Russo tweeted out an image of Thanos’ Infinity Stones-encrusted glove holding down an informal statement of sorts. The statement explains that only a handful of people know Infinity War’s true plot and only a handful of fans will get the opportunity to see 30 minutes of the film before it’s released publicly. The message is clear: No one really knows anything about Infinity War, and the directors want to keep it that way.

Here’s the full text of the statement, signed by the Russo brothers:

To the greatest fans in the world,

We’re about to embark on the Avengers: Infinity War press tour. We will be visiting fans all over the world screening only a limited amount of selected footage from the film in order to avoid spoiling the story for future viewers.

We will not screen the film in its entirety until the Los Angeles premiere shortly before the film’s global release. Everyone involved with the film has worked incredibly hard for the past two years maintaining the highest level of secrecy. Only a handful of people know the film’s true plot.

We’re asking that when you see Infinity War, in the coming months, that you maintain the same level of secrecy so that all fans can have an equal experience when they watch it for the first time. Don’t spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn’t want it spoiled for you.

Good luck and happy viewing.

It’s a kind and optimistic request that simply ignores film culture and the internet in 2018.

We live in an era where Game of Thrones directors and producers shoot three alternate takes of every scene so that prying paparazzi and journalists hanging over cliffs in Europe can’t tell which is the real version. It’s an era where The Walking Dead uses electronic scripts to avoid people diving through dumpsters and posting spoilers online. Grey’s Anatomy’s producers have hired people to write fake scripts just to throw prying eyes off their scent.

Film culture has become defined by spoilers, for better or worse, and our incessant need to know every little detail of a movie before it’s even released. By the time a film has its opening weekend, everyone on the internet knows just about everything that happens in the movie. Websites, including Polygon, write lengthy post-credits scenes breakdowns on the eve of a blockbuster’s release, and essays about the biggest moments tend to flood the internet by a film’s second day in theaters.

Spoiler culture has become so prominent that people have cultivated “going in blind” challenges, avoiding any mention of a potential spoiler right from the get-go. Take a movie like Star Wars: The Last Jedi; that means not watching any trailer, not reading any article analyzing the trailer, avoiding certain subreddits, muting terms on Twitter, staying clear of Giphy’s homepage and, often times, avoiding enthusiast sites. Yes, that includes Polygon.

We take part in spoiler culture and, although we sometimes fail, we try our best to keep spoilers out of headlines and use generic photos. That’s why our spoiler warnings sit at the top of an article and detail just how big of a revelation the piece examines. It’s unavoidable. People want to read breakdowns of post-credits scenes or watch Infinity War trailers. They want to watch breakdowns on YouTube. They want to point out the tiniest details on subreddits, creating Discord servers just to keep the conversation going.

The internet becomes a difficult place to be for anyone who wants to go into a movie without knowing anything, and that’s just the reality of our culture today. Asking people not to spoil a film is well-intended, but it’s unrealistic. The first major spoilers for Infinity War will appear soon enough. Fan events will be had, and those in attendance will rush home to write up everything they saw. Press screenings will occur, and post-credits scene explainers will pop up a couple of days later. By April 30, three days after the movie is released, collateral spoiler damage will be unavoidable for many

Here’s the thing: If you really don’t want to know anything, avoid the internet completely until you’ve seen Infinity War. Don’t go on Facebook; don’t glance at Twitter; hell, maybe stay away from Polygon for a few days (Ed. note: well, let’s not be hasty). It’s going to be nearly impossible to avoid the fact that someone (probably) dies in Infinity War (place your bets now). The internet was built to share information freely and widely; unfortunately, that also includes the plot of movies and TV shows.

Avengers: Infinity War will be released on April 27.