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We live in a world that is as obsessed with knowing spoilers as it is with not knowing them. In The Mandalorian's case, it seems the idea of holding back spoilers is way, way out the window. Like, all the way beyond the Outer Rim kinda "out the window." The sheer number of people tweeting screenshots from the premiere episode within mere hours of its dropping on Disney+ is proof enough. (We kept our important story on space toilets relatively discreet.)
**This story, as you might suspect, contains spoilers for The Mandalorian Episode 1, "Chapter 1."**
Many of those screenshots came from the episode's big reveal in the end: that the creature our titular Mandalorian has been hunting all along is a 50-year-old baby of the same species as Yoda. And it's hard to blame them — who can resist screaming about something like that into the ether?
Then you take into account that the fandom spoiling The Mandalorian right out of the gate is the Star Wars fandom. Star Wars fans are famously some of the most passionate, hungry fans in the world, and while that can do just as much good as it can bad at times, there's no denying their usual fervor to protect themselves and others from spoilers. Now, Star Wars has never gone as far with anti-spoiler requests as, say, Marvel (also owned by Disney), which made Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, movies with a marketing ploy that demanded a spoiler-free experience and a deadline for posting spoilers: two weeks after premiere weekend.
We're not going to get into movie tickets costing $20, which makes it harder and far more expensive to watch a movie than sitting at home and streaming Disney content from the comfort of your own home for $7/month (or maybe we are because we kinda just did), but the point remains the same. Especially when you take into account that Disney+ isn't currently available outside the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands. Most markets won't get access until 2020. There's some inherent privilege here in more ways than one, is what I'm saying.
At the end of the day, there are so many more important things out there than worrying about people finding out that Pedro Pascal's Mando will likely spend a large amount of time in The Mandalorian with a potentially Force-sensitive baby Yoda (who's not really Yoda, we just don't know what else to call these creatures, because the species doesn't technically have a name, so we're just gonna call this little cherub "baby Yoda" for the foreseeable future). But still.
Maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised to wake up this morning, roll over, check Twitter (do not judge me), and immediately be bombarded with The Mandalorian spoilers. Now, I didn't necessarily care, since it's my job and the job of every other entertainment journalist out there right now to know everything about this show, but I know there are plenty of people out there who do.
It's not unusual for shows with huge social buzz to attract live tweets and spoiler-filled screenshots, especially with streaming shows. Think about the Twittersphere on Sunday nights when Game of Thrones premiered. Think about the day Stranger Things 3 dropped and the sheer number of Steve Harrington photos clogging your feed. When it takes mere seconds to capture and upload a screenshot because you have Netflix (or, in this case, Disney+) and Twitter open in side-by-side tabs on your laptop, well, yes, you're going to share that screenshot of baby Yoda. I, too, shared the screenshot of baby Yoda. I am one of you.
Because, honestly, how the hell could you not have screamed while looking at this stupid-cute face? Its eyes. Its ears. This is the level of cute that inspires violence, the kind that hurls every human being's maternal instincts — regardless of gender — into overdrive.
Reader, I definitely screamed. The world deserves to know. But how soon does the world deserve to know after that "play" button becomes available? How much of our impulse to share is shaped by our jobs as entertainment journalists and the need to be first? Should we be more mindful?
That Disney+ is dropping The Mandalorian episodes one by one rather than all at once adds a wrinkle for an event streaming series such as this. The only other streaming series that's at this level of fandom fervor and drops episode by episode that I can think of is Star Trek: Discovery, and I've never seen nearly as many spoilers online for Discovery as I did in the hours after Mandalorian premiered.
Maybe things will calm down after everyone gets used to the idea of a live-action Star Wars show; it may in part depend on the traffic stories about it earn. Or maybe it won't, and we're going to have to adjust our spoiler expectations fast; get those blacklisting tools ready.
For now, let's all stare at baby Yoda again.
The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+.