Nowadays, if you want to know as little as possible about a movie or show before seeing it, you have to actively go out of your way to avoid trailers, gossip sites, and the people who make the movies and shows carelessly spoiling their own creations. The script for Django Unchained, for instance, got leaked over a year before the movie came out (presumably Tarantino wanted us to count the N-words ourselves).
However, there was a time, not too long ago, when filmmakers and entertainers went to extreme lengths to preserve the secrets we'd all find out sooner or later anyway -- even if it meant using insane methods like ...
5George Lucas Didn't Tell Anyone Darth Vader Was Luke's Father (Not Even the Actors)
Thanks to all the Star Wars parodies, references, and freaking prequels, kids today probably learn that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father before they find out who the president is. However, when The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980 and Vader said the classic, often misremembered words, "I am your father," audiences were left in complete shock. Keep in mind that fans had been told in the first movie that Luke's dad was dead, by a man with a British accent, no less, so they had little reason to doubt that it wasn't true.
British is like the .gov of accents.
Still, dozens of people are present during the shooting of any scene in a movie, so how the hell did George Lucas convince them to keep this a secret until the movie came out?
How They Kept It Quiet:
Lucas didn't need to convince anyone, because the actor playing Darth Vader in that scene didn't say "I am your father" on the set -- he said "Obi-Wan killed your father."
Seriously, look at his lips.
As you may know, the guy in Vader's suit and the guy who did the voice are two different people (James Earl Jones would dub over David Prowse's lines later), so it was extremely easy for Lucas to just write the fake line into the script and shoot the scene like that. In fact, Lucas was so distrustful of his own crew that he told the truth to absolutely no one. And by no one, of course, we mean a few select people who had to know in order to shoot the scene in question, but seriously, like no one else.
For a long time, the only person Lucas had told was the movie's director, Irvin Kershner, but they only told Mark Hamill, the actor playing Luke Sykwalker, literally moments before he had to shoot his reaction. Even then, Kershner made sure to point out to Hamill that if the ending got leaked, they would know it was him.
"You know when your character loses a hand in the movie? That's just a preview, kid."
Carrie Fisher didn't know, Harrison Ford didn't know, R2-D2 didn't know -- as we mentioned, even Darth Vader didn't know. Or at least he'd forgotten he knew: Two years before The Empire Strikes Back came out, David Prowse jokingly predicted that this very twist might take place while talking to a crowd of over 1,000 Star Wars fans at a public appearance in Berkeley, California.
Terry O'Neill / Getty
"Now there's an idea!"