In today's culture, avoiding spoilers for the latest movies and TV shows has become an art form. Immediately following an anticipated project's release, the Internet transforms into a minefield where any link or comments section could display crucial information and ruin the experience for an unsuspecting reader. Even if someone takes several precautions browsing the web, there's always a chance they stumble across something they did not want to see.
If that happens, most people will just bemoan the fact that they saw a spoiler and move on, disappointed that they'll never have be able to see the movie or TV episode in question 100 percent clean. Then there are people who take things too far and actually make threats against lives when something they're looking forward to is spoiled.
The Wrap is reporting that 18-year old Arthur Charles Roy was arrested after sending a photo of a gun and a threat of a school shooting to a Facebook friend. Roy had seen the friend post a Star Wars: Force Awakens spoiler on social media on Thursday, December 17, which angered him to the point that he sent a picture of himself holding a gun and suggested he would visit the friend at school and shoot him.
The friend's school was placed on lockdown the morning of Friday, December 18. Roy was arrested that afternoon. During a court appearance on Monday, December 21, he was charged with felony assault with a weapon. Bail is set at $10,000 and Roy remains in prison. According to the Associated Press, Roy's mother claims the gun in question was a BB gun.
While it's understandable Roy would be upset after seeing a Star Wars 7 spoiler, there is no excuse for his actions afterwards. As much as the galaxy far, far away means to so many people, it still is just a movie and there's no reason to threaten violence against someone who posts a spoiler. Whether the friend did it intentionally as a cruel joke or just had a lapse in judgement in the excitement after watching the film, he/she has the right to publish whatever they want on their personal social media accounts. Roy would have been wise to employ a social media blackout, like several other Star Wars fans did in the days leading up to The Force Awakens.
After all the heartwarming stories that broke during the buildup to The Force Awakens - Daniel Fleetwood, Peter Mayhew's letter, R2-KT - it's sad that now at a time when the Star Wars community should be at their most joyous, something like this has occurred. Thankfully, the threat was not carried out and a potential tragedy was avoided. Hopefully similar incidents do not arise and moviegoers can continue to celebrate the triumphant return of the Skywalker family saga.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han SoloStar Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.