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Media Over-saturation: Why It’s Ruining Our Favorite Fandoms

Yesterday, Marvel gave a big reveal to fans: a clip of Spider-man, in costume, in a new Captain America: Civil War trailer. I haven’t watched the trailer because I imagine it’s much of what we’ve already seen with a snippet at the end including Spider-man delivering some tongue-in-cheek comment and I’ll admit: I am not a fan. Spider-man’s debut has been a long awaited event in the MCU and I am of the mindset that such an introduction would have been best served in the movie itself. Can’t we keep anything a secret anymore?

With the way we are saturated with news week after week, month after month, it feels like our favorite franchises are slowly being torn to bits. I don’t want to watch a new Civil War trailer because I feel like I’ve already seen the film based on previous trailers. Heck, I only watched the one Deadpool trailer and I felt like going into the movie I’d already seen the opening moments. Granted, with good films, spoilers and lengthy trailers won’t make much of a difference in the end, but with so much anticipation and the NEED to know more about a movie, show, or game months or years in advance, doesn’t that ruin the love of the thing? At least a little bit?

As a Captain Marvel fangirl, I find myself checking up on the status of her solo film fairly often, mostly to my sadness. Months ago, I read an article over at The Mary Sue about an interview with Marvel head honcho, Kevin Feige wherein Feige admits that Marvel isn’t even close to casting Captain Marvel. When you think about it, that admission isn’t unsurprising. The film isn’t even set to release until the late 2018. They have almost three years before it hits theaters, so what’s my problem?

The problem lies in the fact that we’ve known about Captain Marvel and all of Marvel’s phase three plans for over a year now and as fans we’ve slowly been suckling at the Marvel teet for more information. Not to mention fans have been clamoring and speculating about a Captain Marvel film for so much longer that it feels like we should know already. (I only take responsibility for about half of the internet screaming for a Carol Danvers film.)

The internet has ruined us and I’m afraid that with it, it will slowly begin to deteriorate its favorite fandoms. We’re so hungry for more information about these fandoms that we don’t care what it is as long as its something. The above mentioned Captain America: Civil War has already leaked a plethora of set photos, as well as a death spoiler, and there are probably other things I’ve missed because I’ve tried desperately to avoid spoilers.

Game of Thrones, one of the biggest shows on television, can no longer keep actor appearances a secret, which is a pretty big deal when one of its lead characters has been pronounced dead, over and over again. This poor character’s stab wounds have been poked and prodded at so much that actors and writers have basically had to come out and say, “You got us! We lied. Now, please, stop ruining our story with your nosiness.”

Goodness knows I’ve participated in far too much speculation, combing over new Game of Thrones trailers for clues about story line progression or confirmation about whether certain characters are alive or dead. And if my guesses are right–who cares? I don’t get an award. I just get to smugly say, “I saw that coming” and my friends roll their eyes. I fully recognize I am part of the problem, but why? Why do they turn my hobbies into downright obsession?

Studios and those in charge of marketing are taking note of the internet’s need for more, more, more. Film logo and poster design releases have become a big deal, 10-second teaser trailer are an infuriating development, leaving entertainment sites (*ahem* people like me) to critique this paltry gift for weeks until the next morsel arrives. When you look close enough, it becomes a sad realization that we, as fans, can no longer simply enjoy a fandom, waiting with eager anticipation for the arrival of the final product.

I have no doubt that this trend is the reason why video games are now being released unfinished–why studios would rather release a broken game than wait for it to be fixed. I’ve already talked about my frustrations with early access games and where this leaves gamers. According to studios, both for movie and games, it’s up to them to make as much money as possible in the opening weeks, otherwise, the release is a bust. Fans might forget the hype they once had and then where would they be? Or, they could release the game that-should-have-been a year later and fans will applaud their dedication. (I’m looking at you, Bilal.) Because that’s what it’s all about in the end–the hype levels, the twitter trends, the hashtags, the drooling over the hum of theme music.

I love speculation as much as the next person and I think I’ve made it plain that when it comes to fandoms, I take obsession to a whole new level, but at what point does a need for information become too much? At what point do we as fans become so impatient we ruin the things we love?

And I swear if anyone mutters anything about “ethics in journalism”, I’ll have my own “For the Watch” moment.

About Jen Stayrook

Jen Stayrook
Don't let the fancy nerd duds deceive you; Jen’s never been described as “classy.” You can find her on Twitter where she stalks all of her favorite celebrities: @jenstayrook. Or you can find her on Steam or Xbox dying in every game she plays as "Rilna." Email: jen.stayrook@theworkprint.com

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