Ask the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens anything that could be sort of, kind of a spoiler for the upcoming seventh installment in the epic space franchise, and this is what you get:
“I sit in front of you as a vault.” —Gwendoline Christie
“Nope. I won’t and I can’t.” —Oscar Isaac
“Mmm, can't tell you that.” —John Boyega
“No.” —Daisy Ridley
In fact, the only thing that’s not a secret at this point is their collective ability to keep one. The cast members have been doing promotional appearances and countless magazine interviews for months, but there have been no accidental leaks, no unplanned spoilers, and no movie-ruining slip-ups.
With just under two weeks to go until the film’s Dec. 18 release, the little information fans do have about The Force Awakens’ plot comes from the trailers. “You watch the trailer for a lot of films these days and you're like, ‘OK, I know what happens in the end,’ but I like that in terms of the way it's been marketed, you still don't have a set solid idea,” Boyega told BuzzFeed News at the Los Angeles press junket for The Force Awakens. “I've heard so many theories, it's ridiculous — and they're so not close to it at all. That's really good to hear.”
While all that secrecy may be driving fans crazy, it’s become second nature for the movie’s stars. For Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron, a fighter pilot for the resistance, the covertness surrounding the film’s production and promotion began during the audition process.
“You had to go to a special room to read a script with cameras on you and you had to be searched — full body cavity search — every time you went in or out,” Isaac said, before quickly adding, “That was a joke, by the way — they didn't look into my ass. But there was an air of mystery about all of it from the very beginning of the process so it's more like a continuation of that.”
While Ridley went through the same process, the cloak and dagger act Isaac experienced early on didn’t immediately clue her in to the months of intense secret-keeping that lied ahead. But once she landed the role of Rey — who’s only known to be a scavenger, but who’s rumored to be Han Solo’s daughter — she discovered how difficult the process would truly be. “When I found out and I couldn't tell anyone, it was fun for a little while, but then it was like, ‘Please let me tell people,’” Ridley said.
But there’s a very good reason the actors are so committed to keeping The Force Awakens a secret: It’s in the best interest of the fans.
“There are some questions I'm allowed to answer and I still don't answer them because I think I'm doing what's best for them,” said Boyega, who plays Finn, an ex-stormtrooper. “Out of the whole cast, I see myself as ambassador for the Star Wars fans and that comes with serious responsibility. When the fans get really excited and addicted to new content, I'm the guy that comes in and goes, ‘Guys, you're just gonna spoil it for yourselves and by the time you watch the movie, it won't be as effective.’ I want them to go in like it's 1977 again.”
While that commitment to keeping things under lock and key resulted in some problems on set — like Isaac being lightheartedly threatened with legal intervention if he didn’t stop bringing his script home at night — the cast’s collective belief in the vision created by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has made all the tongue biting worth it.
“It's not only a continuation of a cultural phenomenon, but a deepening and a new chapter of new themes that are born from this incredible thing that changed so many people's lives,” Isaac said. “It changed the entertainment industry, it changed the way movies are made, it changed merchandising. It's such a unique thing unto itself and I’m excited to be able to add to that in a really meaningful way.”