There’s a common question bouncing around the minds of casual viewers who’ve seen the trailers and commercials for Super 8, the new sci-fi flick from super-producer/writer/director J.J. Abrams: “That looks pretty cool, but what the hell is it about?” And since the first teaser trailer premiered late last year, we’ve been wondering the same thing. All that’s been known about the film in the months leading up to its release is that it’s about some kids who discover a malevolent force while making a horror movie on a cheap Super 8 camera. Oh, and that it’s directly inspired by Steven Spielberg's (who’s on board as a producer) old sci-fi flicks from the late 1970s and early ’80s.

But that’s it, really. Is there a giant alien in Super 8? A biological threat? E.T. gone mental? With his trademark penchant for secretive productions, Abrams has somehow managed to deliver a summer tentpole that’s avoided spoilers, leaked photos from the set, a trailer that gives away the whole movie, and cast members blabbing too much in interviews—meaning, everything we’re used to from mainstream Hollywood pics.

This isn’t the first time that Abrams, along with his Bad Robot production company, has pulled the okie-doke on us. In January 2008, Cloverfield, which he produced, fascinated audiences enough with its unknown plot points and creature design to become a box office smash. And then there’s the groundbreaking ABC show Lost, co-created by Abrams to confound viewers six long, uninformative years.

When asked about his secretive ways during interviews, Abrams plays it cool, saying that it’s all part of his intent to conceal spoilers for the audience’s sake—we’re not buying that. It’s difficult to accept that anyone in Hollywood can bypass the Internet’s anything-goes recklessness when it comes to divulging info, so we’ve cooked up a few conspiracy theories on how J.J. Abrams keeps his secrets.

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