Yesterday, we told you about the news that Benicio Del Toro had been cast in Marvel's upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Similar to previous reports that Scottish actress Karen Gillan had been added to the film, there was no word on who exactly he would be playing, just that he was going to be in the film—and others set in the Marvel universe—as a very mysterious someone. The reasoning behind the concealment of his character is obvious: Marvel is trying to keep some element of surprise to the films. But, really, is all this secrecy necessary?
Short answer: No. As Vulture points out, it seems likely that Del Toro will be playing Thanos, as that character has been alluded to in a variety of Marvel projects recently, but "we likely won't know until the information leaks, at which point Marvel will continue to deny it." They argue that though it'll generate buzz for a little while, after a point it starts to feel more like lying than it does a creative marketing plot. From their essay:
Star Trek Into Darkness's whole "it's not Khan, it's John Harrison" thing was simply the worst we've seen in a while. From before he was even cast, there was a ton of evidence indicating that Benedict Cumberbatch would play classic Trek villain Khan (a role, coincidentally, that Benicio Del Toro was initially offered), but J.J. Abrams & Co. danced around it, knowing that they could rely on movie blogs and message boards to dissect any smidgen of evidence that was accidentally (or not) dropped.
And while such an approach totally succeeded in getting people to endlessly discuss the possibility of Khan, it failed to build genuine excitement or goodwill around the reveal. At some point, needless obstruction and misdirection just feels like lying and people (especially film bloggers and fan boys) don't like being lied to. But you know what would've gotten a lot of people pumped? This headline: "Benedict Cumberbatch Signs on to Play Khan in Star Trek sequel!" We know you like surprises, J.J., but sometimes anticipation is much more powerful than obfuscation.
The essay goes on to point out that, though sometimes witholding casting info is meant to serve some surprising twist in the film, it doesn't work the way it used to back in the day like when Darth Vader was revealed to be Luke Skywalker's father (spoiler alert!)—in the Internet age, there's no way to control the flow of information like before. "In the months leading up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises, for example, Marion Cotillard consistently lied to the press about not playing Talia al Ghul so that her big third act reveal would remain unspoiled. [...] Try as you might, you cannot control the flow of news the way you used to be able to. Information wants to be free, and word—especially on big blockbusters and superhero movies—will get out, either through set photos (like these, which indicated, early on, what Cotillard's role would actually be), script leaks, or movie critics who reveal the reveal because they didn't even realize it was supposed to be a twist."
It's a good point to discuss, especially with the upcoming releases of a handful of major films that are trying to keep their casting decisions under wraps—not only Guardians of the Galaxy, but J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. The Internet always figures it out either way!
Check out Vulture's full essay here.