One of the biggest surprises in all of cinematic history was the reveal at the end of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back that the villainous Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father, but despite the ways in which the internet regularly ruins details about movies in the modern age, George Lucas doesn't necessarily think the secret would have made its way online if the internet existed back when the film was released. Of course, once the film landed in theaters and audiences started seeing the movie, the secret might not have been kept as well, but Lucas stands by his methods of ensuring that the film wasn't ruined by anyone involved with the production.
“I think it might have!” Lucas shared with StarWars.com about if the ending would have been kept a secret. “Because the thing about it is I didn’t tell anybody — anybody — about it. And it wasn’t in any of the scripts. It wasn’t even in the story treatments. I kept that aspect of it secret and I was the only one that knew about it. And it really wasn’t until the day we shot that we told Mark [Hamill] so he could react appropriately.”
Heading into filming the scene, only Lucas and director Irvin Kershner knew these details, with Hamill learning the real secret on set. After realizing that at least a dozen people connected to the production knew that Darth Vader was Luke's father before it was in theaters, Lucas went on to note, “I think, in this era now with the internet the way it is, it’s very hard to have surprises in a movie. And I don’t think you could do it today.”
Sadly, as evidenced by a number of recent Star Wars films, some "fans" are more excited to reveal big surprises ahead of their official releases as possible, ultimately spoiling those surprises for others. Whether it be Han Solo's death in Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Kylo Ren embracing his identity of Ben Solo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, numerous shocking revelations hit the internet before audiences could witness them for themselves.
Luckily, Star Wars fans did manage to earn a major surprise last year with the debut of The Mandalorian, as the first episode concluded with the reveal of "The Child," who quickly earned the nickname of "Baby Yoda." Despite the character playing a major role in the first season, Disney even opted not to craft any merchandise surrounding the adorable character until his on-screen debut, allowing fans around the world to discover him together.