So I told the five-year-old that I babysit “sure, I’ll tell you all about Infinity Wars after I see it” and now I see that was a grave mistake. Because to tell her the story would be to spoil this poor little girl as to the end of a major franchise. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s the equivalent of telling someone that Darth Vader is (redacted). See? If you know, you know, and if you don’t, you should go watch Star Wars and find out!
I don’t want to break my tacit promise, but I also don’t want to ruin her potential enjoyment of this movie when she grows up enough to watch it and the previous nineteen Marvel films.
I have three options: I can “forget” my promise and otherwise postpone until she also forgets, I can tell the story and pray that when she gets older she forgets entirely, or I can change a few things.
Option one I would rather not, because my street cred here is dependent on the kids trusting me to follow up with what I say, good and bad.
Option two, I would really rather not rely on her forgetting, because this kid remembers most of the stories I tell her, to at least some detail. Personally, I remember the sparse fragments of Star Wars that I saw when I was that age. It didn’t make so much sense, but I still remembered
So there’s option three. I tell her the story, but I edit and modify and play down and definitely stop before the actually end of the movie with “and they all lived happily ever after.” Partly so this poor little kid isn’t as traumatized as I was (kidding, mostly), but mainly for the sake of no spoilers. It’ll be a storytelling challenge, not just to modify, but to do it in a way that it’s still a consistent story that I won’t accidentally tell with new details later. Because she’ll remember, and once I tell it I’m going to have to tell it again and again.
PSA: it’s not just five-year-olds who can be hit with movie spoilers unaware. I’ve been guilty of this myself far too many times, but here it is. LET PEOPLE WATCH THE MOVIE THEMSELVES! An accidental detail might slip through, but when in doubt keep your lips sealed. Especially for a movie like Infinity Wars.
Update: turns out I had a fourth option. Because this girl is five, I could simply begin to tell her the story, let her get more than a little confused because there are a massive number of threads to keep track of, get her on the school bus, and have that be the end of it. She hasn’t mentioned it since. I think the sheer number of plot threads being relayed in a less than ideal fashion was enough to make her think that was it.
At least, for now.