The final trailer for Rogue One contains the big reveal of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), architect of the Death Star and father of heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). Or rather, it would be a big reveal… if Mikkelsen hadn’t accidentally spoiled his role way back in April. During an interview with the U.K.’s Sky News, the actor declared that he could “say absolutely nothing” about the new Star Wars film, but then proceeded to say that he plays Jyn Erso’s father. (See the video below.)
Of course, this is the most basic of character information, and for any other movie, an actor saying he plays the protagonist’s father would be no big thing. But we’re talking about the Star Wars universe, where spoilers are locked up tighter than a smuggler in carbonite. Nobody had any idea who Mikkelsen was playing, and we didn’t even see his face or get an explanation of his relationship with Jyn until the trailer that just dropped (though Lucasfilm’s Kiri Hart did talk about it in Entertainment Weekly in June). He was definitely not supposed to say anything to Sky News.
And yet, there’s something satisfying about seeing an actor blithely and obliviously drop a major spoiler. We’re so used to seeing Star Wars actors clam up whenever they’re asked about the films; Adam Driver recently refused to even say whether the Episode VIII script “blew him away,” for fear his words would be taken out of context.
This is a new problem for actors, and one that barely existed before viral media. For example, Darth Vader actor David Prowse seems to have revealed the big Empire Strikes Back twist to a newspaper in 1978, two years before the film was released. But because it was a local paper, the story didn’t spread. Likewise, Michael Keaton dropped a giant Batman spoiler on Late Night with David Letterman in June 1989, the night before the film was released — and if moviegoers weren’t watching Letterman that night, they were none the wiser.