A Wikipedia spoiler war created a ridiculous fake end for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Before Quentin Tarantino is long-awaited Once upon a time in Hollywood premiered at the Cannes film festival in May 2019, the director argued with viewers not to reveal the plot. “I love cinema. You like cinema. It is the journey to discover a story for the first time, & he wrote. "I'm just asking that everyone avoid revealing something that could later prevent the audience from experiencing the film in the same way."


The Russo brothers placed similar letters for the last two Avengers films with little controversy. But where those films premiered a few days before their full theatrical releases for critics, Once upon a time in Hollywood screened in Cannes for almost two months before being available to the general public. And on Wikipedia, an invaluable source of film synopses, this gap led to a heated editing war with its own strange twist. Nobody had to reveal Once upon a time in Hollywood end. So someone on Wikipedia came up with one.

Spoiler warning: huge plot points from Once upon a time in Hollywood are discussed here.

Once upon a time in Hollywood was set up as a film about the real murder of the manson family of Sharon Tate and several friends, examined from the perspective of two largely fictional artists: actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). But in the final scenes of the film, Tarantino returns to historical revisionism in which he explored famously Non-glorious bastards.

Seriously, this is the last moment to return. Because…

In Once upon a time in Hollywood"S version of 1969, Sharon Tate does not die. The Manson family changes plans and focuses on Dalton and Booth, who kill the attackers graphically with a can of dog food and a flame thrower, among other weapons. The protagonists and Sharon Tate and her friends probably live happily ever after.

That is a strange, polarizing storytelling. But the recent synopsis on Wikipedia was even stranger. It contained the Manson family who took Tate and her friends hostage, but made Bruce Lee (a minor character in the film played by Mike Moh) appear for a rescue operation. Although Tate is eight months pregnant, she reveals that she is also a martial arts master, and the two are working with Booth and Dalton to wipe out the entire Manson family – including Charles Manson himself – in an extensive showdown. Booth also dies.


Film critics realized in July that this plot was summary, in the words from AV Club writer Katie Rife, "Totally made-up nonsense." But when people who had actually seen the film noticed it, they became helpless to correct it.

One person (who identified himself as a filmmaker and participant in Cannes) complained that the plot was "conceived by someone who probably did not see the film." But when he didn't offer his own blow-by-blow account, another editor called the differences "fairly common and understandable" inaccuracies. And some attendees in Cannes were not happy to talk about the end, except that they were absolutely not this one.

The editors also argued whether the viewers of Cannes counted as verifiable sources. On the one hand, they had literally seen the film firsthand at a major festival. And movie synopsis have relatively low citation standards – because they are only summaries from a primary source. But unlike a movie released on a large scale, the average Wikipedia user cannot independently check the account. "Again, you have not explained how as an editor I can verify the plot summary," one editor commented.

And there was already a long, controversial debate about whether that should even be to become a plot overview – let alone what it should contain. "The argument is completely over" should there be spoilers?!?! " tweeted critic (and Verge Noah Berlatsky, who tried to edit the ending. "Nobody seems to have considered that the thing is just inaccurate."

It is stated in the Wikipedia guidelines that it is "not acceptable to remove information from an article because you think it is ruining the plot", and the site disabled the spoiler warnings in 2007. Despite, multiple people started threads with the request to remove the Tate twist, and the entire plot summary was periodically removed and restored.

Editor Rusted AutoParts explained a typical case for removing the end of the Wikipedia item in May. "It just doesn't seem right, since about 1,000 people saw it at a premiere, the millions of others waiting to see it for themselves in the coming months should lightly enter Wikipedia about the movie," they wrote. "I just think it's good to wait until July."

However, this touched a nerve among other editors. As one answer was: “Wikipedia is about journalism, not PR or fan service for a film. If people don't want to know the plot or want to spoil it themselves, they don't have to read this, problem solved. "


A few people also complained that the letter from Tarantino received a special treatment on Wikipedia, or even speculated that a request to remove the plot was "part of a disinformation campaign on behalf of Sony." Where Tarantino had formulated his request as a love letter for the public, they saw a cynical trick – as one person put it, the conspiracy only revealed "a gimmick that frankly has nothing to do with (the) art of fiction."

It is true that film marketing strategies increasingly involve the suppression of spoilers – sometimes as well bizarre extremes. (Multiple journalists have involved Which Once upon a time in Hollywood"S publicists asked them to edit or completely remove articles that reveal the plot.) But there is also a wide, sincere debate about where and how plot points can be revealed online – people who would like to dissect new films in detail should avoid it in public , or should people who want an "unspoiled" experience stay away from certain parts of the web?

Anyway, the article was corrected in the first hours of July 26, which probably ends this specific debate, because the film is now in broad release. But the editing war offered a microcosm of the larger ongoing internet spoiler war – and a complicated case study on how Wikipedia collects information. And while I read obsessive photo reviews before I see movies, I have to admit that it has somewhat ruined the experience. Because frankly … I liked the kind of made-up ending.

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