With the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens nearly upon us, speculation regarding the film has reached a fever pitch. Fans who wish to avoid spoilers have to be on guard, as it seems the internet is awash in information regarding the newest film in the franchise, with indiscriminate headlines revealing unwanted details after only a brief glance. Those fans now have an elegant weapon (for a more civilized age) in their arsenal to stave off Star Wars spoilers, however, thanks to JitBit.
As TechCrunch reports, JitBit co-founders Alex Jumašev and Max Al Farakh have released an extension in the Chrome store specifically designed to ward away any unwanted Star Wars spoilers. The extension scans any page you land on for Star Wars references, and stops you in your tracks if it finds mention of the iconic sci-fi franchise. It then superimposes a Star Wars-themed warning over the page in question, alerting you to the existence of potential spoilers should you chose to continue.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 27, 2015
The extension is incredibly simple and doesn't even require configuration once it is installed. Though it isn't overly sophisticated, it fulfills its single-minded mission well and would be indispensable for those who wish to cleanse their web-browsing of any mention of Star Wars prior to The Force Awakens. If you're a fan who wants to still read about the film yet avoid any and all mention of spoilers, the Star Wars Spoiler Blocker extension may not be exactly what you want, and it is for that reason that reviewers are divided.
"Star Wars Spoiler Blocker" pic.twitter.com/ZrL5i2QKzz
— Víctor Codjambassis (@victorcodja) November 26, 2015
While TechCrunch pointed out both the up- and downsides of the extension, Mashable was a bit more forthright, getting straight to the core of the problem with the program and recommending that fans don't download it. The reason for their negative recommendation is that the extension scans for any mention of Star Wars, not simply information deemed to be spoilers. Navigating to the Wikipedia page for Return of the Jedi? That will trigger the extension. Checking out HelloGreedo's (excellent) Star Wars-themed YouTube channel or Twitter account (which you should be if you're a Star Wars fan and you're not already)? You'll have to click through the warning page, even if the video in question has nothing to do with The Force Awakens.
— HYPEBEAST (@HYPEBEAST) November 26, 2015
The blocker works so strongly, in fact, that even attempting to buy tickets for The Force Awakens will trigger it. This may be something of an overreaction, yet fans aren't actually prevented from continuing on to any Star Wars-related content. Instead, you simply have to click through the warning screen, and while this can be something of an annoyance, it isn't a major issue.
The other problem with the concept of the extension lies in the positioning of the spoiler in question. If the information you're looking to avoid is in the headline of an article, you're likely going to see it anyway, even if you have the extension installed. Mashable points out that it can take several seconds for the Star Wars Spoiler Blocker extension to engage on some pages, meaning that if the spoiler is blaring at you from the first paragraph, you may also see it anyway.
Still, the team at JitBit have created a product that does what it claims, and does it well. Even if it operates somewhat indiscriminately, the Star Wars Spoiler Blocker can be a useful tool, helping you to avoid any unwanted info in the last few weeks before The Force Awakens brings the quintessential space opera back to movie screens.