With Star Wars fans starved for any information on Episode VIII (despite there being a Star Wars movie out this year), there has been a steady increase in completely bogus leakers claiming to know the entire plot of the next Episode in the Saga. Those who have been around since the Prequel era and weathered the “Supershadow” hoaxes are pretty good at sniffing out fakes, but there are some major red flags to look for to easily spot a fake “scooper”
The Leaker Is the Source
Someone who is working on a Star Wars movie will never publicly broadcast that they are leaking confidential information from the production, not even anonymously on Reddit. Just ask the former Lucasfilm employee who got hit with thirteen felonies in 2002 for doing just that. Only someone who is clueless to how the real world works would think that someone would risk hard prison time just for some anonymous fame on an internet message board. Those who decide to leak such information would filter it through multiple other sources prior to it coming to public light, and they would be very careful to cover their tracks. They wouldn’t publicly post something that can be easily traced back to their location via an IP address.
The Leaker Tries to Brand Themselves
This is actually connected to the first point. Just like a real leak source would never risk being caught by publicly posting something on a message board, they also would not make up social media accounts and a website. All Lucasfilm would have to do in that case is send a DMCA request to the social media service or the person’s website host and they would be caught immediately and in court. I’m sure Lucasfilm wishes a leaker would be so stupid to try something like that.
It Contradicts Established Canon
As much as people don’t want to hear it, the Prequels are canon. As are all of the new comic books and novels. They made those new comics and novels on the same canon level as the movies so people could read them and find out nuggets of information that are relevant to the new movies. So if you see someone who obviously ignores the expanded canon and “leaks” something that contradicts the comics and novels or tries to retcon the Prequels, it’s most assuredly fake.
It Repeats Debunked Leaks
Something that’s very common in fake leaks is the habit to cobble together story bits from other leaks to try to make the fake one look more legitimate. That means if you come across a leak that regurgitates something from a leaker that was proven to be bogus, chances are it’s also fake. This one is a bit tougher to “police” as you have to really immerse yourself in the leak “scene”, but that’s where places like the Jedi Council Forums become very useful.
The Story Copies the Beats from an Original Trilogy Movie
Just because JJ Abrams purposely made The Force Awakens with similar elements to A New Hope, it doesn’t mean every episode in the Sequel Trilogy will be a copy of the Original Trilogy. The cast of Episode VIII have already said how their movie will be very different than what’s come before. That means if you see a Episode VIII leak that basically copies the plot from The Empire Strikes Back, it’s a very good chance it’s a fake.