RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
“Legendary Iconic SuperShadow Ultra Infinite Mega Genius”
“As you would expect, all information about the world famous and legendary SuperShadow (SS) is above top secret (classified at the highest level).”
“Heralded by fans as the most important, influential and ingenious Star Wars expert in history, SuperShadow completely revolutionized the way Star Wars movies are created. SuperShadow.com played a crucial and pivotal role in the development of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Man fan ideas submitted at SS.com were integrated by George Lucas into the final scripts and screenplays of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith….Lucas has acknowledged many times in public that SuperShadow is the best thing to ever happen to Star Wars.”
Beginning around the time of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a new online “source” began “leaking” plot information for future Star Wars movies. When he started out in 1998/1999, a lot of the rumours he was posting were legit leaks based in reality, albeit copied from other sites. By Episode II, he went completely crazy with ludicrous “leaks” that were obviously fabrications. This “source” went by the online name SuperShadow and he claimed to be close, personal friends with George Lucas. He wrote that he had cameos in the movies, which he also claimed to co-write. As if Star Wars alone wasn’t enough, Shadow also said that he was going to persuade his buddy George to include new music from Guns N’ Roses in Episode III!
Star Wars and Guns N’ Roses – two of the most secretive brands in the world, and apparently SuperShadow has inside scoops to both! I’m sure Axl wasn’t even aware of this guy’s existence. I’m not sure which is the more absurd of the two claims: that he was friends with George Lucas, or that he could get Axl Rose to release new music!
Online sleuths traced his website, supershadow.com, to a person named “Mickey Suttle” in North Carolina. Nobody knows if that’s a real name or an alias. SuperShadow quickly built up both a legion of followers, and a much larger number of haters. He posted a picture of himself with chiseled looks in a white T-shirt, and also a picture of a mystery nameless “girlfriend”. Every day, SuperShadow would tell his fans how much he “scores”. (Apparently, 24/7.)
SuperShadow infuriated many fans with his wild claims and “quotes” from his friend George Lucas. Shadow eventually caught the attention of Lucasfilm, who were quick to put out official statements clarifying that Shadow had “absolutely no relationship with Lucasfilm or George Lucas.” They also had to issue cease and desist orders when SuperShadow started soliciting fans for money, to access special “spoilers” and plot outlines for future movies. Today, supershadow.com no longer exists.
I read the SuperShadow drama with amusement, and wondered how a guy like that had convinced thousands of fans that he was indeed an insider with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of George Lucas’ mind. It seemed like a massive, obvious piss-take to me. I thought he had to be a joke, and everybody was falling for it. In fact I couldn’t see how anybody could view the SuperShadow website as anything but one huge prank, up until he started asking for money. It was either a gigantic joke that nobody got, or the guy was just an obsessed, lonely megafan. But nobody had ever succeeded in unveiling the real SuperShadow/Mickey Suttle, so I wondered if I could try to draw him out myself.
Setting my plan in motion, I set up a fake MySpace page for SuperShadow. It was the first; there were no others, official or fake.
By the time my fake SuperShadow began making his first posts, fandom had already found him. He received “friend requests” daily from “believers” and “non-believers” alike. I could hardly fathom that people were buying this. All I did was put up the same picture from the official SuperShadow site and some fake information and posts. “SuperShadow” made waves on the Star Wars message boards, and Shadow’s fans and haters announced that they had “discovered” his MySpace account.
I wanted to try an experiment on the internet. I decided to spread a false rumour to see if fandom would pick up on it, and they did. I told one guy who had been sending me questions that “SuperShadow” was in fact several people who set up the site as a big spoof. Sure enough, within a few dayss I found information on various wiki-type sites that “Supershadow” could be a collective made up of several people who had pulled a massive prank on the internet.
It was funny for a few months, but then two more fake SuperShadow MySpace accounts showed up. One was “Supershadows” and the other was “SSupershadow”. Having lost interest myself, I told the guy who had been interrogating me earlier that I was just goofing and had nothing to do with SuperShadow. I was surprised when he asked me if he could take over the account! He wanted to see if he could suss him out, himself. So I gave him the password, and passed the fake account on to a new nerd, who continued with the fake posts and pictures. I lost interest then. It was amusing while it lasted, and I saw how quickly rumours spready on the web.
I never succeeded in drawing out the “real” SuperShadow, or finding out if it was just a massive joke that went way too far. I can however finally confess: I, LeBrain, was the REAL fake SuperShadow!
Below: a sample of SuperShadow’s Q&A-style posts.
Q: SS, this site is like a fine wine, gets better with time. (SuperShadow: Excellent analogy.) Anyway I have a question: 1) How did you and George Lucas become close friends? (SuperShadow: In early 1994, Lucas watched one of my brilliant extra-terrestrial documentaries on the A&E TV cable channel. Lucas contacted me to congratulate me on the best documentary of its kind ever produced. He completely agreed with my position that the Citix Black Ops project had secretly implanted microscopic alien life forms into the minds of the world’s population. Lucas wanted to learn more so I told him all about the mysterious truth about extra-terrestrials. I told Lucas that I was sort of a Star Wars fan kinda. He invited me to Skywalker Ranch and we discussed the prequel trilogy. I spent several weeks at Skywalker Ranch in 1994 hashing ideas with Lucas that would be integrated into the prequel-trilogy plot line. We have been close friends ever since.)