A lot of movie fans are fond of avoiding spoilers now more than ever. Although trailers can sometimes reveal a lot, many people want to go into the theater knowing as little as possible. That’s become increasingly difficult in the internet age, where just casually strolling through social media or search engines can run the risk of throwing rumors or set leaks in your purview. However, the greatest risk for spoilers may actually be toys, either those officially revealed or those that are leaked ahead of a movie's official release.
The Russo Brothers -- no stranger to combating leaks -- recently said that 99% of the time, toys do not spoil movies. Well, I must finally be a member of the 1%, because toys have genuinely spoiled movies for me in the past. I’m not trying to particularly disagree with the Russo's math on this and given the sheer amount of promotional toys that are released each year, the amount of toys that manage to spoil something is probably slim. However, the ones that do usually drop a doozy.
I've compiled a list of products that have personally spoiled big movie moments. If there are other big examples, be sure to let us know!
Aquaman’s Orange And Green Costume Being Shown
I think that everyone defines spoiler a little differently, but if you’re the type of person who doesn’t even want to know what a character will be wearing, you probably were ticked to see Jason Momoa in Aquaman’s classic costume ahead of the film's release. The suit was revealed in promotional figures for the film before the actual release date. To be fair, the marketing put this suit everywhere it could -- including an extended trailer -- but considering it doesn’t arrive until the end of the movie, it was a bummer to learn about so far in advance.
The Cloverfield Monster's Appearance Revealed
Cloverfield without a doubt had one of the best movie marketing campaigns ever. This film captivated fans from the first teaser trailer, and the mystery around pretty much everything about it kept people hungry for details. That includes the appearance of the monster at the heart of it all, so fans were understandably bummed when that monster was revealed in a toy leak. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t call learning the appearance of the title monster as a spoiler for anything, but Cloverfield’s marketing had built such mystique around it that this leak felt especially brutal.
The Ghostbusters Villain Is The Reboot's Logo
The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot had it rough, but the villain of the film getting spoiled by action figures definitely didn’t help matters. Viewers learned that the ghost from the Ghostbusters logo was ultimately the villain of the movie. Out of context, that sounds pretty dumb, but toys often don’t come with elaborate explanations about how they fit into the movie. Therefore, this one contributed to a bad first impression to a movie that already needed support.
The Indominus Rex Shown Ahead Of Jurassic World
Another movie monster that was being kept close to the chest was the Indominus Rex, the man-made dinosaur from Jurassic World. The dinosaur had only been teased in footage and hadn’t yet been shown outright. However, you can’t expect the studio avoid attempts at profiting from merchandise, and it wasn’t that long before the I-Rex found its way online. It’s important to remember that unless it's Hot Toys, the figure will almost always look worse than in the actual film, so it stinks to have the look of your gruesome monster spoiled by cheap-looking plastic.
Ant-Man Turning Into Giant Man In Captain America: Civil War
When it comes to toys spoiling movies, there might be no greater perpetrator than LEGO. The company makes LEGO sets directly lifted from scenes of some of the most highly anticipated franchises like Marvel and Stars. They often aren't 100% accurate but that usually paint a picture of what to expect. One time, LEGO revealed that Ant-Man would transform into Giant Man during Captain America: Civil War, a moment that would have been a lot cooler to see for the first time on screen. Considering that Giant Man didn't show up in any promotional footage, this one stung fans as Marvel clearly had wanted to keep it as secret as possible.
Thor Gets A New Weapon In Avengers: Infinity War
The death of Mjolnir stunned Thor and MCU fans, but it didn't take him very long to forge an all-new hammer to stop Thanos. Thor's whole quest in Avengers: Infinity War was about finding that hammer, but some fans got a sneak peek at Stormbreaker thanks to toy leaks. You better believe Marvel and Disney were going to sell a kid-friendly version of Stormbreaker to whack each other with, and the hammer's design arrived online prior to the blockbuster's release. While not a major spoiler compared to some of the others, it was still disappointing for those who would rather have seen the new weapon in theaters.
The Secret Villain Revealed For G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra actually had the biggest twist leaked online before the movie released. An action figure of Joseph Gordon Levitt's character, The Doctor, revealed that his real name was Rex Lewis. His identity was kind of a big deal in the film and he was ultimately revealed to be the real villain, becoming Cobra Commander at the end of the movie. The package didn't ruin the Commander reveal, but it still dropped the ball pretty hard. I mean, do kids really care what the real names of G.I. Joe figures are?
Bruce Banner Is In The Hulkbuster During Avengers: Infinity War
Who is piloting the Hulkbuster? That was one of the questions fans had after the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer, and they wouldn't have to wait until the movie to find out the answer. Once again LEGO beat Marvel to the punch and revealed that Bruce Banner was inside of the suit designed for the sole purpose of beating him up. However, this also leads to an example of misdirection. Other toys had the Hulk bursting out of the suit, which ended up not happening in the film. Fans expecting Bruce to green-up were likely left surprised when it ultimately didn't happen.
The Mask Of The Phantasm Revealed For The Animated Batman Movie
Back in the 90s this type of thing happened way more often. Case in point, the action figure for the Phantasm in the beloved Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was unmasked in the packaging, her secret identity visible for all to see. Considering that this reveal is the mystery at the heart of the film, it completely ruins this moment! The movie is called MASK of the Phantasm! Imagine being excited to see the movie for the first time and then you see the plot twist that holds the whole movie together is right there clear as day in plastic casing. What an absolute bummer.
How Steppenwolf Looked In Justice League
While Darkseid had been the popular for a long time as the main villain of Justice League, Warner Bros. opted to go with the lesser known Steppenwolf. The general from Apokolips had already been confirmed to be the villain as well, but leave it to LEGO to give people their first taste of the character. A LEGO set revealed Steppenwolf in battle with DC heroes in the official toy for the movie. Justice League would have had to reveal this itself at some point before the premiere, but if given the chance, LEGO is going to beat you to it the majority of the time.
Rey Gets Luke's Lightsaber In Star Wars: The Force Awakens
It's hard to find a movie that was more anti-spoiler than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie was kept under tighter wraps than almost any other movie, but even this behemoth wasn't immune to a retail screw-up. One lucky fan at Walmart found a new Rey action figure before the movie released and posted it online. The photo went viral and it contained a massive spoiler for The Force Awakens. It featured Rey with Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, revealing that she would ultimately become a Jedi. Reportedly, the toy was not supposed to have been on sale yet, but alas, it still ended up spoiling the flick.
All it takes is one person with a camera and an internet connection to drop a major spoiler for a film. Sometimes, these aren't the fault of the studio or marketing department. Some people just get their hands on stuff that they aren't supposed to. Still though, toy leaks remain as a source of spoilers for movies, especially big blockbusters. The closer a film gets to its release date, be sure to be on your guard regarding toy leaks.
Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.
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