Much like the sun, movie trailers are not meant to be looked at directly if you want to go into a movie blissfully unaware of its twists and turns. However, making it to the theater without having a movie spoiled by trailers, actors, or even merchandise is harder than you'd think.
To get as many people into a theater as possible, trailers for a film will often show all of the coolest parts of a movie, even if the coolest parts are meant to be a surprise. Movies that spoil themselves this way can ruin the pure joy that comes with the total shock of the appearance of a beloved character, or a plot point that's unexpected. Toys that spoil movies are much more disappointing. They're often released long before the film and include extras that give away major plot points.
Obvious warning, but just in case: In you haven't seen some of these films, spoilers ahead!
- 1Photo: Walt Disney Records
The Phantom Menace was one of the most anticipated films of the 20th century. Some Star Wars fans spent decades wondering what happened in the early life of Anakin Skywalker. But even if this was your first Star Wars film in the theaters, it's not the kind of thing you want spoiled for you.
When the soundtrack for The Phantom Menace was released on May 4, 1999, listeners (or anyone who just looked at the track listing) saw a gigantic spoiler, or really two. The track listing reveals that Liam Neeson's character, Qui-Gon Jinn, doesn't make it to the credits alive. With "Qui-Gon's Noble End" and "Qui-Gon's Funeral," fans already knew which Jedi would fall a full two weeks before the film was released.
One fan's recollection of the spoiler notes that no one got too upset about it, notably because he was "the new Obi-Wan," so he was narratively obligated to bite the dust.Whoops?
Where the screenwriting is done. pic.twitter.com/ISrobCeveW— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) December 28, 2014
One month before Creed - the Michael B. Jordan follow-up to the Rocky films - went into production, Sylvester Stallone spoiled the ending for everyone. He made this huge gaff through the worst medium possible: Twitter.
Stallone posted a photo of his desk (which looks awesome, by the way) with the caption, "Where the screenwriting is done." It's also where the spoiling is done, because he included the final page of the script in the picture. Fans who turned the image upside down and magnified it just a little bit discovered that Adonis Creed comes out victorious in the end, and Rocky begins chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
When Stallone tweeted this out people assumed he was messing with them, but he wasn't. That page explains pretty much how the movie ends.Whoops?
- Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
The 1990 film Dick Tracy isn't a twisting, Christopher Nolan-esque narrative by any means, but there are surprises to be had. Most notable is the identity of The Blank, a character who's framing Dick Tracy. Much of the film's plot centers on this faceless goon.
Thanks to Playmates Toys, no one had to worry about who was under the mask. The action figure came with a removable mask that revealed none other than Breathless Mahoney, Tracy's love interest, as the character. This is a huge spoiler - like Bruce Willis is dead at the end of The Sixth Sense-level spoiler - and Playmates didn't realize how bad they goofed until the toys were already in stores.
The company pulled the figures as quickly as they could, but at least 3,000 of them made their way into the hands of collectors. Because this happened long before social media, most of the kids going to see the movie remained blissfully unaware of the twist.Whoops?
- Photo: Lego
Out of all the Iron Man films, the third is special for many fans. Not only does it feature a re-teaming of Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black from their Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang days, but it also had ton of spoilers released through odd means. The biggest spoilers come from the folks at Lego.
Two of the three sets that tie into the movie feature massive spoilers for the film. The box for the Extremis Sea Port Battle shows Tony Stark fighting Aldrich Killian after he's all hopped up on Extremis virus, and the box for Malibu Mansion Attack shows Stark falling out of a window while a woman with a freckly face wears the Iron Man armor.
Fans weren't angry about the spoilers, and no online diatribes called for canceling Lego, but it is odd that two major plot points would be put on display with these toys.Whoops?