The term “spoiler alert” is all it takes to send the Internet into a frenzy. Moviegoers love reading up on their most anticipated films, but the world wide web can be a minefield full of secrets viewers don’t want to know. Whether it’s a plot twist, a surprise character appearance, or even the ending of the movie, audiences have to be careful about what they read and watch, or the whole experience could be ruined. Sometimes, even when they’re extremely careful, they still find out about spoilers from some unlikely sources. Here are 10 movie secrets that were spoiled before release.
Captain America: Civil War
Marvel fans were ecstatic when it was announced Spider-Man would finally be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making his debut in Captain America: Civil War. For most of the marketing campaign, the studio kept his role in the film under wraps, and there was a debate as to whether the web head would be part of Team Iron Man or Team Cap. Marvel spilled the beans when the second Civil War trailer premiered and ended with a shot of Spidey stealing Cap’s shield and announcing himself to the world. It made sense from an advertising perspective, but some would have preferred Spider-Man didn’t show up until the actual film.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Just about everything from Zack Snyder’s superhero crossover proved to be divisive, and that includes the trailers. Warner Bros. released a preview in December 2015 that received a healthy dose of criticism for playing as a condensed version of the feature film. It outright revealed that Doomsday would be the big bad that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team up to fight, taking the attention away from the titular Batman vs. Superman conflict. By the time the film arrived, audiences were just waiting for that sequence instead of getting lost in the story, which certainly didn’t help its mixed reception.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Having a talented actor like Liam Neeson appear in a Star Wars movie is a treat for fans, but he unfortunately wouldn’t be around for long. Viewers learned that his Qui-Gon Jinn wouldn’t make it out alive when the movie’s soundtrack track list was released, including the tune “Qui-Gon’s Noble End.” That stripped the film of some much-needed dramatic tension and was just overall disappointing. For their part, Lucasfilm seems to have learned from the mistake, withholding both the score and novelization for The Force Awakens until the day Episode 7 had already premiered. They deserve credit for that, if nothing else.
As one of the best actors of his generation, Tom Hanks can sell audiences on just about any concept, and Cast Away was the ultimate test. Hanks spent most of his screen time isolated from society, with only a volleyball named Wilson to talk to. What should have been a suspenseful tale of survival became just another film when Cast Away’s trailer actually revealed that Hanks made it off the desert island alive – having been gone for a period of four years. The movie is still good, but imagine how much more compelling it could have been if the studio left that one big question untouched.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Arguably the most famous plot twist of all-time is Darth Vader’s startling revelation to Luke Skywalker. Even people who haven’t seen the Star Wars films know about it. Before George Lucas unleashed that secret on the world, he kept it so hidden, a fake line was used during principal photography. But David Prowse – the man in the Vader suit – knew about it well before 1980. During a fan event in 1978, Prowse was quoted in a newspaper as saying Vader is Luke’s father. Studios these days have media trained their actors to perfection, so one can only imagine what would have happened if Prowse pulled this off today.
No matter the era in which it takes place, an X-Men film is always going to find time for Wolverine. The poster boy of the franchise, it’s impossible to separate Hugh Jackman’s mutant from the series. But for a while, it looked like this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse was going to break the streak. That is, until a trailer was released weeks before the film premiered and ended with Wolverine bearing his bloodied claws for the camera. Throw that in with the revelation Quicksilver is Magneto’s son, the Apocalypse marketing team left everything out on the table to get fans interested.