This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Foiler Footage

Multiple resolutions of a Cliffhanger or other point of suspense are filmed. Only one is the "true" resolution, intending to be shown. The others are designed to foil spies and spoilers in the event of the dreaded Content Leak.

A specific type of "foiler", which is any false information, such as decoy scripts, designed to throw spoilers off the track.

Compare to Multiple Endings, in which more than one resolution is intended to be shown.

Examples:

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     Comics  

  • DC Comics released preview artwork for the cover of Countdown to Infinite Crisis that showed the death of a major DC character in silhouette, detailed to the point where the silhouette's profile was easily recognizable as Nightwing. The actual death in question (and the actual cover of the comic when released) was Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle.
    • It was reported that in the rough draft that Nightwing was the original victim before someone realized that he was a massively popular character and the fan revolt would've been too great, so they reworked it.
    • Similarly, DC's press pack for the yearlong miniseries Countdown featured artwork heavily implying that The Joker was going to kill Jimmy Olsen, complete with an art piece showing Superman mourning a dead, grinning Jimmy, which ended up on the cover of Wizard Magazine. Buttons which hinted at storylines for the series were distributed at conventions, including one reading "JIMMY OLSEN MUST DIE!" And to top it off, the second issue of the series features a grinning Joker on the cover holding Jimmy's press pass. In that issue, Jimmy meets The Joker...and nothing of consequence happens. They do not meet again and Jimmy survives the entire series safe and sound.
  • Both outcomes of the infamous vote for Robin's life in A Death in the Family were allegedly at least penciled - the panel with Batman doing his best Pietà Plagiarism in the other version has him tearfully announcing "Thank God...he's alive!"
  • During the first arc of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, artist John Cassiday released a picture he pencilled of a fiery bird on his blog, and then removed the picture abruptly, prompting a number of fans to suspect that Whedon would be resurrecting Jean Grey during the first arc. Instead, the resurrected X-Man during the arc was Colossus.

     Film  

  • For the ending of X-Men: The Last Stand, they filmed the "Bobby discovers Rogue" scene both ways. That is, one where she took the "mutant cure" and one where she didn't. The commentary said that a poll was taken on set about whether she should take the cure or not.
  • During the production of The X-Files: I Want to Believe, several fake screenshots of the movie were released (including a picture of a werewolf) to throw people off. For the first movie, there were multiple scripts written to prevent the real version from being leaked.
  • David Prowse (the actor in the Vader suit) did not say, "I am your father," while The Empire Strikes Back was being filmed. He actually said, "Obi-Wan killed your father." James Earl Jones said the real line for dubbing, and Mark Hamill was told the real line just before filming as a form of Enforced Method Acting.
    • Supposedly another reason for this was that Prowse had a habit of letting spoilers slip, so Lucas decided to avoid it by not telling him what the real line was since it would be dubbed over later anyways.
    • According to Mark Hamill in an interview, someone did leak Prowse's line to the media, so this fake line was a very prescient maneuver whether the leaker was Prowse or not.
    • What's interesting is that both lines make a certain degree of sense as it was Obi-Wan who 'killed' Anakin by defeating him in battle and leaving him to burn almost to death in the lava fields. It also works in terms of the emotional aspect, Obi-Wan not doing enough to curb Anakin's fall to the Dark Side. But neither of these aspects would have made sense at the time of filming as the third film wasn't made yet...
    • They also both play along fairly well in context with the rest of the dialogue ("That's impossible!" "Search your feelings; you know it is true!"), at least until the line "Together we can defeat the Emperor and rule the galaxy as father and son."
    • Prowse himself was quite upset after the film's premiere, telling Lucas his body language would have been completely different if he'd known the real line.
  • Psycho IV: The Beginning reportedly had 4 endings to fool... someone. An otherwise-unexplained image on the packaging of the Psycho sequels 3-pack DVD suggests that one involved Norman burning up.
  • Almost none of the footage in trailers for Paranormal Activity 3 was featured in the movie itself.
  • Disney has used this trope a few times to hide spoilers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, a special preview of Avengers: Infinity War was screened at D23 2017, which featured foiler footage where Thor has both eyes intact and is not wearing an eyepatch, as using the real footage would have spoiled Thor losing his right eye in the then-unreleased Thor: Ragnarok. Trailers for the previous Avengers film, Age of Ultron, were also carefully edited to omit Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from the final battle, likely to avoid spoiling the fact that they switch sides and join the Avengers during the final act of the movie.

     Jokes  
  • This Tumblr post explains how "If [the original poster] was a famous author I would publish a book with ten different endings which all went to print with varying degrees of rarity, but not tell the fans about it so that I could watch their confusion as they disagree over how the story ended. Then when they figured it out I would ‘come clean’, telling them that I had released eleven alternate endings and watch them panic again as they all try to find the last ending."

     Live-Action Television  

  • This is a common tactic employed by Soap Operas to avoid major twists & deaths leaking out - Be it by shooting multiple funerals, having cast members continue to show up at the set after shooting their death in order to keep the death a secret, or simply by releasing false synopsis of the episodes to the public.
  • Dallas shot several resolutions to the "Who shot J.R.?" cliffhanger. (Including one where J.R. shot himself.)
    • The film crew for the "Bobby in the Shower" reveal thought that Patrick Duffy was making a soap commercial.
  • The fourth season of Lost shot multiple reveals of who was in the coffin at the end of the final episode. Sawyer and Desmond were the other two filmed to be in the coffin, but obviously weren't in it when the episode aired. In the DVD Bonus Material for that season the writers said that they sweated a bit when that episode aired for fear the editor had spliced the wrong Foiler Footage onto the end of the episode because it would have been a bear to write their way out of.
  • The first season of Survivor shot multiple combinations of contestants at Tribal Council, creating a phony boot order.
  • After being fired, contestants on The Apprentice are shown doing a "walk of shame" out from Lord Sugar's business headquarters to the cab, as if to imply that this is where the boardroom is located. The actual boardroom is located in a TV studio, and each of the contestants have their walk of shame filmed at the very start. This includes the eventual winner, of course. In at least one case, this created a continuity error when the contestant magically managed to change clothes going down the elevator.
    • In the final, one of the two contestants is "hired". Both possible versions of the outcome are filmed. In addition, a "walk of victory" is filmed in which the contestant walks out from the headquarters to Lord Sugar's Rolls Royce, as opposed to the cab, followed by an interview inside the car. During the six-month wait before the episode is aired, the two contestants then take up temporary jobs at Lord Sugar's businesses, to help him make his decision. In the final week before the episode is aired, Lord Sugar informs the canidates of his final decision in private and the appropriate footage is added to the final episode.
  • In Doctor Who:
    • The first new-series finale "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" was filmed with an alternate ending where Rose died, which was to be sent to critics instead of the real ending, but Russell T. Davies thought it was too inferior to the real ending to use.
    • The scripts to "The Day of the Doctor" apparently referred to the War Doctor as "Omega", the villain from "The Three Doctors". Steven Moffat was very disappointed when this nonsense wasn't leaked.
    • The initial recording of the scene where Missy claimed to be a robot called the Mobile Intelligence System Interface instead had her claim that she was a Random Access Neural Interface, so that if word did get out that she was actually a new incarnation of a Gallifreyan villain, there'd at least be some confusion as to which one. Again, to Moffat's annoyance, nobody noticed.
  • Four endings were shot for the final episode of Sex and the City.
  • The end of the first season of 24 had two final scenes, one with Teri escaping torment, and one with a Really Dead Montage. The end of the second season had an alternate ending of President Palmer surviving his assassination attempt right on the spot, which was done intentionally to trick the crowds of extras who were on the scene so they wouldn't know how it really ended.
  • Subverted by the makers of Life On Mars, who claimed to have filmed an alternative ending but were lying.
  • The producers of The Amazing Race have been known to ask already-eliminated teams to perform "decoy runs", which may be "leaked" in case a spoiler is leaked, so as to confuse the fake and real spoilers. This is most often done with late-game portions that take place within the U.S. in case people see the teams running around during filming and later recognize them on TV.
  • For the sitcom Cheers, a fake ending was shot for Diane's last episode, which faked out the live audience attending the filming and they got to see Sam and Diane actually get married. The real ending was shot without the audience present.
  • After the results of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race were leaked, ever since the fourth season the finale has been filmed just a few days before airing, with all three finalists being crowned. This way not even the queens themselves know who won until the episode airs. Due to the obviously pantomimed reaction the winner gives in the episode, the network will release an online video of the three finalists watching the finale together, letting viewers see their genuine reaction to winning, and the acceptance speech they give at the after-party.
  • In the Series Finale of Seinfeld, an alternate ending was filmed in which the main characters are found not guilty and do not go to prison.
  • In the script of the finale of The Office (US) used at the table read, Michael Scott never appears. One of his two lines is dropped, the other one is given to Creed. An additional piece of dialogue was added to the Q&A, in which an audience member asks about Michael's whereabouts, and Jim, who still keeps in touch with him, mentions that Michael put Dunder Mifflin and the documentary behind him, and isn't interested in revisiting this part of his life anymore.
  • In Twin Peaks, the scene of Maddy's murder, which reveals who killed Laura Palmer, was filmed twice with both Leland, the real killer, and Ben, the red herring, to confuse anyone who might be tempted to leak. At the script stage, no less than three versions of the scene were reportedly distributed, with the third having Dr. Jacoby as a second red herring candidate.
  • In addition to none of the trailers of the Community episode "Repilot" even hinting at Chevy Chase's return as Pierce Hawthorne, an alternate version of the script was used at table reads where, instead of Jeff coming across Pierce's hologram, Jeff would discover Starburns was still alive and the ensuing conversation about why he's been hiding out on the Greendale campus would be what motivates Jeff to not go through with the lawsuit; with the only people knowing about Chevy's return being the ones who absolutely needed to know to shoot the scene.
  • For Game of Thrones, after the Content Leak that hit HBO in Season 7, the execs decided to film several endings, the true one of which would only be added very close to the actual air date so as to prevent spoilers as much as possible. How many of which were filmed exactly has yet to be revealed, but according to Kit Harington, it's at least a few hours' worth.

     Western Animation  

  • The Simpsons animated several takes on "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", even though only a few of them could have been guilty - there was a gunshot, and Principal Skinner's gun had a silencer; Moe had a shotgun, which would've killed Burns, and Apu is shown using an automatic weapon that still leaves just one wound. There were also some brief, insane shots of various Springfieldians killing Burns, including Santa's Little Helper! They also shot a full alternate summation where Smithers goes through his whole Motive Rant, and it's explained how all the clues could have added up to Smithers being the culprit (a clip which was used in a later episode). It was Maggie, by the way. They mentioned on the DVD Commentary for part 2 that they intentionally tried to leak the Smithers ending to the media, but they couldn't find a news source that was dishonest enough.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FoilerFootage