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Foiler Footage

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This past summer, all of America was trying to solve the mystery of who shot Mr. Burns. Then they found out it was the baby. (coughs) To keep this bombshell secret, the producers animated several solutions that were never intended to air. And to keep the show's animators, editors, staff, and hangers-on from leaking the solution, two completely different endings were produced: one real, one phony. Here's the ending you were never meant to see.
Troy McClure, The Simpsons, "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular"

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. See Trailers Always Lie.

Due to this trope's nature, beware of unmarked spoilers in the listings below.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • One of the trailers for Dragon Ball Super: Broly featured Broly, in his "Rage" state, attacking Freeza. In the film proper, Broly has become a Super Saiyan by the time he attacks Freeza, which is in the tail end of the movie.
  • The opening of Suite Pretty Cure ♪ had a mysterious figure in a dark costume, who remained as such after Cure Beat was introduced, implying they were a mentor figure, and Hummy was shown dancing alongside the Cures in the second ending, filling the fourth spot. When the real identity of the mysterious figure was revealed, a third opening and ending were revealed, where Cure Muse featured prominently, including dancing in the exact spot Hummy was in the original second ending.
  • Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure and All Stars F play with this, mostly over Cure Majesty.
    • Hirogaru Sky's opening has a Hummer prominently shown with the driver obscured. When both Cure Wing and Cure Butterfly are introduced, the Lens Flare is removed permanently, revealing Ageha and Tsubasa in the car with Sora and Mashiro.
    • Hirogaru Sky's second ending has a similar Dance Party Ending to Suite, but it noticeably has five colors shown several times, and the V formation at the end is missing a member on the left hand side. When Cure Majesty is introduced, her first ever ending has her appear in the group shots, including in the empty left hand spot.
    • Pretty Cure All Stars F advertised as having all 77 current Cures in it, excluding Majesty, until literally the day of her debut, where a new set of trailers and posters showing she was present was introduced.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: 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 "He's alive! Thank God!"
  • Infinite Crisis: 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.
  • Final Crisis: Similar to Countdown to Infinite Crisis, DC's press pack for Countdown to Final Crisis 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 #186. 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.
  • The Walking Dead: Two pieces of cover art for the non-existent issues #194 and #195 were commissioned in order to hide the fact that #193 is the final issue.
  • X-Men: During the first arc of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, artist John Cassaday released a picture he penciled 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.

    Films — Animated 
  • For The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, one scene from the trailer has two significant changes to avoid spoiling several plot points: Lucy's hair is still mostly black instead of the more multicolored version seen at that point in the film, while Emmett is lacking the Rex Dangervest vest he was wearing then.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Batman (2022) did a sneaky variation mixed with Cast as a Mask: Barry Keoghan was announced in press releases to play recurring minor character Stanley Merkel, with a few publicity stills showing him in the role as the Gotham City police officer. Said character doesn't end up appearing at all in the final film, but Keoghan does, appearing as The Joker in the final scene. Director Matt Reeves confirmed that scenes with Keoghan as Merkel were legitimately filmed, but with the sole purpose of misleading audiences for the twist.
  • The ads for Deadpool 2 showed Shatterstar and Bedlam fighting henchmen armed with guns. This never actually happens in the movie, since they, along with most of the other X-Force members, are comically killed off shortly after being introduced.
  • During the filming of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader's suit actor David Prowse did not say, "I am your father". He actually said, "Obi-Wan killed your father" (this explains why Vader's arm is moving seemingly at random - Prowse was using his arm to add emphasis to his line). Vader's voice actor James Earl Jones said the real line for dubbing, and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) was told the real line just before filming as a form of Enforced Method Acting. Prowse himself was quite upset after the film's premiere, telling George Lucas his body language would have been completely different if he'd known the real line.
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Over Quartzer opens with the protagonist dreaming of his franchise successor Kamen Rider Zero-One. Catch is, the scene was filmed on location in front of a crowd of extras yet Zero-One had yet to be publicly announced at the time of filming, so the filmmakers brought out Kikaider 01 for the location shoot then replaced him with Zero-One in post-production.
  • Several trailers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe have scenes slightly altered from the final version so minor details don't give things away:
    • Trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron were 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.
    • 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 to Hela in the then-unreleased Thor: Ragnarok.
      • Other trailers show Hulk joining Captain America, Black Widow, and Black Panther running toward the camera in the battle of Wakanda, hiding the fact that Hulk refused to emerge after the opening scene, and it was Bruce Banner in Hulkbuster armor fighting in the battle. Additionally, Mark Ruffalo allegedly filmed a scene where the Hulk did not survive Thanos's Snap.
      • Clips were also edited to show Thanos only having two of the Infinity Stones on him no matter where he was to obfuscate the chronology of scenes.
    • Avengers: Endgame went above and beyond with its marketing, with most trailers and clips edited to hide both the Time Travel plot and that most of the film, and most of the MCU going forward, occurs after a five-year Time Skip.
    • The Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer altered many scenes so that the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's respective incarnations of Spider-Men will not appear, giving away the big surprise of the movie. Unfortunately, one of the international trailers messed up, leaving behind a clip where the Lizard gets kicked by an invisible character in the face (revealed to be the Tobey Maguire version in the actual movie), revealing the fact that other incarnations of Spider-Men may be joining the movie after all.
  • Almost none of the footage in trailers for Paranormal Activity 3 was featured in the movie itself.
  • 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.
  • FOUR versions of the big match in Rocky Balboa were filmed so that none of the MASSIVE number of extras playing the crowd could spoil the ending. They are: 1 - Rocky loses the fight by decision; 2 - Rocky loses the fight by K.O.; 3 - Rocky wins the fight by decision; 4 - Rocky wins the fight by K.O. (The actual ending used in the film is Number 1 - Rocky loses the fight by decision.)
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • After being fired, contestants on the British version of 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 finale, 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 candidates of his final decision in private and the appropriate footage is added to the final episode.
  • 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.
    • Frasier also did this with Shelley Long's cameo as Diane at the end of the episode Adventures in Paradise: Part 2. The producers were so afraid the network would heavily promote and thus spoil her appearance that Long's scene was filmed without the audience present and left off the tape sent for the network to review. When the time came for the episode to air, the producers informed the network that there was a problem with the tape and they quickly exchanged that tape for a copy with Diane's appearance.
  • 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. Additionally, the only people who knew about Chevy's return were the ones who absolutely needed to know in order to shoot the scene.
  • Dallas shot several resolutions to the "Who shot J.R.?" cliffhanger. (Including one where J.R. shot himself.)
    • To avoid any leaks of the surprise All Just a Dream ending, the film crew for the "Bobby in the Shower" reveal were told that they were filming a soap commercial starring Patrick Duffy.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" was filmed with an alternate ending where Rose was implied to die, 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; in any event, the reason for the fake ending was to keep it a secret that the Doctor would regenerate in the real one, but this became academic when the news that Christopher Eccleston had quit the show leaked a few days after his first episode went out.
    • The scripts of "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.
    • "Dark Water": 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. (Reportedly, one shot-on-location sequence for the scene in which Missy revealed her identity had the actress call herself the Rani in some shots, in case anyone was overhearing.)
  • The 25th anniversary of Soap Opera EastEnders culminated in a live episode which revealed who killed Archie Mitchell. Nine fake endings were done in rehearsal (you can see all but one of them here), with none of the actors knowing which was the real one; the cast members involved in the true ending were informed just half an hour before the broadcast began.
  • 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. It ended up all being for naught in the end, as an information leak of plot points in the final few episodes happened all the same (but was dismissed as being too unlikely for any of it to come to pass until it all did).
  • Subverted by the makers of Life on Mars, who claimed to have filmed an alternative ending but were lying.
  • 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 extras 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 Mandalorian crew went all out to keep Luke Skywalker's involvement in the Season 2 finale a secret. Plo Koon (assumed to have died in Order 66, but known to fans as Dave Filoni's favorite Jedi) was written in to the script as the Jedi who answered Grogu's call. On top of that, concept art and CGI effects were created with Plo Koon in Luke's place, and a very rough and unfinished version of Plo Koon’s head was imposed over Luke's body double in the raw, unedited footage.
  • 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.
  • The Pretty Little Liars episode "The Lady Killer" was marketed with the #EngineeredHashtag #betrAyal, and a big selling point is that one of the Liars' Love Interests was working with the villain(s). Three different versions of the reveal scene were filmed, and it ultimately turned out to be Spencer's boyfriend Toby.
  • 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.
  • Four endings were shot for the final episode of Sex and the City.
  • The creators of Succession had intended to shoot some foiler footage with Brian Cox at his own character Logan Roy's funeral, to hide the big twist that Logan had died; however, because of filming delays on the day, these scenes had to be cut and were never filmed. Cox, fearing that his absence would allow paparazzi to reveal the twist, barged his way onto the set anyway, and the twist was successfully kept secret.
  • The first season of Survivor shot multiple combinations of contestants at Tribal Council, creating a phony boot order.
  • 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.
  • When filming the seventh season of The Walking Dead, they filmed a few different versions of the scene where Negan kills the unknown victim he chose at the end of the sixth season, with different characters, in an attempt to cover up who it really was: Abraham and Glenn. This was done not only to throw off those who liked to take photos of the show being filmed and share them online, but also in case any of the footage managed to get leaked. Sure enough, one of those clips, where Maggie was the victim, leaked not long before the episode itself aired.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WrestleMania 36 was put in a precarious spot of being scheduled during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, forcing it to be released as the first pre-recorded instance of the event. It was confirmed that the WWE knew that leaks were a possibility, leading them to film multiple endings for several of their matches to throw people off.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle has "Foiler Audio" of the announcer calling the names of dozens of characters who aren't in the game. This includes practically the entire rosters from all the fighting games representednote , major characters from RWBY and Senran Kaguranote , and even characters from Akatsuki Blitzkampf's sequel En-Eins Perfektewelt, which wasn't part of Cross Tag at the time. Some of the named characters—like Adachi, Elizabeth, and Neopolitan—eventually joined the cast as DLC, while others remain foilers.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Veronica's voice lines about her mentor Elijah after completing the Dead Money DLC were already recorded and Dummied Out in the game when it was first released. To avoid spoiling Dead Money to people looking at the files, Veronica's lines were disguised with player lines about a non-existent quest to get an accelerator involving two ghouls named Abraham and Monte.
  • One trailer for Halo: Reach features a shot of NOBLE Team looking out over the ruins of a city. To hide Kat's death, the trailer uses an alternate shot of Carter holding an Assault Rifle instead of her body.
  • In some of the trailers for The Last of Us Part II, Joel comes up behind Ellie and puts his hand over her mouth and says, "Do you think I’d just let you do this on your own?" In the game itself, it’s actually Jesse who does it. It also happens after Joel dies, meaning it was just made to mislead the audience.
  • In a variant, earlier Mortal Kombat games were notorious for deliberately leaving misleading text within the game code to mislead fans. The "Kano Transformation" audit in Mortal Kombat II is likely the most famous example.
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl: The game files contain a big list of announcer calls for characters not in the game. In addition to saving future work if any of those characters become DLC, it also helps to confuse leakers. The list also only covers a handful of specific series, leaving many highly-requested characters up in the air.
  • During the development of Pizza Tower, McPig once posted sprites for what he called "the new playable character" on the game's official Discord channel, and just as quickly deleted them. Characters that were included in this hoax were Pepperman, The Noise, Mort the Chicken, and even Mario.
  • Xander Mobus has stated that when recording his role as the announcer in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Ultimate, the list of fighters he was given included names of characters that are not featured in the final game as a way of preventing roster leaks. In particular, he mentioned that he was made to believe "Duck Hunt" was referring to the game itself, rather than a fighter.
  • The version of the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct that was shown to press ended at the reveal of Banjo-Kazooie DLC for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — leaving out the real final reveal, which was a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, though it was unnamed at the time. Especially effective because of the sheer number of times Smash Bros. has been used as a final reveal in the past.
  • The official announcement of the Apex Legends character Revenant was a Bait-and-Switch where a character named Forge did an in-series interview presenting himself as the new entry in the Apex Games before Revenant killed him on-camera. In the leadup to this trailer, the developers leaked fake concept art and made up references to Forge in in-game code in response to actual leaks about Revenant a few months earlier.
  • Prior to the Cataclysm expansion of World of Warcraft, two new sets of Halloween masks appeared in the files for Goblins and Worgen (up until that point, all Halloween masks were of playable races). A new build quickly attempted to fix this mistake by adding in several more pairs of Halloween masks of various non-playable races. While the ambiguity of the extra, foiler masks did introduce doubt and debate in the community, the Goblin and Worgen masks were still the only ones made from new textures (the female ogre mask resembled concept art more than an in-game texture), so it wasn't a huge surprise when Goblins and Worgen were eventually announced as the new playable races.

    Visual Novels 
  • The demo for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc roughly follows the prologue and first chapter, but has a few differences from the final game, likely to keep the first mystery a surprise; Sayaka and "Junko" are never killed, with Yasuhiro being the botched aggressor turned murder victim instead, with the murderer implied to be Hifumi (which was confirmed by the manga adaptation of the demo). The first promotional video for The Anime of the Game shows the same victim as the demo, and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has a similar demo, to the point of using the exact same scenario.
  • The demo for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies was based on the first case of that game, but with some differences — there's no murder victim (the trial is only for the courtroom bombing), Phoenix is the defense attorney from the start rather than taking over for Athena, and a nameless guard takes Apollo's role in the events.
  • Your Turn to Die: Chapter 2 introduces a shop in which the remaining participants of the Deadly Game can use each other's tokens for various prizes. Icons for the participants who died in Chapter 1 are in the game files.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls had a variation in the form of an image that appeared late in the show's first season. The image was created by the production crew for the express purpose of being leaked, rather than in case of one, as the fanbase had figured out one of the show's biggest mysteries far earlier than expected and they needed a way to at least make said fans second guess themselves. It served to make McGucket a more effective Red Herring in the second season, though the image ironically led to the fanbase correctly guessing the pictured character's actual role far ahead of that reveal as well.
  • The Simpsons animated several takes on "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part Two", 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 that they intentionally tried to leak the Smithers ending to the media, but they couldn't find a news source that was dishonest enough.
  • Because of the secrecy regarding the movie it was continuing, when Godzilla: The Series began production, they created a bunch of stuff to throw people off the trail; it was presented as a superhero series called HEAT Seekers (after the boat used by the human characters in the show), complete with fake character designs and even a logo. To additionally preserve secrecy about the Godzilla design until the movie was released, they used codenames ("Gorgon" and even just "Thingy") in scripts and different designs in production artwork; storyboards would have placeholders (up to and including sockpuppets) drawn in until the crew were given approval to use the final Godzilla design.
  • DuckTales (2017): Some trailers for season two depicted Magica with her green skin, when in the actual shots she's depowered and white skinned.note 
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: The trailer for The Battle for Mewni showed Toffee-possessed Ludo opening his eyes with Star reflected in one eye and Moon reflected in the other. This hides the fact that by that point in the actual episode, Star is trapped in the dying Realm of Magic with Toffee. In the episode, the shot has Moon reflected in both eyes, as Star isn't present.

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