Follow TV Tropes

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

Following

Spoiled by the Merchandise

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/phantasmtoy.jpg
So much for the Phantasm's Secret Identity.
Advertisement:

When toys or other derivatives of a merchandise-driven franchise spoil upcoming episodes or storylines.

In a Merchandise-Driven franchise, sometimes the marketing department releases toys, soundtracks, or other merchandise related to a key plot element long before the relevant episodes have first been aired or the relevant stories have been published. It is worth noting that, just as Tropes Are Tools, spoilers in merchandise aren't necessarily bad; The Merch is often considered a form of advertising for the show, so merchandise that hints at future episodes helps get more eyes watching the show, which in turn lets the broadcaster charge more for ads that get aired during the show.

Compare Late-Arrival Spoiler, which is when the merchandise spoils previous events in the main work, and Early-Bird Cameo, which is for characters that first appear outside of the main work. A Canon Foreigner that becomes a Canon Immigrant is typically an Early-Bird Cameo and not this, but may become this if Word of God suggests the marketing division introduced the character through the merchandise too early...though beware of Trolling Creators in this case. This might be caused by a Delayed Release Tie-In if a work's release is pushed back.

Advertisement:

For the similar trope where advertising gives away key plot elements, see Trailers Always Spoil.

It should go without saying that Spoilers follow. You Have Been Warned.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball
    • Irwin Toys' Dragon Ball Z line from 1999 featured characters and transformations years before they were introduced in the English dub. Examples include Future Trunks, Cell, and Super Saiyan Vegeta (who wouldn't appear for another year), Goten, Kid Trunks, Majin Buu, and Adult Gohan (who wouldn't appear for two years), Super Saiyan 3 Goku (who wouldn't appear for three years. It's a double-whammy spoiler since the figure has a halo, spoiling that Goku at some point dies a second time), Broly and Android 13 (four years), and quite possibly the biggest gap, Tapion (who not only wouldn't appear for seven years, but his movie was the last animated piece of Dragon Ball media to be dubbed until Dragon Ball Z Kai).
    • This extends to the localizations of the licensed video games from Japan, some of which featured characters and transformations that hadn't yet been featured in the English dub of the show. Among the most notable examples is Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, which made it to America in 1997 (just over a year after the debut of the Funimation DBZ dub) even though Dragon Ball GT wouldn't begin airing on Cartoon Network until 2003.
    • Goku Black's Super Mode, Super Saiyajin Rosé, was first accidentally leaked by an Amazon article you could pre-order.
    • Jiren's name was first leaked by a Dragon Ball Heroes livestream.
  • The merchandise line for Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama spoiled all six Cocotamas that Kokoro owns a week before the show's premiere. Some of the other Cocotamas were also spoiled by the toyline this way.
    • The sequel Kira Kira Happy Hirake Cocotama also did this, but worse: A commercial featuring all of the Cocotamas owned by Haruka began airing a month before the actual show did.
  • Merchandise for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Detonation reveals that Yuri makes a Heel–Face Turn. But then again, considering she's only one in a long line of former antagonists that did so in this franchise, that's not much of a spoiler or a surprise.
  • The model kit of the Shiden from the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans revealed that Hush would end up piloting one (and thus indirectly confirming that the Gundam Flauros would be piloted by Norba Shino).
    • On the flip side, the Graze Ein's model kit only shows Ein's face, so the reveal that it's Ein built into the body of a Graze isn't spoiled.
  • Pokémon:
    • The soundtrack for Pokémon: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (released before the movie) has two tracks close to each other: "Volcanion Dies?" and "From Within The Mist" (which Volcanion uses to cloak itself), spoiling the fact that the character undergoes a Disney Death at the film's climax.
    • Captures and evolutions are regularly spoiled because of merchandise. If a character is going to capture a Pokemon, a toy will usually be released around that time, with that trainer's name (i.e. "Ash's Palpitoad" or "Serena's Pancham"). Evolutions are usually spoiled via group shots on merch, where the evolved Pokemon will be depicted amongst all of the main characters' Pokemon, with their old form nowhere in sight.
      • An extreme form of this happened in 2020, as merchandise featuring Ash with Lucario and Goh with Cinderace appeared at least three months before their Riolu and Raboot actually evolved in the show.
  • The toyline for PriPara does this from time to time. Three noteable examples happened during season 3:
    • The Cyalume Jewel Microphone, a toy microphone that reads jewels and is the the item needed to Cyalume Change for season 3, is infamous for not reading jewels properly, which results in it sometimes spoiling upcoming jewels that haven't been released. Some of the jewels mention new "mysterious idol" characters, some spoiled the Jewel Change ability of the mic weeks before said episode aired and one mentioned the name of Falulu, Hibiki and Fuwari's team. Some ideas that didn't make it into the show were also on the mic, such as the Jewel Wedding Coord.
    • Gaaruru faking her own death and not having to be awakened was spoiled by merchandise sold at Prism Stone Shop, as well as a Jewel and Coorde set, a few weeks before the episode's premiere.
    • The Idol Watch toy spoiled Shuuka Hanazono and Falala's younger sister Galala in the PriPara Change mode.
    • The Korean toys spoiled the Paradise Coord months before their dub of the anime got to those episodes.
    • The arcade game of PriPara's successor Kiratto PriChan revealed the song "1, 2, Sweets" 3 days before it appeared in the anime. The second opening, "Go! Up! Stardom!", was also spoiled the same way.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Some figma releases act as Late Arrival Spoilers.
  • Irwin Toys also made some Sailor Moon toys for the Canadian market that introduced wands and characters long before the episodes featuring them were dubbed. A few Sailor Moon S characters were released as dolls in 1997, including Sailor Mini Moon and Professor Tomoe, and the Spiral Heart Moon Rod and Pink Moon Stick were released that same year.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! often runs into this problem, due to the timing of their sets compared to episodes of the anime. The cover card of a main set is invariably a major monster card used in the anime. As most such monsters are printed fairly quickly after their use in the anime, this leads to occasional sets spoiling upcoming surprises due to the lead time required to advertise the next set.
    • Some examples of this during the run of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS include the reveals of Ritual, Fusion and Synchro monsters for some of the main cast, when there was previously no indication that those summon methods would appear in the series at all.
  • Bandai used the same strategy for Pretty Cure, where the merchandise comes out before the show, with Ojamajo Doremi (which always shows that the girls regain their powers in the new season after losing them at the end of the previous one), Yume no Crayon Oukoku (mild compared to most of these, as this rarely happened due to the series focusing on one main character rather than multiple) and the aformentioned Sailor Moon.
    • Out of these shows, Mo~tto! Ojamajo Doremi's merchandise was extremely bad with this trope. Promotional material, as well as commercials for the toyline, spoiled that the girls reunite with Hana-chan, which doesn't happen until seven episodes into the series, while a set of candy toys released the week the series premiered spoiled Momoko's fairy, Nini, who wouldn't be introduced until episode 4.
  • Averted with Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE. The Gunpla for Kazami's Aegis Knight was revealed early on, but the fact that it had parts and instructions to convert the Core Gundam II, Aegis Knight, EX Valkylander and WoDom Pod+ into the Super Robot-like Re:Rising Gundam was held back until the airing of Episode 25. The same went for the "Final Battle Variant" of all four of those Gunpla.

    Comic Books 
  • Late in the run of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel), the Joe team's Ninja Force encountered a group of Red Ninjas with a mysterious leader. A few issues later, the mysterious leader turned out to be Firefly. This would have been an effective surprise (Firefly was supposed to be dead at the time) if Hasbro hadn't just introduced a new action figure of the character.
  • In 1998, the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game revealed that Hawkeye had become the leader of the Thunderbolts before that had actually happened in the comics.

    Films — Animated 
  • The King Pig's Castle set from LEGO's The Angry Birds Movie toyline spoils the reveal that Leonard the pig is actually the King Pig himself.
  • Kenner's figure of the titular villain from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm revealed that "he" was actually Andrea Beaumont, Bruce Wayne's Love Interest.
  • Dolls and plush toys for the film Brave blatantly revealed the identity of some of the bears seen in the trailer as Merida's mother and brothers.
  • There were two toys made of the truck from the climax of Finding Dory that Hank drives. One is a playset from the Swigglefish line-up that comes with a ramp that the characters can slide down, spoiling the fact that the fish on board escape the truck when it falls into the water, while the other is an RC toy that spoils the truck containing fish inside that were going to Cleveland, including Marlin, Nemo and a group of blue tangs.
  • There are two sets of Barbie-like dolls made based on Disney films, one set by Mattel and the other by Disney themselves. Rule of thumb is that, when there is any form of merchandise made based on Disney films, the villain dolls won't be made by Mattel but exclusively by Disney. This actually spoils the plot twist in Frozen since Hans doesn't have a Mattel doll.
  • Frozen II:
    • The day the movie hit theaters, the Disney Parks updated the costumes for Anna and Elsa to match, with Anna wearing her queen outfit from the end of the movie, and Elsa wearing the outfit she changes into during "Show Yourself".
    • A display at Saks Fifth Avenue also spoiled the "Show Yourself" outfit.
    • No less than a week after the film's release, a Twitter ad for the soundtrack used footage from the "Show Yourself" sequence, including the aforementioned costume change. To make matters worse, the ad appeared in every other ad slot on the site, and autoplayed when you scrolled past it.
    • Disney waited to release merchandise featuring Elsa's "Show Yourself" outfit and Anna's queen dress, officially called the "epilogue dresses", until two months after the movie came out.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World:
    • Funko announced the Pop figures of the Night/Light Fury babies days before the movie's release. Many fans were not happy.
    • On an even bigger note, Playmobil sets based on the movie not only feature the aforementioned baby dragons, but also adult Hiccup and Astrid with their two children. All released a month before the movie.
  • A LEGO set for Incredibles 2 revealed the identity of the movie's masked and cryptic villain Screenslaver as Winston Deavor — which makes this more of a subversion, since Winston isn't Screenslaver, his sister Evelyn is — before the movie came out.
  • Some of The LEGO Movie merchandise revealed details about the movie. Bad Cop's "Scribble Face" minifigure revealed his fate in the movie, and while not an exact interpretation of the scenes, the "Lord Business' Evil Lair" playset revealed many details, including Bad Cop's parents frozen by glue and Princess Unikitty in her "business" disguise.
  • The sets for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part tried to conceal as many spoilers as possible by releasing the sets based on later scenes only after the movie's release, but a few details still managed to peek out: first, Sweet Mayhem's helmet-less look is clearly shown both on the back/sides of the box of every set featuring her and on her Happy Meal toy. And second, one of the minifigures included in the blindbag set based on the movie is Lucy with her true hair color and dressed as a pop star...which is literally the last thing you see in the actual movie.
    • A rather odd example being that a pack of girls’ underwear has images of Sweet Mayhem’s helmetless look on it.
  • One of the sets for The LEGO Ninjago Movie reveals the alter ego of Lloyd's mother, Misako, the Lady Iron Dragon. It didn't hit shelves until some time in between the movie's theatrical run and its home video release, but pictures came out earlier than that.
  • The Moana's Ocean Voyage LEGO set spoils her unconventional method of saving the world from the fire demon Te Ka, via a play feature in which after Moana returns the heart of the life-granting goddess Te Fiti to a compartment underneath Te Ka's mountain, the mountain rotates as Te Ka changes back to Te Fiti.
  • The toy of Midnight Sparkle, Human Twilight Sparkle's One-Winged Angel transformation from the climax of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games, was revealed at the New York Toy Fair in February 2015, 7 months before the film's release.
  • Following in its predecessor's footsteps, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree had a few plot points spoiled in the 2016 Toy Fair: at least three of the protagonists will get crystal wings at the end, there's going to be a "Crystal Gala" at the Crystal Cave, and Rarity gets to do a fashion show at the camp. A downplayed case was with their new powers for the movie: One of the first synopsis for the film (part of the dolls' product descriptions) mentioned the girls' "newfound magical abilities", but otherwise left it vague. And in what is probably one of the more extreme examples of this, the novelization of the movie was released...in September, just a few days shy from being literally a whole month before the film's Netflix premiere. And, the icing on the cake: the novelization actually got released even earlier (by a few days, but still) by mistake in some stores. It goes without saying that the entire plot and its details got leaked to the Internet in short order.
  • Shrek:
    • The Burger King toyline for the first movie had a Fiona toy that shifted from her human look to her ogre look.
    • Plush toys of Shrek and Fiona's triplets were in stores and on shelves at various different retailers long before the release of Shrek the Third, in which Fiona breaks the news to Shrek that she's pregnant.
  • The "What You Lookin' At?" figurine set for The Simpsons Movie depicts the scene where Bart Simpson and Ned Flanders discover the mutant squirrel. The officially solicited photos of the set at least had the decency to censor the spoiler itself.
  • While the trailers and commercials for Smurfs: The Lost Village try to hide that the titular village is entirely inhabitated by female Smurfs, the promotional artworks used in multiple pieces of merchandise often feature one of the aforementioned female Smurfs (the bow-wielding one).
  • The back of the box of the Prowler action figure from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse line spoils his true identity (albeit anyone knowing enough about Miles Morales should already know that).
  • One toy of Slade made for for Teen Titans Go! To the Movies that first appeared on Amazon a week before the film's release spoils that he is the true form of Jade Wilson.
    • Non-merchandise example: some countries got the episode "Tower Renovation", which spoils the fate of Titans Tower in the movie, before it was released in those countries, most notably in Japan, which wouldn't get the film until a year later.
  • For the most part, Pixar was able to keep Toy Story 3 spoilers under wraps, avoiding Trailers Always Spoil. Unfortunately, the LEGO toyline outright revealed the incinerator scene with an entire set based upon it, even including one of the Little Green Men operating a crane to save the other toys. While not explicitly spoiled, Lotso's true nature was heavily hinted in his LEGO minifigure, which always bore a mean-looking smirk.
    • Some of the Gabby Gabby plush toys made for Toy Story 4 depict her in the art style of the book she reads throughout the movie that motivates her to get her voice box fixed.
  • Trolls:
    • Most merchandise spoils the twist that Branch's skin and hair were originally blue before he became Deliberately Monochrome.
    • The first doll ever released of Poppy, which came out in September 2016, spoils her gaining status as the queen at the end of the movie. The same wave of dolls also included one of Bridget in her Princess Glittersparkles disguise.
    • Merchandise of Poppy and Barb in their "Just Sing" outfits was released weeks before Trolls: World Tour premiered on video on demand.
  • A series of pillows for Wonder Park that are arcade prizes spoiled that the Wonder Chimps are actually evil characters named the Chimpanzombies, with the latter name being what was printed on said pillows.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • In the movie, it was a huge twist reveal that King Candy is in fact Turbo, and is the villain of the piece, having broken into Sugar Rush, usurped the throne, and re-written all the citizens' memories to make them oblivious. But then Disney released their "Villains" O-ring line with slip-covers depicting the villain of each movie, and they put King Candy on the cover. In other words, anyone who buys this is treated to the whole movie's big twist reveal, on the cover no less.
    • The official coloring book went through the entire plot note . A coloring book that was released two weeks before the movie debuted.
    • Its sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, also had merchandise with spoilers a month before the movie came out. This included a storybook compilation of the two movies, as well as an official Disney Store pin set of Vanellope's "You're my hero" medal depicting what would happen to the medal over the course of the movie, which can be seen here.
  • The building manuals of many 2004 BIONICLE toys advertised the 2003 movie Mask of Light by exclusively showing stills of the film's climactic reveal, the main character Takua donning the titular mask and becoming the Seventh Toa he had set out to find. The 2005 LEGO product catalog also featured a peculiar promo image of the villan Roodaka spewing "venom" into Vakama's ear, revealing prematurely that Vakama will be the much hyped turncoat of that year's movie, Web of Shadows. For his part, comic and book author Greg Farshtey tried to dismiss the image as meaningless marketing fluff to retain the twist.
Advertisement:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The YouTube page for DC Collectibles accidentally posted videos showing off their line of statues for the Aquaman movie, which provided the first look at Aquaman and Black Manta's new costumes. WB subsequently had the videos removed, but by that point the images had already been spread around the web.
  • The merchandise line for Barney's Great Adventure spoiled that Twinken was the creature that lived inside the egg a couple months prior to the film's opening.
  • Dick Tracy: Similar to the Batman: Mask of the Phantasm example, Playmates Toys' action figure of Anti-Villain The Blank revealed that "his" Secret Identity was Breathless Mahoney, the nightclub singer played by Madonna.
  • Ryan Reynolds jokingly tweeted about a LEGO set that supposedly spoiled key plot points of Deadpool.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) had Rowan's demonic possession of Kevin spoiled by the latter character's LEGO minifigure, whose head turns around to reveal a face with glowing red eyes and an angry grimace. Some other toys depict Rowan after becoming the Icon Ghost (though some people just assumed that it was the 2016 version of Mr. Stay-Puft).
  • The action figures for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra include The Doctor. Not bad, except that they give his full name: Rex "The Doctor" Lewis.note 
    • The action figures for G.I. Joe: Retaliation include Storm Shadow even though he was supposedly killed in his battle with Snake-Eyes in The Rise of Cobra.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Actually averted with The Avengers. After the movie's official action figure line and some other pieces of merchandise (such as a board game) featured Skrulls, many fans began speculating that the Skrulls would appear in the film as Loki's army. In reality, the Skrulls are not present in the movie, and wouldn't even show up in the MCU until Captain Marvel was released six years later.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
      • Marvel went to great lengths to avoid showing off The Vision's look, to the extent that he was kept out of the trailers and his appearance was obscured on all the posters. Despite this, multiple action figures and promotional items were released in the months leading up to the movie that showed exactly what he looked like.
      • The toy line spoiled that Rhodey would suit up as War Machine at some point, hinting that his role was bigger than the mere cameo appearance many initially believed he would be making.
      • The bio for the Ultron Fathead decal revealed that the character is granted sentience by Loki's scepter, which may or may not be an Infinity Stone months ahead of the movie's release.
      • An online retailer temporarily pulled a listing for a two-pack featuring Hawkeye and The Falcon, presumably to avoid spoiling that Falcon joins the Avengers at the end of the movie.
      • Quicksilver was vastly underrepresented across all the product lines for the movie, which some took as an indication that he'd be the Avenger to die in the movie. They were correct.
      • Funko was going to produce a Gray Hulk Pop! figure as a Hot Topic exclusive, based on a planned scene in the movie where Bruce Banner would transform into the Gray Hulk after being bewitched by Scarlet Witch. Hot Topic store managers were told to destroy all the copies of Star Wars #1 that contained ads for the toy, presumably to hide the spoiler. Ironically, it ended up being for nothing, since the Gray Hulk was cut from the movie and the toy ended up being repainted.
    • A novel called Thanos: Titan Consumed was announced as a tie-in to Avengers: Infinity War, with the book promising to explore the villain's origins ahead of the movie. After the promotional blurb made its way online, Marvel suddenly tried to backtrack and claim the book was non-canon, presumably because the promo accidentally spoiled the film's ending:
      Learn the origins of the most formidable foe the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther have ever faced—a foe whom even a group of remarkable people, pulled together to fight the battles nobody else could, will fail to stop
      • In general, merchandise depicting Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet can be considered a spoiler for Infinity War, since they're usually decked out with all six Infinity Stones. Not only does this insinuate that Thanos gets all six, including the one sustaining Vision, but it also insinuates the order in which he gets them (since he slots them into the Gauntlet in a certain pattern that one can figure out from trailers).
    • Avengers: Endgame:
      • The team's Quantum Realm suits were revealed well in advance thanks to them appearing in all sorts of action figures and promotional images. The directors attempted some light damage control by claiming that the toys may not be accurate, but the suits ended up being confirmed by the second trailer anyway.
      • Valkyrie's return was spoiled months in advance after someone stumbled upon some official Endgame action figures overseas and posted pictures online.
      • If it wasn't already a Foregone Conclusion that the heroes killed in the finale of Infinity War would be resurrected in the follow-up, the inclusion of characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man in Hasbro's Endgame action figure line likely removed any lingering doubt.
      • Perhaps the biggest spoiler is Hasbro's "Electronic Gauntlet" toy, which depicts the custom gauntlet the Avengers create to restore the populace of the universe and wipe Thanos and his forces out of existence.
      • Pepper Potts suiting up in the Rescue armor was spoiled after a promotional image featuring a Rescue toy was leaked online.
    • Nearly all of the early Erik Killmonger action figures released for Black Panther (2018) depicted him in his own evil version of the Panther suit, even though Killmonger's coup is a key second act plot point that was deliberately kept out of the initial trailer and promos.
    • The various toy lines for Captain America: Civil War, spoiled that Scott Lang becomes Giant-Man months before the movie was even in theaters, with Hasbro, Lego and Funko all doing figures of the character. Funko soon asked sites to remove any images of their toy, but by that point, the damage had already been done.
    • The identity of Jude Law's character in Captain Marvel was kept tightly under wraps, with early reports indicating that he was playing Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel. Then the movie's Funko line leaked out, revealing that he was actually playing Yon-Rogg, Captain Marvel's nemesis from the comics.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailers gave almost no detail about Peter Quill's father, Ego the Living Planet. However, the soundtrack Awesome Mix, Vol. 2 premiered two weeks earlier than the movie did, complete with the original song "Guardians Inferno." People who heard it that early would have at least realized Peter's father's species, thanks to the line, "...my daddy was a planet!"
    • The Shocker's presence in Spider-Man: Homecoming was accidentally revealed at a Comic-Con panel for Diamond Select's toyline.
  • Since Black Adam was being Adapted Out in favor of having a movie of his own, it was unknown how faithful SHAZAM! would be to the 2012 comic storyline it was based on, other than that Billy would be adopted into a foster family as its sixth child, as well as he and Freddy getting into mischief after Billy gets his powers. Then a product listing was leaked, containing an activity pad with stickers highlighted on the cover, showing Billy's foster siblings empowered by the Living Lightning, just like in the climax of the comic. The Funko Pop! tie-ins further spoiled the Walking Spoilers with figurines of Eugene and Darla in their Shazam Family forms. The general toy line from Mattel outright included the entire Shazam Family, not even bothering to try and hide that plot point.
  • Two weeks before release of Sonic the Hedgehog saw the release of the track listing for the movie's soundtrack, which was to be released the same day of the movie. One of the tracks listed is titled "A New Home". Welp...
  • Star Wars:
    • The soundtrack to The Phantom Menace was released before the movie itself came out. Anybody who picked it up got treated to tracks called "Qui-Gon's Noble End" and "The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon's Funeral". Oops.
    • The action figure line for Attack of the Clones spoiled that Count Dooku was actually a Sith Lord and Palpatine's new apprentice, even though the movie only reveals this at the very end.
    • Averted with Kenner's release of the first wave of their Return of the Jedi action figures, released before the premiere of the film. Since the look of the Ewoks was a closely guarded secret, the original "65-back" cards had the image of Logray and Chief Chirpa blacked out.
    • The Force Awakens tried to avoid a repeat of the Count Dooku situation by deliberately holding off on releasing any merchandise indicating that Rey is a Jedi and the film's true protagonist until after the film was already in theaters. However, a trailer for Disney Infinity 3.0 contained a brief scene showing Rey fighting Kylo Ren, though most viewers missed this and even those that caught it could easily dismiss it as something possible in the game that didn't reflect the actual movie.
    • LEGO Star Wars was released a few weeks before Revenge of the Sith, and contains a playable version of the entire movie (albeit shorter, more comedic, and lacking any decipherable dialogue). The same thing happened with LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
    • During the build-up to the release of Solo, a French trading card accidentally revealed that Enfys Nest is a woman.
  • Wonder Woman went a surprisingly long time without revealing many plot details or who the villains were, until some action figures from Mattel and a LEGO set confirmed Ares was the Big Bad.
  • Similarly, Wonder Woman 1984 kept Cheetah's transformed appearance out of the trailers, only showing the character in her initial human form. However, while the movie itself ended up being delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the toys were still released months earlier. This meant that Cheetah's true form was revealed by stuff like the tie-in Lego kit and Funko Pop line well in advance of the film's actual release. The trailers also don’t outright say how Steve Trevor was brought back to life but the junior novelization came out to coincide with the film’s missed June 2020 release. It revealed that Steve was brought back to life by the dreamstone which grants wishes. However, this plot point had been floating around on the internet for about a year after a test screening, the novelization only confirmed it. The trailers also heavily imply this is the case if you know what you’re looking for.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • Some Toku shows like Super Sentai (including its adaptation Power Rangers), Kamen Rider, and the Ultra Series tend to share similar regular spoilers due to their Merchandise-Driven nature:
    • The toys for the Transformation Trinket are usually two-part affairs, where little collectibles interact with the main unit to play lights and sounds; and said the main units often include sounds for later powerups that haven't been revealed yet. It's usually pretty easy to manipulate them into playing those sounds without the collectible, thus giving some indication of what sort of upgrades are coming along for the heroes. However, the toys will usually include several extra sounds that never actually get used, and this is avoided completely when the collectible item has its own speaker, allowing them to introduce new powers not programmed into the main toy.
    • The fandom generally keeps a close watch on the quarterly retail toy catalogs. Although not meant for the public, they always get leaked and show off exactly what upgrades (and even new characters) are coming down the pipe in a few months. That said, the manufacturer has since cracked down and limited the information fans can get to just character and item names (and not even that if they can get away with it), no more pictures or descriptions of gimmicks. (Power Rangers doesn't get hit with this so much, if only because it's a Cut-and-Paste Translation and therefore already spoiled in this manner simply by paying attention to Sentai.)
    • Toku magazines usually run "coming this month" articles, which lovingly detail the new developments (especially the toyetic ones) a few weeks before they appear on TV.

By Series:

  • The Battlestar Galactica (2003) Blu Ray release came with a little booklet giving a little bio for all the main characters, including call-signs and aliases... including if they're a Cylon or not. This was a major driving force of the series as Cylons are sleeper agents and many not being exposed until near the end of season three.
  • Doctor Who is occasionally notorious for this.
    • In 1973, a weekly comic magazine associated with the series blew the secret that the Doctor's home planet is named Gallifrey, months before it was scheduled to be revealed on screen.
    • In the 1980s, the makers of Doctor Who attempted to avoid spoilage in the Radio Times TV listings by feeding the then-BBC-sponsored publication false actor names for its listings, most notably crediting actor Anthony Ainley under pseudonyms so that the return of villain the Master could be kept a surprise. The producers went so far as to arrange for an actor who played a recently killed-off character to make a cameo in the next episode so they could get him listed in the credits and maintain the surprise of his death.
    • When the second half of Series 7 was released on DVD, it hit store shelves before the series had finished airing. So, those who bought the DVDs quickly learned of the existence of a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor played by John Hurt. The damage was contained, however, quite well, as Steven Moffat promised a special treat for fans if they did not share the spoiled information on the Internet. The fans who'd learned the truth kept the secret, and Moffat released a special interview for the upcoming 50th anniversary special featuring Matt Smith and David Tennant.
    • Series 9 in 2015 had some doozies, including: an issue of the official Doctor Who Magazine running a cover story that revealed the apparent survival of Clara Oswald, before her death scene was broadcast, and information about a spin-off novel being released prior to a certain character's reveal (Ashildr) on the series, blowing the mystery of her identify after months of keeping it quiet.
  • Sherlock: It's not that hard to figure out Irene Adler's password in "A Scandal in Belgravia", when it's a popular print for various merchandise.
  • The Mandalorian subtly committed this before Season 2 premiered, when Hasbro unveiled action figure bundles of Din Djarin — the titular Mandalorian — and the Child. The Black Series Din comes with a removable helmet, while the Vintage Collection Din's head can swap for one showing his unmasked face. Even though everyone who finished The Mandalorian Season 1 already knew how Din looks without his helmet, these bundles helped some fans correctly guess that by the end of Season 2, the Child would know as well.

    Video Games 
  • Averted with the Funko Red Knight from Dark Souls III. The website's description doesn't reveal its true nature, and it has a misleading description due to the manufacturer assuming it was the Player Character.
  • The first indication that Overwatch would receive a Nintendo Switch port was when an officially licensed carrying case bearing the game's logo was put on Amazon in late August of 2019. After being removed within a day, it would receive two further Content Leaks until it was officially announced in a Nintendo Direct in early September.
  • The Pokémon trading card game leaked a few Pokémon that debuted in Pokémon Sun and Moon before their official announcement: Mareanie appeared on the side of the box, and the Japanese TCG Starter Decks showed off the final forms of the starters (including their names) a day before they were formally revealed to the world. More spoilery, however, is that the Solgaleo and Lunala cards don't hide the fact that they're evolutions of Cosmoem (itself an evolution of Cosmog); a massive twist in Sun and Moon's story.
  • Unreleased example; Resaurus planned to release a line of action figures to tie in with Sonic Adventure 2. The website revealed the names of Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat, two characters whose names were previously unrevealed before the game's release. However, Resaurus went out of business and as a result, the action figure plans were scrapped.
  • The boxes for the Super Mario Odyssey amiibo figures ended up spoiling the existence of the Lake and Snow Kingdoms long before Nintendo officially revealed them (thanks to the giant world map printed on the box). Then again, this world map has revealed quite a few things in every piece of media it's been in, since the exact same map appeared in a Gamescom video and ended up giving away the existence of the Seaside Kingdom.
  • Raiden, Fortune and Solidus Snake were mentioned in Previews' solicitations for McFarlane Toys' action figure line based on Metal Gear Solid 2 before the characters were even shown in trailers and press releases. Thankfully, only silhouettes of the figures were shown and didn't reveal much about the nature of the characters (keeping the protagonist switch twist a secret), plus fans were already expecting a "Solidus" to show up in the sequel anyway, since he was the unseen mastermind behind the events of the first Metal Gear Solid.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ra's Al Ghul figure for Batman: The Animated Series included a demon mask, thus spoiling to non-reader viewers that Ra's was the demon-masked villain from "Demon's Quest".
  • Marketing for the second Danny Phantom Made-for-TV Movie, The Ultimate Enemy tried to keep the antagonist of the film a surprise. The tie-in video game, however, came out before the movie did, and spoiled the main antagonist of the movie, Dark Danny.
  • The second Inspector Gadget toyline had a toy Dr. Claw with his face shown, the package hid his face and you could only see by opening it. Since his face isn't revealed at any point in the show (and the toy is infamously goofy-looking), its canonicity is questionable, that design went into the SNES videogame.
  • One of the LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures sets spoils that Naare is actually working for the Empire.
  • In Mixels, King Nixel's debut was spoiled by the 2015 Toy Fairs, which were in January and February, while his cliffhanger cameo in the show was in March 2015.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • The Target-exclusive toy sets spoiled some things about the Crystal Empire arc before any clips from the episodes were released.
    • When the blind-bag line came out between Seasons 3 and 4, shortly before the release of the first My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movie, Sunset Shimmer's card said that she was formerly Princess Celestia's student and that she knew about a portal to magical adventures. Amusingly, the fandom completely disregarded the portal tidbit, choosing instead to debate the first part. Her being Princess Celestia's former pupil and bearing a jealous grudge against Twilight is one of the central pieces of her character at the time.
    • The Flim-Flam brothers' trading card mentioning their Miracle Curative Tonic.
    • The Rainbow Power toy line. Perhaps the most egregious example to date, since they spoil the climax of the season finale and the Key arc.
    • The Cutie Mark Magic toyline was on store shelves long before this was revealed to be a major theme for season 5.
    • Series 3 of the trading cards spoils a lot of events (big and small) from the fifth season. Along with the card for Bulk Biceps stating that he has a part-time job at the Ponyville Day Spa (proven to be true in episode 3), the card for the Cutie Mark Crusaders states that Apple Bloom may get her episode with Princess Luna soon (Bloom and Gloom), the card for Pinkie Pie mentions "griffon scones" (The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone), the card for Maud Pie claims that she secretly dreams of attending the Grand Galloping Gala (Make New Friends But Keep Discord), and the card for Coco Pommel states that she is a costume designer for a play called "My Fair Filly" and that she is attempting to revive her neighbourhood community theater (Made in Manehattan).
    • The secret Pinkie Pie finds out in "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows" was spoiled by the toys a long time agonote , so the majority of the fandom already knew what it was.
    • King Sombra's design was first revealed by datamining a tie in flash game.
    • Twilight getting wings and becoming a princess was revealed by a stand showing upcoming toys.
  • LEGO has an unfortunate habit of spoiling important plot points from Ninjago, such as Nya being the first Samurai X. Only natural, since the cartoon is based on the sets and not the other way around.
  • In an aversion of this trope, the PAW Patrol figurines of the Mighty Twins avoided this by not having the names of the two characters listed anywhere on the package. When they debuted in the series proper, their names were revealed to be Ella and Tuck.
  • In-universe example in the The Simpsons episode, "Steal this Episode". A Krusty Burger promotion for the Radioactive Man Re-Rises movie has toys of characters from the movie, including The Collider, the film's villain. The Collider's phrases are, "I turn out to be a good guy." and "I die, but I come back to life after the credits.", much to the chagrin of Homer, who had not seen Radioactive Man Re-Rises at the time.
  • Star Wars Resistance: Both Women of the Galaxy (released during the first half of Season 1) and the Ultimate Star Wars re-release revealed that Torra's mother was a rebel pilot, a fact that was hinted to be a spoiler by Myrna Velasco and is treated as a surprise upon being revealed in "Rendezvous Point".
  • Steven Universe: In February 2018, 3D foam keyrings were showcased at the New York Toy Fair based on character designs that wouldn't be seen on television until May and July: Past Pearl and Pink Diamond's full designs from "A Single Pale Rose", Rose Quartz in a Homeworld soldier uniform from "Now We're Only Falling Apart", and most egregiously, Ruby and Sapphire in wedding outfits from "Reunited" and Steven's tuxedo from their wedding.
  • A website about merchandise for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) showcased Bebop and Rocksteady from the first cartoon. This not only gave away that Bebop and Rocksteady would be in the show, but various aspects of Rocksteady's design showed strong similarities to a character named Ivan Steranko. Later, the show introduced Anton Zeck, who wears the same outfit that the website's render of Bebop wears.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine does this a lot with merchandise based on its various movies and specials. Specifically:
    • In the Hero of the Rails merchandise, while not an exact interpretation, Hiro's "Patchwork" model revealed that the engines used spare parts from the Sodor Steamworks to repair him. There was even some merchandise spoiling the fact that he says farewell to the engines at the docks before heading home at the end of the film, including a Take-Along 4-car pack, and a Wooden Railway playset.
    • The Wooden Railway, Take-N-Play, and Trackmaster models of Yellow Rheneas reveal the fact that Rheneas gets a yellow coat of paint in The Stinger of Blue Mountain Mystery. Victor's Wooden Railway, Take-N-Play, and Trackmaster models that tie in with the same special depict him in his yellow livery, indicating that he was the yellow engine that Luke inadvertently knocked into the sea when they first came to Sodor.
    • The Wooden Railway "Treasure At The Mine Figure 8 Set" depicts the scene in King of the Railway where Stephen finds the lost crown of King Godred in an abandoned mine.
    • Some of the Tale of the Brave merchandise reveals the fact that the engines find dinosaur bones in the China Clay pits towards the end of the movie. These include the Wooden Railway "Oliver's Fossil Freight" model, which depicts Oliver pulling a freight car with a fossilized dinosaur skeleton, and the Take-N-Play "Roaring Dino Run" playset, where Thomas finds dinosaur bones and delivers them to the museum.
    • Skiff's Wooden Railway model depicts him with his "Skiff's Railboat Tours" signs, indicating his Heel–Face Turn at the end of Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. The Little Golden Book adaptation also spoils the ending, wherein Sailor John steals the treasure, but loses it in the sea.
  • Transformers.
    • The Transformers Animated toy of Shockwave shows his Autobot alter ego of Longarm Prime.
    • The Tiny Titans subline of Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) included figures of Bisk and Quillfire, one-shot Decepticons in season 1, sporting the scratched Decepticon insignia of Steeljaw's pack, thus spoiling that they would join the pack in season 2.
    • In the War for Cybertron Trilogy, Ultra Magnus is seemingly killed by Megatron in Episode 4 of Siege. However, the promotional material for Kingdom shows that he may end up getting resurrected. Hasbro's promotional poster for Kingdom at Pulse Con 2020 shows him fighting alongside the rest of the Autobots and Maximals, and one of the new toys for Kingdom is an Earth mode version of him. The same promotional poster also seems to spoil the fact that the Ark itself is a transformer.
      • The War for Cybertron Trilogy also deliberately haves its Leader Class figures sold as "Spoiler packs": not only the actual character inside each is usually unveiled only a few weeks after the first announcement, but the packaging features writings in Cybertronian language that feature spoilers about the character. The first one included Ultra Magnus and implied his death, while the second features Nemesis Prime, a character whose involvement in the series was unveiled only in the second trailer for the second season.
  • Despite being a series noted for having an air of secrecy around just about everything, Young Justice got hit with this when packaging for the show's toyline revealed that new characters like Blue Beetle, Lagoon Boy and the Tim Drake version of Robin would be joining the cast in the second season.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report