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Spoiler Cover

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You maniacs! You spoiled it all!

Phoenix: [Edgeworth] is not around anymore. He clutched onto his foolish pride too fierce... and died for it.
Lucahjin: He's not dead, is he? He's on the damn cover!

It makes sense to grace a book or film with cover art that is eye-catching, dramatic, even climactic. To achieve this, it's natural for a publisher to choose to illustrate an important moment from the story, perhaps in the climax itself. The problem, of course, is that this provides information to the audience that the creator may have meant to come as a surprise. At the least, it indicates the characters on the cover survive to the latter part of the story.

This can be mitigated if the depiction is presented in a particular way that the meaning isn't immediately clear. However, this still means that the viewer will at some point recognise the context of the cover and realise what's going to happen in advance.

Another way a publisher can get away with this is due to the tendency of covers to show things that never actually happen in the work. Thus, audiences may disregard the imagery until after they've reached the end, at which point the cover becomes Fridge Brilliance.

Conversely, some covers reveal spoilers because a work is old enough that the publishers assume everyone already knows the ending. See Late-Arrival Spoiler.

The practice of Superdickery relies on this- a superhero is shown doing something evil, in order to shock casual comic-book store browsers and entice them to buy the comic to see what happens. On the actual page, the event would be given some extra context to explain that something more innocent was going on. A more honest approach shows a genuine cliffhanger- such as the hero about to be killed- and this works because the comic can be read quickly enough that there's no need to take the time to build up suspense.

Compare Spoiler Title, where the title gives away a major plot twist. Contrast Covers Always Lie, the Inverted Trope where a cover doesn't accurately reflect the work at all.

As this can be an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The cover of Volume 14 of Attack on Titan shows Erwin missing an arm. While he doesn't lose his arm in that volume, it does come as a spoiler to anyone new to the series.
  • The cover of the third volume of Bakuman。 shows Moritaka Mashiro, one of the main characters, working as an assistant for Eiji Nizuma. When the offer is first proposed, Mashiro's editor, Akira Hattori, initially doesn't think he'll take it, but after some thought, Mashiro accepts the deal.
  • Berserk, while usually pretty good at not giving away crucial plot events can't help but spoil The Eclipse in nearly all covers as well as other events. One of the boxset covers for the 90s anime shows Guts and Casca bloody, scarred and branded and the promotional art for the anime shows Griffith tortured and even Guts and Casca kissing (spoiling the fact they hook up). The movies are just as bad when it comes to spoilers, the second movie cover shows the Behelit opening its eyes and bleeding, the third movie cover outright shows Griffith initiating The Eclipse, and the Japanese cover which was displayed outside theaters showed Femto.
    • The less-than-liked Berserk (2016) posters show the Beast of Darkness and the Berserker Armor.
    • The Berserk: The Band of the Hawk cover shows Casca at her worst moment, as well as Femto back-to-back with Griffith in a clear parallel.
    • To be fair, the manga covers aren't subtle either. Volume 12 shows Femto and volume 13 shows Guts and Casca naked and wrecked, in a pool of blood, surrounded by monsters, with a bat-like creature flying down to them.
  • The artwork used for A Certain Scientific Railgun Season One, Part Two (from Funimation) and the final episodes of Season One (in Japan) spoils the fact that Erii and Banri make it out okay and recover from what happens. It even spoils a minor part of the next season, as Banri spends most of season two still in the hospital and doesn't receive her uniform until then.
  • Code Geass R2 DVD covers:
    • The back of the third volume for shows Charles with a code mark on his hand, as well as a dying V.V..
    • The fourth volume shows pictures of Nunnally, who was assumed to be dead, including one with her eyes open, and also includes a Spoiler Title for Episode 22: Emperor Lelouch.
  • The final volume of Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally shows Nunnally standing up alongside Alice; granted, her eyes are still closed, but so are Alice's, and also makes a reference to Euphemia becoming Empress.
  • Dragon Ball
    • Most Dragon Ball Z Non-Serial Movie posters spoil either the Big Bad's final form or how said villain is dispatched e.g The Return of Cooler America DVD cover spoils the fact there's multiple copies of the titular antagonist and the Japanese cover shows Goku doing the move which destroys Cooler at the end of the movie.
    • Actually a Justified Trope for the American cover, as the Japanese title of the movie is "Clash! 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors!" so the multiple copies aren't exactly supposed to be a surprise.
    • Resurrection F is even worse the initial poster clued everyone into the fact Frieza has new form given he has a golden Battle Aura and the later posters just showed his Golden Form brazenly.
    • Dragon Ball Z Kai's season 3 DVD cover... just in case you didn't know how Frieza gets killed.
  • In Chapter 10 of Dr. STONE, Senku is seemingly killed. Given that he's on the cover of almost every volume after that, one can presume he gets better. Especially since he's the '''MAIN CHARACTER'''.
  • Genkai Level 1 Kara No Nariagari has the main character Tetsuya with a cat-girl and an attractive female elf. Problem is, that female elf is cursed to be a walking, talking teddy-bear when she's introduced in the work, meaning this spoils the fact that Tetsuya somehow finds a way to cure the curse.
  • Tsukumizu
    • Girls' Last Tour is particularly bad at hiding spoilers in its cover arts:
      • The title art of Chapter 30/31/32 shows Chito and Yuuri looking at the holograms of images of the past, but the images of three girls on the lower right is a spoiler detail. It doesn't bother hiding that the said image spoils the major plot point of this chapter where Chito and Yuuri uncovers the past from Kanazawa's camera.
      • Volume 6's cover, the final tankoubon, spoils the Twist Ending where the main protagonists reach the highest layer which happens at the finale. The "Twist Ending" is heavily emphasised as the black sky and the barren, snowy and featureless land, as well as a shot of the black cube in the volume's table of contents all blatantly tell how their journey at the end is All for Nothing, completely defeating the purpose of the manga's surprise ending. Way to go when the entire cover art spoils the manga's "Shaggy Dog" Story ending!
      • Chapter 44's title cover is even worse that it's so obvious on what is going to happen in this chapter. The cover depicts the Kettenkrad breaking down, which happens during the middle of the chapter, easily spoiling the Wham Episode of the entire manga. It also has a very meaningful Spoiler Title as well, which is aptly titled Loss.
      • Chapter 45's title cover shows a rotating stair, as well as with Chito and Yuuri holding hands together. It spoils the plot point of Chito and Yuuri ascending to the highest layer.
    • Shimeji Simulation:
      • Chapter 46's title cover shows Majime wielding a staff, while looking at a town with watermelons around it. Guess what the cover exactly depicts by just looking at it? Majime's ascension to godhood and becoming The Maker of this world during the early parts of this chapter, which the cover doesn't even bother hiding!
      • Chapter 47 is also bad at this when the title cover shows Shijima on a lone planet with just herself and a single house. The plot point of Shijima becoming The Hermit after the reversal is already spoiled.
  • The fourth volume of Yuri is My Job! shows Kanoko and Sumika on the cover, both wearing the kreusz on their Liebe uniforms, apparently signifying that they have become schwestern.
  • The cover of the fourth and final tankobon of I Want Your Mother To Be With Me! shows Yuzuki in a wedding dress with a smiling Ryo and Asahi
  • Similarly, the final tankobon of Love Hina has Keitaro and Naru's wedding on it.
  • While not the cover for the movie itself, the artwork for the soundtrack of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection spoils Nanoha's Mode F, something that only happens at the very end of the movie.
  • The DVD cover for anthology film Memories spoils a plot point from Magnetic Rose by showing the mummified corpse of Eva.
  • In the case of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the cover for The End of Evangelion is actually an epilogue of sorts for the film, as it is evident that the scene depicted on it takes place immediately after the film's very last scene. Of course, the context first gets clear, during that very last scene.
  • The Ojamajo Doremi Dokka~n! DVD box features the middle school versions of the girls on the back of the DVD set, something which doesn't happen until the end of the series.
  • One Piece:
    • Some of the DVD and Boxset covers will spoil plot moments, the most egregious ones being: collection 19 where Luffy fighting Usopp is shown, collection 20 which shows Luffy punching Rob Lucci (in his Leopard form), collection 35 which shows Luffy teaming up with his former foes Buggy, Mr 2 and Mr 3 and especially the fishmen island cover which just shows Luffy beating Hordy Jones with Red Hawk.
    • The cover for the manga volume 75, which is during the Dressrosa arc, will automatically spoil the reappearance of Sabo, Luffy and Ace's childhood friend, who was thought to be dead when they were kids. Most manga covers will spoil villains and other characters important to the story.
    • The Strong World poster (drawn by Oda) shows the scene where Nami leaves a final message for the crew.
  • Pokémon
    • Posters for Pokémon films are usually released around February in Japan, with the actual movie being screened in July. This often means that either the main poster or the "Pikachu the Movie" onenote  will spoil every single change in the teams of Ash and his friends in the next 5 months.
    • One of the Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! volumes featured a prominent spoiler on one of the covers the volume after it was revealed. It clearly showed Mitsumi as a Team Galactic member, so to anyone who saw that cover early... You're spoilered about her backstory and her being forced back into Galactic.

    Comic Books 
  • The cover for 100 Bullets volume 11 gives away the volume's big twist death, that being Wylie "The Point Man" Times, one of the few genuinely moral characters in the story.
  • The cover for the Italian fumetti comic Anima by Serpieri spoils the last-page reveal that the main character is actually Druuna in a blonde wig.
  • In Annihilation: Conquest, the fact that the Phalanx is actually being lead by Ultron comes as a big Plot Twist... But not to those who first read the omnibus edition, as Ultron is the only character shown on the cover.
  • Blake and Mortimer: The Curse Of The Thirty Denarii (Volume 1) has a cover which is the last panel of the book (and a cliffhanger).
  • Concrete: Not just the covers, but the back covers of the previous issue often spoiled the next story as well.
    • The cover to In the Glare of the Lights shows Concrete with his leg blown off.
    • The cover of A Remarkable Life spoiled the introduction of Concrete's root-like horns, while the back of the previous issue spoiled both his horns and emaciated appearance, which was treated as a big reveal in the story.
    • Volume 7: The Human Dilemma has a more minor example, where the caption on the cover mentions a "virgin birth". This leads readers to immediately guess what sort of mysterious biological process is taking place in Concrete's body, lessening the shock that should have been felt when the developing infant was finally revealed.
  • The penultimate issue of Final Crisis ends with a shocking scene where Batman has (seemingly) died, and Superman is carrying his charred corpse. Said scene is depicted on the cover of the hardcover book collecting the series.
  • The cover for Gravity Falls: Lost Legends, released two years after the end of the animated series, prominently displays the Author of the Journals, whose identity was one of the biggest mysteries of the show and wasn't revealed until halfway through the final season.
  • The now famous cover of Green Lantern 85 shows Green Lantern and Green Arrow discovering that Speedy, the latter's sidekick, has become a drugs junkie. When they meet him in the comic itself with a pack of junkies they assume he is merely investigating them under cover, and it's not revealed that he's actually one of them until the last few panels of the issue.
  • The cover to an issue of Green Lanterns warns the reader to "Beware Liseth!" At that point, though, Liseth hadn't been shown to be anything other than a sweet young idealist. It's not until four issues later that she reveals herself to a murderous xenophobe.
  • A large plot point of Infinity War is that the heroes fighting the Magus have no idea what his end goal actually is. Both the heroes and the reader are meant to be surprised by the revelation. But if you glance at the back cover of the trade paperback, you'll find out instantly.
  • Archie Comics (2015): In Jughead #9'', the girl in the burger costume is revealed to be Sabrina Spellman. This would have been a surprise had she not appeared on the cover.
  • Marvel Team-Up: The cover for issue #100 has a blurb revealing that the mystery villain is a "she", something the story inside doesn't give until halfway through. Of course, this isn't the only reveal about her. For one, "she" is a teenager. And not actually a villain.
  • Papyrus: Many of them, such as the appearance of the Minotaur, Papyrus and Theti-Cheri being together.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • While The Great Darkness Saga initially played up the mystery of who was behind it, the last issue, as well as the covers to the collected edition (including the one used for the work's page) give away that it's Darkseid.
    • The Condemned Legionnaires: The cover is an enlarged panel which reveals all female Legionnaires plus Night Lass will get sick and be shipped to a quarantine world.
  • Robin (1993): The "new" vigilante dressed as Spoiler is revealed as a returned from the dead Stephanie Brown rather than a new player in the mask on the cover of the issue that tries to dramatically reveal this. The cover is a close-up of Spoiler peeling off her mask while looking at the viewer.
  • Superman:
    • "The Death of Superman": The "Things Are BOOMING in Coast City!" cover for Superman Vol. 2 #80 gives away a major turning point in "Reign of the Supermen" (I.E. Green Lantern's Coast City being destroyed and the Cyborg Superman blowing a hole in the Last Son of Krypton's chest).
    • "The Death of Superman (1961)": If you exclusively read the story inside, then the titular event is very much a plot twist: Luthor's turn to good appears entirely sincere, and the title inside the story is "Lex Luthor, Hero!", suggesting that to be the "imaginary story" part of the equation. Indeed, part of what makes the death so shocking is that the comic up to that point is rather upbeat. Of course, if you take even a glance at the cover featuring Luthor declaring he has murdered Superman, it becomes clear what's really going on from the get-go.
    • "Girl Power": The appearance of Dark Supergirl, a black-clad evil Supergirl created by exposing Kara to Black Kryptonite, at the final of the third issue, was meant to be a plot twist which nobody who was not familiarized with the original Supergirl's history would see coming. Unfortunately, the cover of the original trade features Supergirl engaging her evil counterpart.
    • "Strangers at the Heart's Core" spent several years showing that a mysterious entity was manipulating several villains behind the scenes into harassing and attacking Supergirl before revealing their shocking and unexpected identity...except that the reveal was not shocking or unexpected because the issue cover ruined it by featuring and even namedropping the villain.
  • Thorgal: City of the Lost God clearly shows the death of a character in the hero's arms.
  • For those who have read the comic enough, the cover of The Walking Dead's Compendium One has quite a few spoilers in the illustrations on the cover.
  • Welcome to Hoxford's cover features a werewolf standing behind the main character - except the fact that there are werewolves in the setting is a first-issue Plot Twist.
  • Issue # 18 of The Wicked + The Divine has Persephone on the cover, despite the fact that seven issues earlier seemingly showed protagonist Laura becoming her and then her immediate death as a shock.
  • X-Men, volume 2, #54, the penultimate issue before Onslaught features the titular villain in silhouette. The regular version of the cover features with the words "The Secret Revealed" in the silhouette. A special holograph cover, however, doesn't have those words in the silhouette — but instead as a shadowy version of Professor Xavier's face instead, revealing the X-Men's mentor is the oncoming threat.
  • Yoko Tsuno:
    • The Servant of Lucifer. Think this adventure is another Time Travel in the Dark Ages? Nope, it's about Vineans since they're on the cover along with robotic dragons.
    • On the Edge of Life is even worse. A good chunk of the story is a mystery about what happened to the body of Magda, a little girl who died decades ago. Naturally, the cover has Yoko discovering her in a stasis pod.
    • The Morning of the World spoils that the mysterious "flying demons" are Pteranodons and that the volcano destroys the village during the climax.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The cover for Antz shows New York's skyscrapers in the background. The film's location is not revealed until the end, which reveals that the grand adventure took place in a tiny patch in Central Park.
  • Most posters and covers for The Aristocats spoil the ending where Thomas decides to stay with Duchess and her family.
  • Due to her regular outfit being way too revealing, the VHS and DVD covers for Atlantis: The Lost Empire clearly depict Princess Kida in her Queen dress (although only the left sleeve is visible and she neither has her tiara and additional tattoos on her face), spoiling her becoming a Queen in the epilogue.
  • One of the Brave posters shows Mor'du, the antagonist, in the background, right next the rock which will crush him at the end of the movie.
  • One poster for Coco shows the entire Rivera family, with the spirits of their dead relatives in the background. Héctor is included among them, while Ernesto is not. This spoils the film's big reveal.
  • Most covers of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children feature Sephiroth, who "unexpectedly" returns during the climax. Then again, director Tetsuya Nomura had stated that the entire reason of the movie was to set up for another Cloud vs. Sephiroth duel, so of course Square Enix will make that an advertisement point.
  • Screenshots on the back of the standard Finding Dory DVD case show the otters cuddling on the highway overpass and, egregiously, all the new characters introduced in the movie (i.e. Destiny and Bailey, Hank, Dory's parents) living on the reef after leaving the Marine Life Institute.
  • The DVD cover for How to Train Your Dragon (2010) not only shows Hiccup riding Toothless, but Astrid riding her new dragon as well. Astrid and the other young vikings didn't ride dragons until the Big Damn Heroes moment in the film's climax.
  • The splash art on the back of the standard DVD case for The LEGO Movie shows the very last shot of the movie. (Namely, everyone (including Lord Business, who had recently made a Heel–Face Turn) reacting in shock to the invading Duplo aliens.) It's out-of-context on a first time viewing, but the fact that Mr. Business is also on there is rather suspect.
  • One of the shots shown on the back of the box of The Princess and the Frog shows Tiana and Naveen getting married, both as humans. Naturally, this is taken from the very end of the film, and spoils a very last-minute twist as 5 minutes before the end of the film, the two think there's no way to go back and decide to stay frogs.
  • The DVD cover for The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water clearly shows Plankton as Plank-Ton.
  • The 1986 and 2008 home video covers for The Sword in the Stone show Wart having just pulled the titular sword from its' stone and anvil.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes: Phibes' disfigured face, only revealed late in the film, is shown on the theatrical poster.
  • Airheads's poster straight-up states that the eponymous band members get arrested and go to jail.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as if the movie wasn't messy enough, shows Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin on a few of the posters alongside main antagonist Electro (if not the third, less prominent villain Rhino too).
  • Audition disguises itself as a love story for its first half before its descent into horror, but its DVD cover prominently displaying its "love interest" playing with Razor Wire and syringes completely ruins the Genre Shift surprise.
  • The SteelBook release of Avengers: Endgame not only spoils who lives and dies in the previous film (the living heroes are on the front of the case with a colourful and whole Avengers logo, while the back of the case shows the heroes who died with a greyed out and ruined Avengers logo), but the inner artwork when one opens the case shows greyed out images of Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff, with the signatures of their respective actors, as if it were a memorial to the deaths of their characters.
  • One of the sketches in the movie Bad People involves a couple being interviewed by a social worker to see if they're eligible to adopt a child. The movie's poster shows an image of the social worker tied up with a strip of duct tape across her mouth, spoiling the ending, where the couple kidnap her after the interview goes horribly wrong.
  • Various posters of the original 1999 Bangkok Dangerous shows the scene where Kong holds his gun to his temple to kill himself, which occurs a minute before the credits. Averted in the 2008 remake.
  • Blue My Mind: One poster and many descriptions along with DVD covers spoil that Mia is turning into a mermaid.
  • Carrie. The posters for all three adaptations spoil the end where Carrie has blood dunked on her and she goes nuts and kills everyone. Sure, it's a terrifying and iconic moment, but that's not a free pass to spoil it on every goddamn film cover. Although to be fair to the film adaptations, most covers to the book weren't exactly subtle either, save for the very first published book cover.
  • The Cottage: The cover shows the villain's face, effectively ruining the Halfway Plot Switch (or at least diminishing the impact greatly).
  • The Cabin in the Woods: most posters and covers of this movie are smart showing the titular cabin like it's a Rubik's Cube and insinuating there's something not quite right in this similar setting. The Japanese cover, on the other hand, just decided to give the game away.
  • The VHS release of Camille (1936) shows Marguerite lying on her deathbed with Armand by her side, while the back cover mentions "her last gasp in the arms of her broken-hearted lover." Then again, that ending is arguably a case of It Was His Sled.
  • The Blu-ray and DVD releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier show the Winter Soldier unmasked right on the back cover, showing that he's Bucky Barnes. This is hardly a revelation to comic fans, but might still come as a surprise to viewers who hadn't read the source material.
  • The original poster for Clonus gives away the reveal that the titular community breeds clones as organ farms. Fortunately, at least one DVD release replaces it simply with a stylized logo.
  • The poster for the 2013 film Crush reveals that Caitríona Balfe's character is the antagonist. This is intended to be the main twist of the film, as much focus is spent on the Red Herring Suspect, Crystal Reed's character, before the real antagonist is unveiled.
  • The VHS cover of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978) has a picture on the spine of one of the main characters dead and zombified, an event that occurs about ten minutes from the end.
    • The Ultimate Edition DVD of the film also has images of two of the main characters as zombies on its sleeves.
  • The 80s kung-fu flick, The Delinquent, has a DVD re-release that depicts the ending where the front cover shows the protagonist about to be chewed up by a Conveyor Belt o' Doom - something that happened before the final act.
  • Deep Impact infamously shows its ending on the poster- the smaller of the two comet fragments hits the planet.
  • One DVD release of Dr. Strangelove shows the climactic scene of Major Kong riding the bomb.
  • One of the posters for F9 openly features Han, whose survival of the events of a previous film in the series is treated as a major plot twist.
  • One DVD release of the 1932 film of A Farewell to Arms asks on the back cover if Frederic and Catherine will find happiness together or are doomed to tragedy... yet all the screenshots on that same back cover are from Catherine's death scene, including one of Frederic carrying her limp, clearly dead body in his arms.
  • The poster for the movie Free Willy (1993) pretty much tells you how it's going to turn out.
  • The most common poster for Gallipoli depicted the protagonist's pointless death in battle at the end. Mitigated in Australia in that audiences there knew it was a Foregone Conclusion considering the subject matter.
  • The poster for The Getting of Wisdom spoils the scene at the end where Laura celebrates her relief at finally being rid of boarding school by tossing off her hat and gloves and running across a nearby parkland to freedom.
  • Some of the theatrical posters for The Ghost and Mr. Chicken depict Nick Simmons with Alma in a headlock, spoiling part of the climax and outing him as a villain. One such poster (used as the image for the movie's page) also shows Mr. Kelsey playing the organ, as well as pinning down Simmons at garden shearpoint, spoiling other parts of the climax.
  • The back cover for The Good Son VHS shows Henry and Mark dangling from the cliff as Susan holds onto them.
  • Film/Heathers has some of its home video covers revealing that the main duo in the film end up as murderers, spoiling the twist that was meant to subvert audience expectations.
  • High Tension has the big and hard to believe reveal that The Hero is actually the Serial Killer and while the movie does its best to hide the twist, the posters didn't share this idea.
  • Both the DVD and VHS cover art for The Hudsucker Proxy spoil one of the funniest jokes in the movie.
  • Most promotional images and posters of The Last Circus feature the protagonists already disfigured, while this is only their appearance in the third act.
  • The Lives of Others re-release covers show the red fingerprint and HGW XX/7 that becomes The Reveal at the end of the film.
  • Lone Survivor is about a crack team of Navy Seals fighting the Taliban but are overwhelmed and gradually reduced to one survivor... I wonder who that will be? Oh it's Mark Wahlberg nevermind.
  • Mad Max: In video releases, the packaging revealed that Max's family are killed in the first film, and the fuel was in the bus, not the tanker in the second film. Both events happen late in the films.
  • The poster and box art for The Mansion shows the cast as human heads mounted on a wall. Most of them show up in this scenario as part of a dying hallucination by the killer.
  • Meet the Feebles shows Heidi carrying a large gun. This spoils the climax of the film, where she goes on a murderous rampage and kills nearly everyone.
  • The Night Flier: Seeing how it's on the front cover, The Reveal of Dwight's face hardly comes as a surprise to anyone but Dees.
  • Phone Booth's poster and a DVD cover throws subtlety out the window and shows Kiefer Sutherland in suspect position right next the main character's head.
  • There were videotape covers for Planet of the Apes (1968) showing the Statue of Liberty on the cover, spoiling the surprise that Taylor was on Earth the whole time and not another solar system. This instance overlaps with Late-Arrival Spoiler, since only recent VHS and DVD covers spoil the Earth All Along ending; the theatrical posters just focused on the 'ape oppressing man' theme.
  • Quarantine (2008) pretty much shows the Downer Ending right for everyone to see.
  • The poster for The Quiet Earth outright spoils the Mind Screw ending of the protagonist being transported to an alien moon (of Saturn?).
  • Multiple VHS covers and the DVD's back cover for Romeo and Juliet (1968) show Juliet's suicide, with Romeo's dead body on the floor in front of her. Still, the ending of Romeo and Juliet is arguably It Was His Sled and a Foregone Conclusion explicitly stated in the opening prologue.
  • The back cover for the 1998 B-Movie Recoil outright mentions the deaths of Ray Morgan's wife and children in its plot synopsis.
  • Royal Rendezvous: At first it looks like James is Cat's primary Love Interest in the film with Rory being a side character, but the film's poster openly features Cat and Rory kissing with James nowhere in sight, making it clear they're the real Official Couple.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning's main poster shows Kenshin holding a dying Tomoe in his arms, which happens at the end of the movie.
  • The VHS cover and poster for Short Time pretty much resolve the whole "is he dead?!" aspect of the climax before you even see the opening credits.
  • Some DVD covers for The Sixth Sense show a ghostly-looking Bruce Willis.
  • The Ghanian poster for Starship Troopers spoils the fact that Zander ends up getting his brains sucked out of his skull by the Brain Bug.
  • Narrowly averted with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Leonard Nimoy has recounted that as the director he had to push back against the marketing department wanting to put a destroyed Enterprise on the film poster, while he argued that the Enterprise's destruction should be left as a shocking surprise to the audience.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Empire Strikes Back: The poster for the original release (also used for the cover of the Novelization), shows Han and Leia in a romantic clinch. This was a major spoiler in 1980 considering that up until that point the franchise had heavily promoted Luke and Leia as the main romantic pairing in not only the first film, but the first sequel novel and the comics as well; literally no one saw a Han and Leia romance being established.
    • The Force Awakens: While not a major spoiler, the back cover of the Blu-rays, plus the 2019 re-release cover, shows the appearance of Luke Skywalker, who is not revealed until the final scene of the film.
  • Terminator
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day, most covers will just show Arnold Schwarzenegger's character on a motorbike and that led most audiences into believing he is the villain like the first movie. The Japanese cover, on the other hand shows T-1000 in all his metallic glory and a common American cover shows Arnie in front of Sarah and John holding out a protective arm while Robert Patrick looks on evilly in the background, this along with a spoiling trailer makes it hard to miss the The Reveal that Arnie is actually the hero in this one.
    • Terminator Genisys is much, much worse when it comes to spoilers as not only did the second trailer reveal John Connor is actually a Terminator, but the poster displayed it shamelessly.
  • The Thirteenth Floor: The poster spoils the major reveal of the film, namely that the main character and everyone he knows are living Inside a Computer System.
  • A few posters for Tragedy Girls, as well as the DVD cover, depict the girls burning down the gym with the entire senior class inside. This is one of the final scenes of the film.
  • The poster for What We Become shows a zombified Maj.
  • White God: The poster/DVD cover shows the final scene of the film.
  • One poster for White Nights tells us that the two characters set up as antagonists at the beginning will eventually risk their lives for each other and friendship. Quote: "Two men. Not soldiers. Not heroes. Just dancers. Willing to risk their lives for freedom and each other."
  • Although the trailer for World's Greatest Dad presents the film as a standard disconnected father/uninterested son plot, the first words on the back cover are: After his son dies in an embarrassing accident...
  • The box art for You Only Live Twice prominently shows the full likeness of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, which is shown in that movie for the first time. It isn't exactly a major plot twist, but it doesn't seem appropriate for a villain who famously spent at least two and a half movies with his face just off-camera.

  • Throughout nearly all of the fourth Alex Rider novel, Eagle Strike, Alex is aware that the Big Bad, Damian Cray, is planning the titular operation. However, he has no idea what it is, what it entails or even what Cray hopes to achieve with it. The first front cover features a picture of a nuclear missile being launched, accompanied by the tagline "Alex Rider has 90 minutes to save the world", which rather gives the game away as to what Eagle Strike is but does at least preserve some mystery as to how Cray hopes to get access to nuclear missiles. The cover of later printings uses a picture of the United States presidential seal, leaving little mystery whatsoever.
  • Downplayed in Animorphs, but you know the protagonist is going to morph into the animal on the cover eventually. In some books it doesn't matter, in others it's a "and then I realized what animal I needed to accomplish this mission" cliffhanger that doesn't happen until the climax.
  • The cover of Astounding Science Fiction (Oct. 1945) gave away The Reveal that in its lead story, A. Bertram Chandler's "Giant Killer", the "Giants" are human astronauts and the warring tribes are mutated rats.
  • The covers of Ascendance of a Bookworm often depict Myne surrounded by objects that figure into the story of that volume. One of the covers depicts the protagonist alongside two beings that look like Funny Animal rabbits. At some point in the book itself, she enters a room and spots "two stuffed rabbits" among its contents. The cover makes it easy to guess that the "stuffed rabbits" are going to become important.
  • Avalon: Web of Magic: The cover of Ghost Wolf depicts a human girl and two wolves running alongside her. Not coincidentally, there are only two wolf characters in the entire series who are remotely important, and one of them "died" in a previous book. Storm's appearance can't even be written off of as symbolism, courtesy of the stream of wolf spirits that are also on the cover, which- unlike Storm- aren't depicted as physical beings.
  • One paperback cover for Cat's Cradle shows the aftermath of a chunk of Ice-9 being dropped into the ocean.
  • The cover illustration for at least one edition of Childhood's End spoils what the Overlords (aliens) look like, which is supposed to be a source of tension for a good one third of the book.
  • Discworld:
    • On the Harper-Torch edition of Guards! Guards!, the cover art depicts the dragon wearing a crown, which is a surprise plot development occurring late in the book.
    • The cover of The Wee Free Men shows Feegles armed with glowing swords around the Toad. Feegles' swords glow in the presence of a lawyer.
    • The Josh Kirby cover of Small Gods deserves some sort of prize for showing the climax of the novel: Brutha is about to be roasted alive on the iron turtle when the Great God Om manifests and saves him.
    • There is some dispute amongst fans about whether the image of someone wielding the Gonne on the back of Josh Kirby's Men at Arms cover (or the even clearer images of the Gonne itself on other editions) constitute a spoiler or not. The argument against is that, while the nature of the Gonne is a mystery to the characters, the readers will probably figure it out pretty quickly, image or not, due to their greater familiarity with such things.
      Terry Pratchett: Hmm. We wondered about the cover 'giving away half the plot' and decided to go with it — especially since Josh got the Gonne exactly right from the description. But I'd say it's pretty obvious VERY early in the book what sort of thing we're dealing with. That's what distinguishes a 'police procedural' from a mystery; after all, you know from the start whodunit in a Columbo plot, but the fun is watching him shuffle around solving it his way...
    • The Joe McLaren cover of the same book for the Discworld Collectors Library, meanwhile, doesn't show the Gonne, but does show a troll, a dwarf and ... a wolf, which rather gives away which minority group Angua represents.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • Author Gareth Roberts was amused that his Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel The Romance of Crime, in fine Doctor Who tradition, had a back cover blurb teasing "Which old enemies of the Doctor are aboard the unmarked spaceship making its way towards the Rock?" and a front cover with a picture of an Ogron.
    • The Land of Oz mash-up novel The Wonderful Doctor of Oz makes a mystery out of who has taken the role of the Wicked Witch of the West. So it's a shame it has a Wicked-inspired cover showing Missy in a witch's hat.
  • The original cover for A Dog's Purpose shows Buddy. Buddy is the protagonist's final reincarnation and doesn't pop up until the end of the book. The redone movie-based cover uses Bailey, the second reincarnation, instead.
  • John Dickson Carr's Dr. Gideon Fell mystery novels:
    • The cover of the HarperCollins printing of The Case Of The Constant Suicides features a dog carrier with strange fumes rising out of it. This essentially gives away the murder method used in the book — a block of dry ice hidden in a dog carrier that releases carbon dioxide gas as it sublimates.
    • At least two covers of To Wake The Dead show a man in uniform at the climactic cemetery fight. One shows a man in uniform with a helmet.
  • The cover of the Polish edition of The Expedition into Inferno (written by Arkady Strugatsky under a pseudonym) depicts one of the characters, the two-headed pirate, taking off his eyepatch to reveal a machine gun beneath. In the book itself, the reveal of the gun comes near the very end as a surprise (a Deus ex Machina to kill the villain, but it's a spoiler all the same.)
  • Some editions of Alison Lurie's Foreign Affairs were published with a cover illustration of a cowboy hat on a bedpost, which basically gives away the fact that Virginia the prim, persnickety English professor will have an affair with Chuck Mumpson the boisterous Oklahoma cowboy.
  • The UK cover for the Goosebumps book Piano Lessons Can Be Murder shows a picture of Mr. Shreek, the new piano teacher... with part of his human face gone, revealing a robot underneath. This is as much a spoiler cover as it is a misleading one, the latter of which the series is quite notorious for; while Shreek ''is'' revealed to be a robot in the story's climax, he never loses human flesh.
  • The cat on Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria is not the protagonist Marco (an orange tabby) or his mentor Cicero (who is spotted). It's actually Bait, though this isn't noticeable until a late chapter describes him as having yellow eyes (instead of the standard green eyes of a Russian Blue). This cover signifies that Bait isn't just another side character. He's actually Cicero's previous student and failed successor. Bait is bitter over being barred from what he thinks should be his, so he turns traitorous and becomes the second major antagonist.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Many covers of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets spoil the fact that the monster is a giant snake, which Harry doesn't find out until quite late in the book. The cover of the original American edition also shows Harry, Ron, and Ginny Weasley flying through the Chamber—with Hermione nowhere to be seen— suggesting that Hermione will be somehow incapacitated. Once people — and specifically muggle-borns — start being petrified, it's relatively easy to guess what will happen to her.
    • The American cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shows Harry and Voldemort personally dueling on the grounds of Hogwarts as the sun rises in the background, giving away the fact that Harry comes back from the dead after Voldemort manages to kill him the previous night. Once you've read the book, it's also pretty clear that the cover depicts Harry grabbing Voldemort's wand, giving away how he defeats him.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novel Cachalot is set on a world almost entirely covered by ocean, a planet to which all terrestrial cetaceans have been transplanted after they've been administered a serum which makes them as intelligent as, or more intelligent, than humans. The plot opens with the mysterious destruction of several human habitats and the arrival of a team of specialist investigators who attempt to discover what has happened. Possible candidates are the highly intelligent but aloof toothed whales, the dumb but inoffensive baleen whales, or some indigenous but unknown form of life. Except... the cover of the first UK paperback edition clearly showed a bunch of baleen whales smashing up a town. Cheers, cover artist.
  • The covers of every edition of Alvin Schwartz's In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories show the monsters and ghosts from all the stories, and they include Jenny from The Green Ribbon carrying her severed head and the pirate ghost from "The Pirate", who doesn't turn out to be Real After All until the end.
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales of Horror, a 1932 collection of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, has a lurid cover with a monstrous ape looming over a fainted woman. Of course, in the titular mystery story, the revelation that the killer is an ape is a twist only revealed near the end.
  • Nightmare Hour: The illustration for "Alien Candy" gives away the twist that the kids of the sci-fi club are really aliens.
  • Realm of the Elderlings:
    • Many editions of Assassin's Quest, the third book in The Farseer Trilogy (the first part of the series) feature pictures of one of the Dragons, which appear towards the end of the book. The only problem being that the possibility Dragons might exist in the story's universe isn't even hinted at until over halfway into the third book, well over 1,500 pages into the series. Said hint is so vague and throwaway that the Dragons' eventual appearance right at the end would have come as a complete surprise if one were merely reading the text: although the series has magical elements they are fairly subtle and downplayed and there is nothing to suggest that a fantasy staple like Dragons are around the corner. As it is, depending on whether you see the cover of the third book before you start reading the series, you're expecting them from the very start.
    • Dragons end up playing such a significant role in the later parts of the series - featuring in the actual titles of four books - that for many coming to the series for the first time now this will be It Was His Sled, but this would have been irritating back in 1997.
  • The first half of Harry Harrison's A Rebel in Time consists of Troy Harmon trying to figure out Wesley McCulloch's plan. In at least the first US paperback edition, it's not very suspenseful for the reader—the fact that McCulloch has traveled back in time to try to change the outcome of the Civil War is in the blurb on the back cover.
  • Safehold: Book 7, Like a Mighty Army, prominently features Walking Spoiler new character Nimue Chwaeriau in the cover artwork. And the context doesn't make it at all difficult to deduce her identity.
  • The first paperback edition of Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot gave away the twist that the eponymous town is infested by vampires, something that isn't revealed until about a third of the way into the novel.
  • Perhaps even more egregious than the Salem's Lot cover is the cover to Stephen King's Misery which pictures Paul Sheldon the protagonist sitting helplessly by the window in a wheelchair while the massive murderous shadow of Anne Wilkes looms over him holding an axe. Though that's nothing compared to the omnibus version which also contains Carrie and The Shining, as the cover brazenly depicts Anne swinging the axe down on the bedridden Paul's leg.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger: The front cover art of The Moment of the Magician spoils what is clearly written to be a surprise, that the new evil magician in town is a kid's party magician who stumbled in from our own world, and now his lame magic works.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • The cover of Lost Stars depicts what will for a first-time reader likely be a generic franchise-related image of a Star Destroyer falling towards a planet. By the time of the novel's climax, set during the Battle of Jakku, the meaning of the cover will be far more clear: namely, that the Star Destroyer protagonist Ciena has been given command of will crash on Jakku, becoming the wrecked one from The Force Awakens.
    • Ahsoka shows the protagonist wielding her white lightsabers on the cover, when the last time she was seen in The Clone Wars, she still had her green and yellow pair. And, yes, she does build the white lightsabers in the book.
  • Star Wars Legends: Shadow Games is adorned with a cover depicting Dash Rendar running down a corridor with the logos of the Empire and the Rebellion on either side of him. Not until near the end of the book is it revealed that the conflict, which seemingly has nothing to do with the Empire and Rebels, has actually been about them all along.
  • The Stormlight Archive: The cover of Words of Radiance shows Kaladin about to face Szeth, with an Everstorm brewing behind them. While readers of the previous book The Way of Kings probably expected something like this to happen, there are moments within this book that play with the possibility of this outcome.
  • Survivor Dogs: The cover for The Broken Path depicts Twitch missing a leg. It's revealed in the book that he chewed his leg off. However, grass is strategically placed over his leg so that it's difficult to see his missing leg unless you look very closely.
  • The original cover of Tailchaser's Song features Tailchaser alongside a pure white cat and a black cat with a spotted underbelly and red claws. These two characters aren't relevant until late into the book. One is Whitewind, who only briefly appears in the intro and doesn't become important until Pouncequick meets him near the end, and the other is Scratchnail, a villain who doesn't appear until over halfway through the book.
  • In The Rings of Saturn (part of the CYOA Time Machine Series), the plot of the book is finding out the source of mysterious signals from Saturn. At the end, it turns out it was a crashed alien spaceship. The pilot is still living in suspended animation and the protagonist wakes him up. Except the cover for the book shows the alien in all his glory, though, admittedly, until the end you're likely to not realize that it was something from the actual book and not just a random, sci-fi themed picture.
  • Wagons West: The cover when Illinois! was printed in the 1980s clearly shows Toby and some woman with a camera being endangered by flames all around them. When the novel was reprinted in the 2010s a cover with rather generic art was used instead
  • The Warhammer 40,000 spin-off novel Fabius Bile: Clone Lord prominently features the title character battling Necrons. The story takes place millennia before they were supposedly first encountered, so their sudden involvement at the very tail end of a book that up to that point had been all about political intrigues and planned betrayals should have been a complete suprise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 DVD has Dark Willow on the cover, and, even more inexplicably, on the first disc.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Invasion":
      • The Radio Times had promoted the broadcast of the story with a special photoshoot with the new-look Cybermen, but did so for the first episode.
      • The DVD cover puts a Cyberman prominently on the cover, despite the fact that they don't turn up until the cliffhanger of the fourth part of an eight part serial in a surprise reveal.
    • The video and DVD covers of "The Face of Evil" feature the gigantic stone carving of the eponymous face. However, the reveal that the face was that of the Doctor was the dramatic cliffhanger of one episode.
    • "Earthshock":
      • The DVD and VHS covers feature both the Cyberleader and Adric on the cover, spoiling the surprise return of the Cybermen in Part One and Adric's death at the climax of Part Four.
      • The VHS cover is even worse than the DVD, as it also features Adric's broken badge prominently. The Doctor uses the gold plating to incapacitate the Cyberleader.
      • Ironically, at the time of broadcast, showrunner John Nathan-Turner went to great lengths to prevent both twists from being spoiled by the promotional material in the Radio Times, listing the villains as simply "Leader", "Lieutenant", etc., and including a scene involving an illusion of Adric in the next serial, "Time-Flight", so his demise wouldn't be spoiled by the cast list. He even turned down what could have been Doctor Who's first Radio Times cover spot in years.
    • In a second-order example, the issue of the Radio Times covering the week that "Evolution of the Daleks" was broadcast had the human-Dalek hybrid version of Dalek Sec on the cover, despite being published before the previous episode, to which the reveal of the character's alteration was the cliffhanger, was broadcast. Russell T. Davies said following the controversy that he didn't mind.
  • When the Donkey Hodie episode "Donkey's Bad Day; Yodel Bird Egg" was on the official PBS Kids YouTube channel, the thumbnail showed Donkey Hodie with the baby Yodel Bird and its' mother.
  • In the 4th season of House the big question is "Who will be in House's new team?", with three new doctors chosen halfway through the season. The British along with the North American DVD release shows the three doctors who make the cut on the back cover. The Polish DVD release features them on the front cover.
  • The I-Land: The island really being a Mind Prison simulation is only revealed several episodes in, but the teaser posters make it pretty obvious anyway.
  • NUMB3RS: The first few episodes of Season 5 involve a secondary arc of Charlie trying to get his security clearance back after losing it in the Season 4 finale; without it, he can't work for the FBI (which would necessarily diminish his role in the series). Charlie features prominently on the cover of the Season 5 DVD set.
  • The YouTube thumbnail for the second episode of The Outsider is of Terry Maitland immediately after being shot.
  • Roswell: The third season DVD spoils Alex's death on the back of the box, even though it doesn't happen until midway through the second season.
  • Six Feet Under went through this on the DVD sleeve example in the UK - the final series' boxset not only shows a wedding photo of Nate and Brenda on the back, but the entire cast at a funeral with Nate conspicuously missing.
  • Storm of the Century: There are covers which show Linoge in his real form as an ancient wizard in a robe, which wasn't revealed until the end of the miniseries.
  • In Swamp Thing (2019), it's treated as a major Reveal when the title character learns in the penultimate episode that he's not a mutated Alec Holland, and that the real Alec has been Dead All Along]]. This twist would've been more shocking had it not been for an early promo poster that showed Swamp Thing holding Alec's badly decayed skeleton.
  • You Me Her: The screencap used for Season 5 on the Amazon Prime streaming service spoiled that Izzy has a baby, showing her in a hospital bed holding it alongside Jack and Emma.
  • The Wire: The thumbnail used for Episodes 11 and 12 of Season 3 on HBO Max spoil that Omar and Brother Mouzone team up for something and that Avon gets arrested (respectively).
    Tabletop Games 
  • Many RPG adventures' cover art, seeking to entice buyers with action scenes, inadvertently spoil the nature of the scenario's Final Battle or a major mid-story menace. This was a particularly serious problem with early modules for Dungeons & Dragons, which tended to give away the nature of the villains (e.g. the "Descent Into The Depths Of The Earth" module with its succubus-and-vampire couple displayed as Fanservice on the back), monsters intended to be shocking new surprises {e.g. the cloaker shown clearly on the back of "Slave Pits Of The Undercity"), major plot developments (e.g. the flesh colossus attacking a castle wall on the front cover of Castle Amber), or even the supposed-to-be-a-shock premise of the adventure (e.g. cover art for "Expedition To The Barrier Peaks" showing a hero wielding a laser pistol against the monster).

  • The original poster for Little Shop of Horrors, which also serves as the cover of the original cast album, shows a man's hand sticking out from Audrey II's jaws, giving away the twist that the plant becomes a people-eater. Although since the show is based on an earlier movie, this could be a case of It Was His Sled. It also shows Audrey's limp body at the base of Audrey II's pot — not an It Was His Sled, because Audrey survives in the 1960 film and her fate in the musical is Death by Adaptation.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: A cover spoils that there's a dragon, when it's a Post-Cyberpunk setting. This is significant because it signifies the importance of Reality Warper Sigrid to the Final Battle.
  • Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book: If you have looked at the cover of the boxed game (or browsed DLC for the digital version) then you will know that the talking book Plachta acquires a human form. They do at least remain silent about how and when.
  • Blaster Master Zero:
    • Steam's page for Blaster Master Zero II features the official wallpaper art that reveals some characters as they appear throughout the Golden Ending.
    • The cover of Blaster Master Zero III shows two MAs on either side, one meant to represent normal space and one meant to represent super-dimensional space. The trouble is, while one's clearly the GAIA-SOPHIA SV, the other isn't Kane Gardner's, the classic Metal Attacker. It's the SOPHIA-J1, the MA Jason only pilots for the TrueFinalBoss battle.
    • The cover art for the Collector's Edition of Zero III shows Jason and Eve sharing a hug. No guessing as to what happens in the Golden Ending.
    • This promotional artwork that became the cover art of Blaster Master Zero Trilogy features Jason and Eve as they appear at the end of the third game, including both wearing their wedding rings.. More subtly, on the left side of the art, you can see Kane Gardner and the other allied MA pilots...along with a person with their back turned, with long hair, a feminine figure, and fox ears. While you might think it to be an original character, it turns out that it's none other than Leibniz. The only hint of it being her (other than the fact that Leibniz is otherwise nowhere to be seen) is the fact that she's holding her helmet that you're more familiar with, though due to the yellow color filter, the small size of the image, and the fact that she's holding it by the "horn", it can be difficult to tell.
    • Done subtly in the soundtrack cover. Leibniz is shown unmasked, but because she's wearing casual (and feminine) clothes, you wouldn't know this unless you'd actually beaten the game and seen Leibniz without her helmet. The only hint that it's her is the fact that she's wearing the same jacket as she does when fully armored, and that her unused support animal, Jao, sits atop her hat. The other two characters are Jason and Eve's children, Roddy and Elfie, looking to be in their teens.
  • Dark Souls III has a more subtle example than most: that knight with the black and red armor on the cover? That's the game's final boss. Despite being a major spoiler, almost nobody saw it coming due to the fact every other game in the franchise also had an armored knight in the cover.
  • Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive cover spoils that the initial Big Bad becomes one of the protagonists. Five of the six playable characters are displayed on the cover art. Including Pablo Sanchez, the Disc-One Final Boss. He is initially presented as the Big Bad, finding him then bringing him to justice fills the game's first half. It is only after this point that the game reveals that both Sanchez and Cooper have been Unwitting Pawns to the true villains' plot. Then, Sanchez join Cooper's gang and becomes a regular party member.
  • In Devil May Cry 5, it's treated as a massive deal that Vergil has finally returned in the series' present canon since DMC3 (which was a prequel) and DMC1 (where he was still Nelo Angelo). However, the cover of the Special Edition boldly displays Vergil behind Dante and Nero.
  • The cover for the physical Switch copy of Dicey Dungeons shows the Jester as a dice, spoiling the fact that they're Promoted to Playable.
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten treats Flonne's appearance late in the story as a secret — as an archangel, no less — but she's not hard to miss in the box art. Not that it matters, because you clearly see her in the anime intro anyway!
  • Dragon Quest II: The front box art of the American version shows a mural of Malroth behind Hargon atop the alter.
  • Drowned God: Conspiracy of the Ages is all about uncovering the supposed true history of the world that has been buried for thousands of years. Taking one look at the alien on the cover indicates that they might just have something to do with said conspiracy. It could be argued that this was intentional on the developers' part since they didn't really bother trying to hide it in the rest of the marketing, and that the game is really more about figuring out the context behind exactly why and how these aliens are influencing Earth in the first place. The cover doesn't actually give away just how deep the conspiracy rabbit hole goes in this game.
  • For the European version of Final Fantasy VII, a screenshot from the FMV immediately following Aerith's death scene (which shows Cloud laying her body in a pool) is on the back of the game case. It's not obvious enough to be a direct spoiler, but it does give a big hint.
  • While many Final Fantasy logos spoil later events, nowhere is it more obvious than Final Fantasy XIII, whose logo subtly spoils the entire ending sequence.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age begins with three members of the hero's four-member party, and his alliance with Alex, an Adept of the fourth element... who is not with them on the box art. A random sailor you encounter very briefly in the first big town, and don't see again until almost halfway through the game, is.
  • All versions of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets show the obvious shadow of a giant snake. Granted, the monster being a Basilisk was common knowledge at the time of the release.
  • One of images on Heavy Weapon's boxart shows Romanov Attack Satellites and Barskov Munitions Blimps in Petrovakia (the third stage), while the player is using a whole slew of powered-up weaponry. You don't fight those enemies or get that many powerups the first time you get there.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: In the Manga Gamer re-release of the series, the Steam store covers for the games depict various major characters, usually the ones which have a significant role in the given installment. The cover for the 7th installment (Minagoroshi) prominently depicts Hanyuu, who isn't seen until that episode, hinting to new players that there's a major character they haven't yet met (and, if you notice her horns, that she isn't exactly human). Meanwhile, the cover for part 8 (Matsuribayashi) depicts Takano (who throughout most of the series is just a secondary character), hinting that she plays a major role in the finale.
  • The front cover of the European version for Jak 3 spoils the twist and reveal that Erol isn't dead from his accident from the previous game. You can see his face in the top left corner with his half metal face which also spoils the reveal that he's now a cyborg.
    • Meanwhile the back cover of the American version shows the Terraformer AKA the giant Dark Maker robot that Erol pilots as the Final Boss!
  • Kirby: Planet Robobot: The CD release of the official soundtrack features disc art depicting Access Ark on disc one and Star Dream's Nova form on disc two, thereby giving away the game's biggest twist.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Both the American and Japanese covers of the Wii U remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess shows both Ganondorf, who hijacks Zant toward the end, and Midna's true form (the latter was also on promotional art for the original release). Frustratingly, they don't even show Zant himself.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has Link holding the Master Sword. "Link gets the Master Sword at some point" ordinarily wouldn't be much of a spoiler, but Fi is tied to the Goddess Sword, and it would be awkward to suddenly cast her aside when the Master Sword enters the story. Instead, the Goddess Sword becomes the Master Sword.
  • The back of the box of the original Metal Gear Solid shows a screenshot with Meryl's codec number. This is subverted though, as when it's time to contact her, checking the back of the box is the only way to find it.
  • The American cover for Heavy Rain depicts the four playable characters in an ensemble shot. Ethan, Madison and Norman all look fairly normal, if a bit somber, while Shelby is holding a gun and has a menacing expression with his eyes overshadowed. Three guesses who the Origami Killer turns out to be.
  • NEO: The World Ends with You has six characters on the title screen: new protagonist Rindo, his best friend Fret, Minamimoto, Nagi, a hooded figure (Beat from the previous game) and Shoka. If you pay attention to the pattern, you will notice that all of them are party members, which means that Shoka will do a Heel–Face Turn and join the party.
  • Perfect Dark sports a surprisingly subtle one on an already subtle box. It initially looks like a simple image of Joanna's face in nearly-complete shadow, revealing only her eye and her weapon. However, when one peers directly into her eye, they can see the face of Elvis, a major character whose appearance marks the sharp turn from being a cyberpunk-style espionage story and dive straight into full-on science fiction.
  • A slightly different example, a spoiler title screen. Prehistoric Isle's title screen shows a big dinosaur that actually appears very late in the game... as the final boss.
  • The box art of the Nintendo DS Updated Re-release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All (the first version released outside Japan) shows Miles Edgeworth, the prosecutor from the first game who is assumed to have committed suicide until Gumshoe calls him at the end of the third case out of four and he shows up in the final case.
  • The boxart of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity features all the members of game's exploration team in formation together... along with Hydreigon, who's almost immediately introduced as an antagonistic Pokémon. While Munna, the one who asks to be rescued from him, isn't there. No guesses as to who ends up actually being a good guy.
    • Virizion at one point of point of the game talks about Keldeo, a former friend that coldly betrayed her friendship. Because Keldeo is also in the boxart, you can guess that he had well-intentioned reasons to do what he did, and that he will join the exploration team.
  • The boxart of Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia does this big time by featuring Lucario, Heatran, Cresslia on the cover who are the three Gem Guardians. It even shows Darkrai at the top, who ends up being the true Big Bad and final boss of the game.
  • The boxart of Richman 8 blatantly shows the main antagonist, King Octopus, in his true form, as his identity is supposed to be exposed after completing Story Mode, while his true form is only shown during two of the secret characters' opening cutscenes.
  • The Japanese boxart for Sands of Destruction shows all the main characters lined up, facing the same direction as if they are a team, despite Naja being antagonistic. Naturally, he joins your party later.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV attempts to play up the discovery of Tokyo as a Wham Episode, but anyone who's checked out the back-of-the-box art will already know of its existence. Although, why Tokyo exists in what is apparently the 15th century is another story altogether.
    • Persona 4 and Persona 5 freely show the entire party on their box art. Most notable is Goro Akechi on 5's cover — him joining the Phantom Thieves is presented as a major twist in the game proper.
    • In Persona 4: Arena the cover gives away that Labrys is a robot—however this only really applies to North American and European audiences: she had been introduced on an audio drama that was never exported out of Japan.
  • The European cover of Solatorobo: Red the Hunter promises that players will "pilot a robot and uncover the mysterious origins of the world". For a good majority of the story there's no indication the world has a "mysterious origin" at all. Also, looking closely at the logo shows an image of Red's human form, though anyone who hasn't played the game won't realize what it is.
  • The original Japanese and European covers for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 spoiled Knuckles' appearance on the front, while the North American cover just showed his eyes peeking out of a bush, but still had a screenshot featuring him on the back. A downplayed example as he shows up very early in the game.
  • Starship Titanic had a strange twist on this: one particular puzzle, in the Music Room, can be easily solved by looking at the back of the game box, where the screenshot of that room shows the puzzle completed. However, this isn't a spoiler... it's the correct, and only, way to complete the puzzle.
  • System Shock 2 wants the presence of SHODAN, the first game's villain, to be a surprise, and her reveal is often cited as one of the best twists in gaming. So what did they do for the cover? Made her enormous face the centerpiece of the image.
  • The Japanese cover of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV shows Crow alongside the other party members, a character who seemingly died earlier in the series and was an antagonist. The English version averts this by removing this character from the cover.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus not only spoils BJ's survival from Deathshead's Taking You with Me moment at the end of the previous game, but the cover itself shows that BJ's new body is that of an Ubersoldat. It doesn't help that Quake Champions also included a "Terror Billy" skin that shows him in the Ubersoldat body.
  • The collector's edition boxart of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 features Morag, Vandham, and Zeke alongside Rex, Nia, and Tora which hints that despite their initially antagonistic appearances, they end up becoming a part of the gang down the line.

  • The Order of the Stick: The print version of the Utterly Dwarfed arc zigzags this. Durkon has his back turned to the viewer, so somebody unaware with the events of the previous book doesn't see his red eyes and fangs. However, his skin is extremely pale and his clothing is dark, which could make viewers understand that there isn't something right about Durkon.
  • Sleepless Domain: The Seven Seas edition of the very first book features Undine prominently on the cover and spine, foreshadowing that she turns out to be the true main character following a First-Episode Twist, while the rest of her teammates are in fact Decoy Protagonists. Contrast this with the original cover, which instead presents all of Team Alchemical together as an ensemble.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Hulu preview thumbnail for the American Dad! episode "The Mural Of The Story" shows the absolutely gruesome aftermath of Stan's botched "plastic surgery" on Hayley's face.
  • Some Netflix thumbnails for BoJack Horseman show scenes with BoJack in the outfit from the second half of the final season. The reason this stands out is because BoJack changing his old outfit and letting his hair go gray represents his change in demeanor instead of living in the past all the time.
  • The Netflix poster for Castlevania Season 4 while more subtle than other examples still faintly displays Death's skull in the Evil Overlooker position above Trevor clueing anyone who spots him into who the Hidden Villain will be. There's also Dracula and Lisa embracing in the foreground, despite the fact they're both dead at this point spoiling the fact they'll be brought back.
  • Some Netflix thumbnails for Centaurworld shows off Horse's complete transformation into her more cartoonish form, which doesn't happen until near the end of season 1.
  • The Legend of Korra: The destruction of Republic City and a creation of a new spirit portal in said city are one of the last things to happen in the entire series, but are clearly shown behind Korra on the Book 4 DVD package.
  • The DVD cover for Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars blatantly shows off Darth Ferb, who doesn't appear until the final act.
  • The back cover of the South Park: Post Covid duology DVD depicts the homeless Cartman from the new altered timeline, which is the last scene of the duology.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • The season 2 DVD cover prominently features Ahsoka Tano, who was revealed as the true identity of the mysterious informant Fulcrum in the penultimate scene of the season 1 finale.
    • The season 3 DVD cover has Darth Maul, who made a surprise appearance on the show in the season 2 finale.
  • Steven Universe

Alternative Title(s): Covers Always Spoil