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Walking Spoiler

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A character or thing in which most of its tropes are spoilers. Saying anything substantial about this character/thing at all (in worst case scenarios, this can even be just its name or existence alone) will reveal spoilers about the work they feature in, which makes talking about them/it difficult. Some fans reconcile this by using euphemisms, others by avoiding talking about it at all, others just by placing a warning that the following will contain massive spoilers.

Can overlap with It Was His Sled if the work in question is old or culturally ingrained enough that pretty much everybody already knows about the various plot twists, or with Late-Arrival Spoiler if the marketing for a later installment of a series spoils an earlier installment. Often will overlap with Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer if the marketers don't decide otherwise. Also may overlap with First-Episode Twist, where knowing the very premise of the series gives away a surprise.

Also, this is not about characters that are involved in many plot twists but the mere existence of the character within the narrative is a spoiler itself, that makes it impossible to talk about the character without spoiling the plot.

This is a Spoilered Rotten trope (on character pages), that means that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE on this list is a spoiler by default and most of them will be unmarked. If you don't know what that means, then you should probably take a good look at the page image for reference. It'll all become clear.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Amato from BoBoiBoy is meant as a surprise, due to being the Disappeared Dad of the eponymous character, meaning any discussion about him is doomed to be spoiler-laden. His presence became a Late-Arrival Spoiler by the point Mechamato started airing, as that show expects you to be familiar with this plot twist.
  • Flower Fairy: While Kukuru himself isn't a spoiler, being a main character who appears straight from the first episode onwards, his dark form in Seasons 3 and 4 is very hard to talk about without spoiling the fact that Princess Fannie was successful in making him her own, severing the ties to the Red String of Fate connecting Xia An'an and Kukuru and altering it so that it connects Kukuru to her instead.
  • The Robo-King from Happy Heroes' sixth season. He doesn't appear in his debut season until near the finale and he answers the question of who introduced technology to Planet Xing, clearly indicating that his plot relevance is meant to be a surprise.

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot: Jason becomes a literal version of this for his Halloween costume in one strip; he hand-picks pages from every A Song of Ice and Fire book released up to that date, each one containing an unexpected or shocking plot development from the series, with the intent of forcing said spoilers upon people. It backfires when his brother expresses enthusiasm at the idea of not having to actually read "all 10 billion pages" of the series.

    Films — Animation 
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy: It's hard not to discuss the film in future franchise installments after the reveal that Arlo's birth father Ansel is a birdman.
  • The Bad Guys (2022) has two characters who fall into this:
    • Professor Marmalade is established early on as a publicly beloved philanthropist who wants to help the Bad Guys live better lives. In reality, he's Evil All Along and setting the gang up to take the fall for his own crimes.
    • Governor Diane Foxington is introduced as a Hero Antagonist, attempting to end the gang's crime spree and insulting them on television. She eventually warms up to them and is revealed to be a Reformed Criminal herself, becoming the gang's 11th-Hour Ranger when Marmalade turns the world against them.
  • Disney's Revival Era frequently uses surprise antagonists, and very little can be said about those characters without blatantly giving away the films' major plot twists.
    • In Wreck-It Ralph, it's hard to discuss King Candy without bringing up his true identity as the infamous game-jumper Turbo, or the fact that he usurped Sugar Rush from its rightful ruler, Vanellope.
    • Frozen (2013) builds up Hans as the Love Interest for Anna, but the third act completely shifts the viewers' perception by revealing that he's actually a sociopathic opportunist using Anna to get the throne - and he's even willing to let her die to do so.
    • Big Hero 6 has Professor Robert Callaghan. Initially thought to have perished in a fire in the first act, it's later revealed that he intentionally set the fire to fake his own death and became the masked villain Yokai, plotting revenge against industrialist Alistair Krei for his daughter's disappearance.
    • In Zootopia, Assistant Mayor Bellweather reveals in the third act that she was orchestrating the film's entire conflict, forcing predator species to violently lash out in order to cause fear and distrust between them and prey animals.
    • In Moana, any discussion surrounding the demonic lava monster Te Ka is bound to bring up the fact that she's truly the benevolent goddess Te Fiti.
    • Frozen II introduces Anna and Elsa's late grandfather, King Runeard. Because Runeard died long before either film took place, most viewers' discussions of him will revolve around his plot to forcefully subjugate the indigenous Northuldra people, and the indirect consequences his actions had on the entire franchise. In a non-villainous example, the sequel also fleshes out the backstories of Anna and Elsa's parents, Agnarr and Iduna, with the information revealed completely changing how viewers saw their actions in the prologue of the first film.
    • Encanto initially builds up Bruno as the antagonist, only to reveal that he’s really a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold. The film actually has No Antagonist.
  • Home (2015) has the Gorg, who only attacks the Boov to repopulate his species with the children taken by Smek.
  • Bringing up either Valka or the Bewilderbeast from How to Train Your Dragon 2 spoils half the plot.
  • Jack-Jack in The Incredibles get some screen time, but him having superpowers is the spoiler. It is a Late-Arrival Spoiler by the time of the sequel, though.
  • The Screenslaver's identity in Incredibles 2 is portrayed as a mystery at first, but "he" is later revealed to be Evelyn Deavor.
  • The live action characters from The LEGO Movie due to introducing a whole new level of depth to the movie and coming right smack out of nowhere, with only the briefest of foreshadowing leading up to their appearance.
    • A similar lack of foreshadowing is applied to the villains from various other franchises who appear in The LEGO Batman Movie, working for Joker.
  • Meet the Robinsons:
    • Cornelius Robinson is this due to his appearance; since he's actually Lewis in the future, any depiction of him before this is revealed would have spoiled the plot significantly. Before the revelation, he is never actually shown with Wilbur lying and claiming he looks like Tom Selleck to Lewis.
    • Lewis himself would have been this to the Robinsons in-universe thanks to his hair, hence Wilbur forcing him to wear the hat.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • It's impossible to talk about the first film's Big Bad Sunset Shimmer without talking about her redemption arc in the second film, which in turn leads to her becoming The Leader of the human Elements of Harmony from the third movie onwards.
    • You can't talk about Human Twilight Sparkle without discussing the events of the third movie, with her undergoing a similar One-Winged Angel transformation that Sunset did in the first film.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf series:
    • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Tiger Prowess, one of the villains, Counselor Gecko, isn't a spoiler in himself but has such a large connection to the film's major plot twist that it can still be hard to talk about him. The film leads you to believe that Lord Japper is masterminding the carnival draining energy from the surrounding area, but near the end, we find out that it's Counselor Gecko. Oh yeah, and he isn't a gecko either; he's a Living Dinosaur intent on bringing back the prehistoric era, and he also convinced Lord Japper and Leopold that they're a tiger and a leopard respectively when they're actually a cat and a hyena.
    • In Mission Incredible: Adventures on the Dragon's Trail, attempting to connect Tyrano-Rex to Little Blue Dragon, mentioning Little Blue Dragon's backstory, or mentioning anything about Tyrano-Rex besides his role as the villain in the film is gonna get you a face full of spoilers.
  • Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear from Toy Story 3. His role as the true Big Bad of the film is a spoiler in itself.
  • The Smurfy Grove Smurfs in Smurfs: The Lost Village. The premise of the movie relies on the main cast discovering evidence of another Smurf village somewhere in the Forbidden Forest. It's who these new Smurfs actually are that is in spoiler territory.
  • In Extinct (2021), Clarence is introduced as a friendly ally to Op and Ed, then turns out to be the Big Bad who orchestrated the Flummels' extinction.
  • In Lightyear, Zurg has a lot of spoilers surrounding his backstory, namely that he's an alternate timeline version of Buzz Lightyear.
  • In Turning Red, Ming's panda form is a spoiler along with the panda forms of Mei's grandma and aunties.
  • In Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, one of the villains chasing after Puss is a cloaked wolf who goes unnamed for much of the film. Advertising calls him The Big Bad Wolf, but he doesn't resemble the Big Bad Wolf, which is an example of Trailers Always Lie as the advertisers were attempting to hide his real identity. When he encounters Puss later in the film, he reveals he is Death - as in, The Grim Reaper himself (and he makes it very clear that he doesn't mean that as a threat, taking a few seconds to clarify that he means that quite literally) - and has come to murder Puss for believing himself to be immortal, letting the "legend" of his antics dictate his life. One you're at a certain point in the film, it becomes hard to talk about tropes related to Death without spoiling the fact that he's Death.

  • The Adventure Zone's Balance Arc has quite a few. It's safe to say that anyone involved with the IPRE is extremely spoiler-heavy, but especially:
    • Barry Bluejeans and Davenport, minor gag characters with seemingly no impact on the story at first glance, are nearly impossible to talk about without mentioning that they're respectively the Red Robe and the former captain of the IPRE.
    • John's mere existence is a threefold spoiler: the identity of the mysterious Big Bad, the fact that said Big Bad is sentient rather than a mindless malevolent force, and the true reason behind the protagonists' mission to reclaim the Relics.
    • Simply talking about Lup and her relation to other characters reveals nearly the entirety of the protagonists' spoiler-heavy backstory (which involves, among other things, the revelation that the Red Robes are good and a Genre Shift from high fantasy to a Space Opera.)
  • The Magnus Archives:
    • Saying anything about Jonah Magnus will inevitably lead to at least one of three things being spoiled: that he founded the Magnus Institute in service to Beholding, that he's currently possessing Elias Bouchard, or that he's been working throughout the series to cause the apocalypse, which he finally achieves at the end of Season 4.
    • To a lesser extent, it's impossible to talk about Oliver Banks without revealing that Antonio Blake (one of the earliest plot-relevant statement givers) is a fabricated persona.
  • The third season of Mission to Zyxx features Emperor Nermut Bundaloy, who by existing discloses that the Federated Alliance is overthrown and who Pleck is destined to combat for the freedom of the galaxy. Played with in that he's not that Nermut Bundaloy.
  • The Penumbra Podcast:
    • It's impossible to talk about Peter Nureyev without revealing the fact that he's also Rex Glass, and thus spoiling the First-Episode Twist that "secret agent" Rex Glass is actually a Con Man trying to steal from Juno.
    • Ramses O'Flaherty. He's introduced as a kindly mayoral candidate who hires Juno as a bodyguard... but his narrative importance comes from the fact that he's a) secretly evil and trying to mind-control the entirety of Hyperion City with the THEIA Soul and b) actually Jack Takano, the Northstar employee that ruined the Steel family's lives when Juno was four years old.

  • It is impossible to discuss the full importance of Baron Typhonus in Dino Attack RPG without revealing some major spoilers.
  • As of version 5, Tracen Danya has taken up this role in Survival of the Fittest, in that while he was mentioned as early as v1, it's hard to mention his current status without mentioning his taking up the mantle after his father (the Big Bad starting from v1) who died partway through v4.

  • The original West End version of the musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had several Canon Foreigner minor characters added to the first act — and one who seemed to be one. That would be the elderly tramp at the junkyard, who performs a small but vital role in encouraging Charlie Bucket to use some dropped money to buy a Wonka Bar that turns out to have the last Golden Ticket in it. In the show's final moments it's revealed that he was actually Willy Wonka in an elaborate Wig, Dress, Accent disguise, a big twist on the familiar story. Since the show did not Cast as a Mask, the tramp wasn't mentioned in the cast list, further concealing the spoiler to the casual observer. The subsequent Broadway Retool dropped this in favor of establishing at the top of the show that Wonka is heading out into the world King Incognito as a candy shop owner for Act One.
  • You can't really describe the plot of Finale without including the big reveal that the world is ending.
  • In Next to Normal, it's very hard to define Gabe Goodman's actions without revealing the fact that he's either a ghost or the hallucination that embodies Diana's grief over the death of the real Gabe.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, after Sweeney Todd comes ashore in London, he is approached by a half-mad, disheveled beggar woman that claims to recognise him. Later she shows up to tell Anthony about Joanna and Judge Turpin and makes herself a nuisance around the pie shop, babbling about the suspicious smoke and scent. It turns out that she is actually Sweeney's wife, Lucy, whom he was led to believe to have swallowed arsenic and died after being raped by Judge Turpin. Sweeney kills her when she wanders into his tonsorial parlour (and her past home) to get her out of the way before the Judge arrives. After he realises what he's done, he angrily confronts Mrs. Lovett, who admits she knew Lucy lived. In a rage, he throws Lovett into her own oven and holds Lucy one last time, before accepting death.

    • Mata Nui, two-fold: first, the story's biggest secret was that he was, in fact, the universe-sized robot that the first 8 years of storyline took place in/on. Second, he only came into the forefront as a character after being usurped by the Big Bad. By talking about him, you not only reveal his identity and nature but also that The Bad Guy Wins at the end of the first Myth Arc.
    • Velika becomes this after the Voya Nui arc is over, although it's sort of subverted as the revelation he was a Great Being and responsible for the problems with the Bota Magna group the murders Kopaka and Onewa were investigating were from Word of God.

    Web Animation 
  • In Grej, Cult Communalism is this as it’s impossible to mention anything about the character without revealing that Communalism transforms from a Token Good Teammate into an Ax-Crazy fanatic
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device packs a double punch at the end of Season Two with near-simultaneous arrival of Vulkan and Rogal Dorn, the latter of which comes pretty much out of nowhere.
  • Inanimate Insanity:
    • Pretty much everything about Taco is a major spoiler: her Obfuscating Stupidity for the entireity of Season 1 in order to gain viewer support, her true nature as a manipulative and snobby Evil Brit, her surprise return in Season 2, and her significance therein.
    • Once Steve Cobs reappears in Episode 13 of Season 2, he becomes this, as this and the following episode reveal him to be the Big Bad when he was merely a joke character in his first appearances.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • For characters who are this in The Recollection:
      • Tex, due to the reveal that she's the Beta A.I., as well as her connection to fellow Walking Spoiler Allison.
      • The original, human Allison is the biggest spoiler in the series, as she reveals the truth about Tex, the Director, and everyone caught in his plans.
    • For characters who are this in The Project Freelancer Saga:
      • Agent Carolina becomes this from this arc onward. Up until the final few seconds of Season 9, she was assumed to be dead, so her appearances in the present day are impossible to talk about without spoiling that she, in fact, is truly not dead at all.
      • The Blue Freelancer who participates in the assault on the Insurrectionist base is this, due to the reveal that he's actually Agent Florida, as well as the fact that his true identity is Captain Butch Flowers, retroactively painting the character in a much darker light.
    • For characters who are this in The Chorus Trilogy:
      • Felix is built up as a good guy, then he is revealed to be Evil All Along. The fact that his characterization does a near complete 180 after the reveal makes this even worse.
      • Control, the person who hired Locus and Felix to wipe out Chorus' people. It's a spoiler to even mention that they're part of a third party in the Chorus Civil War. And then there's the reveal that they're true identity is Chairman Hargrove, revealing him to be the Greater-Scope Villain for the entire series up to that point.
      • Mentioning Sharkface's appearance in this arc spoils the reveal that he survived his supposed death in The Project Freelancer Saga.
    • For characters who are this in The Shisno Trilogy:
      • The trilogy's first season parodies this with an ominous looking FOTUS soldier that turns out to be a process server... and plays this straight with the real villains, the Blues and Reds, specifically their leader, Temple, whose entire character is a major spoiler for the second half of the season.
      • The reveal in The Shisno Paradox that Genkins is The Dragon to Chrovos is a major spoiler. It gets even worse with the reveal in Singularity that he's a past version of Chrovos via a Stable Time Loop.
      • Similarly, Chrovos' mere existence spoils the reveal that Atlus isn't actually the season's Big Bad. And, as with Genkins, the reveal in Singularity that the two are the same person via a Stable Time Loop makes them an even bigger one.
  • Sam & Mickey have Barbie's personal assistant Tinka Reynolds, whose debut episode revealed her at the end as Barbie's presumed-dead sister Tutti, who suffered amnesia and gained new parents after Barbie's parents lost her.
  • Every single new character introduced in the Genesis Arc of SMG4 is this, three out of the four’s literal names are massive spoilers, and the other spoiling the nature of these already massive walking spoilers.

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Josh Sharman of Lightning Dust. His placement on the character page alone reveals his true status.
  • TV Tropes: In works pages, some tropes themselves in the right context are Walking Spoilers, such as some Death and Ending Tropes. For example, in a Character Page, seeing "Disney Death" under a certain character is almost a dead giveaway that they will survive at least one apparent death. Subverted Disney Deaths are possible, but not common.

    Web Videos 
  • Board James: Board James himself is this, because the Season 2 finale makes it hard to discuss him without revealing something terribly sinister about him.
  • Critical Role has several:
    • Probably the biggest is Taryon Derrington, whose very presence and who plays him spoils that Scanlan Shorthalt, Sam Riegel's previous character, left the party. Caduceus Clay serves as the same in the second campaign.
    • Kaylie is hard to talk about without revealing that she's Scanlan's daughter from a one-night stand and a major catalyst in his Character Development.
    • Cassandra de Rolo, Percy's sister, is impossible to talk about without spoiling something, especially since we're lead to believe she was just a Death by Origin Story. The fact that she's still alive is just the beginning though, she's also a Heel–Face Revolving Door.
    • Orthax, the Shadow Demon. Simply talking about him spoils that Percy's Sanity Slippage and Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Briarwoods is actually a case of Demonic Possession, that he's the real Final Boss of the Briarwood arc, and that Percy successfully overcomes his influence. Later reveals also show that he consumes the souls of everyone Percy kills, which puts all of Percy's earlier battles in a much darker light.
    • Anna Ripley is also difficult to talk about without revealing that Percy sparing her during the Briarwood arc had major consequences, with her coming back later on seeking the Vestiges, becoming the new host of Orthax, and her being the first villain to kill a party member. From the same arc, Kynan Leore was just introduced as a young Vox Machina fanboy earlier on, before coming back many episodes later working for Ripley.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • Malcolm's existence spoils the true nature of the Love Cult.
    • The appearance of the Puppeteers spoils the ending to the fourth.
    • It's hard to explain who the Cans are without spoiling the death of Duck Guy.
    • The other Red Guys seen in the sixth installment are impossible to discuss without spoiling Red Guy's escape.
    • The other teachers seen in the finale, to a lesser extent: discussing them reveals the true nature of the puppets' world... maybe.
  • Almost any rapper in Epic Rap Battles of History who arrives late in the battle, either to back up another rapper or take on both of the other participants at once. Usually, their mere existence is a spoiler.
  • In Mr. Buddy's "If England Was a Pokémon Region" video, Victoria of the region's Elite Four is difficult to talk about given that she's the one that gave Team Imperium the plan to awaken Toxygen and may also have had a role in the Australia region's story.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers: The villains for two of the arcs happen to be this:
    • Waluigi, who was previously depicted as just the sidekick to Wario, unlocks The Power of Rejection when trying to get into Smash, causes the T-Pose Virus outbreak, and eventually becomes one of the most powerful villains in the series.
    • Francis, the head of the Anime Cartel, becomes this after the anime ban is lifted, as he decides to kidnap Axol and take Inkweaver from him, then abduct all the Inklings in Inkopolis with the intent of harnessing their ink to create as many "anime waifus" as he pleases. His actions also cause the death of Desti and Meggy becoming human.
    • Videos in 2021 gave us two recurring characters that are fanatics of "4". In the 10th Anniversary Special, they're revealed to be SMG1 and SMG2, who came from a universe that was destroyed by a malevolent entity called Zero, and it turns out "4" means SMG4, who has some connection to them and hold the secret of his origins.
  • Doug Walker in To Boldly Flee. Not The Nostalgia Critic, Doug Walker. The Nostalgia Critic himself becomes this in post-To Boldly Flee canon (before he was Un-Canceled, of course).
  • Firebrand in Tribe Twelve. Assumed to be a malevolent member of collective, Firebrand's Heel–Face Turn in INTERCEPTION and reveal as a future/alternative timeline Noah make his identity a major spoiler.
  • Vinesauce Tomodachi Life has several:
    • Isaac is most famous for causing the game to crash when being added to the island, causing the birth of an Alternate Dimension and the earliest indication of Cerebus Syndrome.
    • HOTDOG is initially a fairly one-note character that gets removed very shortly after his initial appearance. Then he shows up again much later with no explanation, introducing Vinny's willingness to alter things off-screen (which shapes the entire plot not long after).
    • The Jahns are the most prevalent example — a lot of their character in the later part of the series is shaped by their race invading the island and enacting an Assimilation Plot.
  • Yandere High School has SirCutieYuki, who at the start of the series comes off as no different than most of the other students in Samgladiator's class, but much later is revealed to be the titular Yandere and responsible for all the deaths that happen in the series, plus being a Yakuza boss's daughter.
  • Similarly, MangoTango's Yandere Middle School has RicherKidRichard, who can only say "Yeah", but in the finale is revealed to be the one behind the deaths and disappearances in the series as well as an Omnicidal Maniac.