Movie trailers are out of control these days. It used to be that a few months before a film was released, the studio would throw together some footage that explained the plot of the film, showed the actors and gave a sense as to what the tone of the movie would be. With the rise of comic book movies, however, has also come the rise of the event trailer. Comic book fans love to rewatch trailers over and over again, analyzing every frame and going over every detail. Studios have recognized this, and now trailers have almost become mini-movies themselves.
One of the downsides to this, however, is that trailers sometimes tell a different story than the movie they’re promoting. Studios either create a shot specifically for the trailer, or take several shots out of context to create a new narrative. On the other hand, sometimes trailers deceive audiences on purpose, in order to surprise them with a twist when the actual movie comes out. They might also alter scenes from the film in order to avoid spoiling a major event in the film. So, not all of these examples are intended to complain, but instead meant to serve as a reminder: never trust a trailer.
15. MOST OF THE JUSTICE LEAGUE TRAILERS
The first teaser trailer for Justice League (2017) premiered during SDCC 2016, a year and a half before the movie was eventually released. Several other trailers were released, each one featuring major scenes that were nowhere to be found when the film hit theaters.
Scenes showing a conversation between Bruce and Diana about Aquaman turning down league membership, Flash bursting through a window, Cyborg in his pre-transformation days and Superman revealing himself to Alfred were all promised, but didn’t appear anywhere in the film. While it’s understandable that scenes from the earliest trailers might’ve been cut, trailers released much closer to the film’s final release date included some of this cut footage. It just makes it clear that the studio had no idea what the final movie would be until the very last minute.
14. TONY STARK STARRING IN SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
After Spider-Man was introduced into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War (2016) as Tony Stark’s “intern,” it was clear that Iron Man was going to play a part in a Spidey solo film. When the trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) first started getting released, Tony Stark appeared to be a main character. In fact, it seemed like the plot was going to revolve around him just as much as it would Peter Parker. Shots of Iron Man and Spider-Man flying/swinging through the city together were prominently featured, suggesting that the two would team up at one point.
Of course, this wasn’t the case. Tony Stark only briefly appeared in the film. Spidey and Iron Man never went on a tour of Queens together. While this was good news for Spider-Man fans, anyone who went to the movie looking for Iron Man would’ve been extremely disappointed.
13. THE TRUTH ABOUT PETER’S PARENTS
When Sony decided to reboot the Spider-Man film series with 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, they made a clean break from the previous movies. While promoting the new series, however, they oddly decided to market it as “the untold story,” implying that it was somehow expanding on the origin. When the trailers were released, they implied that the “untold story” was the secret history of Peter’s parents.
In fact, one trailer even showed the villainous Curt Connors sneering “You want to know the truth about your parents? Come and get it!” The movie, however, isn’t about Peter’s parents, and no major secrets are revealed about them. The plot is actually about Curt Connors trying to turn the city into lizard people, and the romance between Peter and Gwen Stacy.
12. BRUCE’S SPEECH FROM BATMAN BEGINS
After Batman and Robin (1997) turned Batman into a neon light filled slapstick, fans couldn’t wait for Christopher Nolan’s dark and realistic take on the character in Batman Begins (2005). When the first trailer dropped, it featured shots of Bruce Wayne traveling the world, while delivering this speech about darkness and fear. He discussed his parents death, and delivered this bone chilling line: “There is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge… me.”
Reportedly, this speech was written specifically for the teaser, which is a shame, because it’s amazing. While Batman Begins was still a great movie, this speech only could’ve made it better. Also, Christian Bale delivered it in his Bruce Wayne voice, as opposed to his Batman growl, which is always a plus.
11. THE THING’S MILITARY ATTACK
It’s clear that a lot of behind the scenes meddling took place on Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four (2015), as the final movie is a mess. Scenes that were obviously reshot and don’t match the original take stick out, and they don’t always match the narrative of the rest of the film. One of the main issues with the movie is that there’s barely any action, which is strange because the trailer included several shots of the Thing dropping into and taking out a military base.
In the theatrical cut of the movie, these shots briefly appear on a monitor, and the attack is only briefly referenced. It’s clear, however, that this scene was filmed and meant to play in the movie. It’s a shame, because even if the effects weren’t great, it still probably would’ve worked better than another random scene of characters standing around talking.
10. SUICIDE SQUAD VS THE JOKER
During the lead-up to Suicide Squad (2016), trailers sold Jared Leto’s Joker as either the main villain of the film, or at least a major antagonist. It wasn’t exactly clear how he fit into the plot, but the heavy emphasis on the clown prince of crime made it appear that the Suicide Squad was going to be dispatched to take out one of DC’s most fearsome villains.
Of course, that ended up not being the case, and it probably can’t be chalked up to last minute cuts. The Enchantress served as the film’s antagonist, and the Joker was only a peripheral character. While Leto claimed a lot of his scenes were cut, it’s still unlikely that he was ever going to be a major part of the film. The trailers were clearly just taking advantage of the Joker being a much more popular and recognizable character than the Enchantress.
9. THOR: RAGNAROK CHANGES LOCATIONS
This is one case where a trailer lying to the audience was actually beneficial. During the finale of Thor:Ragnarok (2017), Thor loses an eye and is permanently scarred for the rest of the film. While the trailers included some shots from the finale, specifically Thor utilizing his newfound thunder powers. These shots were altered, however, to make it appear that Thor still had two eyes (adding an eye is easier than shaving Superman’s mustache).
The trailer also showed Loki being a little more active during the final battle, showing him tossing knives up in the air while chaos erupts around him. It’s not clear where this would’ve fit in the final scene, which mainly plays Loki’s last minute involvement in the fight for laughs. Lastly, the first trailer showed Hela destroying Mjolnir in an alleyway, as opposed to in the middle of a field like in the theatrical movie.
8. DRAX IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’S LINE UP
Before becoming one of Marvel’s most successful properties, the Guardians of the Galaxy were basically an unknown property. When it came time to promote the film, the teasers wisely decided to begin by introducing the team. This was done by showing a scene where the Guardians have been arrested and being processed by the Nova Corps. Each character’s rap sheet is detailed, while they’re shown standing in a line up together.
While this was a great way to show the audience who everyone was, it also implied that the character’s were a team at this point. Not only were they not working together yet, Drax wasn’t even in this scene. He’s introduced slightly later in the film, as a prisoner who was seemingly arrested much earlier than his future comics.
7. IRON MAN 2 HELMET KISS
The first Iron Man (2008) movie introduced the Tony Stark and Pepper Potts relationship with a “will they/won’t they” dynamic. It’s clear that the characters had chemistry and feelings for each other, but the film ended with them not getting together. Fans were anxious to see how this would play out in the film’s sequel, which was released in 2010. From the first trailer, a closer relationship was immediately teased.
Before jumping out of a plane, an armor wearing Tony Stark asks Pepper for a kiss before donning his helmet. Instead, she kisses his helmet and then tosses it out of the plane, forcing Tony to dive after it. It was a cute moment, but not only did it not appear in the film, in the scene where it was supposed to happen, Tony was vomiting from poisoning the entire time.
6. ALSO, PEPPER DIDN’T EVEN KISS TONY IN IRON MAN
Remember that “will they/won’t they” dynamic between Tony and Pepper previously mentioned from the first Iron Man (2008)? Well, according to the trailer, the answer was “yes, they definitely do.” Among shots of Tony partying and Iron Man zipping around the world to some classic rock jams, there’s a shot of Pepper passionately grabbing Tony and pulling him in for a kiss.
In the actual film, however, this shot doesn’t exist. It seems to be an alternate take from the balcony scene, where Tony and Pepper have a romantic moment and awkwardly almost kiss. Of course, Tony runs off to get another drink, and then finds out that Stark weapons are being sold to terrorists, forcing him to leave the party and forgetting all about poor Pepper on the balcony.
5. A HELICARRIER CRASHES
When The Avengers (2012) introduced S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying helicarrier as its base of operations, every fan knew that it was going to crash at some point. Helicarriers have crashed a few times in the comics, and there was no way that Marvel wasn’t going to not include a visually spectacular moment like that in its movies. The fan predictions were seemingly clarified when the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) dropped, showing the helicarrier crashing into Washington DC.
Then, the movie came out and revealed that this wasn’t actually THE helicarrier. It was actually one of three smaller, unmanned helicarriers. While it wasn’t technically a lie, it wasn’t the huge moment the trailers were promising. It would be like if the trailers showed Cap getting blown up, only for the movie to reveal that it was an imposter wearing the suit at the time.
4. LOKI DOESN’T KNOW THE DARK ELVES
After the events of The Avengers (2012), Loki was rightfully locked up in an Asgardian prison. The character was popular among moviegoers, however, so Marvel wanted to bring him back. Thor: The Dark World (2013) presented Loki and Thor as reluctant allies, teaming up against the larger threat of the dark elves. Fans were curious as to what could make Thor desperate enough to trust Loki, a murderer and attempted despot.
The trailer showed a scene where, while discussing the dark elves with Heimdall, Thor states that only one person knows of this mysterious enemy. Loki’s laugh is then heard, basically stating that Loki has some sort of connection to the villains. The real reason, however, was that the elves killed Frigga, Thor and Loki’s mom. The only info Loki had that Thor needed was a secret passage out of Asgard, which had nothing to do with the elves.
3. AGE OF ULTRON WAS FULL OF TRAILER SHOTS
Sometimes, a trailer can show scenes that are actually included in the movie and still be full of lies. Age of Ultron (2015) is a perfect example of this. The trailer, which was mostly James Spader delivering a sinister monologue as Ultron over footage from the movie, included two notably shocking scenes. The first was Thor attacking Tony Stark, lifting him up by the neck. The second, crazier shot, was of Captain America’s shield, laying shattered on the ground.
The Thor/Stark confrontation did occur in the film, but was just a very brief moment that didn’t lead to any major conflict between the two characters, and seemed like a somewhat random moment. Cap’s shattered shield, however, only appeared as part of a dream sequence/hallucination. It seems like both of these shots were filmed specifically for the trailer, to suggest that the movie would have larger stakes.
2. SPIDER-MAN WEBS A HELICOPTER UP
It might seem crazy now, but there was a time when fans weren’t sure that Spider-Man could even be pulled off in a live action movie. It wasn’t until the first teaser trailer for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) that it became clear that Sony had figured out a way to bring the iconic character to life. During the teaser, a group of crooks rob a bank and make their escape on a helicopter, when they’re suddenly snagged by something and end up stuck on a web hanging between the Twin Towers.
The footage was released before the September 11th attacks, and was pulled after the tragic events of that day. Many assumed this was the reason the scene didn’t appear in the final film. It was later revealed, however, that it was never intended to actually be in the movie, and the iconic scene was created specifically for the teaser.
1. THE AVENGERS TRAILER DECLARES WAR
After falling into the abyss in Thor (2011), Loki returned in The Avengers (2012), leading an army known as the Chitari to invade Earth. The stakes were huge, which is why all of the heroes had to come together to defeat him. Nick Fury even called Loki’s actions a declaration of war on the planet Earth. The film ends with the Chitari army attacking NYC, and the Avengers coming together to repel their forces.
Of course, that’s not the story the trailers promised. The trailers opened with footage of the attack on NYC, with a voiceover of Nick Fury claiming that war had been declared. It appeared as if New York getting attacked was the opening of the film, and was the event that kicked everything off. Instead of a whole movie of war, The Avengers was mostly heroes bickering before one major battle.
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