Ever since Kenner replicated its success with the Star Wars films by acquiring the license to produce Batman action figures to tie in with the release of the 1989 Batman film, superhero movies have been forever linked to tie-in releases of action figures and other licensed toys. These toys serve as not only a significant source of revenue to the studio behind the films, but they also work as marketing for the film. These toys are almost always released before the movie to get fans really pumped up about the film’s release, so the toys will be on the shelves already when fans go to see the film. The downside, of course, is that releasing the toys ahead of time can often give away some of the plot points of the films.
In recent years, the coverage of superhero movies has increased to the point where there are dozens of, in effect, amateur detectives on the hunt for spoilers in every new toy release. As such, it is hard to hide spoilers from fans when toys are released. However, at the same time, all of this detective work sometimes goes awry when fans read too much into certain toys and think they are spoilers when they really aren’t. Here are 15 toys that people thought spoiled superhero movies but they really didn’t.
15. IRON MAN MEETS THE GUARDIANS
A year before the release of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy film, Marvel relaunched the comic book series starring the characters. This series made a notable change to the lineup of the team by having Iron Man join the group while he was on a journey in outer space. He wore a unique outer space armor in the series. When the toys first came out for Guardians of the Galaxy, one of them was an Iron Man toy wearing that very same armor.
This, of course, led to rumors that Iron Man would team-up with the Guardians in the film, but that did not come to pass. In fact, Iron Man has yet to even meet any of these cosmic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.
14. THE JOKER WARS A BATMAN SUIT
Perhaps the most widely-covered “spoiler” on this list was when this Joker collectible figure was released before Suicide Squad came out and everyone lost their collective minds. Soon, everyone believed that the Joker would dress in a Batman costume in the upcoming film.
This one, though, is a bit of a tricky situation. Here, it technically is a spoiler that did not come true, because the Joker did not wear a Batman suit in the actual film. However, they cut lots of scenes in the making of Suicide Squad, and the character who saw the most scenes cut was the Joker by a wide margin, as the film moved from him being a main character to him being more of a side character. Thus, he likely did dress in said suit at some point, just not in the actual film.
13. NO SERIOUSLY, IRON MAN MEETS THE GUARDIANS
Perhaps the reason why the rumors that Iron Man would cross over with the Guardians of the Galaxy were so persistent is due to another toy that was released a year earlier than the Guardians of the Galaxy toys. For the 2013 film, Iron Man 3, among the many figures that Funko produced to tie in with the film, one was a “Deep Space Suit” Iron Man armor.
Since Funko had spoiled so many other films over the years (and in the years since), it seemed likely that this would really appear in the film. This, then, led to the rumor that Iron Man needed a deep space suit because he was going into outer space to go meet the Guardians of the Galaxy! That was not to be and the armor did not appear in the film at all.
12. ROBIN TEAMS UP WITH BATMAN
While Robin eventually showed up in the third film in the series of Batman films that began in 1989, he was routinely included as a possible addition to both of the first two films. Things got so far as to actually having Marlon Wayans cast as a possible Robin for Batman Returns. However, things changed and the Robin character was dropped.
When the toys for Batman Returns were released, though, and Robin was included? That led to many fans believing that Robin would still somehow make an appearance. The figure also led to a bit of a mystery about the haircut on the toy — was it meant to look like Marlon Wayans (only then painted white?) or was it based on the haircut that Tim Drake was rocking in the comic books of the era?
11. ALEXANDER PIERCE IS THE RED SKULL
Whenever a major actor signs on for a mysterious role in a superhero movie and the role is of a character that basically no one has ever heard of, there is always the possibility that the obscure name is being used because it is a fake name meant to disguise the fact that the actor has really signed on to play a more famous villain. Those were the sorts of questions being thrown about when Robert Redford was cast as Alexander Pierce in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
When a Red Skull action figure was offered as part of the Captain America: Winter Soldier toy line, people began to theorize that Pierce would be revealed to secretly be the Red Skull in disguise! That, of course, did not come to pass — Alexander Pierce actually was just Alexander Pierce.
10. LUTHOR FIGHTS BATMAN AND SUPERMAN
When it came to the toy tie-ins for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the toymakers must have had a lot of fun messing with fan’s minds, because their toy line included two Lex Luthor figures — one of them was a legitimate spoiler for the film and the other was not. The actual spoiler was that they showed Lex Luthor in a prison jumpsuit with handcuffs on (and a bald head, to boot!).
The spoiler that turned out to be bogus was that a three-pack was sold with Batman, Superman and Lex Luthor and Luthor was wearing a power suit in the three-pack, similar to the power suit that he wore in the comics, which made it seem like a believable turn of events in the film that Luthor might turn to an armor to take the fight directly to the heroes. He did not, though.
9. NOVA MEETS THE GUARDIANS
In the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, a key part of the movie are the Nova Corps, the police force of the Nova Empire. The Corps helped defend Xandar at the end of the film until the Guardians could find a way to save the day (their slaughter led to the film having one of the largest death tolls of any superhero film). However, the Nova Corps in the film are traditional cops, unlike the Nova Corps in the comic books.
So, when an action figure of Richard Rider, Nova, was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy toy line, there was hope from fans that Rider or any other traditional version of Nova (like Sam Alexander, the current Nova), would make an appearance. It was not to be.
8. HANK PYM AND SCOTT LANG TEAM-UP!
Over the last decade or so, Lego has really begun to master the art of the dramatic scene for their play sets. They will pick a scene from a movie and then recreate it in Legos. Sometimes, though, these scenes aren’t actually from the movie. Enough of them are from the actual movies that whenever new play sets are released as part of a movie tie-in, people try to learn new things from the scenes as described in the sets.
This was how fans came to believe that Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, would team up with the Scott Lang, the new Ant-Man, at some point in the Ant-Man film, because that is just what was depicted on the Ant-Man Lego play set. While they worked together in the film, they did not fight alongside each other.
7. DARKHAWK IS IN GUARDIANS 2
The simple truth, and the reason why there is so much confusion about characters making appearances in superhero movies, is that when toy tie-ins are released for superhero movies, they intentionally look to the comic books, as well, so that they can expand the variety of the toys being offered. That is why both Space Armor Iron Man and Nova were included in the original Guardians of the Galaxy toy line.
That, also, is why Darkhawk was a part of the toy line for the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Darkhawk was briefly roped into Marvel’s cosmic series of stories (Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.) and since he looks so cool, it was only natural that they’d make a toy out of him. So many fans wondered if he was going to be in the second Guardians film, though, that James Gunn had to outright say, “Nope, he’s not.”
6. SUPERMAN’S ADVENTURE ON KRYPTON
This one is a bit tricky. When the toy line for Superman Returns came out, one of the toys showed Superman wearing a silver suit and the figure specifically notes that it is his space suit. This led to rumors that there was going to be an extended sequence in the film showing Superman on an adventure in outer space before he ultimately returned to Earth.
As it turned out, that actually was filmed as part of the movie, but it was then cut from the movie because it was already quite long. However, at least the silver space suit did briefly appear when Superman crash lands back on Earth near his mother’s farm in Smallville. So, just like Joker’s bat suit, it’s technically not a spoiler because it wasn’t in the final film, but it’s still pretty close, because it was actually filmed!
5. IRON MAN FIGHTS THE MANDARIN IN IRON MAN 3
The Lego play sets for Iron Man 3 were fascinating since you could figure out the end of the movie if you did a little bit of sleuthing, as one set came with a figure who was infected by the Extremis virus and another set had Aldrich Killian, and Killian looked just like the guy who was infected with the Extremis virus, so you could figure out that Aldrich Killian was going to end up being infected by the Extremis virus.
However, while those two sets were giving fans real spoilers, the third one showed Iron Man fighting Mandarin (who is operating some sort of… vacuum device?!) and that is plainly not a spoiler since the big twist in the film is that the Mandarin is a fake, with Killian using an actor to pretend to be the Mandarin, to put a face on their villainous organization.
4. AZRAEL REPLACES BATMAN IN DARK KNIGHT RISES
This one was always a stretch. Just like how Marvel’s superhero action figures will often go to the comic book world for extra toys for their movie tie-in lines, so, too, has Batman’s movie toy tie-in lines always included a multitude of Batman variations that clearly had no involvement in the actual film. They’re just meant to be cool-looking Batman figures.
Therefore, when a Stealth Batman figure was sold alongside Bane to tie in with The Dark Knight RIses, it did not mean that there was going to be a Stealth Batman in the movie. Instead, though, fans theorized that the “Stealth Batman” was secretly the film’s version of Azrael (the hero who took over from Batman when Bane broke Batman’s back) and that someone (perhaps Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s mysterious new character, John Blake) would take over after Bane broke Batman’s back in the film.
3. SPIDER-MAN FIGHTS SWAT LIZARDS
As noted before, a key way that superhero films are spoiled nowadays from toy lines is that Lego releases play sets featuring scenes from the movie. As it turned out, though, that was also what Mega Bloks did when the Mattel competitor to Lego in the “construction toy” market got the license to make toys based on the Amazing Spider-Man film.
At one point in the film, the Lizard turns some members of the New York Police Department’s SWAT team into lizard-like creatures, as well. However, they never actually fight Spider-Man, which is what many people guessed would happen in the film based on this Mega Bloks toy set showing a SWAT Lizard as one of the bad guys that Spider-Man fights in the scene, which allegedly tied in with the film.
2. THE SKRULLS ARE IN AVENGERS
In a huge development for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel finally got the rights to use Skrulls in their films, beginning with the upcoming Captain Marvel film (which will be set in the past). The shape-shifting alien villains are a big part of Marvel’s history but were seemingly off limits for Marvel for the Avengers due to rights issues. So instead, the Chitauri, an alien race from the Ultimate Universe, showed up as the alien bad guys in the Avengers film.
Fans kept waiting, though, for either the Skrulls to show up or for the Chitauri to be revealed as secretly being Skrulls. The confusion was aided by a Skrull soldier action figure that was released as part of the Avengers toy line, despite the toy line also having a Chitauri solider figure, as well!
1. AYESHA IS THE MAIN VILLAIN OF GUARDIANS 2
The second Guardians of the Galaxy film saw its plot covered with a whole lot of secrecy, especially regarding who the ultimate villain would be in the film (as it turned out, the identity of the villain was uncovered through a toy two-pack of Star-Lord and Ego that spoke of their diametrically oppositional viewpoints). Thus, it was only natural that fans would guess that the character of Ayesha would play a big role.
On the one hand, she was the only villain already revealed before the film came out and on the other hand, she was shown fighting the entire Guardians of the Galaxy in this Lego play set. As it turned out, though, Ayesha was a relatively minor villain in the film (she was mostly used to push the plot of the film along).
Which fake spoiler are you most upset turned out to be fake? Let us know in the comments section!
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