The toys that ruined movies

Merchandise should come with a spoiler alert.

Film companies are extra careful to keep plot details for their movies tightly under wraps. After all, if the big twist is revealed, who will pay to see it?

However, studios also know tie-in-toys are big business (see ‘Star Wars’), so they must give toy companies plot details early enough for them to get the plastic tat into production.

[Related story: Threequels that outshone the original]
[Related story: Batman fans build real-life Tumbler]

If history has taught us anything, it’s that toy manufacturers are less than fastidious about revealing vital nuggets of plot info, usually at toy fairs when they’re selling the stuff.

In the days of smart phone cameras, these will always end up online, and show up on film blogs. Like this stuff...

***Warning: Ironically, this feature contains spoilers***

The movie: Iron Man 3
The toy: Malibu Mansion Attack
Lego managed to spoilt two separate set-pieces for ‘Iron Man 3’ month’s ahead of the film’s release. They released a green-faced Aldrich Killian figure - hinting that the scientist would abuse the Extremis virus, and their ‘Malibu Mansion Attack’ set also let slip that Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts would wear the Iron Man suit.

The movie: The Amazing Spider-Man
The toy: Oscorp Tower Battle
Laying off the Lego, imitation brick brand Mega Bloks unintentionally confirmed the rumour that web slinging reboot ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ would feature multiple lizard-like characters. With reports of police-playing stuntmen spending hours in make-up to look “reptilian”, the badass sounding “S.W.A.T. Lizards” story began circulating. Then, lo and behold, the scale-covered characters appear word-for-word on the front of a Mega Bloks set box.

The movie: Man Of Steel
The toy: Superman Exploders
Despite dissecting every second of every trailer for Zack Snyder’s fast approaching ‘Man Of Steel’, not much has been given away about Michael Shannon’s furious-faced villain General Zod. In particular what he’ll do to humanity for them to need saving by Supes. But thanks to a leaked in-house promo vid for the deceptively named ‘Exploder toys’, we can now guess Zod’s attack on Earth involves a “robot army” and the previously rumoured Black Zero spaceship, complete with the generic-sci-fi named “Gravity Beam”. Let’s see…

The movie: Oz The Great And Powerful
The toy: Wicked Witch Of The West Mug (OK, technically not a toy)
Disney teased ‘Oz’ with a string of ambiguous character posters and trailers, keeping us on our toes about just who the real Wicked Witch was in Sam Raimi’s reboot. Was it Mila Kunis? Rachel Weisz or even Michelle Williams? Still, all fingers were firmly pointed at the villain-potential of Weisz. And they would have remained so until you took a trip to the Disney Store, and spotted a decorative mug printed “Wicked Witch Of The West”, sporting Mila’s distinctly evil face staring straight back at you.

The movie: The Dark Knight Rises
The toy: Mysterious action figure
No one knew how Christopher Nolan’s epic interpretation of Batman would come to an end. Then two months before the release of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, pics of the accompanying action figure range appeared online with a second Batsuit-clad character behind the hero himself. Was it a special toy-only variant of The Caped Crusader? Or, was the DC hero actually getting a sidekick? Fans took an educated guess at Joseph Gordon-Levitt filling the supporting suit (possibly even as Azrael from the ‘Knightfall’ comics), and although we never actually saw how his kitted-out character looked in the movie, the Batman-passing-the-flame-on-plot was already blown.

The movie: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
The toy: The Fallen figure
The brooding sounding “Fallen” of Michael Bay’s ‘Transformers 2’ title seemed to be a reference to the defeated Decepticons from the first movie. But what fools we were. A mean looking model of a mysterious toy robot later surfaced in China, actually named “The Fallen”. Turns out the reveal of the robot movie was in fact an ancient mechanical menace known as... The Fallen.

The movie: Avengers Assemble
The toy: Mighty Battle board game
Joss Whedon’s epic Avengers team-up was going to be an unstoppable force of awesome. So they’d need some fairly worthy opponents too. Tom Hiddleson’s Nordic villain Loki was a given, but when a set of alien-figures appeared in ‘The Avengers’ Mighty Battle’ board game, we discovered there was an entire army coming for Captain America & Co.. Although the tiny toy characters (for some reason bright pink) turned out to be members of Marvel’s infamous Skrull race, the aliens that actually assault New York in the movie were dubbed “Chitauri”. Now there’s a (rather geeky) debate about whether the Skrull technically ARE the Chitauri, but still, the board game blew the extraterrestrial invasion finale months before we saw the movie.