Toys That Completely Gave Away Movie Plot Points

When you're a kid, the only thing better than seeing a cool new blockbuster action, superhero, sci-fi, or fantasy movie is then being able to run to the store and beg your parents to buy toys based on that hot new property so that you can reenact the events of your favorite new film, possibly remixing it with other playsets and action figures you actually have available. When you're an adult, the effect is pretty similar, except after you beg your parents to buy you movie toys, you put them on a shelf still in the package instead of unboxing them and playing with them.

But what happens if you can't see the movie right away but you can't resist looking at the toys? Or worse, what if the toy line comes out way before the movie is even in theaters? Hopefully all that happens is your thirst for the movie is whetted so you're even more excited when you finally see it. But sometimes the toys totally ruin the movie they're supposed to be promoting by spoiling major plot points and, indeed, even the film's central mystery.

Here are some instances where a movie's plot was totally ruined by an action figure, LEGO set, or kids' meal toy. Watch out, though: If these toys haven't already spoiled these movies for you, this article definitely will.

Un-mask of the Phantasm

When you think about big-screen Batman adaptations, it's pretty easy to get caught up in Christopher Nolan's trilogy or the Burton/Schumacher tetralogy and forget about a film that is a legitimate contender for best Batman movie (after 1966's Batman: The Movie, of course): Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

Mask of the Phantasm came out in 1993 and was a feature-length, theatrical means of capitalizing on the popular and critical success of Batman: The Animated Series, which itself was the cartoon follow-up to a movie in which a mutant baby eats a cat. Phantasm tells two parallel stories: one of Bruce Wayne encountering his old love Andrea Beaumont, and one of Batman facing a new villain, the titular Phantasm. The central mystery of the film is the question of the Phantasm's identity, as the masked figure murders mob bosses and Batman gets blamed for it.

As Screen Rant points out, Warner Bros. went to great lengths to preserve the identity of the Phantasm, manipulating press releases and ensuring the ending wasn't leaked to the press. Too bad the action figure was packaged without the mask on, revealing that Andrea Beaumont was Phantasm all along. Apparently "removable mask" was a popular feature in action figures at the time, and clearly the best way to display that feature was to give away the big mystery of the movie it's supposed to be promoting. Though, really, the movie is just promoting the toys, so maybe it doesn't matter.

Blowing the queen's cover

Now, this doesn't sound right, but apparently they made more Star Wars movies after the third one in 1983. Again, it seems fake, but research suggests that in 1999 they accidentally released one about Darth Vader as a tow-headed toddler running around with a dude that somehow managed to be both a fish alien and a racist stereotype at the same time, just yelling "Yippee!" all over the galaxy. Apparently this movie was called The Phantom Menace, which also sounds fake but is, according to several sources, real.

If you take Comic Book Resources' word for it, one of the less racist new characters introduced in Phantom Menace is Padme, played by Natalie Portman and introduced as the handmaiden of the heavily made-up Queen Amidala, who is the queen ... of a planet? More fake-sounding stuff. An intended twist at the end of the film is that it turns out Padme was actually Amidala all along, just with normal human makeup instead of fancy space person makeup and her large and distracting space hat. Then apparently the audience is supposed to believe that this adult space queen falls in love with a "yippee"-shouting junkyard child with a bowl cut? Surely some vandal has defaced every Star Wars wiki plot summary, because this sounds terrible.

Anyway, the revelation of Padme's true identity is completely given away on the packaging for the figures for Padme and Queen Amidala, the latter of which features a completely un-made-up version that looks just like Padme changed clothes. Also, both packages feature strikingly similar photos of Natalie Portman.

Fill in the Blank

1990's Dick Tracy was an enormous success at the box office, thanks to powerhouse marketing and the surprisingly effective tactic of populating the film with well-known actors like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Mandy Patinkin, and Paul Sorvino, and then just completely burying them under grotesque makeup that does a good job of bringing the art from the original Chester Gould comic strip to life.

One star who wasn't done up in oversized eyebrows and teeth and what have you was Madonna, who instead put on her best Marilyn Monroe impersonation as nightclub vamp Breathless Mahoney, who was the femme fatale counterpoint to Tracy's long-standing steady Tess Trueheart, attempting to sway Tracy from the straight and narrow, and onto the, you know, curvy and hourglass-shaped.

Like Mask of the Phantasm, the big mystery of the film is the identity of the Blank, a faceless vigilante who is killing ugly gangsters like Pruneface. Also like Mask of the Phantasm, the action figure for the Blank has a removable mask that spoils the fact that the faceless man is actually the very-much-face-having Breathless Mahoney, as explained on Comic Book Resources. The similarity between the two mystery plots and the nature of their spoilers is weirdly similar. One difference, at least, is that you had to take the Blank out of the package before you could see that it was Breathless Mahoney under the mask, unlike Phantasm, where Andrea Beaumont's face was not even one little bit obscured by the blister pack.

Wonder Woman! Spoiler toys are waiting for you!

2017's Wonder Woman did a number of cool things. Of course it was a huge blockbuster smash starring a primarily female cast made by a female director, but it also made the cool creative decision to use Wonder Woman's first ever supervillain, Doctor Poison, as the villain in Wonder Woman's first ever movie. Can you imagine if the first film in a Superman franchise had the Man of Steel facing the Ultra-Humanite, or a Batman movie in which the first baddie he fights is the Monk? The answer is no, because movie Superman is condemned to only ever fight Lex Luthor and General Zod over and over until Earth's yellow sun expands and swallows us all.

However, it was reported a few months before Wonder Woman's release that maybe Doctor Poison wasn't the movie's big bad after all, and that Diana's final antagonist would actually be played by David Thewlis, otherwise best known as Harry Potter's closeted werewolf teacher/father surrogate. Fans might have wondered who this relatively small-framed actor might have played to oppose a mighty Amazon princess, but they didn't have to wonder long.

As Flickering Myth revealed months before the film's release, action figures previewed at the New York Toy Fair spoiled that Thewlis' character was actually the war god Ares in disguise. This meant that not only was the cool factor of Doctor Poison's appearance overshadowed by a large blue man, that overshadowing didn't even get to come as a surprise.

Well, the spoilers start coming and they don't stop coming

Somebody once told me that before Shrek was elected mayor-for-life of Memetown, it was actually a popular film that not only won the first ever Academy Award for best animated feature in 2001 (before Disney/Pixar basically took out a monopoly on that category for the rest of eternity) but also inspired sequels, spin-off specials, and a host of toys and merchandise.

The franchise is so ubiquitous in our culture now that it's hard to imagine there was ever a time that someone might not know the story of Shrek, but in 2001 it was true that no one knew how, for example, Shrek's relationship with Princess Fiona would turn out. Unless, of course, they went to Burger King.

As related by The Gamer, the first Shrek film was promoted by a line of Burger King Kids' Meal toys that featured nine different key-ring toys, including "Shrek's Pop-Up Picnic" (which featured a bunch of bugs popping up so Shrek could eat them), "Milk Shakin' Gingerbread Man" (which implies the milk-drowning and later consumption of a sentient cookie man), and "Wisecrackin' Donkey," which was a donkey with a moving jaw so you can imagine the voice of Eddie Murphy being funny for the last time in his career. Unfortunately, it also included "Magic Makeover Fiona," a toy in which Princess Fiona transforms into an ogre, which is pretty much the resolution of the whole first film's plot. Whoever made that decision wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

Lotso spoilers

2010's Toy Story 3 was an enormous box office and critical success, not only becoming the highest-grossing film in the series but also getting nominated for the best picture Oscar, and not even the animated one. The regular people one! Part of how the movie managed to maintain its appeal even as the third film in a franchise was by changing the formula. The previous owner of our beloved snake-booted cowboy and infinity-beyonding spaceman gave away his collection, moving them to a new location and allowing for the introduction of new characters such as Mr. Pricklepants and the fluffy, pink Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, better known as Lotso.

The movie eventually reveals that the seemingly pleasant Lotso actually lords over the daycare like a dictator, and the emotional climax of the film features Lotso trying to kill the toys we've been following for three films now by dropping them in an incinerator. It's a huge, powerful, frightening scene.

But as NME points out, the LEGO set put out alongside the film called "Trash Compactor Escape" reveals not only that Lotso is the villain of the film by giving him an evil grin and showing him pushing the button to activate the compactor on the front of the box, but also gives away how the toys escape by showing the alien toys rescuing them with a crane. You would think a movie series literally about the power that toys have in our lives would be more conscientious about their toy releases, but apparently not.

Everyone is bears

When the trailers for Disney/Pixar's 2012 film Brave hit, they did a good job of getting across that the movie was a beautiful adventure tale about an unconventional Scottish princess who clashes with her more traditional mother about the fact that she would rather ride horses and shoot arrows than get married to one of a series of increasingly terrible yet eligible sons of clan leaders. The trailers also did an exceptional job of hiding what the movie was really about: bears, and the fact that seemingly 60 percent of the characters get turned into bears.

Sure, Merida is seen encountering a bear, implied to be the one that took her father's leg, at a stone circle in the forest, but there's no hint that the movie's central plot would be about how the queen and young triplet princes got changed into bears by magical means. A very furry bait and switch.

Since the trailer didn't give any of that information away, the only way you could have known this plot prior to the movie's release was the toys. As CinemaBlend correctly surmised in 2012, the bear-transformation plot was revealed by such toys as a plush young prince that could be made into a bear by turning him inside-out and a figurine of a large, feminine bear wearing the queen's tiara and described on the packaging as having "a royal penchant for bear hugs." Fans shouldn't have to bear having the movie spoiled that way.

Which witch's mug is on the witch's mug

2013's Oz the Great and Powerful is the kind of prequel that relies on an audience's familiarity with the original movie to build tension. If you've seen the original 1939 Wizard of Oz (and what kind of monster hasn't?), when you see James Franco's Oscar Diggs encounter three witches in Oz and one of them is explicitly named Glinda, you should automatically start being suspicious about the other two. However, the film tries to preserve the mystery and lead into a story you know very well by presenting Mila Kunis' character, Theodora, as a good witch. Additionally, the film's marketing tried to create some ambiguity about whether Theodora or Rachel Weisz's Evanora would turn out to be the Wicked Witch of the West, one of the most iconic movie villains of all time.

Then they went and blew it on a mug. As Bleeding Cool pointed out in 2013, the Disney Store released a mug featuring Mila Kunis in the trademark black conical hat and robes, surrounded by flying monkeys and summoning a fireball in her hand. Oh yeah, and also it just straight up says "Wicked Witch of the West" on it. Mystery ... solved?

Sure, you might argue, but how many kids — presumably the target demographic of this movie — are going to get spoiled by looking at coffee mugs? Kids don't like coffee; they like Nesquik and Juicy Juice. Don't worry: They released a doll set that also ruined this twist.

Spoilers, uhhhhhhh, find a way

The original 1993 Jurassic Park asks, "What if there were a park made of dinosaurs?" The 2015 sequel Jurassic World says, "Parks are for idiots and babies. What if the whole world was made of dinosaurs? And what if Johnny Karate fought them on a motorcycle?" It also dares to put forth the proposition that if a Tyrannosaurus rex is scary, it would be even scarier if it also looked like a ghost and a skeleton that had invisibility powers for some reason.

This proposition was carried out in the form of a newly minted, genetically modified dinosaur called Indominus rex, whose name cavalierly scoffs at the rules of both binomial taxonomic nomenclature and the Latin language. Anyway, it's a big spooky white dinosaur that mixes the deadliest elements of all the deadliest dinosaurs plus also a cuttlefish, and it's the biggest big bad in the movie. It's so bad that the velociraptors, the scariest species from the first movie, team up with FBI agent Burt Macklin to kill it, like how the X-Men and Magneto put aside their differences to fight Colonel Stryker in X2.

Anyway, the reveal of the spooky ghost dinosaur is a big thing for the movie, and it would be really terrible if the drama of that reveal was undercut by, say, the look of Indominus being given away in the cutest possible form, i.e., a LEGO set, right? Well, as the BBC reported in 2015, that's exactly what happened.

I ain't afraid of no spoilers

Opinions were — to put it mildly — somewhat divided on 2016's Ghostbusters reboot. Some fans were excited to see an action comedy driven by a cast of women, or found themselves experiencing strange new feelings looking at Kate McKinnon's character, Jillian Holtzmann. On the other hand, there was a very loud, very sad, very angry army of dudes who were quite vocally concerned that a Ghostbusters installment in which more than one woman has a speaking role might forever tarnish their memories of a film in which Dan Aykroyd gets to third base with a ghost.

Anyway, whatever your final thoughts on the movie, it's hard to argue that one of the high points of the film was Chris Hemsworth's character, Kevin, who is the team's secretary, and who, like Michelangelo's David, is both beautifully chiseled and has a head full of rocks. It's bad enough that the Thor movies had to show that Hemsworth was unattainably handsome, but Ghostbusters proved that he's a deft and effortless hand at comedy, too. Completely unfair.

At one point, Kevin gets possessed by an evil ghost and opens a portal releasing countless restless spirits into the city. And if you were boycotting the movie because girls make you mad, good news: You don't even have to see the movie to find this out. As Nerdist reported in 2016, a LEGO set based on the film features a Kevin toy with a reversible face, one side of which shows him in possessed mode, completely giving away that particular plot point.