5 Utterly Dumb Ways Stories Were Spoiled By Creators
Thanks to the Internet's obsession with spoiling every movie/show/game months before they debut, big-budget productions operate with Manhattan-Project-level secrecy. They keep scripts in locked rooms surrounded by layers of security, and even use secret electronic watermarks to track down the sources of leaks and presumably murder them in their sleep.
That's why it's bizarre to see how, after all that trouble, the studios will sometimes turn around and spoil that shit anyway. Like when ...
The Walking Dead's Facebook Page Spoiled Beth's Death For The West Coast
Seeing as how witnessing characters getting killed off without notice is the primary appeal of watching The Walking Dead (it's right there in the title!), you'd think AMC would be a little more careful about premature spoilers. Yet we've previously talked about how a DVD promo advertised "Shane's last episode" weeks before that episode actually aired. And much like the show's characters, no one learned any lessons from that mistake.
This time, it was with the young Beth Greene, who's introduced in season two and survives all sorts of bullshit in seasons three and four, just to get anticlimactically killed off in season five when she learns that stabbing an angry, gun-toting woman in the shoulder with tiny scissors is a bad apocalypse survival strategy. As soon as the episode aired, Walking Dead mourned its dead the only way people know how in the 21st Century: with a needlessly filtered Instagram photo.
"We'll never forget you or your ridiculously large belt."
That would have been fine if whatever intern is in charge of The Walking Dead's Facebook page understood the concept of time zones. The show aired on the East Coast two hours before it reached the West (one hour before central), and that touching tribute was uploaded immediately after the credits rolled. So all those Californians who idly checked their Facebook feed while waiting for the episode to reach them had it spoiled. They responded with their own photos and impact font:
"Well, West Coast, no one is making your dumb asses live in the past."
Nameless AMC Intern #27 quickly realized their mistake and pulled the photo, but it still appeared in people's feeds thanks to Facebook's algorithms and other people sharing it to make fun of it. That left the Walking Dead team with no choice but to apologize and promise it wouldn't happen again.
"We'll continue to ignore your feedback about the overall quality of the show. Thanks for watching!"
Presumably this will be accomplished by sending every new employee to eight hours of Time Zone Camp. Don't miss the lunchtime lecture on daylight savings!
Dexter's Season 6 DVD Begins With An Unskippable Promo Showing The End Of The Season
The entire premise of Dexter is that he is a serial killer who does his business under the noses of the police (whom he works for) and, more specifically, his cop sister. So the "when will they finally figure out what's going on?" plot thread had been dangling out there since literally the first scene of the first episode. Finally, after six long seasons of watching Dexter kill other (increasingly silly) killers, numerous near-misses and fake outs, and the audience having their suspension of disbelief stretched to the breaking point, his sister Debra discovers his shocking secret. She walks in on him murdering Tom Hanks' son, a genuinely compelling ending to an otherwise dull season.
And that's the last time you'll get one of those.
Now let's say you skipped watching the season as it aired because you heard mixed reviews, but grabbed the DVD as soon as it came out. So you pop in the first disc, and you're treated to a three-minute commercial in which Showtime rewards you for buying their product instead of committing piracy by bombarding you with suggestions to go buy more of their shows. This ad can't be skipped or fast-forwarded.
So fine, whatever, you'll sit through it while getting a head start on your popcorn. It's standard promotional fare -- a montage of David Duchovny womanizing and being punched, a Game of Thrones knockoff, Homeland, and Dexter. But rather than show generic Dexter footage like plastic sheets, donuts, and terrible analogies, they show the climactic scene viewers would have been hoping to experience spoiler-free hours later.
Pictured: the viewer's expression.
Look, we don't have much sympathy for anyone on the Internet who screams "SPOILERS!" any time somebody discusses the ending of a show that aired six months ago. But if there is one time and place in which you should absolutely shut up about the ending of a story, it's at the moment when someone is sitting down to enjoy said story. It doesn't matter if, say, "everyone" knew Snape killed Dumbledore a few months after the sixth Harry Potter book came out, you don't start putting that shit on the title page. ("If you enjoy seeing Dumbledore get murdered at the end of this tale, perhaps you will like these other fine Scholastic titles ...")
A Final Fantasy VII Commercial Showed Aeris' Funeral
Final Fantasy VII (the best Final Fantasy according to everyone not old enough to have played VI) is fondly remembered for many reasons, but perhaps chief among them is the death of Aeris. It's one of gaming's most iconic scenes, and it's a genuinely shocking twist in a medium not exactly known for them.
Jeez, a little diva-ish with the head bounce, aren't we?
What made it unique is that Aeris stays dead. You can't revive her -- all those experience points go out the window, no matter what the rumors on some sketchy gaming site claim. To drive the point home, you give Aeris a touching burial at ... well not at sea, but at, like, a big pond.
"Hey, are you sure you don't want to check her pulse before you drown-- okay, then."
For you non-gaming types who don't understand how Pong can resonate emotionally, we'll give you an analogy: Remember how in The Dark Knight, Batman's long-term love interest, whom we've known for a film and half, is unceremoniously killed off and never mentioned again? We all expected Rachel to survive, because no hero truly dies in a comic book movie (though their parents have an incredibly high mortality rate). Well, Aeris is to that game's hero what Rachel was to Batman.
Unfortunately, the twist was only a surprise to anyone who had managed to avoid the game's promotional materials. Have a look at this FFVII ad and you'll see Aeris looking as dead as a magical doorknob:
Gaming ads in 1997, much like the ads of today, emphasized graphics and sweet explosions over trivial details like "gameplay." Unlike today, games in 1997 looked kind of shitty. The game wouldn't have sold as well if the ads featured the blocky, faceless ur-humans you see for 99 percent of Final Fantasy VII. Still, they had 47 minutes of cutscenes to make a 30-second commercial from, so why on Gaia did they pick a shot giving away the game's biggest twist?
"Maybe they're playing Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board."
Visually, it's not immediately obvious that Aeris is being sent to a watery grave -- maybe she's relaxing on a flotation device, or this is a shot of an exciting new baptism mini-game. That's why the voice-over helpfully calls it "a love that could never be" while "Love" flashes on-screen, just to clear up any ambiguity about the fate of the game's love interest. Either they really wanted to spoil this plot point, or they wanted to make an obtuse reference to the scene where a crazy scientist locks Aeris and a sentient lion-dog-thing in a cage in the hope that they'll fuck.
Not a joke.
The BBC Keeps Letting Doctor Who Fans Spoil It For Everyone Else
Do you have any friends who are Doctor Who fans? Have you had any luck in making them shut up about it? We thought not, which is why we find it baffling that the show keeps intentionally leaking spoilers to select groups of fans, then basically relying on the honor system to not have them spread spoilers far and wide.
You better not leak them, or else Dr. Who, M.D. will fry your brain with sonic crescent wrench!
For example, the series six opener set up a season-long mystery: Who killed the Doctor? Some rabid fans were invited to an advanced press screening, where the Who team politely asked them not to go on the Internet and spoil the plot. You get one guess as to what happened next.
Faced with a simple and reasonable request from people who had gone out of their way to reward their dedicated fandom, one unknown attendee nodded sagely, went home, and immediately outlined the entire story of the two-part episode in what head writer Steven Moffat called "the worst, most ham-fisted English you can imagine." Such was the anguish among fans hoping to remain unspoiled that the BBC invited a Doctor Who magazine writer onto the news to explain what a betrayal this was, because Britain is adorable.
Yep, that's exactly how we picture a Doctor Who writer.
Then came the grand finale of series seven (In Britain, "series" means "season," and "seven" means "33"), which promised to reveal another big plot point, and also featured a surprise guest appearance by John Hurt.
Reunions had to be confusing as hell.
BBC America, perhaps inspired by the show's time travelling themes, shipped out "a small number" of Blu-ray pre-orders before the episode aired. Poor Steven Moffat begged and pleaded with fans to keep the plot a secret, and even promised exclusive footage of two of the doctors palling around together if a police box of silence was placed over the Internet. His ploy worked, but holy shit, how have we reached the point where we need to promise people rewards for not being dicks?
And who thought this cover was a reasonable representation of the series?
You could argue that's an inspiring story about fans learning from a past mistake and listening to a creator's impassioned plea for artistic integrity. At least, you could until the first five episodes of series eight were spoiled two months in advance, setting a new record for Excellence in the Field of Being a Big Dog's Cock to Doctor Who Fans. This time, the BBC uploaded the scripts and work print episodes to a server that was accidentally accessible by the public, which of course went ahead and accessed it.
"Well, we're watching it on a screen. That's what they mean, right?"
Moffat went back to playing the bad cop, calling the leaks "miserable" and "horrible." Although it's not clear if he's talking about the fans responsible or the BBC. At some point you've got to do a little better job of locking that shit down.
One Big Lego Set Reveals Several Toy Story 3 Plot Twists
Toy Story 3 explored everything we love about family films: murderous psychotic teddy bears, dismembered dolls, and the threat of being incinerated alive. As you'll recall if you didn't close your eyes and plug your ears (a trick we used to keep the couple from Up alive and happy together), the film's climax involves the gang escaping from a metaphorical frying pan of a nursery and ending up in a very literal fire. They get stuck on a conveyor belt leading into a garbage incinerator, and since their escape attempts are futile, they hold hands, embrace their fate, and make everyone in the theater quietly joke about how someone must be cutting onions.
SMASH CUT to credits over "You've Got A Friend In Me."
They survive, of course, because very few child-friendly movies end with the entire cast getting incinerated. But it's a harrowing and unexpected scene, and it's completely ruined for you if you happened to notice the film's merchandising efforts in the month before its release.
Keep an eye on the kids who let Woody plummet to his death over and over again.
Yes, Toy Story 3 was spoiled by a toy that told a story -- the "Trash Compactor Escape" Lego set revealed the big finale. Look at it. It's like the Pixar Bayeux Tapestry. Scroll left to right and you get the entire climatic scene. You've got the chute dumping the toys down, the conveyor belt, the incinerator, the villainous Lotso at the controls, and the aliens saving the day with the crane.
Yeah, that's another thing -- if spoiling one of the film's action sequences doesn't seem like that big of a deal to you, how about the fact that it also gives away the movie's main villain? For a good chunk of the movie, Lotso is kind, helpful, and likeable. But on the Lego box, he's trying to murder the gang while looking like a snuggly sex offender.
"Well old Lotso is gonna take y'all out to the supply closet for some ... 'routine maintenance.'"
Kids who got this set, or simply saw it at the store, would have gone into the movie knowing not to trust that damn bear for a second. And what's the point of taking your kids to a movie if you can't teach them a valuable lesson about misplaced trust and cruel betrayal?
For more ways studios blew it, check out The 5 Most Ridiculous Ways Studios Spoiled Their Own Movies and 5 Movies Plots Given Away by the Characters' Names.
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