Action figure manufacturers are often less than diligent when it comes to restraining themselves from giving away movie plot points with their toys. Whether it's in the bio text on the back or just the existence of a particular toy, stuff gets spoiled in the toy aisle.
Now, we're not talking about things like the Young Avengers set, where things that have already been revealed in the source material; rather, things that the toys gave away before we were supposed to know. Needless to say, this article is going to have spoilers, so proceed with caution.
- 1993: Kenner packaged the mysterious titular character from Mask of the Phantasm with their mask off.
- 1998: The Small Soldiers toys gave away major plot points in both the bios on the back of the cards, and in the names of the toys themselves.
- 1998: A Power of the Force 2 Princess Leia confirmed that Queen Amidala would be her mother. (This also pre-emptively spoiled that "Handmaiden Padme" was really the queen.)
- 1999: In case you missed the Leia figure above, Phantom Menace toys of Padme and Amidala both had Natalie Portman's photo on the packaging.
- 2001: Mattel's Harry Potter toys revealed that Professor Quirrel was the host for Voldemort.
- 2003: McFarlane Toy's "Real World Neo" from the Matrix sequels showed him bloody and blinded.
- 2005: For Wallace and Grommit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the Were-Rabbit itself was wearing scraps of Wallace's traditional clothes.
- 2005: Sin City Marv came packaged with Kevin's decapitated head.
- 2010: Lego's Toy Story 3 Trash Compactor Escape set exposed the movie's villain, the climactic action scene, and how it was resolved.
- 2012: One of the Brave sets had... Princess Brave(?) and her three little brothers. The brothers came with pieces to turn them into bears.
- 2012: Several of the Amazing Spider-Man Minimates showed characters being turned into reptile men.
- 2013: The Iron Man 3 Lego sets showed Aldrich Killian as an Extremis-powered soldier.
- 2013: Despicable Me 2 toys featured evil purple Minions well in advance of the film.
- 2014: DC Direct solicited an Earth 2 Batman that gave the character's real name - when it was still a mystery in the comics.
- 2015: Though they weren't supposed to be on shelves until after the movie opened, a Force Awakens Rey showed her with a lightsaber.
- 2016: Both Lego and Hasbro showed Giant-Man far before Civil War.
- 2017: Lego and Marvel Legends sets showed Thor with electrical powers even after losing his hammer.
- 2019: Nick Fury came with Captain Marvel's pet cat, all done up in high-tech restraints.
- 2019: Funko POP!s from the final How to Train Your Dragon movie featured baby dragons.
- 2019: Mattel's Shazam line featured the entire Marvel Family - with actor likenesses - when there was no indication they'd be part of the story.
- 2021: the Godzilla vs. Kong toyline revealed Mechagodzilla shortly before the film opened.
- 2021: the first figure released for Netfli'x MotU: Revelation was Skelegod, well before the cartoon started airing.
- 2021: both Marvel Legends and Lego sets revealed characters and storylines from the Disney+ What If? series... including one episode that was pushed back to Season 2.
- 2022: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had Sonic's final form spoiled by a McDonald's Happy Meal toy, of all things.
- 2022: This is a little different than usual, but major plot elements of Stranger Things Season 4 were revealed in the cards of a themed Monopoly game.
- 2023: The Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 toys all prominently showed Groot with wings, and Rocket in the blue team uniform.
- 2023: Marvel Legends once again revealed several What If...? characters before the show aired.
Some things can't be avoided - a character's physical appearance, for instance (which really hurts a line like the 1998 American Godzilla, where the ad campaign was centered around maintaining the mystery), but there are other secrets that could at least wait until we open the packaging, you know? It just requires some common sense.
So, can you think of any others that belong on this list?