One of the surprisingly common ways in which a film gets plot spoilers and surprise characters leaked is through the medium of children’s toys. While it’s definitely not an obvious way to reveal secret information, it has become more and more common in both video games and movies for certain details to slip out by announcements or listings for associated merchandise, and the latest Monsterverse film, Godzilla vs. Kong, was no exception.
Part of this is likely due to the coronavirus and the huge wave of delays suffered all over the film industry. There are a lot of projects coming out much later than originally intended, and that’s thrown some marketing and release strategies into severe disarray. In particular, merchandise like toys and action figures have to be planned far in advance, as they require designing, molding, packaging, and shipping in order to reach stores in time for the big event.
Having to start these products so far in advance, however, obviously means that when things get delayed, it’s hard to also delay everything going on around them, and sometimes that leads to a situation like Godzilla vs. Kong. Unfortunately for the project, one of the surprise twist characters was spoiled before release by the leak of a new toy that was to be sold when the film came out, confirming the appearance of one particular Godzilla legacy character that had been under wraps until then.
Spoilers for those who still haven’t seen the film: the character was Mechagodzilla, who makes an appearance towards the end of the film as a more dangerous foe than Godzilla or Kong, forcing the two to work together in order to take him down. Mechagodzilla’s appearance was spoiled by the leak of some toy packaging, revealing that a full figure of the character had been designed and was being shipped to stores, confirming that the monster would appear in Godzilla vs. Kong to some extent.
During an interview with i09, director of Godzilla vs. Kong, Adam Wingard, talked about being grateful that the winner of the actual title fight wasn’t spoiled, but was nonetheless frustrated by the toy leaks: “When the initial toy stuff leaked, and that was really annoying because it was so early on. Like, ‘Really guys? That’s what we’re gonna do?’ So, [Mechagodzilla’s] kind of the worst kept secret.”
At the very least, it doesn’t seem to have done too much damage to Godzilla vs. Kong, as the film seems to be raking in a fairly decent critical and commercial reception, especially considering the surprise shift to a simultaneous HBO Max release. While it’s definitely frustrating to have one’s project details leak out early, hopefully as the pandemic ends and release schedules become more predictable, there’ll be fewer toy companies accidentally leaking major plot details.
Godzilla vs. Kong is currently available to stream on HBO Max.