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Why Do Movie Trailers Lie?

Why Do Movie Trailers Lie?

How many differences can you spot from the movie? (Answer: All of them.)
Image: Marvel Studios/Disney

Greetings, little ones! It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks, so let’s open my mailbag and see what nonsense we can solace ourselves with. We’re talking the chances of the Wheel of Time series becoming a reality! The ramifications of James Gunn joining DC and Warner Bros.! And how Aquaman could survive jumping out of a plane onto a desert with no parachute! Read on, if only to see how little I understand physics.


A Different Kind of Trailer Frenzy

Rich:

Hi Postman! I’ve noticed a weird trend recently in movie trailers where the trailer and the movie have the exact same scene, except one important detail was digitally changed for the movie. Both Ragnorok and Infinity War did this—Thor had two eyes in the trailer but was missing his right eye in the same scene in the movie and in Infinity War, Hulk at Wakanda was replaced with the Hulkbuster armor. I’ve also noticed this phenomenon in at least two other non-comic book trailers/movies within the last year.

So my question is…what gives? Why show those scenes in the trailer if they’re just going to change important plot points for the movie? This has been bothering me for some time. Thanks!

Well, there’s also the fact that the iconic shot seen above, used in virtually all the trailers, isn’t in Avengers: Infinity War at all. But it’s all part of the same deal.

First and foremost, filmmakers want to avoid spoilers in the trailers as much as possible, and your two examples are perfect…well, examples: Marvel didn’t want to let people know Thor lost his eye in Ragnarok, but the advertising or marketing team liked that particular shot of Chris Hemsworth and wanted to use it. Thanks to the magic of VFX (or, more likely in this case, the magic of undoing the VFX), both filmmakers and marking department get their way.

The Infinity War switcheroo is bigger, but the same deal. Bruce Banner’s Hulk dysfunction is a plot point they didn’t want to spoil for viewers. You certainly have the right to be annoyed—but I’m down with it, because in a weird sense they didn’t lie; Hulk/Bruce Banner is in the scene. Now, if they’d shown Iron Man in his Mark L suit in the shot, I would absolutely deem that a lie, and then I would be annoyed because I would definitely want to see Cap and Iron Man together for the first time after Civil War.

Frankly, as long as it doesn’t go too far, I am down with this practice. The way many modern film trailers work is that they basically give an entire mini-encapsulation of the movie, which sucks. So I actually enjoy being surprised by these fake-outs, at least while they’re pretty straightforward details like a battle wound or a hero more or less just changing outfits.

As for this shot not being in the movie, it is just a shot (and one the Russo brothers said was never in the film, and assembled from other shots specifically for the trailers). I didn’t need that one specific shot to be in the film to enjoy it as long as there were plenty of other cool shots to see, and I think there were.

Again, feel free to be annoyed by all this—this is just my take. But either way, don’t expect this to stop anytime soon, especially for these major franchise movies.


The Shadow Rising cover by Darrell K. Sweet.
Image: Tor Books

Asleep at the Wheel

Mike Y.:

Good Day from the formerly United States of America,

Before the Great Chicken Wars of ’27 Amazon announced the creation of a T.V. series based on the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jorden and Brandon Sanderson. I started the series when I was in high school, and like some good B-movies, I had to see how it ended. Despite its flaws I do have a lot of affection for this series and would love to see the show do well. What do you think its chances really are?

I think a Wheel of Time series depends very much on the Lord of the Rings prequel series Amazon has coming. I know ye olde internet shoppe has a trillion dollars, but they’ve also announced a billion TV shows and movies. Seriously, according to Wikipedia, Amazon has 74 shows and movies in some level of development, including a Conan the Barbarian series. The Dark Tower series is still technically on its plate. And don’t forget it also announced a series based on Larry Niven’s Ringworld books. Then there’s Galaxy Quest, Snow Crash, East of West, Lazarus, Carnival Row, something called Darkover, and of course Good Omens.

Even if you’re just counting the straight-up fantasy series—Wheel, LotR, Conan, and Dark Tower—that’s a lot. Amazon doesn’t need that many epic fantasy TV series. As much as we nerds would enjoy them, I don’t know that the world at large needs that much epic fantasy on TV. I bet Lord of the Rings gets made first, if only because of the name recognition.

The next series will depend on how that’s received; if it doesn’t do well I’m sure Amazon will rethink its fantasy entertainment. If it does do well, however, Wheel of Time has an advantage in that’s a giant, sprawling epic fantasy which means it can be accurately—if very specifically—“like Game of Thrones.” I’m sure Amazon is salivating at the idea—or at least those marketing possibilities—and that’ll propel it to production over Conan and Dark Tower.


Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Deadshot (Will Smith) bond over contractual obligations.
Image: DC Entertainment/Warner Bros

Suicide Mission

Bill. E.

I love that DC hired James Gunn as a big “fuck you” to Marvel, but why is DC dumping a Suicide Squad movie on him? Shouldn’t they hire him to direct something people want?

DC/Warner Bros. didn’t hire Gunn just to spite Marvel. Gunn has loads of superhero movie experience, a proven track record of success, and he’s also shown to be able to work within the system. I mean, I’m sure there were plenty of WB execs high-fiving when he signed that contract, but snagging one of Marvel’s former talents (even after it dumped him) was merely a bonus.

Gunn’s humor is one of his greatest assets, so he’s best suited for superhero movies that can be action-comedies, and Suicide Squad is a good fit for him. Plus, when left to his own devices his comedic sensibilities can run dark (as his films Slither and Super can attest), which should lead to a massively improved film from the first outing.

As for why Gunn was put on the next Suicide Squad, instead of say, Lobo or Booster Gold or any of the other dozen DC movie ideas sitting in some forgotten inbox at the back corner of a forgotten Warner Bros. office, it’s mainly because for whatever reason, the studio has considered Suicide Squad kind of a priority, possibly because they have all the stars contracted for a while longer. In fact, the movie was supposed to start filming this month, but lost its director and was delayed. Suddenly, it needs a director, and Gunn arrives on the market, and it’s kismet. And if you’ve got Gunn, why wouldn’t you also want him to rewrite the script (as long as he doesn’t take too long and Will Smith and Margot Robbie can’t opt out)?

P.S. I genuinely hope Suicide Squad 2 gets made and is great, and then DC gives Gunn the Justice League Dark movie.


Aquaman (Jason Momoa) did not listen to the in-flight safety video.
Screenshot: YouTube

Under(water) Pressure

Leonard O.:

Glad you’re back. I always enjoyed reading your articles. Here’s my question. I’m a Marvel zombie, but I must admit the trailer for Aquaman has me pretty excited for the movie. However, there’s one scene that bothers me. Toward the end of the trailer Mera and Aquaman jump out of a plane in what appears to be the middle of the desert. How is this possible? I understand he’s King of the Ocean but how does that explain them jumping out of a plane and surviving?

We’ll see how the movie handles it, but comic book Aquaman has the super-strength/durability we talked about in last week’s “Postal Apocalypse.” According to his official DC Comics profile, the character has super-strength and durability, which is what allows him to withstand the insane pressures of the deep ocean. According to the unofficial DC wiki, Aquaman “claims his eyes are adapted to see at 6,000 fathoms (or 36,000 feet)” which means he can obviously swim that far down at least. That’s basically at the deepest known point in all the oceans, located in the Mariana Trench. For comparison, the Recreational Scuba Training Council says the limit for deep divers should be 130 feet, although the current record for a scuba diver is 1,090 feet, and he had to spend 14 hours decompressing on the way back up.

Now. I did some internet-based math here, so you guys correct me if (when) I’m wrong. The water pressure of 1,000 feet (~305 meters) down is 44r psi, according to this calculator, which is apparently about 60 percent of a car wash spray hose hitting every inch of your body at once. Uncomfortable! At 36,000 feet below sea level (10973 meters), the pressure is about 16,000 psi, which is enough to make a submarine implode. And Aquaman’s just cool hanging around in it. So I think he’d be fine jumping out of a plane on his own, especially with a little help from comic book physics.

There’s also the very real possibility that Mera will use her powerful hydrokinesis to cushion her impact and that of Aquaman’s. I know your immediate question: Where’d she get the water? Answer: The plane’s beverage cart, maybe? Or in a kiosk by her boarding gate? I don’t know the specifics, but she obviously had some plan to not get crushed on the desert floor, and manipulating water is her main power. If she grabbed a bottle of Dasani on her way out of the plane, that’s probably all she’d need to cushion their fall (her water magic is quite powerful). But using it up for that would explain why she has to poach some of Arthur’s body water in the temple.


Darned do-gooders, always trying to do good.
Image: Marvel Comics

Good Grief

Joel P.:

From the future, can you figure out the “logic” behind the average Comicgate supporter’s hatred of SJWs, yet their love of characters/teams that are literally Social Justice Warriors? I mean, how can you love the X-Men, yet not get the very not subtle message that mutants and mutant rights are a metaphor for minorities?

Because that very basic paradox requires some kind of self-examination, which some people are pointedly unwilling or unable to do. The X-Men are arguably the most popular and best-known heroes who fight to protect and for the rights of an oppressed minority (in the Marvel Comics universe), which makes them the very definition of social justice warriors–but the whole point of superheroes is that they protect people, and help those that need help. It’s pretty basic. I mean…there’s another team called the Justice League, for fuck’s sake.

I’ve always equated it to when bad guys called good guys “do-gooders” and so forth as if it was an insult. If you think doing good is bad, congrats, you may be a very hokey villain.


Do you have questions about anything sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related, or need some advice? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb, as has been proven time and time again!

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