As Marvel fans flock to theaters for Sony’s Morbius, some might be signing up for disappointment—and not just because it’s shockingly generic for a Jared Leto joint. Anyone expecting Michael Keaton to appear in the film itself will also walk away frustrated. While his Spider-Man villain, Vulture, appears in the film’s final trailer, he makes only the briefest of cameos in two mid-credits scenes.
This is far from the most egregious deception on the part of a movie trailer. It was once not uncommon for a production to shoot an entire promotional sequence that never appears in the actual film, and often lines and clips that disappear wind up on DVD releases, either as deleted scenes or as part of an alternative cut.
Still, this Star Wars fan will never forget the time she showed up to Revenge of the Sith excited, above all, to hear that robot voice say the word “rise” as seen in multiple trailers, only to have her dreams shattered when the word never came. (You can imagine the emotions that arose when they titled the final main installment The Rise of Skywalker!) And yet, the practice is so common that it has its own (extremely extensive) TV Tropes index. Here, for your perusal, are a few of the most memorable examples.
Did anyone else pull up to the theater for Licorice Pizza expecting to see Bradley Cooper decimating a pair of cars with some squeegees? Paul Thomas Anderson has said that the scene got cut because it felt isolated from main character Gary and Alana’s perspectives, but it’s still a major bummer.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
As I said, this classic trailer is among those that were shot specifically for promotional purposes. The memorable sequence finds machines building a new T-800, which slowly morphs from a pile of metal into Arnold Schwarzenegger. None of it appears in the film, but the teaser did successfully let us all know that Schwarzenegger really wasn’t lying when he said, “I’ll be back.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Another mind trick from the Star Wars universe: that epic shot in which Kylo Ren storms through the snowy forest and ignites his extremely cool lightsaber. Alas, the Force was apparently not strong enough with this one to keep it in.
There are so many moments from the Eternals trailers missing from the film that Comic Book Resources did an entire breakdown. The film itself was as empty and sexless as they come, even despite including Marvel’s first intimate scene. Honestly, I would have traded that awkward sex scene for the full cut of a drunken Sprite doing karaoke like she did in the trailer any day.
You know you’ve botched a movie’s marketing campaign when the discrepancies between trailer and final product spark their own news cycle. Then again, what aspect of this super-lame superhero pic didn’t feel mangled?
Among the most egregious cuts: the shot in which The Thing drops from a fighter jet. Sources close to director Josh Trank blamed Fox’s budget cuts for the scene’s absence when speaking with Entertainment Weekly; sources close to the studio, meanwhile, claimed Trank had gone back and forth over whether he wanted the scene before ultimately deciding against it.
If you thought Ferris Bueller had it rough dealing with his sister, Jennifer Grey’s spectacularly angsty Jeanie, imagine if he’d had even more siblings to account for. It appears from the film’s original trailer that in addition to Jeanie, Matthew Broderick’s charismatic ne’er do well also had two more siblings—a brother and a sister. Life comes at you fast. (And in this case, it seems, so did an editor.)
It’s not unheard of for a trailer to include an entire monologue that winds up on the cutting room floor. Still, fans were disappointed to miss this one from Batman Begins never made it in. The grim monologue captures the character’s emo spirit and the gritty noir vibe of the world he occupies. Unfortunately, screenwriter Jonathan Nolan has since said there was never any chance of this one making it into the movie; he wrote it in a couple hours specifically for the trailer.
Still, let’s just lay it out here for old time’s sake:
They told me there was nothing out there. Nothing to fear. But the night my parents were murdered, I caught a glimpse of something. I’ve looked for it ever since. I went around the world, searched in all the shadows, and there is something out there in the darkness. Something terrifying. Something that will not stop until it gets revenge. Me.
Talk about sitting on a throne of lies! The ice hockey match seen here—in which Will Ferrell hurls one of the players into the stands—never appears in the final cut.
You simply cannot tease us with a shot of Adrian Brody covered in laser sights and not include it in the movie!… Unless you’re Robert Rodriguez, in which case, evidently, you absolutely can.
When asked about the omission Rodriguez told MTV News he’d shot that scene for the trailer to “crystallize the idea” of humanity being stalked by predators. “A lot of my movies have trailer shots that I shoot just for the trailer, so that people haven’t seen the movie already but they get the feeling of what it’s supposed to represent.”
Of all the dastardly deeds Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker commits, the biggest is not pulling a Jason Derulo and falling down the stairs like the trailers promised he would. Much like that fateful day watching Revenge of the Sith, as I realized that Arthur would never take that fateful tumble, I felt overtaken by a sense of betrayal—so much so that I whispered to myself, “I’m going to become the Joker.” (Kidding… Maybe.)
And speaking of Jokers… Let’s take a moment to revisit how many times we all watched Jared Leto’s creepy smile in those Suicide Squad trailers as he said, “I’m not gonna kill ya—I’m just gonna hurt ya really, really bad.” And now let’s talk about how that never made it into the actual Suicide Squad film. Talk about a killing joke.
Evil Dead (2013)
Horror fans likely remember the red band trailer for Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead, which includes a particularly gruesome scene in which Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) cuts off her own arm while being taunted by Jane Levy as one of the franchise’s dreaded Deadites. They also probably remember their disappointment when they realized the moment was never coming.
As with T2 and others, this entire trailer for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was only shot for promotional material. In a grim twist of fate, however, the entire teaser was eventually pulled from theaters after Sept. 11, 2001, because the World Trade Center features prominently. (It even opens on a shot of the Twin Towers.)
We never saw Jim Carrey’s lying lawyer character argue a case in which he said that a mugger who attacked an old man was actually a victim, but a line from that scene did make it into the trailer. The full scene is available here. Come for Jim Carrey saying “one of the toughest parts of the suburbs” and stay for some of the actor’s classic yelling—straight into the jury booth as he shouts, “YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENNNNT!”
The Amazing Spider-Man
Promotion for The Amazing Spider-Man gave fans the impression that they’d finally learn the untold story about Peter Parker’s origins—which, in their defense, feels valid. I mean, posters for the film literally promised “the untold story.”
And then there’s that epic trailer monologue: “This life is not an easy one. I’ve made enemies, powerful enemies. I’ve put those I love in danger. But the one thing that has haunted me my entire life is finding the truth about my parents.”
Alas, it was all a lie; the movie never really told us anything shocking or new about Spidey’s family history. A popular fan theory postulates that such material might have been saved for planned future installments that never materialized after the sequel flopped, but Webb has denied it.
Actor and martial artist Michael Jai White filmed a fight scene for Kill Bill that, sadly, got killed as well. But the actor says he has no unfinished business with director Quentin Tarantino. When he shared a photo from set back in 2019 the actor wrote that in spite of his scene being cut, he “really enjoyed working alongside him and learning from one of the great filmmakers of our time.”
You can watch the full scene here.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Why, in the name of Merlin’s beard, would anyone cut Alan Rickman ominously murmuring, “It’s over” from any film?! Harry Potter movies have a grand tradition of leaving out key moments from trailers. (I also still long for a cut of Chamber of Secrets that includes the trailer shot of Ron and Harry taking the flying car past Big Ben.) But this one? It’s a broomstick too far! Accio some common sense and give us a special cut, please!
Another egregious cut? That moment in the Deathly Hallows when Voldemort asks Harry, “Why do you live?” and he replies, “Because I have something worth living for.” Alas, that one apparated as well. To quote Jim Broadbent’s Professor Slughorn, “These are mad times we’re living in—mad!”