Leaked footage of Marvel's highly guarded "Avengers: Endgame" has prompted spoiler-averse fans to retreat from social media.
The long-awaited superhero film is due in theaters April 26 and has already been breaking box-office presale records. Disney has made painstaking efforts to obscure "Endgame's" content, but the leak undercut those efforts as spoiler-heavy footage made its way online this week.
Fans tweeted that they were "terrified" to read any spoilers online, and others wrote that they'd be leaving social media until they watched the movie – the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been more than a decade in the making.
Others criticized the person who leaked the footage, or they muted keywords and names on Twitter to avoid major revelations. Some clips have already been removed or disabled because of copyright infringement.
Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to The Times' request for comment.
The source of the leak was unclear, but some footage appears to have been filmed off a large screen in a screening room. Images and GIFs generated from that footage then loomed large online, and Reddit threads have been devoted to discussions of the plot and character reveals seen in the leak.
Anticipation for "Endgame" has been building since last year's game-changing "Avengers: Infinity War," a billion-dollar blockbuster that saw many of the franchise's beloved superheroes disappear in a genocidal snap of the finger. This week's leaked "Endgame" footage and subsequent discussions revealed the fate of many of them, which had been suspected but not yet confirmed.
Journalists had not been allowed to screen the Disney-distributed film before interviewing its stars earlier this month. Those stars – Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson and Chris Evans – had been barred from providing any details on the Russo Bros.-directed film. (Though Karen Gillan might have accidentally given something away.)
Ahead of "Infinity War," directors Joe and Anthony Russo penned a letter asking moviegoers to keep the film's secrets so as not to spoil it for other fans. It circulated under the hashtag #ThanosDemandsYourSilence. The directors said they might write another letter for "Endgame," but as of the time of the leak, they had not.
Last Wednesday, they took part in a coordinated debut of yet another "Avengers" teaser that revisited every Marvel film – and hero – leading up to "Endgame."
"If we can't protect the earth, you can be damn sure we'll avenge it," the teaser says.
The same could be said for movie spoilers.