With Spider-Man: Far From Home scheduled to swing into theatres on July 2, it got us thinking about the future of the MCU and all the Marvel movies that led up to this moment. We reminisced about our favorite movie, greatest fight scenes, but most all, we discussed how much we appreciate Marvel’s commitment to including Easter eggs that foreshadow events or pay homage to the source material, all of which bring a smile to face of those quick enough to catch the hidden gems the first time around.
From the meaning behind Whiplashes tattoo’s in Iron Man 2 to teasing the Asgardians of the Galaxy in Avengers: Endgame, join us as we highlight the 100 greatest Easter eggs fans might have missed in the Marvel movies. Enjoy!
100. Paparazzi Footage (Iron Man)
Around the 1h 50 mins mark, just before Tony Stark holds his “I am Iron Man” press conference, he can be seen reading a newspaper with a grainy, amateur photograph of Iron Man on the cover. That is because this picture really was taken by amateurs. It’s actually part of a video shot by some onlookers who were hiding in a bush during initial filming. The video hit the internet in 2007, well before the film’s theatrical release.
99. Captain America Shield Prototype (Iron Man)
About 1 hour and 25 minutes into the first Iron Man, there’s a scene in which Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) walks in on Tony removing his damaged armor. In the background of this scene, you’ll spot Captain America’s shield (well, a prototype version anyway) sitting on a workbench. This same scene was actually used in the trailers for the film, but the shield was edited out. Cap’s shield would show up again in Iron Man 2, but you already knew that.
98. Roxxon (Iron Man)
During the highway battle between Iron Man and Obadiah Stane, a.k.a. Iron Monger, there’s a building in the background sporting a Roxxon logo. Marvel fans will recall that Roxxon is a notorious petrochemical company from the comics known for illegal activities. In fact, Roxxon agents were responsible for the deaths of Stark’s parents (in the Cinematic Universe, it’s revealed in Captain America: Civil War that Bucky Barnes/HYDRA are responsible). A fictional counterpart to the Exxon Corporation, Roxxon is later referenced again in Iron Man 3, with the Mandarin capturing and executing a Roxxon executive as retribution for an oil tanker spill, inspired by the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
97. Invincible Iron Man Theme Song (Iron Man)
The original Iron Man (2008) movie helped make the former B-grade Marvel superhero a household name, but there had been previous attempts to adapt the character from the comic page, such as the Invincible Iron Man cartoon from 1966. Iron Man includes a nice callback to that series, as you can actually hear the cartoon’s theme song playing during several scenes: when Tony Stark is in the casino at the beginning of the film, in Stark’s bedroom at one point, and as Rhodey’s ringtone.
96. Tesseract (Iron Man 2)
Iron Man 2 is widely considered to be one of the lesser films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a lot of that has to do with the film having to balance its central story with studio-mandated setup work for future films in the franchise. Many of these references are pretty obvious: Tony uses Captain America’s shield to build a reactor, there are news reports depicting the campus battle from The Incredible Hulk, and the post-credits scene involves Agent Coulson discovering Thor’s hammer in a crater. However, one MCU Easter egg you may have missed is the Tesseract, which would go onto to become an important item in both Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. The powerful cube makes a brief appearance in the scene where Tony is watching old film reels of his father. In one of Howard Stark’s notebooks, there’s a sketch of the Tesseract, but drawn in the form of a so-called “Schlegel diagram.”
95. Whiplash’s Tattoos (Iron Man 2)
In addition to learning to speak some Russian and studying Russian history, Mickey Rourke’s preparation for his role as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash involved making his character’s tattoos as authentic as possible. Vanko’s tattoos reference various things, such as his Russian heritage, prison societies, and special clubs Rourke figured he would be part of. He also initially had a tattoo of Loki on his neck, but it ended up being removed in post-production because the film’s producers feared it would confuse fans into thinking Whiplash had a connection with the character. As for Rourke’s favorite tattoo, that would be the on Vanko’s torso that shows a Russian schooner bordered with Russian script that translates to: “Give a blonde, a bottle, and a boat, and I’ll sail away …”
94. Elon Musk Cameo (Iron Man 2)
Tony Stark shares some similarities with real-life billionaire inventor Elon Musk, so it’s hardly surprising that the Iron Man trilogy contains several references to Musk, including a cameo! Musk appears in the Monaco restaurant scene in Iron Man 2 and upon meeting him, Tony Stark remarks that Musk’s Merlin engines, which are the propulsion engines SpaceX uses on its Falcon series of rockets, are “fantastic.’ Musk responds by claiming that he’s drafting a concept for an “electric jet,” something that he actually started working on in late 2015.
In addition to his cameo, Musk’s SpaceX facility in Hawthorne, California stands in for Justin Hammer’s factory; in fact, the people walking in the background are actual employees.
93. Larry Ellison Cameo (Iron Man 2)
Elon Musk isn’t the only billionaire to show up in Iron Man 2. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, turns around the 10-minute mark during the Stark Expo scene. As he walks past him, Stark says, “It’s the Oracle of Oracle.” Ellison’s cameo is fitting, given that he’s a billionaire playboy who often draws comparisons to Tony Stark, and his company’s brand is displayed throughout the film, with the climactic showdown between Iron Man, War Machine, and Whiplash taking place at the fictional “Oracle Biodome.”
92. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Captain America: First Avenger)
This one’s a little obvious but it’s just so good that it needs to be highlighted. In the opening moments of The First Avenger, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) finds the Tesseract and comments, “Let the Fuhrer dig for trinkets in the desert.” Most cinephiles recognized this as a reference to the classic Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which follows the Nazis’ search for the Ark of the Covenant in the Egyptian desert. Wait a minute: Disney owns both the Indiana Jones franchise and Marvel … so clearly Indiana Jones is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! We can dream.
91. Steve Rogers Is A One Kiss Guy (Captain America: First Avenger)
In case you hadn’t noticed, Chris Evans is pretty much physical perfection in these Marvel movies and his Steve Rogers/Captain America would have no trouble winning most women’s affections. Of course, Steve isn’t that kind of guy and is an old-fashioned romantic at heart. Ignoring the kiss laid on him by Natalie Dormer’s character in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve has shared just one kiss with a different woman in each of his three solo movies: Peggy Carter in The First Avengers, Natasha Romanoff in The Winter Soldier, and Sharon Carter in Civil War. It’s no surprise, really; after all, Captain America is married to his country!
90. Zola Face Distortion (Captain America: First Avenger)
When Dr. Arnim Zola is first introduced in The First Avenger, his face is distorted through a lens or screen of some kind. This is actually a reference to the character in the comics, as his mind inhabits a robot body, with his face displayed on a screen on the robot’s torso. While we don’t get to see Zola in all his robot glory in the sequel, The Winter Soldier, having his consciousness inside a computer is a pretty good payoff to this neat Easter egg.
89. The Story of Sgt. John Basilone (Captain America: First Avenger)
In The First Avenger, Captain America begins his career as the United States Army’s stateside symbol of patriotism in an effort to sell war bonds, much to his own personal frustration. This story actually mirrors the real-life experience of World War II hero Sgt. John Basilone of the Marine Corps. Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for his displays of heroism in combat at Guadalcanal and was subsequently sent back to the States to help raise money for the war effort. Understandably frustrated that he was no longer fighting alongside his countrymen, Basilone requested that he be sent back overseas. Sadly, he was killed in action at Iwo Jima but took out a sizable group of enemies in the process.
88. The Vision Easter Egg (Iron Man 3)
Tony Stark’s A.I. JARVIS (Paul Bettany) wouldn’t become The Vision until Avengers: Age of Ultron, but his transformation is subtly referenced in Iron Man 3. During the scene where Tony, Pepper, and Maya (Rebecca Hall) are in Tony’s house discussing the giant stuffed bunny sitting in the living room, you can see that Tony has hung a stocking for JARVIS. This Easter egg is pretty awesome in and of itself but is made even better by the fact that the stocking is red, green, and yellow, the same colors as The Vision. We wonder if he still puts the stocking out at Christmas time …
87. Extremis Henchmen (Iron Man 3)
Throughout Iron Man 3, Tony has to contend with several of Aldrich Killian’s Extremis-powered henchmen and although they seem like throwaway characters, each one is based on a minor villain from the comics with totally different backstories. Savin (James Badge Dale), a.k.a. the douchey guy who is responsible for putting Happy Hogan in the hospital, is based on they cyborg assassin Eric Savin, aka Coldblood, who does not have ties to any one particular Marvel comic. Taggert (Ashley Hamilton) — the guy who self-destructs and bombs the Chinese Theater — is based on Jack Taggert, aka Firepower, who in the comics is of African-American descent and actually has his own armored suit to fight Iron Man with.
Finally, Brandt (Stephanie Szostak) is based on Ellen Brandt, who in the comics is an agent of AIM and romantically linked to biochemist Ted Sallis. Unfortunately, things take a dark turn after Brandt betrays Sallis and attempts to steal his research, as Sallis ends up turning into the Man-Thing and gets his revenge on his former lover by burning her face with corrosive acid. In the film, Brandt has minor scars on her face as a homage to her comic counterpart.
86. Chinese Theater Attack (Iron Man 3)
The attack that takes place outside of the Chinese Theater is significant not only because it results in civilian casualties and injuries Tony’s close friend and chauffeur Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), but because of where it takes place. At one point, the man who carries out the attack is sitting right next to the spot that bears the hand-prints and signature of Robert Downey Jr. in real life.
85. Liverpool VS. Chelsea (Iron Man 3)
Following the hilarious scene where Tony discovers that The Mandarin is actually a character played by an actor named Trevor Slattery (who is played by the fantastic Ben Kingsley), Slattery is shown watching a game of football between Liverpool and Chelsea. It is implied that Slattery is a Liverpool fan, as he cheers after Daniel Agger scores a goal and makes the score 3-0. This was a real game played between the two clubs but the film messes up the timeline a bit because it actually took place on May 8, 2012, whereas Iron Man 3 is set around Christmas time.
84. Bucky Can’t Stop Falling In Water (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
It’s no secret that Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) appears in all three Captain America movies, but what you may not have noticed is that he has a repeated habit of falling in water. In fact, he does this in every Cap film and each time he does, it represents a significant change for him as a character. In The First Avenger, Bucky falls into a river to his apparent death, which we later learn signals his transformation into an assassin. In The Winter Soldier, the now-brainwashed Bucky falls into the Potomac and ends up rescuing his old friend Steve Rogers, marking the beginning of his recovery from memory loss. And in Civil War, Bucky again falls into a river, this time in Germany, and becomes aware that he is still susceptible to brainwashing. Assuming Bucky makes an appearance in Black Panther (it has yet to be confirmed), it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see him fall into a Wakandan river.
83. Plums (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
When Bucky Barnes is hiding out in Bucharest, Romania, we see him buying plums at a fruit market. Bucky’s choice of food is interesting, as plums have been shown to be beneficial in treating Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease that affects memory. Given that Bucky has been brainwashed and struggles to remember his life before he became the Winter Soldier, it’s appropriate that he would seek out plums.
Another interesting bit of information about this scene is that Sebastian Stan, the actor who plays Bucky, was actually born in Romania and even speaks perfect Romanian briefly while talking to the fruit vendor.
82. Steve’s Notebook (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
One of The Winter Soldier’s best visual gags occurs early on when Steve takes out his “catch-up” notebook to make note of a Marvin Gaye album recommendation from Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), but what you may not have realized is that Cap’s list is region-specific. For instance, the North American list contains cultural touchstones such as Steve Jobs and Rocky, while the Korean version of the film contains items that would be more familiar to Korean audiences, such as Chan-wook Park’s film Oldboy and Korean Football player Ji-Sung Park.
81. The Lemurian Star (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
The fact that the freighter from the opening fight scene of The Winter Soldier is called the Lemurian Star was probably meaningless for most viewers, but hardcore Marvel fans likely picked up on its significance right away. In the comics, the Lemurians are a race of sea-people with ties to the Deviants, a race created alongside the Lemurians by the otherworldly beings known as Celestials. Is this a sign of future Marvel films featuring these creatures or is it just a cool Easter egg? Only time will tell.
80. Black Widow and Winter Soldier (Captain America: Civil War)
During the Winter Soldier and Black Widow’s brief fight in Civil War, Scarlett Johannson’s character tells Bucky, “You could at least recognize me.” This could actually be a reference to several past events. Widow may be referencing the Soviet Scientist she was protecting the first time she encountered the Winter Soldier, who promptly shot her. It could also be a reference to a storyline in the comics in which the two characters were romantically involved. There’s also the possibility that she’s referencing a more recent event, like the scenes in The Winter Soldier where he again is trying to kill her.
79. “Dottie” (Captain America: Civil War)
During an exchange in Civil War between Steve and Bucky where they reminisce about going on a double date in Brooklyn when they were younger, Cap mentions that Bucky was dating a redhead names Dolores, who had the nickname Dot. While it likely isn’t meant as a canonical reference, that description actually fits one Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), Peggy Carter’s nemesis from Agent Carter. This would actually be a fitting match for Bucky considering his long stint spent as a Soviet assassin, as Dottie is also revealed to be a Soviet agent.
78. Spider-Man: Homecoming Reference (Captain America: Civil War)
While Captain America: Civil War ties into Spider-man: Homecoming in a pretty obvious way by introducing us to Tom Holland’s Spidey, there appears to be a direct reference to the film buried in a much earlier scene. Two of the words that come up in Winter Soldier’s Hydra brainwashing commands are “Homecoming” and “Seventeen,” which can be read as references to the title and date of release of the next Spider-Man film. Apparently, Hydra really does control everything, right down to the release date and title of a new Spider-Man movie!
77. Galaga! (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
The control stations used to control Ayesha’s drone fleet are clearly inspired by 80s arcade games, eliciting sounds that feel reminiscent of the era, but there’s one point in this sequence that appears to be a clever nod to one old school game in particular. While attacking Star-Lord’s ship, the drones begin swarming in two lines, much like the enemy ship formations found in the game Galaga. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Galaga referenced in the MCU, as everyone remembers Tony Stark calling out a random SHIELD employee for playing the game when he’s supposed to be working.
76. Planet Berhert (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Following the Sovereign attack, the Guardians land on the surface of a mysterious planet where they first encounter Ego. The name of this planet is Berhert, which in the comics is the home of the Sagittarians, Princess Daydra and Warlord Supreme. The Sagittarians have a pretty close connection with the Hulk at one point, as the green hero helps Princess Daydra and a group of rebels to overthrow the Galaxy Master, a world-destroying being who had thrown the Sagittarians into bondage.
75. Stallone’s Character, Explained (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has some pretty great cameos, including Sylvester Stallone, who plays the Ravager Stakar. What you may not have realized is that Stallone’s character is better known as the hero Starhawk in the comics and was part of a different iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Starhawk is the founder of the Guardians in the 31st Century, whose lineup includes Major Victory, Martinex, Charlie-27, and none other than Yondu Udonta.
74. Contraxia (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
The planet where we first meet Stallone’s Stakar is called Contraxia, which in the comics is a dying planet whose sun has shutdown, and is the home planet of Marvel hero Jack O’Hearts’ mother. The native inhabitants of Contraxia are called Contraxians (big surprise there), a humanoid race with pink or brown skin whose bodies are split down the middle between two different shades. Not much is really known about them, except that they are run by a theocratic matriarchy and have access to faster than light travel … and apparently have to put up with frequent Ravager meet-ups.
73. Martinex T’Naga (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
If you’re anything like us, you probably noticed the crystal-skinned guy accompanying Stallone’s Stakar and thought “Woah, what’s that cool guy’s story?” Well, his name is Martinex T’Naga, an original Guardians of the Galaxy team member who was born on Pluto (no relation to this guy, unfortunately). He’s not all just good lucks though, as writer Dan Abnett describes him as “the brain” of the operation.
The best part about Martinex though is who plays him in the film. Believe it or not, that’s Michael Rosenbaum — Smallville’s Lex Luthor — underneath all that crystal. Rosenbaum is actually a personal friend of James Gunn and his addition to the cast was announced really late, so you’d be forgiven for not realizing he was even in it!
72. Celestial (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Kurt Russell’s Ego at one point notes that he’s a powerful being known as a Celestial, but he’s actually not the first Celestial we’ve seen in the MCU. In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, when The Collector (Benicio del Toro) is explaining the history of the Infinity Stones, we see a giant being wielding the purple Power Stone. This is Eson The Searcher, who is actually Peter Quill’s grandfather in the comics.
71. Egg Ship (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Ego’s egg-shaped spaceship looks more than a little reminiscent of the ship Mork (Robin Williams) uses to get to Earth in the 1978 TV series Mork & Mindy. Peter Quill would be well familiarized with this show, which is possibly why Ego decides to give his ship this particular design. Nostalgia is a powerful tool, after all, and seeing a real life version of something out of his childhood would probably help set Peter’s mind at ease.
Come to think of it, we’re a little surprised the resemblance wasn’t explicitly stated in the film, but perhaps James Gunn thought it would be a bit on the nose for Peter to point this out and trusted audiences to make the connection.
70. North By Northwest Homage? (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
The sibling rivalry between Gamora and Nebula is one of the best parts of Vol. 2 and we see it come to an explosive head after Nebula finds her sister on Ego’s world and tries to kill her with her ship. The sequence where Negula starts firing on Gamora is framed very similarly to a famous sequence from the classic Hitchcock film North by Northwest. We’re just going to go ahead and assume this was an intentional homage.
69. Stan Lee’s Meta Cameo (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
It’s hardly surprising to see Stan Lee turn up for a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but what’s interesting is that this may be his most important cameo to date, if that makes any sense. We see Stan the Man sitting on a distant moon, talking to a mysterious race of aliens (more on them in a bit). We hear him discuss the time he was a delivery man, a nod to his cameo appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Funnily enough, this seems to confirm a popular fan theory that the Stan we see in each Marvel movie is actually the same character and not multiple alternate Stans.
This makes sense when you consider who Stan is talking too. Known as The Watchers, these aliens literally watch over the Marvel Universe and although they’re not supposed to interfere, they definitely have on occasion.
68. Family Cameos (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
In the very first scene of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, we briefly meet Peter Quill’s grandfather (played by Gregg Henry), who comforts his grandson by Meredith Quill’s hospital bed. Surprisingly, Henry’s character actually has a cameo in Vol. 2! During the sequence where Ego activates his seeding pods, the one he left in Missouri starts a path of destruction. When the pod is finally stopped, it just narrowly destroys a car and in that car is Quill’s grandfather.
In another cool bit of cameo placement, the old couple who wonder out loud what the heck the giant blob that almost killed them is are none other than Jim Gunn Sr. and Leotta Gunn, parents of James Gunn and his brother Sean, who returns as Yondu’s Ravager ally Kraglin (and the on-set Rocket Raccoon!).
67. Rob Zombie Cameo (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 features a number of cameos, with two in particular that are almost non-existent and yet are performed by pretty famous people. The first is Rob Zombie, who actually had a cameo as the voice of an alien in the first movie. Here, he’s billed as “Unseen Ravager,” which seems to be an accurate description as it seems like no one has been able to spot him. The other noteworthy cameo is Nathan Fillion, who was cast as Simon Williams AKA Wonder Man, but unfortunately, his role was cut from the final film. We didn’t think it was possible to cut Fillion from anything, but here we are.
66. Spidey Among the Ruins (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
When Peter goes to confront Toomes after discovering he’s Liz’s father, he becomes unwittingly trapped under a pile of rubble after Toomes causes the roof to cave in. Peter manages to muster up enough strength to push the rubble off himself, in a manner that recalls a specific Spider-Man cover: The Amazing Spider-Man #33. In that issue, Spider-Man faces a similar challenge when he finds himself trapped under machinery. He manages to escape by motivating himself to save Aunt May and the scene ends, much like in the movie, with Spidey hoisting the weight above his head in a triumphant manner.
65. The Cargo (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
When the Stark Industries cargo plane that the Vulture ultimately tries to steal from is being loaded up at Stark Tower, Happy Hogan lists off a number of items on the manifest, including the Hulkbuster armor we saw in action back in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a prototype shield for Captain America (which is weird considering he’s on the run and basically Tony’s enemy at this point) and perhaps most intriguing of all, a magic belt for Thor called Megingjörð (no wonder Happy can’t pronounce it). Once Toomes is on the plane, we don’t see much in the way of cool weapons or gadgets besides some Iron Man armor pieces and a bunch of mini arc reactors.
64. MJ (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Yes it’s incredibly obvious, but it’s still interesting that after months of speculation, it turns out that Zendaya’s Michelle is a new version of MJ after all. She tells everyone near the end of the film that her friends call her “MJ” and then proceeds to give Peter a look that suggests romance may be in the cards at some point. To further hammer home the point that yes, a woman without red hair can still play the character, there’s a tiger mascot in the background during her revelation, a nice callback to MJ’s famous first words to Peter in her comic book debut: “Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot!”
63. Pepper Potts (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
In a surprise cameo (well, unless you read the Homecoming marketing material that spoiled her casting), Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts, making this the first time we’ve seen her in a MCU film since 2013’s Iron Man 3. It’s pretty clear from the way they interact and the kiss she plants on him that Pepper and Tony are back together and this point is hammered home by Happy’s reveal of the engagement ring he’s been keeping in his pocket “since 2008,” the year the first Iron Man was released. Happy’s just a big ol’ sweetheart, isn’t he?
62. Sinister Six Tease? (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Spider-Man: Homecoming’s mid-credits sequence finds Michael Keaton’s Adrien Toomes in prison, where he runs into Michael Mando’s Mac Gargan, who is eager to get revenge on Spider-Man for injuries he sustained during their encounter on the ferry. Gargan says he’s heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s true identity (which he does) and informs him that he has some friends on the outside who would be very interested in that kind of information. Could this be a tease for the Sinister Six?
It’s clear that Mando will reprise his role in some capacity in the next Spidey film and it’s likely that Keaton will be back too if he decides to join up with Scorpion, which leaves four other spots open for villains. The Sinister Six has taken many different forms over the years, but some of its core members include Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Electro, and Kraven the Hunter, so there’s a chance we could see some or all of these villains in the next film.
61. Cap Goes Meta (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
How great is that post-credits stinger? Chris Evans once again appears as Captain America, this time to deliver a PSA about the virtues of patience. Really though, it’s basically a giant troll job for the audience, as Cap’s complaint about being asked to sit and wait patiently for something that ultimately proves to not really be worth it can be read as him taking aim at post-credits scenes as a whole and how they’ve changed the way we’ve digested movies (which is ironic considering Marvel essentially invented the practice). It all ends perfectly with Cap turning to someone off camera and muttering “how many more of these …?” which is probably what some jaded moviegoers are wondering about Marvel movies as a whole? The answer: a lot.
60. The Scorpion (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
At one point in the film, Phineas Mason — AKA The Tinkerer — discusses with the Vulture some of the gang’s available options for making more money. While Mason repeatedly brings up his desire to design a high-altitude sealant for the Vulture’s suit, he also mentions having enough raw materials to design the “Gargan tail.” This is no doubt a reference to Mac Gargan — AKA the Scorpion — who we later meet in person during the ferry scene. He’s played Michael Mando of Better Call Saul fame and if his future turn as a Spidey villain wasn’t clear enough, the mid-credits scene brings him back and this time you can clearly make out a scorpion tattoo on his neck.
59. Freaks and Geeks Connections (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Spider-Man: Homecoming is more focused than any previous Spidey movie on Peter Parker’s high school experience, so it’s fitting that it has some connections to one of the best high school TV shows ever made. Martin Starr (Silicon Valley’s Gilfoyle), who played Bill Haverchuck on Freaks and Geeks, has a small role here as Mr. Harrington, the academic decathlon coach. However, Starr isn’t the only Freaks and Geeks alum involved with Homecoming as John Francis Daley, who played Sam Weir, actually co-wrote the film.
58. The Prowler (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Donald Glover was once in the running to play Spider-Man before Andrew Garfield was cast in the previous series (it’s getting hard to keep track of all these Spider-Men), so it’s understandable why his casting in Homecoming was met with much fanfare and speculation. He’s first introduced as a small-time crook named Aaron Davis but like most minor characters in the MCU, his comic origins are much more interesting than they first appear. One of Davis’ known aliases is the Prowler, a former criminal turned masked vigilante who eventually becomes an ally of Spider-Man. A potential Prowler appearance down the road is cool enough, but it’s Davis’ nephew who deserves the real attention …
57. Sokovia Accords (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
The events of Civil War figure pretty heavily into Homecoming — in fact, one of the opening scenes is a home video of Peter’s trip to Germany to battle Cap — so much so that it’s now become a part of Peter’s education. During one of the classroom scenes, there’s a history droning on about the Sokovia Accords, the set of legal documents that set off the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man in the first place. And even though Cap only shows up in a set of delightful education videos, his presence is still felt when Hannibal Buress’ Coach Wilson casually remarks “I’m pretty sure that guy’s a war criminal now,” while introducing Cap’s Physical Education Challenge video.
56. Frog Thor (Thor: Ragnarok)
During Thor’s opening monologue (yes, it’s technically a monologue since he’s talking to a skeleton), he recounts a number of mishaps that have happened to him over the years, including that he was once turned into a frog. While we, unfortunately, don’t get to actually see this play out, it’s probably a callback to the time Loki turned the God of Thunder into a frog during Walter Simonson’s run on the Thor comics. Interestingly, there’s also a character in the comics named Simon Walterson who was turned into a frog, but this change ended up being permanent, prompting Simon to adopt the handle Throg, The Frog of Thunder.
55. The Hidden Green Lantern Crossover (Thor: Ragnarok)
Taika Waititi had a small role in Green Lantern (2011) as Hal Jordan’s best friend Tom and given how playful the director is with pretty much everything in Thor: Ragnarok, it makes sense that he found a way to reference that movie with a DC Comics “crossover” that is pretty much impossible to notice. When Thor returns to Asgard after defeating Surtur, he discovers that the usual operator, Heimdall, is now a fugitive and has been replaced by Skurge (Karl Urban), who is more concerned with impressing a pair of Asgardian ladies than he is with his new job. As he explains, being in charge of the Bifrost means that he can travel to any of the nine realms and acquire “loot” to add to his collection. Some of his prized possessions include his assault rifles “Des” and “Troy” and a Shake Weight.
As Waititi explains to Fandango, the Shake Weight gag is actually a crossover of sorts with Green Lantern, as he actually bought the infomercial gadget while he was working on the film. Waititi credits his time working on Green Lantern with teaching him a lot about how superhero movie productions work and the problems that can often plague them, which is why he went to the trouble of subtly giving that film the nod with this delightful gag.
54. Those Theatre Cameos (Thor: Ragnarok)
If there’s any scene that proves Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s the farcical play being put on for Loki’s (disguised as Odin, of course) amusement upon Thor’s return to Asgard. As we see, Loki has essentially turned Asgard into one giant ode to himself, commissioning the construction of a statue in his honor and having the kingdom’s theater company act out plays that paint him as a fallen hero. The best part of this scene — besides the visual of Sir Anthony Hopkins lounging around eating grapes — is the actors themselves, as each one represents a pretty big cameo. We have Chris Hemsworth’s older brother Luke Hemsworth (Westworld) playing Thor, Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople star Sam Neill as Odin, and none other than an uncredited Matt Damon playing Loki. We can only hope that the home release of Thor: Ragnarok contains plenty of outtakes from this scene!
53. Murder By Mjolnir (Thor: Ragnarok)
After witnessing far too much of Asgard’s theatre troupe hamming it up on stage, Thor easily sees through his brother’s disguise and comes up with an ingenious way of revealing Loki’s treachery: playing a twisted version of chicken with his trusty hammer Mjolnir. As he tells Odin/Loki, nothing will stop his hammer from returning to his hand, so he places his brother’s head in Mjolnir’s path. Loki yields, of course, leaving Marvel fans with a scene that recalls Walt Simonson’s run on the Thor comics. In issue #359, uses the same tactic to break himself free of one of Loki’s spells and just like in the movie, Loki relents for fear of taking a magical hammer to the face.
52. Shady Acres (Thor: Ragnarok)
It doesn’t take long for Thor to convince Loki to tell him where he’s been hiding Odin, prompting the God of Mischief to take his brother to New York City. Unfortunately, all they find is a pile of rubble where the retirement home Odin had been living in used to be. However, we do see that the facility was called Shady Acres, which is actually a running joke in Hollywood that goes back to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In that 1994 film, there’s a special care facility with the same name, which was a play on director Tom Shadyac. Since then, multiple films and TV shows have used “Shady Acres” as a retirement home name, including South Park, which first featured the location in the Season Six episode, “The New Terrence and Phillip Movie Trailer.”
51. Thor’s Umbrella (Thor: Ragnarok)
The sight of Thor carrying around an umbrella during his visit to New York City leads to a funny gag where Doctor Strange warns the God of Thunder not to forget his umbrella. It then becomes apparent that the umbrella is really just Mjolnir in disguise (hey, what would look weirder: Thor carrying around an umbrella or a magical hammer?), the first time we’ve seen him do such a thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This gag actually originates from the original Thor comics, in which Thor lived on Earth as his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake. The difference is that Blake carried around a cane instead of an umbrella and could reveal Mjolnir’s true form by tapping the cane forcefully on the ground. We see Thor do something similar with his umbrella when he slams it on the ground to cast away the illusion after Hela ambushes him and Loki.
50. Jack Kirby Influence (Thor: Ragnarok)
From a visual standpoint, Thor: Ragnarok is easily one of the best looking Marvel movies to date and this has a lot to do with it essentially being one giant homage to the style of legendary Marvel Comics artist Jack Kirby. In particular, Kirby’s love of over-designed backdrops and weird looking bits of architecture and armor can be seen all over the planet of Sakaar. In fact, the background in the scene where Loki watches Thor and and Hulk fight from the Grandmaster’s box seat is a replica of Kirby’s artwork on the cover of Fantastic Four #64 (1967).
49. Fake Infinity Gauntlet (Thor: Ragnarok)
When Hela enters Odin’s vault in order to access the Eternal Flame, she reveals that the murals in the throne room aren’t the only lies being sold by her departed father. We see Hela walk up to the Infinity Gauntlet and casually knock it off its pedestal, claiming it’s a fake in the process. This actually addresses an issue introduced all the way back in the original Thor movie, which first introduced the Infinity Gauntlet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The problem was that eagle-eyed fans noticed that the gauntlet was a right-handed glove; a problem that was only compounded further when we Thanos put on the ‘correct’ left-handed glove in the post-credits scene of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. As Hela demonstrates, Marvel Studios essentially retconned this issue by having Asgard’s version turn out to be a fake this whole time.
48. Grandmaster’s Palace Heads (Thor: Ragnarok)
The Hulk may be the Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldblum) favorite champion, but he’s had other beloveds in the past, which he honors with massive busts on the outside of his palace. We see that the Hulk’s bust is still under construction but there are other skulls adorning the walls, each one a reference to a specific character from Marvel lore. The one of particular note to Thor fans is the Korbinite skull, a race of intelligent, humanoid aliens with heads shaped like much like a horse’s. Most likely, this is Beta Ray Bill himself, thus confirming that the character exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beta Ray Bill is a character who actually weilded Mjolnir for a time, proving to be worthy of the God of Thunder’s power while he was out of commission. Once Thor reclaimed his hammer, Odin gave Bill a hammer of his own and the two became longtime allies.
The other heads look like they belong to Ares (yes, Marvel and DC both have a version of the Greek God of War); the swam monster Man-Thing; and the Mighty Bi-Beast, an enemy of the Hulk with two heads stacked on top of each other who is actually an android designed by an extinct race of aliens.
47. Miek (Thor: Ragnarok)
Korg’s little buddy Miek is quite different from his comics counterpart but in perhaps the best way possible. Introduced in the original Planet Hulk storyline — which Thor Ragnarok draws on heavily for inspiration — Miek is still an insectoid creature but whereas he’s just a small slug-like thing piloting an exosuit with “knives for hands,” Planet Hulk’s version of Miek is a large humanoid creature similar in size to the Hulk himself. This is because he’s able to evolve into a “King” version of his species, with increased size and strength. Considering how popular he and Korg have been with audiences, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see the pair again in a future MCU movie.
46. Shuri’s Vine Joke (Black Panther)
Black Panther easily could have made T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) a hermit-like tech nerd, but the film also remembers that she’s a teenager and one who is every bit in touch with pop culture as anyone else her age (it’s amazing what the internet can do, isn’t it?). One sequence that shows off Shuri’s knowledge of meme culture comes early on when she glances down at her brother’s sandals and asks “What are thoooose?!” in an incredulous tone. That same question and tone was first delivered in a Vine of the same name, only in that case the comment was directed at a police officer’s choice of footwear. You can learn all about the history of this particular Vine here.
45. Back to the Future Kicks (Black Panther)
Fortunately for T’Challa, style is just as important as function when it comes to Shuri’s Black Panther suit designs and she comes up with a much cooler choice of footwear for her brother to replace his sandals with. Shuri’s “sneakers” (emphasis on the sneaking) are designed to cut down on the sounds of footsteps and fit perfectly like a second skin. As Shuri explains, the form-fitting tech was inspired by an old American movie and while the title is never explicitly stated, it’s most likely a reference to Back to the Future Part II and Marty McFly’s futuristic, self-lacing Nikes.
44. Moonlight Cameo (Black Panther)
Ryan Coogler has gone on record praising Barry Jenkins’ work on his Academy Award-winning film Moonlight and notes that the filmmaker was a supportive voice for him when making Black Panther. Coogler returns the favor in a sense with Black Panther’s final scene set in Oakland, California. As Shuri is showing the local neighborhood children a Wakanda airship, there’s a small boy who gets the last line in the movie. That boy is none other than actor Alex R. Hibbert, who starred in Moonlight in one of the film’s three starring roles.
43. The White Wolf (Black Panther)
On the surface, Black Panther’s final post-credits scene is a bit of a letdown. Showing Bucky Barnes alive and well in Wakanda after being put into a deep freeze at the end of Captain America: Civil War is pretty much exactly what we expected to happen since Bucky is featured in the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War. Plus, considering Black Panther is the final Marvel movie before Infinity War hits, it’s hard not to be disappointed that the film doesn’t do much else to set up the imminent arrival of Thanos.
Still, there is one interesting bit of information provided in the scene that may hint at something bigger to come. We learn that the children of Wakanda refer to Bucky as the “White Wolf,” which is the name given to an outsider stranded in Wakanda. However, it also signifies the person raised to eventually be T’Challa’s most trusted soldier, as the White Wolf becomes the head of the Wakandan secret police, which suggests that Bucky will be an important ally for Black Panther and the whole of Wakanda in Infinity War.
42. Panther Vs Rhino (Black Panther)
Late in the film, we see W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) unleash his combat rhinos against T’Challa’s forces, leading to a supremely cool fight between Black Panther and one of the charging beasts. While some viewers were likely turned off by this overly fantastical sequence, it’s one that’s ripped right out of the pages of Black Panther’s earliest comic run. In the character’s very first story arc, “Panther’s Rage” (Jungle Action comics), T’Challa fights Erik Killmonger but also does battle with a rhino at one point. This moment was a clear inspiration for the action on screen, as Coogler and his effects team recreate the Black Panther’s grasp on the rhino (seen below) almost perfectly.
41. Everett Ross: Captain Marvel Connections? (Black Panther)
Martin Freeman’s CIA man Everett Ross is given much more to do in Black Panther than he did during his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, even getting to play the hero in the third act thanks to his skills as an ace pilot. It’s that detail specifically that elevates Ross above being just a silly presence in the film, as Shuri’s reading of Ross’ file makes it clear that he’s much more capable than his appearance would suggest.
Ross was a pilot before he joined up with the CIA and what’s interesting about this detail is that it was invented specifically for the movie. Considering Carol Danvers will be introduced to us as a young pilot in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, is it possible that Ross has crossed paths with the Marvel heroine before? We’ll just have to wait and see …
40. Trevor Noah Cameo (Black Panther)
It took more than three months after Black Panther’s release for this one to be discovered but as confirmed by Vanity Fair, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah has a cameo in the film as Shuri’s A.I. Griot, which helps Everett Ross pilot a virtual fighter plane during the final battle (the word “griot” is a West African term for a storyteller).
Noah, a native of South Africa, notes that getting the chance to play a role in Black Panther represents a personal victory for himself, as several of the film’s characters speak Xhosa, one of his home country’s official languages. “It was extra special for me because the people speak Xhosa in the movie,” he said back in February. “There were subtitles, and I was like, I don’t need your subtitles! I don’t need your subtitles! This is just for me right now! Nobody else listen! This reminds me of my mom.”
In a later interview with Chadwick Boseman, Noah confirmed that Black Panther’s “authenticity” resonated with his friends in South Africa, noting that “People loved it back home.”
39. Public Enemy (Black Panther)
Branching off the previous point, Ryan Coogler also makes sure to imbue Oakland with a sense of place that ties in not only the history of the Black Panther (both the hero and the political party) but also the larger cultural landscape as well. We don’t get to learn much about N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) before he is killed in the opening scene, but there is a pretty significant Easter egg hiding in his apartment in the form of a Public Enemy poster. Although the hip hop group formed in Long Island, New York, they had a close connection with the Black Panther Party, with their lyrics and clothing explicitly highlighting their affiliation (even their backup dancers wore leather jackets and hats affiliated with the Black Panthers!).
38. Killmonger’s Mask (Black Panther)
Though he eventually opts for a Black Panther suit of his own, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens’ initial costume is easily one of the film’s most striking. The tribal mask that Erik picks up in London has connections to Wakanda, but also to Marvel Comics. It turns out that the mask is a throwback to two different comic designs.
The first is Mephisto, as the mask bears a striking resemblance to the demon who made such a memorable appearance in Christopher Priest’s run on the Black Panther comics. The second (and more obvious) connection is to Killmonger himself, as the mask resembles the one he wore in his battle with T’Challa in Black Panther #37.
37. M’Baku’s Comics Origins (Black Panther)
In a movie already overflowing with fantastic characters, Winston Duke’s M’Baku gets overshadowed a bit but does a great job with the familiar rival-turned-ally arc. M’Baku is clearly a physical force to be reckoned with but what you may not have realized is that his comic counterpart is even more powerful — and a lot more problematic. See, M’Baku is actually Man-Ape, the leader of a rival clan of gorilla-worshiping warriors who dressed up in a gorilla suit in honor of the tribe’s white gorilla deity.
Of course, having a black man parading around in a gorilla suit is some racially-charged imagery that Black Panther thankfully chooses not to adapt, which is why this black exploitation period character is altered considerably in the jump to the screen. That being said, the movie still finds a way to tastefully honor the character’s comic origins: the thick fur on M’Baku’s shoulders and forearms along with attached armor pieces help exaggerate his upper body, and he also briefly wears a gorilla mask during his ritual battle with T’Challa.
36. Vormir … Really?? (Avengers: Infinity War)
There was a ton of fan speculation leading up to the release of Infinity War as to the whereabouts of the final Infinity Stone, the Soul Stone. There were dozens of popular theories bouncing around, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who correctly guessed that the stone would be on the planet Vormir, with the Red Skull of all people acting as its gatekeeper. Vormir is an incredibly obscure planet in the Marvel Universe, home to a race called the Vorms who travel from planet to planet feasting off its lifeforms.
In an interesting tie to the Guardians of the Galaxy, the history of the Vorms is recounted in Avengers #124 (1974), which also contained the first appearance of Mantis. Fittingly, the very next issue, Avengers #125, marked the first time the Avengers fought Thanos, as part of a crossover story with Jim Starlin’s Captain Marvel series.
35. Flash Gordon (Avengers: Infinity War)
In addition to Doctor Strange, Tony Stark is paired with another arrogant, hot-headed male hero in the form of Star-Lord, whom Stark refers to dismissively at one point as “Flash Gordon.” Star-Lord, a child of the 80s, takes the comparison as a compliment, but what Tony may not have realized is just how closely Peter Quill’s origin story resembles that of Flash Gordon’s.
Like Quill, Gordon is a human who blasts off from Earth into unknown space, only to eventually become a hero and take down an evil alien despot. Unfortunately, Peter Quill really doesn’t do Flash Gordon or humanity in general proud in Infinity War, as he sabotages his team’s efforts to steal the Infinity Gauntlet off of Thanos when he loses his cool after learning about Gamora’s death and essentially dooms half of all life in the universe in the process. Way to go, Star-Prince.
34. And My Axe! (Avengers: Infinity War)
Although Thor is at his funniest in both Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, the God of Thunder sure has been put through the ringer as of late. As he sadly recounts to Rocket, Thor’s entire family is now dead and he also lost an eye and his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, for good measure. Fortunately, Thor thrives on adversity and picks himself right back up to try and go another round with Thanos, venturing to Nidavellir to convince the blacksmith Eitri to forge him a new weapon capable of killing the Mad Titan.
The new weapon, dubbed Stormbreaker, is similar to the hammer/axe hybrid Thor used in the Ultimate Universe and the name of the weapon is a reference to the hammer that Odin himself has Eitri forge for Beta Ray Bill after the latter proved he was worthy of wielding Mjolnir. Because why have one all-powerful Hammer of the Gods when you can have two?
33. Vision’s New Look (Avengers: Infinity War)
The Avengers come so close to putting a halt to Thanos before he can acquire all six Infinity Stones, with Scarlet Witch going so far as to destroy the Mind Stone (and Vision in the process) so that the Mad Titan can’t get his greedy giant hands on it. Unfortunately, Thanos easily remedies this setback by reversing time and ripping the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, rendering the hero colorless and down for the count.
However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Vision this way, as his muted palette bears a resemblance to his appearance in John Byrne’s late 80s/early 90s run on Avengers West Coast. In that arc, Vision is captured and subsequently dismantled by distrustful government forces. When he’s reassembled, Vision is pale and has lost his emotional attachments to humanity. Could this be a clue to where we’ll see Vision go next in Avengers 4 (assuming he’s not dead, of course)?
32. Thanos the Farmer (Avengers: Infinity War)
At one point in the film, Thanos claims that after he accomplishes his mission of wiping out half of all life, he’ll retire and smile upon a grateful universe. True to his word, this is exactly what Thanos does in the final scene of Infinity War, as we see him resting in a cabin overlooking a peaceful-looking valley somewhere with a big, self-satisfied grin on his face.
As it turns out, this is similar to the way the Infinity Gauntlet story closes out, as Thanos settles down for life as a farmer after Adam Warlock and the rest of the Avengers manage to reverse his genocidal actions. We have no idea what’s in store for Thanos next, but we doubt he’s going to be able to relish his “good deed” for long once the Avengers figure out how to undo what he has done.
31. Doctor Strange: Birthday Entertainer Supreme (Avengers: Infinity War)
Luckily for Tony Stark, he’s able to hold his own against Doctor Strange in the insults department and lands a pretty clever one when he asks, “What is your job exactly, except to make balloon animals?” While no doubt meant to draw attention to the fact that Strange’s get-up makes him look like an eccentric magician who might perform tricks at a children’s birthday parties, it’s also a callback to the very real skit Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back around the time the Doctor Strange movie was in theaters.
In that bit, Strange is invited to Kimmel’s home but instead of battling demons, Kimmel hires him to entertain a kids birthday party. Strange initially refuses, until he finds out that there’s $150 in it for him and proceeds to start making balloon animals for the kids. The skit ends with one of the kids insulting Strange’s balloon animal skills, prompting the Sorcerer Supreme to teleport him to a demonic dimension. In other words, Doctor Strange basically left a kid to die a horrible death in another dimension, but don’t think on it too hard – he’s still one of the good guys (we hope)!
30. Squidward Maw (Avengers: Infinity War)
When Ebony Maw comes to New York to try and take the Time Stone from Doctor Strange, Tony Stark gets a nice dig against him when he tells him, “God away, Squidward. Earth is closed!” For those unfamiliar with the brilliance of the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, this is a nod to the character Squidward Tentacles, Spongebob’s irritable next door neighbor whom Spongebob believes is one of his best friends. Squidward is kind of a jerk, which is something that can also be said of Ebony Maw, but clearly Tony made the connection due to Maw’s face resembling Squidward’s big, oddly-shaped one.
29. Eccentric Uncle Morgan (Avengers: Infinity War)
Infinity War picks up from where Spider-Man: Homecoming left off with Tony Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts. Now engaged and in the midst of planning their wedding, Tony confesses to Pepper that he hopes they will have a child someday and mentions that they could name their kid after her eccentric uncle, Morgan. Morgan, as it turns out, is a character from the comics, albeit with a bit of a different relation to Tony.
Introduced in Tales of Suspense #68 (1965) by Al Hartley and Jack Kirby, Morgan Stark is actually Tony’s cousin and is framed as the counter to Tony. Whereas Tony is born rich and is a self-made billionaire, Morgan was born rich but ended up losing it all, to the point where he tries to sell out his own cousin to help cover his debts. Tony ends up forgiving him, but let’s just go ahead and assume that Morgan Potts is a slightly better class of person if Tony wants to name his own kid after him.
28. Mephisto = Ebony Maw (Avengers: Infinity War)
Another character who plays a major role in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline that couldn’t be used by Marvel is Mephisto. Originally a chief foe of Silver Surfer who has since gone on to become one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest villains, Mephisto essentially serves as Thanos’ lackey during the Infinity Gauntlet series (but only because he is secretly plotting to steal the Gauntlet for himself). In Infinity War, Thanos’ lieutenant from the Black Order, Ebony Maw, essentially occupies the same role as Mephisto, only without the whole backstabbing part.
Maw even goes so far as to repeat an exact line of Mephisto’s from the comics, when he tells Thanos that “my humble personage bows before your grandeur.” It’s too bad Ebony Maw is dispatched rather quickly by Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange, as “Squidward the Space Wizard” is easily the best Child of Thanos featured in Infinity War.
27. Return of the Zune (Avengers: Infinity War)
One of the best gags in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was easily the Zune MP3 player gifted to Peter and the Milano crew, giving them access to over 300 new classic tunes in the process. We get our first taste of what the Cool Mix Vol. 3 will sound like during the Guardians’ introduction scene in Infinity War, as they are singing along to the song “The Rubberband Man” by The Spinners (fun fact: the track was featured during the mud wrestling scene in Stripes (1981)). Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear any other songs on the Zune but assuming Star-Lord (and every Guardian not named Rocket) are brought back from the dead in Avengers 4, we’re sure to hear more by the time Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 rolls around in 2020.
26. Egghead (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
The true identity of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s mysterious villain Ghost is revealed early on to be Ava Starr, daughter of Dr. Eilhas Starr, a deceased former colleague of Hank Pym and Bill Foster. Dr. Starr isn’t a character created specifically for the movie, however and is actually even more significant in the comics. A scientist-turned villain, Dr. Starr adopts the name “Egghead” and becomes a regular villain for Ant-Man, using his genius-level intellect and skills in the robotics and engineering fields to create a variety of weapons to make up for his lack of actual superpowers. So in a way, he’d probably be proud of his daughter following in his footsteps!
25. Young Goliath (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made a habit of using special effects to make actors look younger in flashback scenes, as seen with Michael Douglass in the original Ant-Man, Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War, and Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. For the flashback showing the catastrophe that turned a young Ava Starr into Ghost, you would expect that Laurence Fishburne was digitally de-aged but it’s not even him playing Bill Foster in the scene. Instead, it’s his son Langston Fishburne, an actor and ballet performer best known for his recurring role on the web series Vanessa & Jan.
24. Writing on the Chalkboard (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
Yet another chalkboard Easter Egg, this one comes during Scott and Hope’s humorous infiltration of Cassie’s school. When the pair are in the classroom, there’s a lesson written out on the chalkboard instructing students on how to modify a list of phrases to include plural possessives. One of the sentences, which includes the line “the flowers that my aunts grow” is a nice little ant pun that proves the film’s set decorators are in on the Easter Egg train.
23. Hints at Cassie Lang’s Future (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
When Cassie Lang gives her father a bedside pep-talk and tells him that she hopes to grow up to be a superhero like him someday, it plays off like something you’d hear any child say if one of their parents was an Avenger (wait, was Ant-Man ever technically part of the team? It’s hard to keep track). However, this is no throwaway line, as Cassie does indeed grow up to become a full-fledged superhero.
In the comics, Cassie exposes herself to Pym Particles in the hope that they will imbue her with super abilities (this occurs after Scott Lang has already passed away). After an argument with the Young Avengers, Cassie’s superpowers manifest themselves by causing her to grow enormous in size and strength, just like her dad. Fortunately, things quickly settle down and Cassie eases into her role as Stature, a selfless hero who ends up fighting alongside the Initiative against the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion event.
22. Quantum Realm Easter Eggs (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
There’s so much going on visually in the Quantum Realm that it’s no surprise that the filmmakers would include hidden details in the background. Viewers spent hours examining the original Ant-Man’s Quantum Realm scene hunting for Easter Eggs and they found a big one in the form of a superhero silhouette. It was later confirmed that this was indeed a cameo from the original Wasp, who we learn in the sequel has survived at the subatomic level for decades.
Considering we spend even more time in the Quantum Realm during Ant-Man and the Wasp, we can only imagine what Easter Eggs are hidden within it this time out. Since Marvel hasn’t spilled the beans yet and we don’t have a copy laying around to closely inspect, we’ll likely have to wait until the film is released on home video in order to find out what secrets the Quantum Realm contains.
21. Agents of Atlas (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
Scott Lang’s relationship with his FBI handler Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is played up for laughs in Ant-Man and the Wasp, with the pair having a mutual respect and admiration for each other despite the fact that Woo is technically playing an antagonistic role. However, much like most of the minor character roles in Marvel movies, Woo is much more significant than many will realize.
Introduced way back in 1956 as a secret agent seeking out “The Yellow Claw”, Woo has generally been portrayed well over the years despite suffering from some familiar Asian stereotypes in his early days. More recently, Jimmy Woo has adopted a role similar to Professor X and his Xavier School, working as the Headmaster of the Pan-Asian School For The Unusually Gifted in Mumbai.
20. Centurion Tease (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
When it comes to villains, Ant-Man and the Wasp’s two most prominent antagonists are Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) but the film arguably has a third in the form of the FBI. While the Feds are just trying to do their job in enforcing Scott Lang’s house arrest, one member stands out due to his seedy connections.
Hoping to get Scott and Hope out of the picture, Sonny reaches out to his contact in the FBI named Geoffrey Ballard (played by Sean Kleier). That name probably doesn’t mean much to the average viewers, but Marvel Comics readers will recognize it as the alter-ego of Centurion, an enemy of heroes like Iron Man and Goliath.
19. Earth-616 (Avengers: Endgame)
When Scott Lang returns from the Quantum Realm through the entrance of his X-Con van, some fans might not have noticed the vehicle was located in vault 616, a reference to Earth-616, the version of Earth the majority of heroes in the MCU belong too.
The ‘616’ number has been referenced in previous films as well, most noticeably in Thor: The Dark World when Erik Selvig writes ‘616’ (pictured below) on the blackboard while at the psychiatric hospital and again in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse when we’re introduced to the Multiverse.
18. Jarvis Makes His Non-AI Debut (Avengers: Endgame)
While back in the 1970s, after Tony and his father finished saying their goodbyes, Howard walks towards his vehicle and calls his driver, Jarvis, by name. This marked the first time Jarvis has appeared in the MCU, other than as Tony’s AI assistant that is.
James D’Arcy, the actor who played Jarvis in Endgame, also portrayed Jarvis in the Agent Carter series, a show most would agree was canceled far too soon.
17. Korg’s Pineapple Romper (Avengers: Endgame)
During the scene where Professor Hulk and Rocket are attempting to convince an overweight and depressed Thor to help them bring back the fallen, Korg, voiced by Taika Waititi, is playing Fortnite with Miek and can be seen wearing a pineapple romper. This happens to be a nod to the time the Thor: Ragnarok director wore the romper while at the 2017’s Comic-Con in San Diego.
16. Stan Lee’s Last Cameo (Avengers: Endgame)
The late Stan Lee makes his final cameo during Endgame, playing the role of an antiwar hippie from 1970s New Jersey. The comic book legend appears driving past the Camp Lehigh military base while shouting “make love, not war” in a car sporting “Nuff Said” bumper sticker, a favorite slogan of his. The license plate also says 420, which is both hilarious and fitting given it’s the 70s.
15. Cap’s Shield Is Destroyed (Avengers: Endgame)
Thanos slowly chipping away and eventually breaking Captain America’s shield during the final battle was not only an awesome scene but also a nod to the Infinity Gauntlet comics, where Cap’s shield is broken by Thanos in an extremely similar fashion. Surprisingly, the Mad Titan isn’t the only villain to break the Cap’s iconic shield, both Molecule Man and Ultron have done so in the past.
The scene also reminded us of Tony’s dream had in Age of Ultron, where he pictures Captain America laying on the ground beside a broken shield.
14. Captain America Has Always Been Worthy (Avengers: Endgame)
Captain America lifting Mjölnir and hitting Thanos was by far the coolest scene in the film. If you’re familiar with the comics, it shouldn’t come as much of surprise as he’s lifted it on several occasions, the first being in The Mighty Thor # 390 (1988). That said, seeing him pick up Mjölnir in the comics doesn’t hold a candle to watching it on the big screen.
Thor yelling “I know it” after realizing Cap was worthy of lifting Mjölnir was a reference to the moment in Age of Ultron when Cap almost lifted it off the table. Interesting enough, the Russo brothers recently confirmed that Rogers has been worthy all along.
“In our heads, he was able to wield it. He didn’t know that until that moment in Ultron when he tried to pick it up. But Cap’s sense of character and humility and, out of deference to Thor’s ego, Cap in that moment realizing he can move the hammer, decides not to.”
13. Standing Toe-To-Toe With Thanos (Avengers: Endgame)
Watching Captain America stand toe-to-toe against Thanos during the final stand was a thing of beauty and the perfect call back to the Infinity Gauntlet comics. Although Endgame‘s interpretation of the iconic scene differed from comics, watching Thanos’s army funnel in behind him and the Avengers arriving through magical portals was an outstanding visual I’ll never forget.
12. The ‘Iron Man 3’ Kid Got Big (Avengers: Endgame)
During the tearful scene where all the Avengers and characters show up to pay their respects at Tony funeral, a familiar face shows up but he looks a lot older than we last saw him. The young man in question is none other than Harley Kenner, the young boy who helps Tony after being stranded in Tennessee in Iron Man 3.
11. Asgardians of the Galaxy (Avengers: Endgame)
Nearing the end of the film Thor decides to join the Guardians of the Galaxy aboard the Benatar, so he leaves new Asgard in the control and protection of Valkryie, making her Queen of Asgard.
Following that scene, while on the Benatar Thor teases Star-Lord by referring to the Guardians as the ‘Asgardians of the Galaxy,’ a way of upsetting Quill but also a reference to a comic book storyline that’s roster included Valkyrie, Throg, Destroyer, Thunderstrike, Skurge, Thor’s sister Angela, among others.
10. Passing Of The Torch (Avengers: Endgame)
One of the best and most heartwarming moments of the film was when Steve Rogers passed the Captain America mantle to Sam Wilson, a fitting conclusion to Cap’s MCU arc, as well as Chris Evan’s time playing the iconic character.
The decision to have Rogers live out the rest of his days with Peggy Carter was the perfect sendoff, as well as the perfect way to introduce Sam Wilson as the new Captain America. This might lead to Disney’s Falcon & Winter Soldier series, which is scheduled to release of the Disney+, being renamed Captain America & Winter Soldier. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if that was their plan all along.
9. Was that Howard The Duck? (Avengers: Endgame)
Howard the Duck made his third MCU appearance in Endgame‘s epic final stand against Thanos, showing up behind the Wasp in the scene where all of the heroes and characters wiped out by the snap return through the magical portals to help Captain America and the remaining Avengers defeat the Mad Titan.
8. Will Namor Be In Black Panther 2? (Avengers: Endgame)
Even though Namor the Sub-Mariner wasn’t mentioned by name, Okoye referring to “underwater earthquake” reminded us of the history of bad blood between Atlantis and Wakanda. Which begs the question, will director Ryan Coogler introduce one of Marvel’s oldest heroes into the MCU in Black Panther 2?
Sadly, Universal Pictures owns the rights to the character and has since 2001, so unless Disney strikes a deal, which is possible, the chance of Namor taking on Black Panther in the sequel is highly unlikely (as of now).
7. Professor Hulk Makes His Debut (Avengers: Endgame)
Bruce Banner and Huk becoming one in Endgame was an awesome surprise that likely caught a lot of people off guard, but it also happens to be a throwback to The Incredible Hulk #377 (1991), where Professor Hulk made his debut. The two agreed that by combining Hulk’s size and strength with Banner’s wit and smarts, Professor Hulk would be the ideal transformation and compromise for both.
6. Hawkeye Becomes Ronin (Avengers: Endgame)
When Hawkeye was left out of Infinity War it felt strange, but now having seen Endgame his absence makes a lot of sense. Much like Scott Lang was in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hawkeye was on house arrest during Infinity War, but after witnessing his entire family turn to dust, which is revealed at the beginning of Endgame, Hawkeye becomes Ronin, a samurai-inspired persona Barton adopts in the comics following the events the Civil War storyline. Much like in Endgame, Ronin’s costume is black and yellow and rather than his bow, Ronin wields a samurai sword, among other various weapons.
5. Morgan Stark (Avengers: Endgame)
During Infinity War Tony reveals a dream in which he and Pepper already have a son and they named him after her eccentric uncle, Morgan. In Endgame the dream comes to fruition, only rather than having a son, Tony and Pepper have a daughter, which they named Morgan.
In the comics, Morgan Stark is actually the name of Tony’s disreputable male cousin, who made his debut in an issue of Tales of Suspense back in 1965. Although Morgan started off as nothing more than a bad seed, he eventually became so jealous of Tony, that he became the supervillain known as Ultimo.
4. Time For A Cheeseburger (Avengers: Endgame)
Following her father’s funeral, Morgan tells Happy she’d like a cheeseburger, which brings a smile to his face because that was Tony’s favorite too. It was a touching moment and also a reminder of first Iron Man film when Tony escaped captivity and upon his return to the United States, wanted one thing and one thing only, a cheeseburger.
3. Pepper To The Rescue (Avengers: Endgame)
Pepper Potts first adopted the superhero identity Rescue in the comics back in 2009, but in Endgame Potts’ armor looks slightly different, appearing to be modeled after her look in cartoon series, Iron Man: Animated Adventures. In that series, Potts’ Rescue armor is blue, a strong contrast to Tony’s red and yellow suit.
2. Welcome To New Asgard (Avengers: Endgame)
In Endgame we learn Thor made good on his promise and set up a new Asgard for his people on Earth, in the city of Tønsberg, Norway. Believe it or not, this happens to be the same place where the Tesseract was hidden in the opening scene of The First Avenger, as well as the same Norwegian village Odin referred to as home, right before he passed away in Thor: Ragnarok.
1. Post-Credits Explained (Avengers: Endgame)
Marvel is known for including post-credit scenes, but Endgame didn’t happen to feature one and the reason actually makes a lot of sense. Endgame marked the culmination of a 10-year journey spanning 22 films. Even though Marvel has a plan for Phase 4, teasing them at the end of an emotional rollercoaster like Endgame wouldn’t have felt right. Plus, that’s what Spider-Man: Far From Home is for.
Although we did just finishing saying there was no post-credit scene, if you happened to wait to the very end of the credits as we did, you’ll hear a hammering sound gradually getting closer. The hammering noise is a throwback to Tony forging his very first Iron Man armor in a cave during the first Iron Man film, a reminder of how far the franchise has come.