A few months back we created a list of 50 Easter eggs fans may have missed while watching the Marvel movies and although that might seem like a lot, this is Marvel Studios we’re talking about – we all know there are more. For that reason, we began our search for every hidden detail we could find… and we didn’t come up empty-handed.
From teasing the Sinister Six in Spider-Man: Homecoming to Zob Zombie and Nathan Fillion’s surprise cameos, here are 50 more hidden gems and callbacks fans might have missed while watching the Marvel movies. Enjoy!
50. 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 was taken by amateurs. It’s 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.
49. 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 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.
48. 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. 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.
47. 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 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.
46. 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.”
45. 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 …”
44. 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 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.
43. 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.”
42. 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.
41. 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!
40. 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 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.
39. 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 to sell war bonds, much to his frustration. This story 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.
38. 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 …
37. 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 the 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 has his 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.
36. 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.
35. Liverpool VS. Chelsea (Iron Man 3)
Following the hilarious scene where Tony discovers that The Mandarin is 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 took place on May 8, 2012, whereas Iron Man 3 is set around Christmas time.
34. 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. 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.
33. 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 are 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.
32. 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.
31. 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.
20. 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 be a reference to several past events. Black 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.
29. “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 fits one Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), Peggy Carter’s nemesis from Agent Carter. This would 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.
28. 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. Hydra does control everything, right down to the release date and title of a new Spider-Man movie!
27. Galaga! (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
The control stations used to control Ayesha’s drone fleet are 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.
26. 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.
25. 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.
24. 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 a 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 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.
23. 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 a personal friend of James Gunn and his addition to the cast was announced late, so you’d be forgiven for not realizing he was even in it!
22. 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 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 Peter Quill’s grandfather in the comics.
21. 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 the 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.
20. 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.
19. 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 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 watch over the Marvel Universe and although they’re not supposed to interfere, they have on occasion.
18. 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 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!).
17. Rob Zombie Cameo (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 features several cameos, with two in particular that are almost non-existent and yet are performed by pretty famous people. The first is Rob Zombie, who 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.
16. 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.
15. 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.
14. 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!”
13. 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 an 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?
12. 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?
Mando will reprise his role in some capacity in the next Spidey film and Keaton will likely 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.
11. 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.
10. 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 make out a scorpion tattoo on his neck.
9. 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 should have 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.
8. 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 …
7. 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 several 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 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.
5. 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 a crossover of sorts with Green Lantern, as he 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.
4. 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!
3. 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.
2. 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 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.”
1. 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 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 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.