Hey, did you catch that?
If you’re a hardcore comic book fan, chances are you did. There are a plethora of these little winks littered throughout our favorite Marvel films, making them really easy to miss. Thank God for dedicated movie buffs that have scoured the very depths of these amazing pieces of work to bring to light what we may have overlooked.
The writers for these films don’t simply put these Easter eggs just for the viewers to not take notice after all. Producers understand that there are people who religiously know these characters and world they’re bringing to life, therefore it pays to keep them on their toes with subtle references from the comics or early television shows.
Are you one of those Marvel movie-goers that arrive in the theaters just to hear everyone around you gasp or chuckle at a certain scene that you find of no significance? No longer be that oblivious movie fan and come acknowledge some of the most clever and well-placed Easter eggs the studio has to offer.
20. Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk
Take any know-it-all kid of this millennium and ask them who they think the Hulk is. Most are going to point you to actor Mark Ruffalo or Edward Norton, but take that same kid’s parents, and they’d be more inclined to point you to this notable bodybuilder.
That’s right, before there was all this CGI madness, the Incredible Hulk was depicted by an actual man, Lou Ferrigno, painted green in the ’70s television series. In the 2008 solo film, this same actor can be found playing a security guard for a top level laboratory. It’s somewhat refreshing to know Marvel doesn’t haphazardly discard all their old talents.
19. ’60s Iron Man Cartoon Theme In Iron Man
There’s truly nothing better than the original classics. Marvel appeared to think so as well when they slipped this hot number into the casino scene in the first Iron Man movie. If you happened to miss the aged superhero jingle there, perhaps you picked it up when they played it as Tony Stark’s personal ringtone.
The original show tune is actually from the dated television show, The Marvel Super Heroes. Seeing as how it first premiered in 1966, don’t feel too bad if you missed the slight reference. If it’s worth anything, the tune is kind of catchy.
18. The World Tree in Captain America: The First Avenger
Bet you didn’t know that the first Captain America movie blatantly referenced the upcoming Thor movie. Marvel has been mapping out this vast cinematic universe for quite some time, and had already put forth the idea of gods and Asgardians.
This can be seen when Red Skull acquires the Tesseract from a monastery where an intricate carving of the Yggdrasil tree is found. This tree would later be mentioned in detail in Thor’s solo film, but what it actually represents is the foundation from where all life is contrived. Being a landmark in Norse mythology naturally links it to Thor’s dimension.
17. Wakanda in Iron Man 2
While movie-goers wouldn’t understand why this reference was important for quite some time, comic book fans understood all too well what this would mean for the expansive MCU. While it was quite subtle, towards the end of Iron Man 2 where Tony is viewing a Hulk attack, a map of Africa can be seen in the background. There’s a particular spot that is circled on the map believed to be the fictional country of Wakanda.
Wakanda is home to Black Panther, debatably one of the most powerful and influential characters in the Marvel Universe. News of his solo film wouldn’t come for years later, however a second reference to his country can be heard again in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
16. Huginn and Muninn in The Avengers
Those who weren’t too awe-struck by the epic sibling duel that waged between Thor and Loki in the first Avengers movie might have caught a quick glimpse at this Easter egg. While they’ve previously popped up in the first Thor film as Odin’s loyal and watchful ravens, fans probably didn’t think they’d run in to them outside of that property.
While Thor set out in hot pursuit of his mischievous brother, sharp eyes can catch both Huginn and Muninn keeping tabs on Odin’s sons in the distance. Father is never too far away from these two, it seems.
15. Fin Fang Foom in Iron Man 2
Easter eggs are liable to pop up at any point and at any time, even on obscure billboards. This may have been one the filmmakers didn’t even want most viewers to catch, as it was done so quick, but it featured a quick look at a movie advertisement titled “Fin Fang Foom,” whom comic book lovers will immediately recognize as an Iron Man villain.
It wasn’t even so much as a villain as it was a dragon that assisted the likes of the Mandarin in his evil schemes against Tony Stark. Of course the Mandarin wouldn’t even be referenced until the third Iron Man film.
14. The Chalkboard Writing in Thor 2
Chances are this Easter egg stared you straight in the face, however you were just to lazy to acknowledge it was there. Don’t worry, everyone did, except for a few dedicated movie nerds.
This scene popped up in Thor 2, where scientist Erik Selvig attempted to explain the various realms of the universe, something that would become vital to recognize in future films, but at the time was just a bit too much too swallow. The writing on the chalkboard was just the icing on the cake, but it did however reference volumes in the Marvel comic universe. This included the 616 number and a couple names of notable comic book creators. The rest you can break down on your own time.
13. Donald Blake in Thor
Comic book fans sometime need to understand movie adaptations are just that: movie adaptations. They are not always going to represent the character or their story exactly as it was originally written, but they will however provide slight winks placed in to translate “yeah, we didn’t forget.”
When Jane Foster lends Thor her ex-boyfriend’s clothes in his first solo film, the ID keycard he finds in them read “Donald Blake”, the human alias given to the mighty god in the original comics. This was a clear nod to this aspect of the character that has long been discarded.
12. The Avengers Tower in The Avengers
When Tony Stark’s tower got demolished at the end of The Avengers, we couldn’t fathom anything better taking its place in subsequent films. Little did we know that the great minds at Marvel Studios would soon be planning to create a headquarters for the superhero team, and left a quick tip to let us know towards the end of the movie.
During one of the ending scenes, we see Stark hard at work on a blueprint for what appears to be another huge tower. While we’re lead to believe he’s rebuilding his own stronghold, closer analysis would reveal designated training rooms for each Avenger.
11. Super Soldier Serum in The Incredible Hulk
Ever come to question what exactly they were pumping Emil Blonsky with in The Incredible Hulk film? That drug allowed the soldier to transmute himself into what comic book fans know as The Abomination, the only creature that has come close to the Hulk in physicality.
Dedicated Marvel fans would instantly recognize the blue substance to be the “Super Soldier Serum”, the same drug that was bestowed upon Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. This was such a huge Easter egg as the idea of a Captain America movie, or a shared universe for that matter, wasn’t even entertained at that point in time.
10. The Ten Rings in Iron Man
It came to a lot of fans’ dismay when the villain of the first Iron Man film was the Iron Monger instead of the more common Mandarin. Although, while the Chinese Warlord wasn’t physically present in the debut film, his spirit was most certainly felt in this overlooked Easter egg.
In the beginning of the movie where Tony Stark is captured by a masked terrorist group, a flag held in the background reveals their identity to be the Ten Rings. This is an obvious nod to the Mandarin, as he dons ten rings on his fingers that grant him a host of mystical powers.
9. The Human Torch In Captain America: The First Avenger
Marvel just won’t let Chris Evans ever live down that Johnny Storm role he held in Fox’s Fantastic Four film, will they? This is known to be true when the character’s trademark suit is found at the Stark Expo towards the beginning of the film.
Among the items on display stood Jim Hammond’s suit, who was actually the first iteration of the Human Torch. While this could be interpreted as some quippy humor on Marvel’s part, it could also be just a reference to the Human Torch being one of Captain America’s allies in WWII. Either way, it’s still pretty relevant.
8. Clock Tower in Amazing Spider-Man 2
The super subtle Easter eggs are often one of the best ones. This reference probably slid right by you while you were reaching for the tissue box, but for those that had their eyes open may have noticed the conspicuous clock tower strike 1:21 at the exact time of Gwen Stacy’s death.
For comic book readers this number signifies all too much, as it was the The Amazing Spider-Man issue #121 where we all first experienced the death of the blonde haired beauty. While this movie may have been considered the worst adaptation for a lot of fans, you can’t say they totally abandoned the canon.
7. Captain America Punches Hitler In Captain America: The First Avenger
While this comical scene in the movie went without much notice, it actually held quite a bit of significance to the Captain’s comic book fans. Captain America giving Hitler his mighty right hand was actually the superhero’s first appearance on a comic book cover.
You can only imagine the cover’s impact on comic book readers as the first issue debuted in 1941. The iconic image can be seen being re-enacted in the USO musical number scene, however Steve Rogers only imitates punching an actor playing Hitler. The movie may have had to go a whole different direction if they decided to adapt the real scene from the comics.
6. The Punisher in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This one may be a long shot, however there is ample evidence that this character may have made his debut within the MCU way before his most recent casting in the Daredevil series. In the scene where a number of cop cars are in pursuit of Nick Fury, an unsuspecting Penske truck reigns in and crashes into them.
A similar occurrence also happens in a later seen, and without giving away any names, director Joe Russo has responded, “the man who drives that truck (…) is very highly trained. He thinks on his own terms. He’s got a plan and a very specific skill set.” We’ll take that as a clear confirmation Mr. Russo.
5. Everything in The Collector’s trophy room in Guardians of the Galaxy
This one scene alone could count for at least 10 separate Easter eggs. You would practically have to not been paying any attention at all to not catch at least one, and if you weren’t, we implore you to take another gander inside the The Collector’s trophy room.
The best part of it all is that the scene links not only comic book references to the movie, but previous Marvel films – Howard the Duck, anyone? There are two different creatures that have been spotted in the Thor films, one of the alien monsters from The Avengers, and just many, many more. Honestly, if you’re a comic book geek, you need to dissect this scene.
4. First Spider-Man Reference in Ant-Man
It was already announced far before the release of this movie, however it did nothing to denote its significance to catch the slight nod to the webslinger towards the end. The film’s supporting character Luis made the actual reference in his comical re-telling in one of the ending scenes.
While he’s reiterating the conversation between the Falcon and the informant, he specifically refers to a certain someone who can jump, one who can swing, and one who “crawls on walls.” Determining that the studio was still in early negotiations while this scene was in production, it was probably kept vague for a reason, however, there is no mistake as to who this is.
3. Captain America’s Shield Iron Man and Iron Man 2
What if I told you that Marvel had plans on making an Avengers film from the very first Iron Man movie? Whether you want to believe that to be true or not, it doesn’t detract from the mini reference we received via a half complete version of the Captain’s shield.
If you happened to miss that, the sequel got even bolder by offering viewers a full shot of the weapon, however at that point a Captain America movie starring Chris Evans was already on the horizon. This moment still holds a huge amount of significance as it only goes to show where the studio came from in its humble beginnings of building a shared universe.
2. The Infinity Gauntlet in Thor
The giant, metal, bejeweled glove that is shaping up to be the centerpiece for the Avengers: Infinity Wars movie was pretty much shown way back in the first Thor movie. Once again, don’t feel bad that you missed it, as it was clearly only for the fans with the sharpest of eyes.
In the scene where we’re taken inside Odin’s Trophy Room, we’re greeted by a number of artifacts and various Easter eggs. The biggest one, however, was staring us right in the face: the gauntlet that would soon be donned by the Mad Titan to wreak all kinds of havoc in the third Avengers movie. Or could there be two in this vast universe?
1. Stan Lee Cameos in every Marvel movie
There shouldn’t be any surprises here. It’s only right that the man who made it all possible chimes into every one of his movies to troll us all – playful trolling, that is. And throughout each and every one of his appearances, he manages to do it just right.
This has become a staple for Marvel movies; it’s more than an Easter egg at this point. We all expect to see the Marvel Grandfather squeezed into a humorous scene, whether it be him as an innocent bystander, janitor, or a well-seasoned playboy. It just goes to show you the guy’s commitment to his franchise. We all appreciate the gesture, Mr. Lee.