With Marvel’s cinematic universe poised to implode when the expansive cast of characters introduced thus far clash in upcoming epic crossover titles like Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse, the potential for references across franchises and timelines has never been higher. Given that Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), the newest member of the Marvel family, is a gutter-minded, psychopath also called the Merc with the Mouth, it is no surprise to fans of the character that Deadpool the movie is chock full of references, cameos, and 4th-wall-breaking jokes, many delivered by the title character himself.
Within the Marvel universe, there is also the interesting issue that Fox and Marvel/Disney own different aspects of some of the same character, which makes it ripe for jabs directed at studio execs and writers for creating characters with multiple origin stories. Moviegoers have seen Reynolds before in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as Weapon XI the mutant-killer, with his foul mouth sewn shut, acting the villain he starts off as in comics as well.
Not only is Deadpool the first title to truly earn its ‘R-rating’, it might also be the first to make sense of a fan favorite’s multiple timelines by forcing audiences to draw connections between these parallel universes. The only problem is, these references and other ‘Easter eggs’ were delivered by a motor-mouthed ninja through an equally fast-paced movie. So, in slower-motion, here are: the Top 12 Most Obscure ‘Easter Eggs’ in Deadpool.
12. Stan Lee’s Cameo
The list starts with our least surprising ‘Easter egg’: True fans of Marvel heroes in any and all of their onscreen or hand drawn incarnations know to watch out for a cameo from the most well-known former Marvel Comics employee, owner and savior, Stan Lee, in the film adaptations of his now-universally known superhero stories. Deadpool was no exception, but Lee’s appearance in the film might take the cake as his most out-of-character cameo to date. The creator of some of the most enduring comic book characters of all time, including the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and the original X-Men, plays a DJ/Announcer at the club where Deadpool‘s character and love interest first meet.
11. Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters
Almost as easy to spot were most (but not all) references to their being two studios and therefore two conflicted, parallel timelines behind the cinematic X-Men saga. In order of subtleness, we have Deadpool visiting X-Mansion and commenting on the fact that Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead are obscure characters to be answering the door so frequently (Fox Studios does own some of the more popular mutants at the moment) and, earlier in the film, Mr. Pool asking Colossus, as he is dragged toward the mutants’ manor, if they will be visiting with Patrick Stewart’s Professor X or James McAvoy‘s.
Finally, there is Wade Wilson holding an action figure of his character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and, most obscure, the fact that Xavier’s mansion is also super villain Lex Luthor’s home on Smallville and Oliver Queen’s on Arrow.
10. Weasel and Al, Not Quite As They Appear
In the film, Deadpool’s willing and derisive sidekick, Weasel, is a hybrid of two of Deadpool’s assets in the comic books. In the comics, it is actually a character named ’Patch, short for, Dispatch, who dispatch-es (get it?) Wade Wilson to, for instance, threaten stalker pizza boys who tends the bar, while Weasel takes care of weaponry.
Sadly, Wilson also ruined Weasel’s chances at a legitimate life in the comics, forcing him into a life of crime by his side. Blind landlady Al is also actually a literal prisoner in the apartment she shares with Mr. Pool in the comics. The film leaves it open to interpretation whether or not Weasel/Patch and Al are just as trapped in the mercenary’s service on screen as on the page.
9. Weasel Name Drops Blade
After Ajax and Angel Dust shake down Weasel for information on Wade Wilson’s whereabouts (say that five times fast) and make their way out of his establishment, the gun-running bartender/sidekick, played by standup comic T.J. Miller, has the last word with a comment on the villains’ being dressed like cast members of Blade 2. While no actor from Deadpool played in Blade 2, at least one vital cast member has starred in a movie in the Blade trilogy. In fact, the title-character actor, Ryan Reynolds, plays the vampire hunter’s sidekick, Hannibal King, in the last installment of the series, Blade: Trinity.
8. Bob, Agent of HYDRA
By now both DC and Marvel movie universes are packed so densely with heroes, villains, government agents, super scientists, and sidekicks, you can’t throw a rock, or make a movie, without “hitting” a lesser-known character here and there. For example, during the final battle sequence, Deadpool shows mercy to a guard he recognizes as a fellow Project X guinea pig, named Bob. Only regular readers of the comics would know that this harmless and incompetent henchman is a recurring character in the Deadpool series; Bob, Agent of Hydra, is essentially a satire of the typical bad-guy minion.
Runner up: Another obscure character, a mutant named Marrow, has a cameo in the first scene set in the torture chamber/laboratory where Wilson becomes Pool; as Wade takes a look around on his way in, we see a woman with bone-like horns protruding from her back.
7. No Damsels In Distress
In several scenes, Wade Wilson’s love interest, Vanessa (Carlysle in the comics), shows herself to be more than the typical helpless hostage; this could refer to the fact that comic-book Vanessa is a deadly mutant in her own right. Also known as shapeshifter Copycat, she is an assassin hired to kill another unknown character referenced in the movie, Cable.
For Marvel fans who know by now to wait for the characteristic post-credits teaser scene, this is the same flat-topped, time traveling Cable that Mr. Pool mentions in this final scene. Hopefully, Deadpool 2, or whatever vehicle Wade Wilson appears in next, will have Wade’s wife showing audiences the true extent of her power(s).
6. Ryan Reynolds As Greenpool
During Deadpool’s irreverent opening credits sequence, as the camera moves through the frozen chaos of a battle viewed through the eyes of a creative killer with lightning quick reflexes, several objects of some significance can be seen through the air hurtling in slow motion alongside CG titles like, “The Comic Relief” and “A British Villain.” One of these objects is a Green Lantern superhero trading card.
For those who passed on the movie adaptation of DC Comics’ Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds starred in the title role for this Warner Bros. production that made $20 million at the box office; a modest profit next to the film’s $200 million budget. This also explains why Reynolds, as Wade Wilson in Deadpool, requests his super suit be any color but green.
5. Deadpool’s Day Off
In another reference meant for Marvel Comics fans of the 90s now grown up enough to pass on their comic book collections to the next generation, Deadpool appears onscreen post-credits to pan the final scene from cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In a fittingly low-effort teaser, Mr. Pool, in full costume and a bathrobe much like the one Matthew Broderick wears as he breaks the 4th wall to close out his performance as iconic slacker Ferris Bueller, does the same and first tries to shoo the audience away before spilling the beans about the introduction of time-traveling hitman, Cable, to Marvel’s cinematic universe(s).
4. Cameo For Comic Series Co-Creator
Not only is Rob Liefeld, co-creator of Deadpool, referenced in the slow-motion opening “credits”/action sequence (among the objects hurtling through the air is a coffee mug labeled, ‘Rob L.’), he appears in the first scene at Weasel’s bar. A still un-mutated Wade Wilson actually greets “Liefeld” as he enters the bar for the first time in the film. During the 90s, Liefeld helped keep the Marvel lineup fresh with new titles like X-Force and The New Mutants, until he left to found his own, equally successful company, Image Comics.
Runner up: Producer of films like Daredevil and Blade: Trinity, Kevin Feige, also has some onscreen time in Deadpool, but this is less an ‘Easter egg’ for fanboys than for industry execs.
3. Reading The Signs
The Spider-Man franchise is the most lucrative of all the superhero brands, and the character is Stan Lee’s most popular creation by far. It was no shocker then to see a handful of references, some subtle, some blatant, to the wisecracking web-slinger and his alter ego, Peter Parker. The hardest Spider-Man references to catch though are streets like Parker Blvd., clearly named after that irradiated nerd, Peter.
Runner up: At some point during the epic opening freeway battle, the signs for Nicieza St. and Fabian Rd. exits can clearly be seen; Fabian Nicieza is the other co-creator of the Deadpool character.
2. A Tribute to Adam West’s Batman (1966-1968)
Admittedly, yours truly did not catch this almost subliminal reference to the show that started it all for silver screen superheroes, but the theme music from the TV adaptation of DC Comics’ ever-popular Batman can be heard for a split second as Deadpool fiddles with hapless cab driver, Dopinder’s, radio during their first encounter in the film. Though most assuredly not a hint from studios at the possibility of a DC-Marvel crossover movie, with films like Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War on their way, it’s not such a stretch to imagine any number of the DC-Marvel crossover story arcs being adapted for the big screen.
1. “Shoop” By Salt-N-Pepa
If ever there were two groups of people that never mingle, it’s comic book fans and fans of 90s R&B. But in 1993 comics were selling just as well as songs like trio Salt-N-Pepa, whose Top 5 Billboard hit “Shoop”, is the first to play during Deadpool’s end credits. This choice in music is not only to highlight the title character’s eclectic and very much dated taste, but because the song was released the same year, 1993, that Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza penned the first issue of the Deadpool comic book series.