Marvel films, especially those that exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are known for their love of Easter eggs. At almost every turn, there are references made to the comics, to the other MCU films, or to character and film history. Because of this, fans have gone crazy trying to find all the references. Take Guardians of the Galaxy, for example. James Gunn, the director, stated that there is still one reference remaining that fans haven’t found. Obviously, this sent a small group of fans into a frenzy trying to track it down, but more importantly, that means that every Easter egg (except for one) has been found. That’s pretty remarkable. So, if they’ve all been found, what exactly is our function then?
Well, with all the Marvel movies and TV shows available, those that exist in the MCU and those that don’t, it can be difficult for even the most die-hard of fans to catch everything. Even if they have caught them all, there’s a solid chance they’ve forgotten a bunch. Hell, there’s a good chance some of the die-hards have forgotten most of the EEs they’ve found. For those freaks, this is an “oh yeah” kind of thing. For everyone else, what we’ve done here is collect the most interesting Easter eggs that also gave fans the biggest trouble. We’re including the most interesting because the obscure references don’t impress anyone. We’re playing favorites for some of the newest Easter eggs as well (not including Guardians of the Galaxy 2) because not everyone has the time to sit around and freeze every other frame. You’ll also notice that we paid special attention to references between films because connections between films make us smile. Here are 16 Marvel Movie References Even Die-Hard Fans Missed.
16. Ant-Man And The Ten Rings
This scene is one that never did make the final cut, but it is easily one of the coolest connections between films. We’re actually a little peeved it wasn’t kept in Ant-Man. In a scene that has Darren Cross selling the shrinking technology to prospective buyers, we see a guy with a tattoo on his neck. Even though half of the tattoo is covered up, it’s easy to see that it is the emblem of the Ten Rings, the terrorist organization that held Tony Stark hostage in Iron Man. Later in Iron Man 3, we met the Mandarin, who is the leader of this organization. Even though this Ant-Man scene was cut, this would-be connection between Marvel films is a nice throwback to the beginning of the MCU and the film franchise that really got it all started.
15. Doctor Strange And The Mystery Patient
Pretty much everyone caught this in the film when it was mentioned, but we want to discuss the implications a little more. We’re talking about the scene in Doctor Strange right before Strange crashes his car. He’s being told about three interesting patients. Like everyone else, we’re interested in the third patient, the 22-year-old woman who suffers from schizophrenia. She had an electronic implant in her brain to treat her condition and was struck by lightning. Immediately, fans predicted this would be Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, an upcoming hero in the franchise. This was generally accepted but it can’t be right, can it? We expect that Captain Marvel’s origin story will change to fit the movies better. But would Marvel really make it this radically different? None of these elements fit Danver’s origin story at all. That’s why some astute fans have pointed that this is probably going to be the new Defenders villain, Typhoid Mary. Mary has multiple personalities and telekinetic powers. She is also traditionally a Daredevil villain, so she would fit in well within Netflix’s Marvel series. You know what they say about well-fitted shoes.
14. Logan Remembers X-Men Origins
Most people want to forget all about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the creators of Logan know that even though we didn’t like that awful film, we watched it. That’s why some of us were able to catch the reference to Christopher Bradley in Logan. In the files on the children patients in Logan, we learn that one of the children was created by using the DNA of Bradley. If you’ve forgotten, Bradley was the character played by Dominic Monaghan, a character better known as Bolt. This means that Bobby, the little boy who uses electrical powers in Logan, is the spawn Bradley. This also means that Logan and Lord of the Rings are probably not connected. We were kind of hoping they would be.
13. Ant-Man And Garrett Morris
Grizzled veterans of the comic book movie know that all cameos are important. Truthfully, all movie cameos by familiar actors are important, so it’s not crazy that the MCU follows this trend as well. But we love cameos and, if fans didn’t notice Garrett Morris in Ant-Man, then they missed a great connection to the character’s past. Morris plays a cab driver who is startled when Hank Pym (Paul Rudd) lands on his car. Comic book character historians will know that Morris once played the character of Ant-Man in a Saturday Night Live sketch called “Superhero Party.” Ant-Man director Peyton Reed was a big fan of that sketch and asked if Morris would be interested in a quick shot to pay homage to character’s TV past. Though he was surprised to get the invite, Morris was happy to join in. He also questioned whether anyone would even remember the sketch. We didn’t. But we’re happy we were reminded of it.
12. Incredible Hulk Meets McGee And Wilson
In the Incredible Hulk film, there’s a big battle at Culver University. The Hulk dukes it out with the army and Emil Blonsky and news crews come to view the carnage. It’s in the news reports of this event that we meet two seemingly insignificant characters, but they are actually important in the lore of the Hulk. They are Jack McGee and Jim Wilson. Jack McGee is a journalist who made a name for himself in the 70’s television show, The Incredible Hulk. Jim Wilson is a long-time friend and even a sidekick of the Hulk at times. Interestingly, he’s also the nephew of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in the comics.
11. Doctor Strange And The Mindless Ones
Though it’s debatable, we feel quite confident that when Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) was brought into the Dark Dimension at the end of Doctor Strange, we were being treated to a Mindless Ones reference. For those who don’t know, the Mindless Ones are strange creatures associated with Dormammu in the comics. They have rock-like features, great strength, and a single pinkish-purplish eye. Now think back to Kaecilius. When he got more powerful, his eyes had rock-like qualities and the color changed to a pinkish-purplish. When Kaecilius and his posse were finally brought to the Dark Dimension in the end, they all turned into these dark silhouetted figures with a bright purplish light on their heads. The resemblance to the Mindless Ones was uncanny.
10. Arnim Zola’s Future In Captain America
Toby Jones plays the character of Arnim Zola in the MCU. He’s the HYDRA scientist that helps Red Skull do bad things in Captain America: The First Avenger, and he returns in Captain America: The Winter Soldier in a more familiar form from the comics, that of formless conscious housed in a computer. Well, going back to Captain America: The First Avenger, there was a great foreshadowing moment/Easter egg that many fans missed. While Zola is looking through a magnifying glass, the camera shows only his face captured within the glass and framed perfectly. It was short and subtle but an oh so enjoyable reference for fans of the comic who remember him as only a face.
9. Paul Soles As Stanley Lieber
The character of Stanley Lieber in The Incredible Hulk doesn’t get enough attention. Lieber is the pizza shop owner who lets Bruce hide out there. While the name Stanley is a clear reference to Stan Lee, the actor playing this character, Paul Soles, is also an important figure. Soles has had a long and impressive career, but when it comes to the comics, he is best known for voicing characters on The Marvel Superheroes cartoon from the 60’s. Soles voiced Bruce Banner, Happy Hogan, Hawkeye, and others on this animated show. In the 1967 Spider-Man TV series, Soles also voiced Spider-Man himself, so his fingerprints are all over the main characters from the MCU.
8. Huginn And Muninn In The Avengers
Even though they played a more concrete role in the Thor films, it is the appearance of Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s loyal servants, in The Avengers that we’re most interested in. Acting as Odin’s eyes and ears, these two birds are known to comic fans. But in The Avengers, their appearance was so understated that many fans missed them altogether. In a scene that has Thor confronting Loki, two birds are shown flying through the scene. Sure, technically these could be any birds, but we don’t believe in coincidences. It’s safe to say that Odin was keeping a close eye on the ongoings of The Avengers.
7. Black Panther’s Home
In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark and Nick Fury are having a meeting at SHIELD. During this scene, a subtle reference to the Black Panther is made in the background, well before that film or the character was talked about openly onscreen. Obviously, the map shows that SHIELD is keeping tabs on the various heroes scattered around the world. The interesting points highlighting are in Nevada (Thor), one in the Atlantic Ocean, which hints at Namor, Marvel’s version of Aquaman, and one in Africa. This African point is obviously the location of Wakanda, the Black Panther’s home.
6. Professor X’s Wheelchair In Legion
Fans knew that Legion existed in the X-Men universe, but we also knew that the sticky issue with copyrights and things like that make direct references a bit difficult. We didn’t know what to expect going in, but it was made clear early on that name-dropping and the like might be out of the question. We did, however, see something very interesting in episode seven. It was in this episode that we caught a glimpse of the wheel of Professor Xavier’s wheelchair from the X-Men films. For those who aren’t familiar with Legion or the backstory here, the protagonist, David Haller, is the biological son of Professor X. While they haven’t explicitly named his father yet, there have been a few references to him, including a bald head. We will await season two to learn if we’re in store for more straightforward references.
5. Korg And Some Foreshadowing
In the opening battle in Thor: The Dark World, we saw Thor smash a rock creature to bits. This was definitely Korg, a member of the Kronan race. The Kronans were the very first enemies of Thor from the first time we ever met the character in the comics. Even though we doubt it was their intention at this point, the appearance of Korg is also interesting because Korg is an ally of the Hulk in the “Planet Hulk” storyline. With Thor: Ragnarok around the corner, a film that will draw heavily from “Planet Hulk,” we felt it was important to remember back to this little reference. Don’t be surprised if we catch a glimpse of a Kronan in the coliseum.
4. Captain America In The Incredible Hulk
Way back, when The Incredible Hulk was being made, we were just getting used to Marvel’s propensity for using Easter eggs. Prior to the film being released, director Louis Leterrier teased that Captain America would appear in some form. Fans went nuts. They scoured the film. They couldn’t find him, so they went nuts again. Leterrier explained that the scene in which the Captain appeared had to be cut. Some of us just forgot about it, but others waited for the deleted scenes to come out with the DVDs. Well, in case you didn’t know, he’s been found. In a scene that has the Hulk wandering the Arctic circle, there on the ground under the snow and ice is a vague outline of what appears to be Captain America. There’s red and blue, so we buy it. Sneaky. Sneaky.
3. Iron Fist And Joe’s Pizza
The Iron Fist show has been one of the least loved vehicles of the Marvel franchise to date, but we wanted to mention one of the neat connections it had to the larger Marvel universe. In the very first episode of Iron Fist, Claire orders some pizza for her and Davos. It’s here that we see and hear that she orders from Joe’s Pizza. Remember back in Spiderman 2, when Peter Parker became a pizza delivery boy and was terrible at it? Well, the pizza joint he worked at was none other than Joe’s Pizza. Now, we acknowledge that there could be more than one Joe’s Pizza, but considering how Netflix’s Defenders heroes are part of the MCU, this has to have been intentional.
2. Deadpool Visits The Raft
Remember the prison in Captain America: Civil War, the one that is floating in the middle of a body of water? Well, that’s the Raft. Even though Deadpool is not part of the MCU, the writers had some tongue-in-cheek references to their relationship and one of the closest connections came in a deleted scene. In said scene, we see Ajax in handcuffs being transported by boat to “The Raft Prison.” They don’t show it, but we’re smart enough to know what’s going on. If this was left in, it might have been the only true connection between the FOX mutants and the MCU mutants, but it never made the final cut so it’s not canon. Still, since many of you haven’t seen the scene in question, we thought we should let you know that this little reference did, at one point, exist.
1. Luke Cage Mentions Johnny Blaze
This one is deep. In Luke Cage, we hear the name Johnny Blaze in passing. Comic fans will note that this is the name of the Ghost Rider and rap fans will note that this is Method Man‘s nickname. Both of these connections are warranted. First, the Method Man is solid because the rapper makes an appearance later in the show. Besides, Method Man takes this nickname from the Marvel superhero. You know who else takes his name from a superhero? Nicolas Cage. Cage’s real last name is Coppola, but he’s a huge comic book fan and changed his name to Cage in honor of Luke Cage. Cage also played Johnny Blaze in the Ghost Rider franchise, so all this is one big happy family.