Do you know your Marvel easter eggs?
While the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be enjoyed by the even the most passing fans of the comic books (or by someone who has never picked up a single paperback), Marvel has rightfully never 'dumbed down' their movies for the consumption of the masses.
Indeed, to the most astute fans and readers of the comic books, the Marvel movies have been always ridden with objects on screen or inserted lines in the dialogue to set itself aware and part of the plethora of comic book lore that is found in such a massive universe as the Marvel canon.
These may not be of interest to the casual fans, but not only are some of these 'easter eggs' just a wink to the fans who can appreciate the level of detail, but some could even be predictive of what will happen in the future movies of the MCU.
Of course pointing each and every single easter egg that is in the MCU movies would take an exhaustive list, so we've tried to narrow down our favourite cinematic easter eggs, along with a few that should be paid attention to the next time you slip in your favourite Marvel movie disc into your player at home.
Here is our 10 best Marvel movie easter eggs in somewhat chronological order. Also, SPOILERS are inevitable in order to explain the significance of these easter eggs. So read at your own risk.
Fin Fang Foom (Iron Man, Iron Man 3)
Even the newest fans of the Iron Man comic books may instantly recognise the symbol and name dropping of The Mandarin's Ten Rings when Tony Stark is captured in the cave of the terrorists' cell in "Iron Man" (only to be devastated by his revelation in "Iron Man 3"), but another iconic villain of Iron Man had also made a small appearance in the first movie. When Tony Stark shoots past the street during his first successful test run of his new suit, a movie billboard can be seen at a distance. That billboard carries a movie poster of Fin Fang Foom; a dragon that also served The Mandarin in the comic books. His second appearance, although not as direct, is also represented in "Iron Man 3" with the abundance of dragon motifs that can be seen in the third movie, including the tattoos on Aldrich Killian's chest.
The Infinity Gauntlet (Thor)
Since the introduction of the Tesseract in Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the idea of the Infinity Stones has been further explored in the second phase of the MCU and they are expected to play a pivotal part in future Marvel movies. Why this is so is, other than introducing the villain Thanos in "The Avengers", is because a key component of his rise in the MCU is glimpsed in "Thor".
When the Frost Giants tried to sneak away with the Tesseract before getting vaporised by its guardian in Odin's trophy room, the Infinity Gauntlet can be seen briefly. In the comic books, the Infinity Gauntlet (together with the assembled Infinity Stones) is a powerful artifact used by Thanos that grants him the power to control time, space, mind and reality itself. So expect very bad things to happen in the MCU, when Thanos is finally standing up from his throne.
Also prominently stored in the same trophy room with significant importance is the Orb of Agamotto, the Tablet of Life and Time, the Eternal Flame and the Warlock's Eye. Though, what parts they have to play in future MCU movies is still uncertain.
Donald Blake M.D. (Thor)
When Jane Foster gives Thor a shirt to cover up his womanly sploosh inducing physique, it came with the tag of her ex Donald Blake, M.D. who Jane describes as 'good with patients and bad with relationships'. While that would be used as Thor's fake identity in the movie, it is actually the Thunder God's human identity in his earliest comics where he poses as a human and only changes (sometimes in a phone booth) to his Asgardian form when someone cries for help.
While Thor may never share the same name as his human alter ego, Jane Foster is still accurate about Thor's commitments as a lover. Otherwise, he wouldn't deserve that slap by Jane in "Thor: The Dark World".
Winter Soldier / Captain America Connection ("Captain America: The First Avenger", "Captain America: The Winter Soldier")
While sharp-eyed fans of Captain America may have half expected that HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola to make his return in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", if they had noticed Zola quickly stashing away his plans for his robotic resurrection in "The First Avenger", we might not have caught on the significance of one scene in "The First Avenger" until much later.
If you can recall the scene when Bucky is killed as he is shot off into the freezing wilderness, most would consider it to be the setup for him to be the Winter Soldier. To those who know their Civil War storyline though (which is the title for the next Captain America outing), they may let the significance of Bucky picking up the Captain's shield before dying slip. But just as when the Winter Soldier's memories becomes clear to him for the first time at the post credit scene of "The Winter Soldier", the weight of that brief moment dawns on us about the future of Barnes and Rogers.
The Avengers Tower ("The Avengers", "Captain America: The Winter Soldier")
With the world's mightiest heroes assembling for the second time for "The Age of Ultron", it's about time that the team should have their own pad. While Stark was building Stark Tower in "The Avengers", it probably sparked an idea in him by the end of the battle in New York (thanks, Loki). This is confirmed later in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" when a tower that resembles a modified Stark Tower appears as one of the targets for Project Insight. And we know that we get to have a look of the interior from the drinking party in the "Age of Ultron" trailer.
Steve Rogers' Notebook ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier")
We all loved the scene when Steve Rogers pulls out his notebook in the beginning of "The Winter Soldier" and lists down the things that he needs to catch up since he was brought back to the modern day. What most didn't realise is that the contents of what is in his notebook differs from country to country of where the movie is shown. In the United States, he would have noted the momentous historic moments like the moon landing and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, while in the Korean version, he would have written down the 2002 World Cup (they all have listed down Thai food, however, go figure). We can only wonder what Rogers would have put in his list if there was a Malaysian version (nasi lemak ought to be in somewhere there, right?)
Where DID Captain America learn to steal a car? ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier")
The reason why we love Captain America is because he is such a boy scout. Steve Rogers would not have been chosen to be the subject for the super serum if he was not honorable and packed with integrity. So when he is forced to go on the run with Black Widow after finding out that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised (Hail Hydra!), he 'commandeers' a car as their getaway, which begs the question from Black Widow.
If you thought the answer was really in Nazi Germany, well he did actually steal a car way back in 1990. Of course, we don't mean it literally but we are talking about Albert Pyun's "Captain America" ("Captain America: The First Awful Adaptation?") that was released in 1990. There is a scene in there when a devious Captain tricks a kind driver he hitchhiked to pullover and park his car. When the driver leaves his vehicle to ask if the Captain was alright, the dutiful Captain ignores the man, runs over to the man's car and leaves him stranded on the middle of the road. Well played, Rogers.
Gunns of the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy)
While we are made to believe that the galaxy in "Guardians of the Galaxy" is filled with all kinds of alien (talking trees included), we can see that it is actually filled by everyone from director James Gunn's friends and family to his dog. No, we mean that quite literally. Gunn's dog, the auspiciously named Dr. Wesley Von Spears, first appears in a hologram when Gunn is traversing across Morag to obtain the orb. Then, among the numerous cameos of Gunn's personal friends as Yondu's Ravagers, among them is Kraglin, who is played by Sean Gunn; James' brother. Lastly, one of the inmates that is hassling the Guardians in the space prison is actually Gunn's mentor, filmmaker Lloyd Kauffman, who gave Gunn his first film job to write the script for Kaufman's "Tromeo and Juliet". James Gunn himself also has a cameo by providing the voices for one of the Sakaaran.
And if you think Gunn's family had only a small part to play, Sean and Von Spears also provided some of the references to composite Rocket Raccoon. How much we can't say. Maybe 12%
Eson the Searcher ("Guardians of the Galaxy")
Aside from the main heroes and villains, even the bystanders in a Marvel movie have a likely chance of having a comic book counterpart. There's Christine Everhart from Vanity Fair in "Iron Man", Batroc the Leaper in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and Cosmo the Dog in "Guardians of the Galaxy". But most of these cameos were mostly inconsequential to the grand scheme of the MCU, except for this one who we saw in "Guardians of the Galaxy".
When the guardians are shown the creation and purpose of the Infinity Stones by the Collector, there is an awesome snippet of a giant figure obliterating an entire race. Well, normal audiences may think that is one of the golem-like guardians similar to the one in Odin's vault, but comic book fans will recognise it as Eson the Searcher; one of the Celestials who has existed since the birth of universe and created Life and Death. If Eson or the Celestials are ever in the picture, we are expecting only universal shaking things to come for the MCU.
Stan Lee and comic book writers cameo (ALL Marvel movies)
Alright we know this one is probably the most cliche of Marvel's easter eggs, but we cannot deny that we love it every time we catch a glimpse of the grandfather of comics himself getting humourously inserted in all of the Marvel movies. From a fictional Hugh Hefner ("Iron Man") to a security guard who is going to get fired ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier"), we cannot say that we have seen a Marvel movie until we spotted his next appearance. You can bet that we would surely be peeling our eyes in "Age of Ultron".
However, in order to make this a less than obvious easter egg to top off our list, we would also like to bring the attention that Stan Lee isn't the only comic book person who gets to be on screen. For the serious comic books fans, there are at least three Marvel movies that have notably nodded to the direct creators of their source material. The first of such cameo appearance is J. Michael Straczynski, who wrote storylines for Thor (among other Marvel superheroes), was the first to be deemed unworthy to lift Mjolnir in "Thor". In "Iron Man 3", President Ellis is named after Warren Ellis who wrote the Extremis story arc. Winter Soldier creator Ed Brubaker also makes his cameo as one of the HYDRA scientist in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier".
Cinema Online, 07 April 2015