It’s that special time of year where people hunt for eggs and celebrate magical resurrections, so we’re digging for all the best movie Easter Eggs and celebrating superheroes, like the lord intended.
10. Nite-Owl Saves Thomas and Martha Wayne (Watchmen)
A lot happens in the opening montage of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. As Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” plays we’re introduced to the entire history of superheroes in this world and if you look closely that history becomes a lot more complex than even Alan Moore intended as we see the original Nite-Owl in an alley punching out a bad guy attempting to rob a couple who look suspiciously like Thomas and Martha Wayne, dressed in pearls, leaving a theatre and everything. If you look closer you can even see that they are specifically coming out of the Gotham Opera House, which means Gotham exists in the Watchmen universe even though New York ALSO exists and is a central location. But hey, that just means there is a back-up sprawling metropolitan city that people can move to after New York gets blown up later in the movie.
Slightly perplexing though is the fact that there are also Batman posters on the wall of the alley, which means Batman either exists as a fictional character in the Watchmen universe or is an established hero with enough regard that he’s already been immortalized in comics.
Either way, Nite-Owl fricking decks that guy.
9. The Original Human Torch (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Our first of several Captain America Easter Eggs, this one takes place early in Captain America: The First Avenger when Bucky and Steve are spending their last night together before Bucky gets shipped off to war so they do what any adult best friends who might never see each other again would do, they go to a science fair. And it’s there that we catch a brief glimpse of the original Human Torch.
No, not that one.
Ah, there he is. Labeled as “Phineas Horton’s Synthetic Man,” this is the original Human Torch of the 1930’s, an android that bursts into flames named Jim Hammond who was a member of the Invaders alongside Cap and Namor. The original character fell into obscurity in the 50’s so Stan Lee later repurposed the name for Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four. Now that Marvel has the rights to the FF again though, don’t expect to see this version of the Human Torch to appear in the MCU any time soon.
8. The Champions of Sakaar (Thor: Ragnarok)
The planet Sakaar is described as somewhat of a trash planet in Thor: Ragnarok, but amongst the garbage you can find some hidden treasure, like the faces on the Grandmaster’s Tower. The tower includes huge busts commemorating the champions of the Grandmaster's gladiatorial games, and these former champions range from the awesome to the obscure including Marvel characters Man-Thing, Ares, Beta-Ray Bill, Bi-Beast and possibly Fin Fang Foom who we now know all exist in the universe (or have been defeated and killed in the games, possibly even by the Hulk himself).
7. The Original Superman and Lois (Superman: The Movie)
Richard Donner’s Superman is widely regarded as the first modern superhero movie and right out of the gate it established how much comic book films love a good Easter Egg by giving us a scene where a young Clark runs next to a train, much to the delight of a young Lois Lane. And who are those folks playing Lois's parents, why none other than Noel Neill and Kirk Alyn, the original Lois and Clark from the 1940’s and 50’s Superman serials.
It’s fairly common these days to have the actors who played a role previously show up in a superhero movie or TV show, but it’s cool to know it’s been a tradition for almost as long as superhero movies have existed.
Of course there was no internet in 1978, so people could really only know about this Easter Egg by recognizing the actors from their brief moment of screentime or if they had this official Superman trading card.
6. Principal Morita (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Peter Parker’s principal doesn’t play a huge role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but in one of his few scenes we can see that he actually has a larger role in the MCU than it seems. Principal Morita (played by Kenneth Choi) has a large collection of World War II paraphernalia in his office, including photos and medals showing that his grandfather was Jim Morita (also played by Kenneth Choi), one of the original Howling Commandos who fought with Steve in Captain America: The First Avenger.
A behind the scenes photo from Choi gives us a better look at exactly what photos are on the desk, including one of his grand-father with (almost) all of the Howling Commandos.
You would think he would have a photo of his grandfather hanging out with Captain America himself, but maybe he took that one down recently for understandable reasons.
5. Nick Fury’s Pulp Fiction Gravestone (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
The only thing Nick Fury loves more than keeping secrets is faking his own death, to the point where Captain America: The Winter Soldier ends with Fury visiting his own grave, which has an interesting inscription to say the least.
Samuel L. Jackson fans will recognize this particular bible verse as the one quoted by his character Jules in Pulp Fiction before he kills people. But Ezekiel 25:17 is oddly fitting for Nick Fury as well, a man who is “beset by the tyranny of evil man” and known to have some “furious anger” of his own.
4. Sharon Carter’s Speech (Captain America: Civil War)
One of the most powerful moments of Civil War is Peggy Carter’s funeral where Steve acts as Peggy’s pallbearer (and also finds out the woman he likes is the niece of his ex-girlfriend - then still kisses her - but we’re not here to talk about that.) Before he makes out with Sharon though she gives a speech quoting the recently deceased Agent Carter as saying, “Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right … it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, 'No, you move.'”
If this badass speech sounded familiar it’s because it was taken almost verbatim from a speech Steve gives to Spider-Man in the Civil War comic.
The Russos shifted the speech to Peggy to inspire Steve, which still works as it definitely seems like something she would say. Then again, if you subscribe to the explanation of Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely that Steve went back in time and was this Peggy’s husband the whole time, old-Steve could have been the one to say it to Peggy, who then said it to Sharon, who then said it at Peggy’s funeral for young-Steve to hear for the first time.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, time travel is hard to write you guys.
3. A Secret Code on a Joker Poster Let You Get The Trailer Early (The Dark Knight)
Recognizing the box office power of Batman, Warner Bros. went all out with the marketing campaign on 2008’s The Dark Knight. They even went so far as to hide promotional materials inside other promotional materials, like a Russian nesting doll of movie advertising. This came in the form of a Joker poster released early in the marketing campaign with a tiny line of red text on the bottom under the release date.
Intrepid fans figured out it was a code and if you rearranged the angled letters it read “A Taste For The Theatrical”. If you then used that code as a link and went to Atasteforthetheatrical.com you would find yourself on a Gotham Times classified ad where you could download the theatrical trailer for the movie, which meant you could get an early start on your inevitable Joker cosplay.
2. Black Panther and Namor (Iron Man 2)
One of the best parts of the MCU is how incredibly well-planned out the universe is. Infinity Stones were being introduced as early as Captain America: The First Avenger, the movies are all cut into phases and each film has a hint to the next one, or in the case of Iron Man 2, a hint to films WAY in the future.
Near the end of the second Iron Man film Nick Fury is telling Tony Stark that he isn’t cut out to be an Avenger (ha!) but in the background of the scene we can see several SHIELD maps with areas of interest highlighted.
Many of these marked events were already established in the universe: Hulk’s battle, Thor’s hammer falling, etc. But there were two mystery spots on the map: a highlight in the east of Africa and one in the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s safe to say the spot in Africa marked Wakanda, a full six years before we would meet Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, showing the MCU had big plans for the King of Wakanda long before the film came out. The mark in the Atlantic Ocean is unconfirmed but most likely shows Atlantis and the home of Namor, neither of which have yet to make an appearance in the MCU, but with every other spot on the map turning out to be something significant this is an Easter Egg to keep an eye on for the sake of Marvel’s first mutant.
1. Bluth Staircase Car and Tobias Funke (Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War)
There’s no way around it, these Easter Eggs are just plain fun. Like, the absolute funnest! If you don’t love these Easter Eggs you hate joy, that’s all there is to it.
The first object of our amusement occurs during the airport fight scene in Captain America: Civil War, a sequence already full of amazing things made all the better by the appearance of the Bluth Staircase Car behind the Avengers in several scenes.
If you’re unfamiliar with the staircase car, it’s the automobile of choice driven by the Bluth family on the stellar sitcom, Arrested Development. This particular Easter Egg was presumably included by the directors Joe and Anthony Russo who also directed over a dozen episodes of Arrested Development. But this wasn’t the only reference to the show these two snuck in.
A few years later in Avengers: Infinity War, the Russos decided to have a little more Arrested Development fun when they included a blue, denim-clad Tobias Funke on display in the Collector’s museum.
And this wasn’t even snuck in, the Russos full-on got permission for this to officially be Tobias Funke as the credits clearly state: Character from Arrested Development appears courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Of course, now that Disney owns 20th Century Fox they can use all the Arrested Development characters they want in the MCU.
But is Tobias truly a collectible, rare item worthy of the Collector? Don’t forget, he is one of the only never-nudes on Earth.