Sure, movie viewers flock to the theaters to see the teeth rattling fights, the gut-wrenching drama, and the larger than life antics that have become synonymous with Marvel movies. Characters like Star-Lord, Iron Man, and Captain America have helped the House of Ideas cement itself as a leading force in Hollywood. But it isn’t all flash and spectacle in Marvel movies; in fact, some of the best parts of Marvel movies can be easily missed if you aren’t paying attention.
We’re referring to the easter eggs that populate Marvel’s movies. These fun references to characters and locations found in the Marvel Comics Universe help fans to learn more about the universe Marvel has created, along with satiating the company’s most hardcore fans with shout-outs to all manner of Marvel minutiae. But that doesn’t mean Marvel always makes their easter eggs glaringly obvious; in fact, many of these little tips of the hat can be missed by even the most eagle-eyed movie viewers. From easy to miss visual references to character names not seen until the credits, these easter eggs can often go totally overlooked. So join CBR as we take a look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beyond to bring you a definitive list of the obscure, the easily missed, and the not-so-obvious easter eggs found in Marvel’s movies. These are the 15 MCU easter eggs you TOTALLY missed!
15. BLACK CAT (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2)
While certainly ambitious, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ran into plenty of problems, ultimately leading to the proposed third ASM film being ditched in favor of bringing Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the resulting film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, has captured the hearts of Marvel fans the world over, we can’t help but speculate over this tantalizing easter egg found in Amazing Spider-Man 2 and what it could have meant for the abandoned third film in the doomed franchise.
Viewers are introduced to Harry Osborn’s love sick assistant, whose role in the film primarily centers around flirting with Harry. But the brunette assistant may have had more insidious intentions than her time on screen might have suggested; after all, that assistant is the one and only Felicia Hardy, the renowned cat burglar Black Cat. Felicia is identified by name in the film in a throwaway line, leading to the revelation getting lost in the sea of supervillains and melodrama. ASM 3 may have brought fans Black Cat, but with the ASM franchise dead and buried, fans will never know.
14. THE ORIGINAL HUMAN TORCH (CAPTAIN AMERICA)
While Steve Rogers may get all the credit as the first Avenger, a “blink and you’ll miss it” easter egg in Captain America: The First Avenger may suggest that Cap wasn’t the only super powered hero running around during World War II.
During the course of the film, Steve and Bucky pay a visit to the World’s Fair, taking in the inventions on display from the world’s best and brightest. The duo pass a glass enclosure, in which stands a motionless man clad in a red body suit. The tube features a large marquee, which labels the display”Phineas T. Horton’s The Synthetic.” Phineas T Horton created the android Jim Hammond, who would take the moniker The Human Torch and fight alongside the likes of Captain America and Namor in the Invaders. While Hammond is never shown going “Flame On,” this easter egg suggests that the OG Torch may still be out there somewhere in the MCU.
13. CAPTAIN AMERICA (THE INCREDIBLE HULK)
After crossing paths with the Torch, Steve Rogers would go on to triumph over the Red Skull, only to end up crashing a plane loaded with weapons into the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. Fast forward 60 years, and Steve Rogers would join the Avengers and fight alongside brilliant scientist Bruce Banner. But it turns out Banner and Rogers briefly crossed paths long before they were both card-carrying Avengers members, and fans got to see this encounter in a deleted scene from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.
While wandering around a frozen tundra, an angered Hulk drives his hands into the snow, causing a nearby cliff face to crumble and fall apart. As the cliff cracks and falls to the ground, a brief glimmer of red, white, and blue can be seen buried among the snow. Squint and you can see it: That’s Captain America’s famous shield. Unbeknownst to the Hulk, his little tantrum freed Cap from that mountain of ice, leading to Cap’s eventual discovery and subsequent return.
12. MARROW (DEADPOOL)
For such an obscure mutant, the Morlock known as Marrow sure has a tendency to pop up in the most unexpected places. From a spot in Marvel vs Capcom 2 to a guest appearance on Wolverine and the X-Men, Marrow has managed to parlay her very weird mutant ability of bone growth into a steady gig. Marrow even made a fleeting appearance in 2016’s Deadpool, but it was easy to miss.
When Wade Wilson pays a visit to the Weapon X testing facility, he is greeted with all manner of atrocities. Viewers get a brief glimpse of a woman with a menagerie of bones protruding from her back as she is studied by scientists. Due to Marrow’s distinct mutant power, it’s easy to identify this poor soul as the bone-throwing Morlock. While the chances of seeing Marrow pop up again in Deadpool 2 are slim-to-none, fans of the pink haired mutant live in hope that this easter egg leads to a bigger role for Marrow.
11. FIN FANG FOOM (IRON MAN)
On the (admittedly short) list of the best comic book dragons that wear little purple pants, Fin Fang Foom reigns supreme. This oddball monster has been cropping up in Marvel comics since the ’60s, running the gamut from comedic roles to more serious, world threatening appearances. While time will tell if “He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains And Whose Back Scrapes The Sun” will ever make a major appearance in the MCU, ol’ Triple F popped up in Iron Man in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo.
As Tony Stark does his Iron Man thing, a poster off to the upper left in the distance features a fearsome golden monster. At the time of the film’s release, fans probably just shrugged the poster off as a throwaway, but a follow-up comic set in the MCU entitled Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas introduced Marvel fans to the MCU interpretation of Fin Fang Foom. And wouldn’t you know it, this new, pants-less version of FFF is the very same monster on the poster found in Iron Man. This is likely the closest fans will get to seeing Fin hit the big screen, but this easy-to-miss easter egg was a fun shout-out to one of Marvel’s most iconic monsters.
10. JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (THOR)
Since first appearing in Journey Into Mystery #83, Thor has become a staple of the Marvel Universe. He’s fought alongside the likes of Captain America and Iron Man, he’s battled his duplicitous half-brother Loki numerous times, and he’s even saved the planet more times than the blonde Asgardian can count. But director Kenneth Branagh made sure to include a sly shout-out to Thor’s humble beginnings in 2011’s Thor.
When Thor arrives in New Mexico, he finds the dusty desert a stark change from his native Asgard. But New Mexico’s tourism board took a page from Thor’s book when advertising the state; eagle-eyed fans can spot a billboard featuring picturesque rolling mountains and lush green fields, featuring the tag line “Land Of Enchantment… Journey Into Mystery.” This little easter egg was definitely easy to miss, but Thor fans everywhere can appreciate this tip of the cap to Thor’s origins.
9. BOB, AGENT OF HYDRA (DEADPOOL)
Deadpool may be a murder-happy assassin, but even he understands the power of friendship. Over the years, Deadpool has teamed with plenty of big names, but it is a lowly henchman that has become one of Deadpool’s most memorable pals. Bob, Agent of HYDRA has served as a perennial straight man to the motor mouthed merc, cementing himself as a fan favorite character among Deadpool diehards. The hapless henchman even got a sly shout-out in a memorable scene in 2016’s Deadpool, even if legal hang-ups prevent the movie from addressing Bob by his proper name.
During the climactic fight in Deadpool, Wade bumps into his old pal Bob, who is now working as a henchman for the movies big baddie, Ajax. The duo catch up, and ‘Pool even allows his friend to live. The writers of Deadpool admitted this is indeed Bob, Agent of HYDRA, but legally, they couldn’t refer to Bob’s employer, as Fox does not hold the license for HYDRA. It’s possible Bob will one day return, but fans shouldn’t expect to see Bob in his trademark green-and-yellow hench duds anytime soon.
8. HOBGOBLIN (SPIDER-MAN 3)
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 had problems. Lots and lots of problems. From odd characterization, to poor writing, to an overly busy plot, Spider-Man 3 isn’t terribly popular among Spidey fans. And don’t even get us started on the dance scene(s). But while Spider-Man 3 was far from the perfect Spider-Man film, the flick did have a fun easter egg that possibly served as a hint at what Raimi had planned for the Spider-Man franchise.
While Harry Osborne tolls away in his lab, the camera pans along his workbench, giving fans a glimpse at Harry’s various goblin goodies. Tucked next to Norman’s Green Goblin mask is the goblin mask, albeit with a distinctive silver and gold paint job. As fans of the Web Slinger know, only one Goblin rocks this unmistakable color combo: the Hobgoblin. With Spider-Man 3 killing Raimi’s Spidey franchise dead, we’ll never know if Hobby was planned to make an appearance in the planned Spider-Man 4, but this easily-overlooked easter egg served as a fun shout-out to a fan favorite character.
7. JOCASTA (AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON)
Marvel has proven that the company isn’t afraid to get weird. After all, the MCU is home to a gun-toting raccoon and a sentient tree. But there are some Marvel comic characters that might just be a little too out there for the silver screen. Case in point: Jocasta, an android created by the villainous Ultron to serve as his bride, who was programmed based on the brainwaves of Janet Van Dyne, the superhero and ex-wife of Hank Pym, the creator of Ultron. It’s an odd and convoluted origin for a character that has gone on to amass legions of fans, and it pretty much guarantees that Jocasta won’t ever make her way to the big screen. But according to this easily overlooked easter egg, fans might one day see Jocasta join the MCU.
In 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark is on the hunt for a new AI to replace the loyal J.A.R.V.I.S. As Tony thumbs through drives containing AI’s, he passes by a drive labeled “Jocasta.” Tony ultimately settles on Friday as his new AI partner in crime, but this sly nod to the fan favorite character suggests Jocasta is lurking on that hard drive. Whether Stark will ever introduce Jocasta into his suit remains to be seen, but this easter egg gives fans hope the character may pop up one day.
6. THE TINKERER (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
Spider-Man has one of the most legendary rogue’s galleries in comics. With the likes of the Green Goblin, Rhino, Electro, and Mysterio counted among his foes, it surprised fans when the geriatric Vulture was chosen as the bad guy for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thankfully, the legendary Michael Keaton managed to turn this former punchline of a villain into a real threat. But Vulture wasn’t the only Spidey baddie to make the jump to the silver screen; thanks to a low key easter egg, fans learned that obscure Spidey villain The Tinkerer was working alongside The Vulture the whole time.
Over the course of the film, Adrian Toomes consults with his team’s resident tech expert, who has designed the Vulture’s flight suit and variety of gadgets. While fans might have thought this inventor to be an original character created for the film, the credits reveal this character to be Phineas Mason, a.k.a. The Tinkerer. The inclusion of The Tinkerer makes sense; after all, Tinkerer has been creating fearsome gadgets since 1963 in an effort to stomp out Spidey. Fans may or may not have seen the last of Mason, but either way, this easter egg proves that Marvel isn’t afraid to get obscure when bringing characters to the big screen.
5. SPECIAL PROJECTS (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2)
For a movie as troubled as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one compliment can definitely be given to the film: it is chock full of fun easter eggs. Case in point: ASM2 features a well-hidden list of shout-outs to a veritable who’s-who of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.
As Harry Osborn browses through the smorgasbord of shadowy projects bequeathed to him by his late father, Harry stumbles upon a list of names. While casual viewers might think this “blink and it’s gone” list was of no consequence, keener fans can pick out several big names from the list. Otto Octavius, Michael Morbius, and Dr. Curt Connors can all be found on the list, suggesting that Sony’s planned but ultimately aborted Sinister Six film could have featured plenty of fan favorite villains. But with the Amazing Spider-Man franchise gone the way of the dodo, all fans can do now is offer conjecture over this fun easter egg.
4. GUARDIAN AND VINDICATOR (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE)
With Marvel ruling the box office with a never-ending assortment of superhero flicks, it seems as though practically every character from the House of Ideas is lined up for a movie. But fans of the Canadian super group Alpha Flight probably aren’t holding their breaths about the team from the Great White North getting a shot at the silver screen. Even if Puck, Sasquatch, and the gang never get the big screen treatment, two of the team’s most famous members popped up in easter egg form in the critically panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
While in the run, Wolverine happens across a kindly old couple that welcome the mutant into their home. Unfortunately, the big-hearted seniors would be blown up off screen for their troubles. But as the credits revealed, these old folks had names: James and Heather Hudson, better known to Marvel fans as the maple leaf-clad leaders of Alpha Flight, Guardian and Vindicator. Sorry, Alpha Flight fans; even in the movies, this team can’t catch a break.
3. MUTANTS OUT THE WAZOO (X2)
Turns out, when filmmakers are looking for a fun way to sneak in shout-outs to characters that didn’t make the cut for the movie, there’s no better bang for your buck than a briefly seen list. After all, with a list, fans can comb through screen caps looking for every name snuck into the film, giving comic nerds an easter egg version of Where’s Waldo. X-Men 2 from 2003 went all-in with the list easter egg, sneaking in an absurd number of references to all manner of mutants.
As Mystique peruses William Stryker’s computer for sensitive data, she briefly stumbles upon a laundry list of names so littered with so many references, it could make even the most hardcore X-fan dizzy linking the names to characters. The list includes nods to fan favorites such as Multiple Man, Psylocke, and Gambit, and gets obscure with references to the likes of Husk, Moonstar, Skin, and even Wild Child. While X-Men: The Last Stand did very little with these references, the list still makes for a fun, easily missed easter egg.
2. THE PROWLER (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
With a co-starring role in cult TV comedy Community and a red hot musical career to his name, viewers may have found it a little odd that Donald Glover popped up in Spider-Man: Homecoming in what amounted to a glorified walk-on role. But the credits revealed that Glover’s brief appearance in Homecoming was more than that; in fact, fans could be seeing a lot more of Glover in future Spidey flicks.
Glover plays Aaron Davis, a street tough who gets in over his head when attempting to purchase stick-up equipment that eventually helps our hapless hero. But hardcore Marvel fans know that Aaron Davis isn’t a throwaway name; after all, that’s the name of the Ultimate Universe version of the antihero known as The Prowler. This purple-and-black clad high tech burglar serves as the uncle to the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales, making Glover’s line about having a nephew in the neighborhood all the more interesting. Time will tell if Glover will don his Prowler duds, but this fun easter egg has Spidey fans crossing their fingers.
1. MAN-THING, BETA RAY BILL, ARES, BI-BEAST (THOR: RAGNAROK)
We cap off our list with an exciting, easily missed easter egg in a Marvel movie that hasn’t even come out yet! With Marvel fans the world over counting down the days until the release of Thor: Ragnarok, viewers are combing through the movie’s trailers for any sort of hint about what secrets they hold. Turns out, the most recent Ragnarok trailer contains one whopper of an easter egg hinting at several fan favorite Marvel characters.
In a brief shot found in the second trailer, a space craft zips toward a giant pillar towering over the coliseum on planet Sakaar. Engraved in the pillar are several heads, including the noggins of the swamp creature Man-Thing, the space horse/Thor ally Beta Ray Bill, the spike-adorned God of War Ares, and classic Hulk villain Bi-Beast. The jury is still out on just who the mustachioed head on the bottom belongs to, with guesses ranging from Fin Fang Foom to the Yellow Claw. But what is the purpose of the heads? Is it a memorial to fallen competitors in the coliseum? Is it in honor to some of the strongest fighters to enter the Grandmaster’s competition? Time will tell what role these mysterious carvings play, but this easily missed easter egg makes for one fun reference to some of Marvel’s strangest denizens.
Were there any other easter eggs you noticed that nobody else did? Let us know in the comments!