Avengers: Endgame [Easter Eggs and other things you missed]
This past weekend, “Avengers: Endgame” finally knocked “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing film of all time. With the Digital and Bluray release of the film a few weeks away, I figured it was time to give readers and fans of the series something to look forward to when they see it again.
Now if you haven’t seen all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s okay. I’ll be referencing the previous films as this is a deep-dive on all the subtle and interesting things I’ve personally observed as well as shared knowledge from like-minded individuals.
If you’re still reading, be warned: we’re going into full-on SPOILER territory.
I’m focusing strictly on missed moments and not the obvious.
After the events of “Captain America: Civil War”
Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye) agree for the sake of their families to go under house arrest and wear tracking anklets because of their participation in the airport battle in Germany. This was briefly mentioned by Natasha (Black Widow) to Bruce (Hulk) in “Infinity War”.
Ant-Man and the Wasp:
Hope Van-Dyne (Wasp) teases Scott (Ant-Man) for referring to Captain America as “Cap”. At the end of the film, Scott gets his tracking anklet removed, having finally served out the terms of his probation.
In one of the post-credits, Scott with Hank Pym, Janet and Hope Van Dyne work on a smaller version of the Quantum Tunnel Experiment using the Brown “La Cucaracha” van. During the experiment, everyone outside become victims of Thanos’ snap, leaving Scott stuck inside the Quantum Realm.
At the beginning of “Endgame”, Clint Burton (Hawkeye) is still wearing his ankle tracker. As he shows his daughter Lila (played by Ava Russo, Co-Director Joe’s daughter) how to hit a bullseye, he congratulates her and calls her “Hawkeye”, the very first time the character name as ever been said out loud in the MCU. This is a callback to the ‘Hawkeye’ (2012) comic by Matt Fraction and David Aja, where the character Kate Bishop takes a similar shot and Clint complements her with the same moniker. The closest we got was Dr. Selvig referring to him as “The Hawk” In “Avengers”.
We get to see a slightly older Nathaniel Pietro, Clint’s youngest son, named after his fallen ally Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), who saved Clint’s life in the events in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. Right before the effects of the snap occur, you hear thunder rumbling in the background, just like on Titan (Thanos’ home planet) and Wakanda, T’Chala’s (Black Panther) country in “Infinity War”.
The intro song is “Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic, the lyrics heard are
“Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything take us out of this gloom”
Drifting in Space:
At the beginning of the first “Iron Man” movie, Tony is in the caravan telling the soldier, “I don’t want to see this on your MySpace page” instantly dating the film, as upon release in 2008, MySpace was past tense and Facebook was the growing trend. In “Endgame”, Tony records the message to Pepper, “Don’t post on social media”.
In the same message, Tony refers to Nebula as “the blue meanie” a reference the Blue Meanies from the 1968 Beatles animated movie “Yellow Submarine”. In “Infinity War” When Tony tells Bruce about the Avengers disbanding and He says, “Like the Beatles?”
As Nebula places a weakened Tony on the chair, you hear a softer version of “The Real Hero” by Alan Silvestri, a song we hear again towards the end.
The post-credit of “Captain Marvel” has Carol Danvers asking the Avengers, (Note: Captain America has his beard.) “where’s Fury?” a response to the post-credit scene in “Infinity War” where Fury activates his pager summoning her. This leads her into space looking for the lost team members, returning with The Guardians’ ship The Benatar, a malnourished Tony Stark, and Nebula.
On Titan II, you briefly see Thanos’ armor displayed like a scarecrow. This is a homage to the ‘Infinity War’ comic, where Thanos displays his armor the same way. Thor makes sure not to make the same mistake he made in ”Infinity War” and goes for the head.
Five Years Later:
We get a view of Mets Stadium (Citi Field), where Captain America is leading a grief support group, much like Sam Wilson (Falcon) did in “Captain America: Winter Soldier”. The first support group member is co-director Joe Russo making his 4th cameo in the MCU, an appearance for each film he’s co-directed. Another support group member “What about you?” is Jim Starlin, one of the co-creators of ‘Thanos’ in the comic books. In the first “Avengers”, Starlin was very much surprised when Thanos was revealed in the post-credits.
Return of Ant-Man:
When the Quantum Tunnel is reactivated, Scott finally escapes the Quantum Realm, you briefly see ‘Lang 616’, which is a reference to ‘Earth-616’, the primary continuity in which most Marvel Comics titles take place.
The security guard is played by Dr. Ken Jeong, making it the seventh alumni appearance from the TV series “Community” in the MCU, a comedy television series where the Russo Brothers served as both directors and producers:
1. Aaron Himelstein, “Captain America: Winter Soldier”
2. Dani Pudi, “Captain America: Winter Soldier”
3. Jim Rash, “Captain America: Civil War”
4. Donald Glover, “Spider-Man Homecoming”
5. Brie Larson, “Captain Marvel”
6. Walter Scoggins, “Ant-Man and the Wasp”
7. Dr. Ken Jeong, “Avengers: Endgame”
and while I know I’m getting ahead of myself.
8. Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays an administrative employee who almost gets Cap and Tony arrested later in “Avengers: Endgame”.
The security guard is also reading “The Terminal Beach” a science fiction book published in 1964 including a short titled ‘End-Game’.
Scott reunites with his daughter Cassie, and comments “you’re so big!”. In “Ant-Man and the Wasp”, she was 10 years old.
An Underwater Clue?
Okoye (Danai Gurira) tells Natasha (Black Widow), “there was a mild subduction (tremor) under the African Plates” “We handle it, by not handling it”. At the end of “Iron Man II”, when Fury is talking with Tony Stark, there’s a highlighted area on the map next to Wakanda, hinting about another character yet to be seen in the MCU. Many believe this hint refers to ‘Namor, the Sub Mariner’. Carol Danvers is wearing an updated suit and haircut, synchronizing her evolution to the look of the current comic run of Captain Marvel. Eagle eye viewers will see a pair of ballet slippers on Natasha’s desk, a nod to her flashback scene in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.
In “Avenger: Infinity War”, Tony briefly discusses having a son and naming him after an eccentric uncle of Pepper’s (In the comics it’s an uncle of Tony’s). This film sees the name given to their daughter. Morgan is caught holding Pepper’s “Rescue Armor” helmet. In the comics and this film, Pepper gets to hold her own in the suit. The color shade of the armor is similar to that of a dress, she wore in “Iron Man” movie. Tony scolds Scott (Ant-Man) for referencing ‘rules of time travel’ from the movie “Back to the Future”, a joke that pays off very subtly later.
Introducing Professor Hulk:
Featured in the comics, Professor Hulk has all the strength of the Savage Hulk and the intelligence of Bruce Banner but none of the emotional baggage. A change from the conflict both Banner and Hulk were dealing with in “Infinity War”.
Next to a photo of his father, Howard Stark (who he sees later in the movie), there’s a photo of himself and Peter Parker accepting the “Stark Internship”. Feeling a deep personal loss, it becomes the driving motivation to see if their time-travel plan can work.
“I love you 3000”
The source of this line is from Robert Downey Jr. himself, after revealing that one of his children told it to him.
When Hulk and Scott experient time travel, the suit Scott wears is the same suit Hank Pym wore to enter the Quantum Realm in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.
Rocket and Professor Hulk head to New Asgard (Tønsberg) to recruit Thor
The song playing is “Supersonic Rocket Ship” by The Kinks:
If you know the song, some of the lyrics include:
“On my supersonic rocket ship
Nobody has to be hip
There’ll be equality
And no suppression of minorities.”
A nod to the refugees of Asgard after the events of “Thor: Ragnarok”
Tønsberg has been featured a few times in the MCU. In the first “Thor” movie, 965 A.D. Tønsberg was the location where the Asgardians defended Midgard (Earth) against the Frost Giants, forcing them to abandon and retreat. During World War II, Johann Schmidt (the Red Skull), a German SS officer and leader of HYDRA, organized an incursion in Norway successfully finding the Tesseract. So Odin has always had a soft spot for Tønsberg, which is why he spent his remaining days there and why Thor chose it for the surviving refugees of Asgard.
Rocket is wearing a new uniform inspired by the Guardians of the Galaxy Comics and we briefly see the return of Meek and Korg (voiced by Taika Waititi), playing the game Fornite. A nice product plug as Fortnite has a cross-over event featuring characters and weapons from the MCU.
‘Hawkeye’ is no more: he has become ‘Ronin’, a samurai without a lord or master. There is a run in the comics where Hawkeye abandoned his persona to become an assassin. While his motivations are clear in the movie, he’s only after the ruthless who survived the snap. Natasha comes to him in order to bring him hope and redemption, much like he did for her as referenced in “Avengers”. In the following scene, you see a tattoo sleeve of a ronin on his left arm.
Thor enters and Tony walks past calling him “Big Lebowski” referencing that Thor’s new look is inspired by Jeff Bridges portrayal of ‘The Dude’ in that feature. (Did I mention Jeff Bridges also played ‘Obadiah Stane’ in the first “Iron Man” film?) Tony then refers to Rocket as ‘Ratchet’, a nod to the PlayStation Game, “Ratchet & Clank” where there are some clear similarities.
In one scene they discuss the rules of time travel by referencing other time-travel movies and Scott (Ant-Man) mentions “Die Hard”, each of the films are mentioned for a reason. Other than the obvious, the antagonists in “Hot Tub Time Machine”, ‘Blaine’ is played by actor Sebastian Stan a.k.a. ‘Bucky’ in the MCU. In an unfinished deleted scene of “Endgame”, Professor Hulk rescues people from a burning building, the fire chief in the scene is played by Reginald VelJohnson, the actor who played Sgt. Al Powell in the movie “Die Hard”.
As the Avengers are eating together you can see Professor Hulk diving into a large container of Ben and Jerry’s ‘A Hunk of Hulk of Burning Fudge’ ice cream. First mentioned at the beginning of “Infinity War” when Banner and Tony were first discussing the existence of the infinity stones with Doctor Strange and Wong.
As the team stands together in a circle during the “Whatever It Takes” speech, underneath is the shape and design resembling that of Tony Stark’s original Mark I Arc Reactor.
Battle of New York, 2012
As Professor Hulk goes to retrieve the time stone, the Ancient One explains the rules of time travel and that they are creating alternate timelines. This is a warning Mordo also echoed in the “Doctor Strange” movie. I wonder if this creates a paradox in the Doctor Strange sequel?
Long way from Budapest:
As Clint and Natasha leave Morag for Vormir they can’t help but smile at each other after experiencing their first space mission together. Clint turns to Natasha smiling, “Long way from Budapest”. Budapest has been mentioned before; in “Avengers”, Natasha turns to Clint and says, “Just like Budapest all over again”. Recently it was confirmed that we may finally see that mission in the “Black Widow” feature.
Back in Battle of New York, 2012
Tony witnesses double agents Brock Rumlow and Jasper Sitwell name-drop “Doctor List”, the chief scientist who studies Loki’s scepter for Baron Von-Strucker at the beginning of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.
After the capture of Loki, Captain America goes into the elevator and faces his future rivals in a scene that almost echos that of the elevator fight in “Captain America: Winter Soldier”. He avoids confrontation by whispering “Hail Hydra” into Agent Jasper Sitwell’s ear. The scene is a referance to a recent run of ‘Secret Empire’ 2017 Marvel Comics storyline in which Captain America has been replaced by an evil version of himself loyal to Hydra.
“Captain America: Winter Soldier” was the first Marvel movie directed by the Russo Brothers and the first scene they shot was the elevator fight.
Avengers Tower, lobby
The Avengers team circa 2012 encounters Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford); when he asks, “Where are you going?”, Thor responds, “Lunch and then Asgard”. Now we know when the “Avengers” shawarma post-credit scene takes place. As future Tony is thwarted by a frustrated Hulk bursting out of the lobby, the Tesseract launches out of reach and Loki escapes with it. This scene is reminiscent to “Back to the Future II”, when Marty slams the door on his future self, giving Biff access to the previously stolen item.
Cap vs Cap:
“I can do this all day”, one of Cap’s signature phrases, first said in “Captain America: The First Avenger” when he faced the bully and repeated when fighting Tony Stark in “Captain America: Civil War”.
In space, 2014
As Thanos discovers his Nebula can see the memories of “other Nebula” the playback shows the heroes. Gamora refers to them as “Terrans”, the term extraterrestrials call humans, while Thanos refers to them as “Avengers” acknowledging their part in the ‘Battle of New York’.
Thor gets closure getting counsel from his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo). She has more speaking lines in this movie than she does is her last two appearances in the MCU combined. After Rocket retrieves ‘the Ather’ he is seen being chased by Asgardian soldiers also calling him, ‘rabbit’ just like Thor did in “Infinity War”.
As Nebula and Rodie wait to steal the Power Stone before Peter Quill does in “Guardians of the Galaxy” we witness the intro to that movie from a different perspective.
After losing the Tesseract, Tony convinces Cap to go back further in time with him on a mission for a second chance. This leaves them ‘two’ Pym Particles short to go home.
New Jersey, 1970
The final cameo by the legendary Stan Lee, looking very much like he did in the 1970s. The bumper sticker on the back of the car says “NUFF SAID” one of Stan’s famous phrases in the pages of Marvel Comics.
This is the same Camp where Steve Rogers first trains for the Army in “Captain America: The First Avenger” and later almost gets killed in “Captain America: Winter Soldier” Which is how Cap was able to tell Tony where the SHIELD secret location was. Cap wears the uniform of the soldier named “Roscoe”, this is in reference to ‘Roscoe Simons’ in the comics, a man who briefly assumed the role of Captain America after Steve Rogers became Nomad in the 70s.
Before Howard Stark runs into Tony, he’s yelling “Arnim are you in there?” Dr. Arnim Zola is the Hydra scientist from “Captain America: The First Avenger” who makes a deal with S.H.I.E.L.D only to double-cross them again, as revealed in “Captain America: Winter Soldier”.
When Cap calls a younger Hank Pym on the phone, as the camera pans across you can see the classic Ant-Man helmet as seen in the 1960s comics. When Hank dashes out the office, Cap helps himself to ‘four’ vials of the Pym particle.
As Cap hides in an office to avoid capture he sees a photo of himself on a desk, only to discover the office is that of Peggy Carter, his love interest in “Captain America: The First Avenger”. The photo on the desk is the same one she pulls out of his file after believing he died in a crash as the end of that film.
One of the running themes in the Marvel movies was Tony’s relationship with his father and not having closure. We not only get to finally witness the moment but also see the person who inspired Tony’s J.a.r.v.i.s. Howard’s driver is actor James D’Arcy resuming his role as Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis as introduced in the “Agent Carter” TV Series.
The Infinity Gauntlet:
New Avengers Facility, 2023
The surviving heroes debate who should put on the gauntlet. Thor refers to himself as “The Strongest Avenger”, a title he calls himself to regain control of the Quinjet in “Thor: Ragnarok”. In “Avengers”, Banner was brought in to find the Tesseract because he was an expert in Gamma Radiation. For those who know, gamma radiation is what turned Bruce into the Hulk.
The Battle Begins:
Thanos tries to push Stormbreaker (the new hammer) into Thor’s chest, the reverse of what occurred in “Avengers: Infinity War” when Cap comes to the rescue wielding Mjölnir, a feat that could only be done if someone was worthy. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron” this moment was teased, causing Thor a bit of concern. Thanos destroying Cap’s Shield was foreshadowed in the same film and is also a nod to the comics.
As the odds are stacked against the heroes and Thanos’ army has rallied, Cap gets a message from Falcon on the communicator, “On your left”. A great nod to the first scene of “Captain America: Winter Soldier”.
Before Cap yells “Avengers Assemble” you can see the return of the Wakandans, the Guardians, Spider-Man, the Asgardians, the Wizards, the Ravagers, Wasp, and Pepper Potts in her full Rescue Armor. Howard the Duck is seen behind Wasp with the Ravagers, his last appearance was in the post-credit of “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
Tony Stark gives Peter Parker a huge hug, something he’s has been pretty adamant about avoiding as seen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”. Things have clearly changed after loss and five years.
Wasp tells Captain America, “We’re on it Cap!” after making fun of Scott earlier.
As Clint is running with the gauntlet, T’Challa (Black Panther) calls him by name to throw it his direction. During the airport battle in “Civil War”, Clint tries to introduce himself, “We haven’t met yet, I’m Clint” to which T’Challa responds, “I don’t care”.
When T’Challa throws the gauntlet to Peter, he activates the ‘instant kill’, a mode he discovers by accident in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”. Peter eventually calls for help, to which Cap says “Hey Queens, heads up!” a nickname Peter earns in “Civil War”.
At the end of the battle, Tony reclaims the gauntlet saying, “I am Iron Man” before snapping his fingers, a call back to his iconic line at the end of the first “Iron Man” movie.
This scene was not in the original script, the line was suggested by one of the film’s editor, providing the perfect ‘EUREKA’ moment.
“The Real Hero” by Alan Silvestri is heard again.
In Tony’s message, “If you told me 10 years ago that we weren’t alone” is a nod to Nick Fury’s line at the post-credits of “Iron Man”: “You’ve become part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet”
As Pepper places the funeral wreath on the lake, Tony’s original Mark I Arc Reactor, “Proof That Tony Stark Has A Heart” from “Iron Man” is placed in the center. The funeral is attended by the surviving Avengers, Guardians, General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross, Aunt May “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, Clint’s family, and a grown-up Harley Keener last seen in “Iron Man 3”.
Everyone in that scene was physically present, no CGI. In an interview with Kevin Smith for IMDb, joe Russo discussed, “everyone was brought under the pretense that they were coming for a wedding”, Anthony Russo added, “that most of them found out that day” (it was a funeral).
Happy Hogan and Morgan sit together as he asks what she wants to eat, and she answers “cheeseburger”, a favorite of Tony’s in “Iron Man”.
Asgardians of the Galaxy:
Thor joins the Guardians and mentions the title above, which is an actual comic in the Marvel line-up.
Selecting the next Captain America:
In “Captain America: The First Avenger”, Steve Rogers asks Dr. Abraham Erskine why he was chosen to undergo the supersoldier experiment? Erskine replies, “Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
In Endgame, Rogers tells Sam, “You’re a good man Sam. This one’s on me though.” Subtly, hinting his intent without the audience knowing right away.
Returning the Infinity Stones:
Steve tells Bucky, “Don’t do anything stupid till I get back” to which Bucky responds, “How can I? You’re taking all the stupid with you.” The last time they actually said goodbye to each other in “Captain America: First Avenger”.
When old Steve Rogers appears (another comic homage), “The First Avenger” theme is briefly heard when the shield changes ownership. In the comics, Sam Wilson does indeed become Captain America.
Finally getting that dance:
Steve Rogers dancing with Peggy Carter. When He last spoke with Peggy Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger” He promised they will meet up and dance after his mission was successful, a promise he wasn’t able to deliver on until now. The song, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” by Harry James And His Orchestra is heard, a classic hit at the end of World War II.
While having no mid-credits or post-credits ‘scene’, the credits end with the sound of metal clanging. This sound is Tony Stark pounding out metal building the Mark I Iron Man suit in the first of the MCU movies.
The magical collaboration of writers Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely with Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, and of course the cast and crew. I’m certain over many more viewings, I’ll discover even more things I missed. Hopefully, this read gives you a broader appreciation for the work they put into this.
The highest-grossing film of all time, “Avengers: Endgame“ will be available to own on Digital HD July 30, and on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD on August 13.
If you missed my spoiler-free review of “Avengers: End Game” you can check it out below.