Here are 10 hidden references throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe that you probably missed the first time around.
The MCU is tied together by 21 interwoven films, culminating in the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame, which hits theatres April 25. The shared universe has produced some incredible moments along the way, including some not-so-obvious hints you might have missed!
Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the biggest teases in the MCU.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. map that hinted at Avengers in Iron Man 2
When S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Nick Fury debriefs Tony Stark on The Avengers initiative, a map is shown in the background, and it has lots of clues. The map includes references to New Mexico (where Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, was found), East Africa (a.k.a. Wakanda) and even the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a nod to Atlantis and Namor the Sub-Mariner, who debuted l in Marvel Mystery Comics #1 back in 1939.
The Human Torch sighting in Captain America: The First Avenger
During the 1943 Stark Expo, you can see a costumed android in a glass case with a sign reading “Dr. Phineas T. Horton Presents: The Synthetic Man.” In the comics, Horton creates the Human Torch, who bursts into flames when he’s exposed to oxygen. The Human Torch is widely considered the first Marvel superhero. And no, it’s not the same Human Torch Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan played before joining the MCU.
Odin’s Vault drops a ton of hints in Thor and Thor: Ragnarok
Odin’s Vault boasts plenty of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter eggs from his battles, including the Tesseract, the Warlock’s Eye, the Crown of Surtur and a replica of the Infinity Gauntlet…so how is that possible? As Hela states, “Most of the stuff in here is fake.”
Kenneth Choi’s dual roles in Captain America: The First Avenger and Spider-Man: Homecoming
Kenneth Choi played Howling Commando Jim Morita in Captain America: The First Avenger and that same character’s grandson, Principal Morita, in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the latter, you can see a picture of Morita’s grandfather in his office.
Doctor Strange name-dropped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
When Cap and Black Widow question a HYDRA double agent about Project Insight, the agent reveals that one of the criminal organization’s targets is Stephen Strange (the soon-to-be Doctor Strange).
The Wasp spotted in the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man
While Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne (the original Wasp) doesn’t join the MCU until 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, we do catch a glimpse of the character in Ant-Man, when Scott Lang is temporarily stuck in the Quantum Realm. Keep your eyes peeled for the faint outline of the Wasp’s unmistakable four wings.
The Celestials in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2
Marvel has laid the groundwork for the Celestials — huge, ancient, all-powerful beings — who will play a major part in Phase 4 and the upcoming “Eternals” film. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the gang travels to the “planet” Knowhere, which is actually the decapitated head of a former Celestial, and to the Collector, who reveals that Celestials used an Infinity Stone to fight past cosmic wars. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter Quill is revealed to be the son of the Celestial Ego the Living Planet, which is how he gained some of his cosmic powers.
The Adam Warlock cocoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Ayesha, the Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign, turns to a new strategy to defeat the Guardians in a post-credit scene. A birth pod is seen as she references “Adam” — that’s almost certainly Adam Warlock, a huge cosmic character in the comics who will likely be joining the MCU.
Bruce Banner among the greats in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and...Bruce Banner? Yes. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Banner is given credit as one of the greatest scientists ever in Peter Parker’s science class display.
Swallowing the Tesseract in Avengers and Captain Marvel
When Black Widow first meets Bruce Banner, they discuss Nick Fury’s plans with the Tesseract, to which Banner responds, “What does Fury want me to do? Swallow it?” In Captain Marvel, Goose the Flerken literally swallows it whole and later pukes it out.
Catch up with the MCU before Endgame!
With Avengers: Endgame out on April 25, you'll want to be all caught up on the MCU. We've got the whole collection for your bingeing needs at the Cineplex Store.