Avengers: Endgame — All the interesting Easter Eggs you may have missed in Marvel's Infinity Saga finale
Russo brothers managed to cram Avengers: Endgame full of references to the other films or comics and even a few Easter eggs that could point to where the MCU is headed in the future.
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. If you have not watched the film, do not read further.
With the task of delivering a worthwhile conclusion to the 21 previous films that constitute The Infinity Saga, directors, Joe and Anthony Russo really had their work cut out for them. But despite the epic task at hand, the directing duo still managed to find the time to cram Avengers: Endgame full of references to the other films or comics and even a few Easter eggs that could point to where the Marvel Cinematic Universe could go in the future.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re probably a fan of the films already so I won’t get bogged down in the many, many, many lines and quips that are call-backs to conversations or events in previous films (like aiming for the head) because you’re already aware of the significance of ‘On your left’ . Instead, I’m going to focus on the biggest Easter eggs that you might have missed after watching Avengers: Endgame.
The Support Group
Five years after Thanos’ snap and subsequent decapitation, we find Steve Rogers with a support group for others that were spared from oblivion, but are now racked with survivor’s guilt and generally traumatised by the whole ordeal.
Among the group’s members are Jim Starlin, a prominent comic book artist and writer who is credited with creating the character of Thanos. Also, the man describing the date he had been on was none other than the film’s co-director Joe Russo. Joe has previously inserted himself into two other Marvel films he has directed alongside his brother (Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Captain America: Civil War) but this is almost certainly his largest cameo by far. The role is also being hailed as the first appearance by an openly gay character in the MCU (which was news to me as well).
Joe Russo’s daughters also feature in Endgame as Hawkeye’s daughter, Lila and as the girl who asks Banner-Hulk for a selfie with them.
Speaking of Banner-Hulk, this more mellow, intellectual Hulk is a reference to the comics where on several occasions Bruce Banner has merged his intelligence and psyche with the strength of the Hulk. In the comics, this character is called Professor Hulk or Doc Green but is also the weakest version of the Hulk, though considering this is a character that has held up mountains and shattered asteroids twice the size of earth, a weaker version of the Hulk is still probably all the power you could really need.
In the films, Morgan Stark is named after the ‘eccentric’ uncle of her mother, Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts. However, the name is a reference to Tony’s cousin in the comics who is actually a two-bit villain known for stealing Stark Industries secrets and selling them on to the highest bidder… which makes naming Tony’s kid after him a pretty odd choice.
While young Morgan may not grow up to be the futurist her father was (she’s less than five though, so who knows), she’s still a chip off the old block, apparently sharing her father’s love of cheeseburgers.
The Post Credits Audio
Many (including myself) were surprised to find that there was no post-credits scene for Endgame. But it does make sense since every previous post-credit scene teased future films for a saga that is now concluded, the fact that no effort was made to begin hyping the next great adventure was both highly restrained and respectful of what the audience had just experienced. But we didn’t leave empty handed.
At the end of credits, the sound of ringing metal on metal can be heard, an apparent homage to a when Tony, at his lowest point, built the Mk-1 Iron Man Armour.
Others, however, say that rather than being reflective, the audio cue is a hint that Stark or at least the character of Iron Man, isn’t gone for good. I can’t confirm or deny that of course, but it is true that in the comics, not only have several heroes worn the title of Iron Man (including Doctor Doom, most notably) but Tony Stark himself has died and been resurrected/cloned several times.
Before they became the champions of Marvel with the Winter Soldier marking their debut to the MCU, the Russo brothers were known for their work on TV with shows like Arrested Development and Community. Since starting their tenure at Marvel, many Community cast members have found their way into the MCU with minor cameos. Endgame doubled up on this by including comedian Ken Jeong playing a (poorly moustached) security guard at the facility where Scott Lang’s van is in storage and Yvette Nicole Brown working as a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. staffer in the 1970s.
Captain America Swears Now
Not so much an Easter egg as it is an interesting change in the character, it seems that there are limits to Steve’s good manners and losing half of all life in the universe has successfully crossed this limit. Once disapproving of teammates using bad language (and being promptly ridiculed for it), Steve has seemingly loosened up over the intervening years. To be fair, he was swearing by the end of Age of Ultron anyway.
One of my favourite scenes of Endgame was a call-back to one of my favourite moments (the elevator fight) of one of my favourite films in the MCU (The Winter Soldier). I was expecting Steve to surprise and quickly overpower the known Hydra double agents (well known in the future), but his use of the famous form of greeting used by those still pledging loyalty to the old Nazi offshoot is both a clever call back to the previous The Winter Soldier as well as a reference to the recent comic storyline which depicted a Captain America, whose memories had been altered through cosmic cube shenanigans, pledging allegiance to Hydra.
A Long Time Coming.
In the final scene of the film, we see Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter finally getting their dance together, just like they talked about in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Also of note is that the song playing during this scene is very aptly named, 'It's been a long, long time' by Harry James and Helen Forrest. This is also the song Nick Fury plays when he breaks into Steve’s apartment after being ambushed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
More than Comrades?
During that same briefing with Romanoff, Carol Danvers turns to James Rhodes and wishes him good luck. We’ve missed five years of character development in the time since Thanos was executed so it’s not certain, but it could be an indication that Danvers and Rhodes, both of whom share an Airforce background, could be in a relationship or will be in the future. In the comics, Captain Marvel and War Machine do date for some time (and may do so again in the future).
The site where New Asgard is located is in Tonsberg, Norway. A departure from its location in rural Oklahoma in the comics. Notably, this is the same spot in where Odin bids farewell to his children in Thor: Ragnarok before ‘pulling an Oogway’ and passing into the Great Beyond while dissolving into points of light. It seems that the All-father may have been aware of the eventual fate of his realm and its people as he bids his sons to "Remember this place. Home."
While the God of Thunder languishes in Lebowski style hedonism two of his new friends from Sakaar, Korg and Miek are playing Fortnite. This reference to the online gaming phenomenon goes beyond just a popular pop culture reference, however, back in the days following the release of Infinity War, a limited tie-in event allowed players to play as Thanos and wield the Infinity Gauntlet for themselves. With the release of Endgame, a second avengers themed event is currently underway, you can try it right now if you want.
A second Easter egg in this same scene is the pineapple print shirt that Korg is wearing, which is a clear reference to the cheerful and eclectic wardrobe choices of Ragnarok director Taika Waititi who voices the imposing but soft-spoken Kronan gladiator.
Jarvis before J.A.R.V.I.S.
When Steve Rogers and Tony travel to the 1970s Tony encounters his father Howard Stark. But what’s more important in this scene is that it includes an appearance from Howard’s (and later Tony’s) loyal butler/valet Edwin Jarvis. This is significant because the MCU has always been shy of acknowledging Marvel’s TV shows that it prefers to treat like an awkward first cousin. The inclusion of Jarvis in Endgame, who has only appeared in the show Agent Carter until now, was deliberate and could point to a closer relationship between the MCU and Marvel’s small screen offerings going forward.
This would make sense given how many characters are getting their own spinoff shows on Disney +, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Scarlett Witch and Loki to name just a few and those are just the ones we know about right now.
Original Ant-Man Helmet
In a reference to the Ant-Man comics, Hank Pym’s original super chromed out version of the Ant-Man helmet can be seen in his office at the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility beneath Camp Lehigh.
I missed this one the first time, but during the final battle at Avengers HQ, Howard the duck, who made a cameo in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 can be seen joining the ranks of the Asgardian militia and the Ravagers coming through one of Doctor Strange’s portals.
During the film’s climactic battle, all of the MCU’s current line up of female heroes (Sans dear departed Widow), get a chance to fight together. It’s a brief moment and does seem aimed at those who have criticised the MCU for taking so long to have a female hero lead a movie, or it could be a reminder that despite the loss of Black Widow, there are many female heroes still fighting the good fight. A pre-emptive effort to take the wind out of the sails of those who would lambast Endgame for killing one of the only women on the team.
But, it’s not either of these things (or despite it also being either of these things) it could also be a reference to the all-female hero team in comics, The A-force and might even be a hint that we could see a team up of that kind in the MCU sometime down the line.
While we’re on the topic of female heroes, it looks like Pepper Potts has finally taken on the identity of Rescue, an armour-clad hero that works with the Avengers in the comics. Although this version of her appears to be packing far more weaponry compared to her suit in the comics which is mostly unarmed since she focuses almost exclusively on humanitarian assistance and first aid.
Also known as ‘that guy’, Harley Keener was the boy Stark encountered and briefly teamed up with in Tennessee during the events of Iron Man 3. Now grown up, Harley is spotted at Tony Stark’s funeral service. He’s standing alone, has no lines and isn’t referred to by anyone else at the funeral which led many viewers including myself, to speculate on who that could be.
Interestingly, Harley’s first interaction with Tony in Iron Man 3 is to inform Tony that everyone believes he was killed by the Mandarin. His inclusion is a nice reminder that Tony, in spite of himself, did have non-hero friends out there in the world.
The Asgardians of the galaxy
Thor, deciding to stop trying to be the man his father wanted him to be, abdicates the throne of Asgard and joins up with the Guardians to join them in their adventures. He even name drops ‘Asgardians of the Galaxy’, referencing a comic series of the same name, although the character line-up is completely different.
With Chris Hemsworth’s current contract with Marvel/Disney now complete, it’s not clear whether James Gunn will indeed have the Thunderer join the Guardians in their next adventure, although for his part, Hemsworth has said that he would be interested in signing up for more time as Thor so, never say never I suppose.
Bonus: The Best of the Call-Backs
When Stark returns Captain America’s shield to Rogers, Cap’s theme from The First Avenger starts to play. With both of these characters apparently reaching the end of the road hero wise, this moment of reconciliation between them was great, made all the better by the fact that it was just the two of them for that scene.
And finally, Stark's last words "I am Iron Man," when spitting his defiance at Thanos before snapping him out of existence, echo the last words that he spoke in both Iron Man 3 and, even more significantly, Iron Man 1.
While you're here, check out our full coverage of Avengers: Endgame.
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