WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME! DO NOT CONTINUE UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN IT!
Avengers: Endgame is one really full movie. With a running time of 3 hours, it’s stuffed with not just story picking up threads from the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it also boasts all kinds of details for fans to geek over. We’re not here to discuss that story (we’re doing that enough in other articles), but just point out some of these fun/geeky/nostalgic additions. As with all the rest of our Avengers: Endgame coverage, there is a MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING in place for this so continue reading at your own peril!
- Let’s start at the beginning – literally – as we see Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton aka Hawkeye training his daughter Lila. The actress playing Lila is none other than co-director Joe Russo’s own daughter Ava. Russo’s other daughter Lia later shows up as a Hulk fan.
- As for Joe Russo himself, that’s actually the director playing the guy at Captain America’s support group meeting talking about trying to move on with his life in a world half-destroyed. As his character (credited as Gozie Agbo) talks about dating another guy, he actually enters the history books as the first openly homosexual character in the MCU.
- Oh and the older man in the support group asking how things went on the date? None other than legendary comic book artist and writer Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos!
- Before they entered the MCU, Joe and his brother Anthony Russo first cut their teeth directing several episodes of cult comedy series Community. And in Endgame they give shoutouts to that by including cameos from Community alums Ken Jeong – as the security guard at the storage facility housing Ant-Man’s abandoned van – and Yvette Nicole Brown – as the SHIELD base employee in the 1970s who spots the out of place Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.
- We also get a lot more familiar face cameos throughout the movie as Endgame revisits the MCU’s past (man, it was good to see James D’Arcy again as Agent Carter’s Edwin Jarvis!), but the most special cameo belongs to the legendary Stan Lee. We see him digitally de-aged here as an anti-war protester who drives past Lehigh Base in 1970 when Steve and Tony are trying to get the Tesseract and more Pym particles. The bumper sticker on Lee’s roaring car reads “Nuff said!”, which was Lee’s famous slogan in comic editorials. This is officially the final cameo Lee recorded before his death last year.
- There’s another cameo with a familiar face… except very few people are recognizing him. If you’re stumped by the identity of the teenage boy standing by himself at Tony’s funeral, you can stop your theorizing on whether its Quicksilver (which I’ve seen a bunch of theories on). That’s actually a now grown-up Ty Simpkins reprising his role as Harley Keener, the tech-savvy young boy from Iron Man 3 who clearly made a big impact on Tony’s life.
COMIC BOOK LINKS
- In the scene showing Ant-Man’s van, we see it’s stored in storage unit 616. In Marvel Comics, all the various alternate universes in the multiverse have numbered designations and the mainstream one we all know is known as the 616 universe.
- This isn’t quite a comic book link, but when it’s revealed that the Asgardians are living on Earth in a place called New Asgard, this is pulling directly from the Thor: God of Thunder comic, but there it’s a floating city above Broxton, Oklahoma. In Endgame’s case, New Asgard is located in Tønsberg, Norway. This is actually an Easter egg of its own as this is the very site where the Red Skull first finds the Tesseract in the 1940s in Captain America: The First Avenger. This is clearly an important spot for the Asgardians.
- Thor joining Star-Lord’s team at the end and referring to them as the Asgardians of the Galaxy is a direct reference to the current Marvel comic of the same name. The comic sports a completely different line-up of all-Asgardian heroes though, led by Thor’s sister Angela.
- In the 1970 scene with Steve and Tony, Steve sports an old army uniform with the name Roscoe on it while in disguise. This is very likely a nod to Roscoe Simons, who in the comics would become one of the men the government used to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America when Steve, disillusioned with the US administration, disavowed ties with his country and operated under the name Nomad. Unfortunately for Roscoe Simons, his time as the star-spangled Avenger was shortlived as he became best known for being publicly tortured and killed by the Red Skull.
- Also in the 1970 scene, Ant-Man’s iconic classic helmet is on display on the desk in a young Dr Hank Pym’s (a digitally de-aged Michael Douglas) lab. It’s an exact match to the goofy old-school design.
- When we meet Bruce Banner again after the five-year time jump Endgame, he has managed to combine to his intellect with Hulk’s brawn. In the comics, this version of the Hulk was known as the Professor Hulk, though he had a much different personality and a terrible haircut. The Professor Hulk had been rumoured to debut in the MCU ever since Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- When Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts shows up in the finale sporting an armour of her own, it’s the big screen debut of her Rescue persona which first appeared in 2009’s Invincible Iron Man #10. The on-screen version though eschews the comic book design to match almost identically to the white, purple and silver look she sported in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures animated series.
- The scene set in New York in 2012 where Steve intercepts a bunch of Hydra operatives in an elevator is clearly a callback to the brilliant elevator fight in Captain America: Winter Soldier (which the Russos also directed). However, its Steve’s whispered “Hail Hydra” that is the real Easter egg. Not only was that a reference to the events in Winter Soldier, but also to the highly controversial Secret Empire comic book storyline in which the Cosmic Cube (known as the Tesseract in the MCU) overwrote Steve’s history to make him a secret Hydra villain.
- In one of the film’s most memorable scenes during its explosive final battle, Rescue also teams up with Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Shuri, Okoye, Mantis, Gamora, and Nebula as they try to get the new Infinity Gauntlet to the quantum time machine in Ant-Man’s van. This all-female lineup is undoubtedly the Russos tip of the hat to fans’ longtime calls for an A-Force movie. A-Force was the all-female team of Avengers which included Captain Marvel. None of the other characters in the comic book team currently exist in the MCU though, so we’ll have to see if anything comes of this in the future.
- The final battle contains probably the two biggest – and geekiest – comic book nods in the entire film, as we finally get to see Captain America wield Mjolnir as well as him finally rallying the superheroes with a call of “Avengers assemble!” The latter is something that has been teased for years, and in both times I’ve seen the movie the moment drew huge applause from the fans in the audience.
- As for Cap’s hammer time, he’s actually lifted Mjolnir multiple times in the comics. Most recently he did this in both the Secret Empire and Fear Itself events, proving himself to be worthy. In the movie, Thor’s reaction of “I knew it!” is a direct response to an early scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron in which the rest of the team try to lift the hammer just for fun. Nobody succeeds but when Cap attempts, Thor is the only one who appears to notice a slight scraping noise as the hammer moves slightly.
- Even with Mjolnir though, Cap is unable to stop Thanos who proceeds to shatter his shield with blows. This is pulled straight out of the original Infinity Gauntlet comic book that inspired this entire saga. It’s also what Tony saw in his vision of the future in Avengers: Age of Ultron which he references early in Endgame saying that he didn’t want to believe it and thought it was all a dream.
- Old Man Steve handing over his shield to Sam Wilson aka Falcon is another element pulled straight from the comics. Although there have been several other people that took up the mantle, it was usually out of necessity when Steve was “dead” or operating under another identity. As his longtime friend, Sam was the first person who Steve actually handed his shield over to. In the comics this happened after a run in with a villain known as The Nail drained Steve of all the super soldier serum in his blood, forcing him to age rapidly. He handed over the mantle to Falcon who would get a super cool costume update as well. Although Falcon would eventually give the shield back to Steve (he got better), he had a very good run. We’ll see if Anthony Mackie will have the same good fortune in the MCU.
THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR
Though not strictly Easter eggs, Endgame contains several dialogue throwbacks to earlier films. Here are a few of them:
- Thor saying he “went for the head” when decapitating Thanos in the film’s first big surprise early on, was a direct response to the Titan’s taunting at the end of Infinity War when he slammed his axe into Thanos’ chest, failing to stop him from snapping half the universe out of existence.
- Sam’s “On your left” when returning to life to assist Steve, Thor and Tony, is exactly what Steven told him in comical fashion when they first met while jogging in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Past Steve telling Present Steve that “I can do this all day” is a reference to the line he used in Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: Civil War.
- When Steve tells Bucky not “do anything stupid while I’m gone” and Bucky responds with “How can I? You’re taking all the stupid with you”, it’s an exact reversal of their exchange in Captain America: The First Avenger when Bucky ships off to war.
- When Tony Stark does his own, tragic version of the snap with the Infinity Gauntlet, he responds to Thanos’ “I am inevitable!” line with “And I am Iron Man!”. This is, of course, the famous line he spoke at the end of the 2008 movie when superheroes were essentially introduced into the MCU public.
- There’s another familiar Iron Man soundbite in the movie, but it’s not dialogue. While Endgame boasts no credit scenes at all – there are only those really touching animated credits initially – if you stay right to the end, when the music cuts out you can hear the noise of a metallic clanging. This is the actual sound of a hammer striking an anvil from the first Iron Man film when Tony builds his original Mk.1 armour in the cave, and in so doing, created the MCU we would come to know and love.
Were there any other Easter eggs or comic book nods that you spotted? Sound off in the comments below!
Last Updated: April 30, 2019