No, we haven’t shut up about Marvel‘s Daredevil yet. And if you’ve seen it, there’s a good chance you won’t either, as it is simply fantastic and unlike anything Marvel has ever done. If there’s one Marvel tradition that the show does continue though, it’s in throwing in all kinds of Easter Eggs for fans to pick up on. Some are just there for our entertainment, some are cool geeky nods to the source material and others are actually laying down some major groundwork for the rest of Marvel’s planned Netflix series.
Here are 10 of them that we caught!
(Obviously, there’s a HUGE SPOILER WARNING in place here, so beware if you haven’t seen all 13 episodes yet)
- Stan Lee
Yes, Stan Lee actually has a cameo in Marvel’s Daredevil, although it’s nowhere near as obvious as all his other appearances in all the Marvel movies. In fact, it’s pretty hard to spot unless you’re actively looking for it, but pay careful attention to the Police Precinct front desk occupied by Sgt. Brett Mahoney, and you’ll notice a photo hanging against the back wall of none other than Stan “The Man” Lee. “The Man” in this case, obviously referring to the law.
In the hallway across from Nelson & Murdock, you can clearly see the logo for a company named Atlas. While some people may think that this refers to classic Marvel comic “Agents of Atlas”, this is actually a reference to something even further back in the company’s history. You see before it became known as Marvel, the comic publisher was called Atlas Comics and that is a very close approximation of their logo.
There are numerous mentions of a “Rigoletto” throughout the show, specifically the loan shark who Wilson Fisk’s father Daniel Fisk borrows from for his failed City Council campaign. This is undoubtedly Don Rigoletto, the eye-patch wearing crime boss who would hire a young Wilson Fisk to be his bodyguard in the comics. However, the ambitious Fisk would eventually kill Rigoletto and take control of his criminal empire and wealth. Although it’s never mentioned that this is what happened in the TV series (it’s just insinuated that Rigoletto has “retired”, whatever that means), it certainly fits with what little we know of how Fisk acquired his fortune.
- Mike Murdock
When Matt first encounters Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple (who, by the way, is actually the Night Nurse, the one-stop shop for superhero medical assistance in the Marvel universe), he doesn’t want to tell her his name. She decides to call him Mike, after a guy she claims to have dated once. But old school Daredevil fans will know that “Mike” Murdock is no stranger, as that was the identity of the fake twin brother that Matt pretended to be so as to curb Foggy and Karen’s suspicions that he was Daredevil. Yes, I know that makes no sense, but it was the 70’s and people took lots of drugs back then.
- Van Lunt
As down on their luck lawyers with no real income, Matt and Foggy can’t even afford to properly replace the previous name – Van Lunt Real Estates co. – on the door of their office. Listen carefully in one of the later episodes and you’ll also hear Leland Owlsley mention that Van Lunt was one of the main benefactors for the reconstruction of Hell’s Kitchen after the “incident” in New York i.e. the events of The Avengers. So who is Van Lunt?
Well, in the comics he is actually Cornelius Van Lunt, the costumed villain known as Tauren, who is also head of the Zodiac Syndicate. What’s more, in another episode Madame Gao vaguely states that “the wheel constantly turns”, perhaps a reference to The Great Wheel, an espionage supergroup composed of the heads of various factions, including Cornelius Van Lunt.
- Kingpin’s white suit
And speaking of Kingpin, the TV series sees him donning various armour-lined suits throughout the show, but he’s never seen dressed in his traditional comic book outfit. However there is a direct reference to it as Vanessa (Ayeret Zurer) tells Fisk that a man dressed in a white suit with a purple ascot once tried to woo her. This is of course the exact outfit that has become iconic for the comic book Fisk, his TV counterpart scoffs at the description, declaring the ascot to be “a bit much”.
Matt Murdock has had a steady stream of ladies in his life (he seriously cleans up on the dating scene) but none more involved and complicated than his on-again/off-again/dead-again relationship with Elektra Natchios, the frequently killed and resurrected sai-twirling ninja girl. And although she’s nowhere to be seen in this series – probably because she’s already appeared prominently in both the 2003 Daredevil movie, as well as her own spinoff solo movie (both of which was pretty crappy) – she does actually gets mentioned as Foggy asks Matt about the “Greek girl” he dated in college.
- Carl “Crusher” Creel
If the name of the boxer who Matt’s dad, “Battlin'” Jack Murdock, beats instead of taking a dive against – and thus signing his own death warrant – sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve actually already met him before. Carl “Crusher” Creel is the name of none other than “the Absorbing Man” who made his MCU debut in the season two opener of Marvel’s Agent of SHIELD.
The time frames may not line up 100%, but producers have confirmed that it is indeed the same person, which either means that when Creel gets his powers it somehow slows down his aging a bit, or that Matt’s dad essentially beat up a youngster.
- Melvin Potter aka Gladiator
The comics and TV versions of Melvin Potter are pretty similar, as in both cases he is a mentally unstable man, in love with his social worker Betsy, who uses his inventions to alternate between fighting against/alongside the good guys. But in the TV series, he is no more than a glorified tailor making armoured suits for both Fisk and Daredevil. At least that’s how it appears initially, but look closer and you’ll see his workshop strewn with clues about his costumed destiny. There’s poster for “Rise of the Gladiator” on the wall hinting at his future moniker, you can see his suit’s logo on some costume he’s making, and he is clearly working on the buzzsaw contraptions that he uses in combat.
Bonus point: Those are totally Stilt Man’s legs we see in the back of one shot.
- The Owl
In the comics, Leland Owlsley is known as the Owl, a homicidal crime boss with hair like Wolverine on bad hair day, a caped green suit that allows him to glide, and detachable claws on his hands. In the TV series, Leland Owlsley is a permanently aggravated Bob Gunton, whose only ability is some creative accounting. And while he nearly got himself a green suit, based on his final fate, he most definitely cannot fly!
However, throughout the show Owlsley keeps mentioning his son Lee, a character that doesn’t exist in the comics. So why create a character that you keep mentioning but never showing? Maybe because Leland “Lee” Owlsley Jr. could now has a bunch of cash that his dad stole for him, and a huge reason to come after Fisk. Could this be the creation of the actual Owl?
- St. Agnes Orphanage
Absorbing Man is Daredevil‘s only link to Agents of SHIELD. It’s revealed that after Matt’s father is killed, he is sent to live at St. Agnes Orphanage, the very same orphanage where Agents‘ Skye was left as a baby.
- The Hand
When you first meet Nobu, he appears to be just another Yakuza gang boss trying to get into the whole crooked real estate game. And then he goes and gets all Ninja-y and you realize that Nobu is actually a member of The Hand, an ancient secret organization slash religious cult composed of severely hard to kill ninja with a thing for dressing in red. In the comics, the reason for the Hand’s hardiness, is the fact that all of them are already dead, taking their own lives in a ritual that then resurrects them as these crimson killing machines.
The TV series version doesn’t appear to go as mystical, though their introduction was admittedly too brief to tell (also, it’s unclear with Nobu is actually Kagenobu Yoshioka, the founder of The Hand, but if he is then magic is definitely in play to keep him young).
Daredevil has had several tussles with The Hand in the comics, and at one stage even went all dark and led them during a massive story arc called “Shadowland”. That title refers to a massive Japanese inspired ninja compound that Daredevil (under the influence of a demon worshipped by The Hand known as the Beast) has built right in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen. The type of compound that you would need to clear a few apartment blocks for, if you know what I mean.
- The Chaste
After dispatching of the mysterious “Black Sky” – which I honestly have no idea about – Matt’s ex-mentor Stick is seen to be conversing with this scarred bull of a man. That is none other that Stone, Stick’s other former pupil (Stick and Stone… get it?) and current leader of The Chaste, a splinter group of The Hand who are opposed to their ways and have been engaged in a secret war with them for centuries. In the comics, Stone was able to manipulate his body’s chi so as to direct it to absorb any attack directed at him, negating it. Based on all those scars, this apparently involved a lot of trial and error.
- Steel Serpent
Notice that funny little stylized squiggle found on all the drugs produced by Madame Gao and her faction? That’s not just some random little logo, but very clearly the symbol of Davos aka Steel Serpent. And this is where things get really interesting. Steel Serpent is the arch-nemesis of Danny Rand aka Iron Fist, who you may recall is scheduled to be the focus of the last of Marvel/Netflix series before the Defenders mini-series.
Iron Fist is a martial arts based hero who received his powers in a magical extra-dimensional city in which Davos was born. It’s Davos’ father, Lei-Kung the Thunderer, who actually trains the long line of Iron Fists, of which Danny Rand is the latest. Davos lost the honour of becoming an Iron Fist himself when he was bested by one of the previous holders of the mantle, and after he tried to cheat his way into the power again, he was exiled, something which he has held a grudge for ever since.
Just what he is doing seemingly selling heroin now is a complete mystery, but as Madame Gao stated, they were never in it for the drugs, it was merely the means to get their foot in the day.
- Madame Gao/K’un-L’un
And speaking of Madame Gao, how about that punch? With a single strike this elderly Asian lady sent Daredevil flying across a room giving us our first hint that she was much more than her fragile appearance let on. Later, after mentioning to Leland Owlsey that she was going back home, he asks if she means China, to which she responds that it’s “a considerable distance farther”.
So remember that extra-dimensional city with all the mystical martial artists I mentioned earlier? That’s K’un-L’un, one of the Legendary Cities of Heaven, ancient realms that exist outside of our space and time, but which can be accessed via the Himalayas. It certainly sounds like Madame Gao is referring to such a place with her description of her homeland, and based on her appearance and martial prowess, there’s a fairly good chance that she’s actually Crane Mother, ruler of K’un-Zi, and another of Iron Fist’s enemies. When a great martial arts tournament pits the champions – the “Immortal Weapons” – of each of these Legendary Cities of Heaven against each other, she chooses the exiled Davos to represent K’un-Zi.
Of all the Easter Eggs found in Daredevil, these last two are easily the most exciting for me. Iron Fist is one of my favourite books ever and there are so many cool characters (I could spend hours talking about the various Immortal Weapons) and events that transpire, that I can’t wait for the series to get here. What I didn’t expect though was that they would start building up to that series immediately in Daredevil. With the way they’re slowly teasing out that side of things, and with Iron Fist‘s placement in the schedule, I have a feeling that Davos, Madame Gao and the Hand are all going to be playing major roles throughout the various series and into The Defenders.
There are several other Easter Eggs that we haven’t mentioned here. Which ones did you spot?
Last Updated: April 16, 2015