An incredibly lucrative franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) encompasses a series of superhero films including Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Thor, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
The MCU films are inspired by their comic book predecessors. Because of comic book culture, the audience knows a ton about all the characters, their past, and their personalities. This gives the writers an opportunity to pay homage to the past comics in a variety of ways- and they certainly do. The movies are chock-full easter eggs and hidden references to please fans and keep them talking about the films long after they have left the big screen.
Here are some facts you might not have known about the MCU.
30. They’ve Got Stones
The Infinity Gems that power the Infinity Gauntlet can be seen throughout the Marvel films: The Tesseract is the Space Gem, Loki’s Scepter is the Mind Gem, the Aether is the Reality Gem, and the Orb is the Power Stone.
29. To-Do List
Steve Rodgers (Captain America) has a list in his notebook of cultural events/items that he needs to brush up on to acquaint himself with 21st century. The list change depending on the country where the film was shown. In America, the list includes Steve Jobs. In the UK, the Beatles. And in North Korea the entire list is just “Great Leader.” Kidding. North Korea would never screen such American propaganda.
28. And Hulk Will Always Love You
Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk on the Incredible Hulk TV show from the 70s makes an appearance as Stan Lee’s security in the 2003 Hulk film and then as a bodyguard in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk.
27. Travel Essentials
When Tony Stark looks through his father Howard’s suitcase in Iron Man 2, you can see a Captain America comic book as well as a map of the Arctic Circle where Captain America’s plane went down.
Comic can be seen behind the newspaper
26. Tool Time!
In Iron Man 2, when Nick Fury tells Tony Stark that they have bigger problems to worry about in the Southwest, he’s referring to the recent discovery of Thor’s hammer.
Thor and S.H.E.I.L.D agent Coulson
25. We’ll Cross that Puente When We Get To It
The New Mexico town where Thor is set is named Puente Antiguo, which means “ancient bridge” in Spanish. This is very likely a reference to the Bifrost Bridge, Thor’s connection to Asgard.
24. The Hammer is Mightier than the Pen
Michael Straczynski, writer of the Thor comic books, makes a cameo as one of the men who attempts to pull Thor’s hammer out of the ground. He wrote the books and even he’s not worthy.
23. The Shirt Off His Back
The shirt that Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) hands to Thor belonged to an ex-boyfriend named Donald Blake M.D. In the original comic books, Dr. Blake was Thor’s alter-ego.
22. A Little Bird Told Me
When Thor abducts Loki in The Avengers, two ravens fly by during their argument. These ravens are thought to be Huginn and Muninn who serve as agents of Odin in the Thor comic books.
21. Both the Ravens
Those same ravens can be seen perched on either side of Odin’s throne in Thor and its sequel, The Dark World.
20. Can You Smell What the Korg is Cooking?
At the beginning of Thor: The Dark World, Thor battles a big rock-based gentleman. This is Korg the Kronan who appeared in the same comic book in which Thor made his debut, Journey into Mystery #83.
20. Geraldo Rivera, Eat Your Heart Out
Odin’s vault contains several powerful relics from the past Marvel comics including the Orb of Agamotto, the Tablet of Life and Time, the Warlock’s Eye, and the Infinity Gauntlet.
19. Once Bitten
In The Avengers, after Bruce Banner falls from the sky, the security guard played by Harry Dean Stanton asks him nervously if he’s an alien. Harry Dean Stanton played one of the crew members on the ship in Alien that was killed by the Alien.
18. Just a Fan
Tony Stark can be seen wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt in The Avengers. This is a reference to the song “Iron Man” which has nothing to do with the Marvel character but is a pretty awesome song.
17. If At First You Don’t Succeed
In The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo mentions a botched suicide attempt. This is a reference to a deleted scene from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton.
16. Feel it Siri
J.A.R.V.I.S., the name of Iron Man’s AI assistant is an acronym for “Just a Rather Very Intelligent System.”
15. How It’s Made
A partially disassembled prototype of Captain America’s shield can be seen in Tony Stark’s workshop.
14. Big Bad Oil
In all three Iron Man films, signs, buildings, and trucks can be seen bearing the logo for Roxxon Energy, which in the Marvel comics, is the oil company responsible for the murder of Tony Stark’s parents.
13. Big Bank Take Little Bank
While Tony Stark is rich, he’s not the richest superhero. That honor goes to Black Panther, who is worth five times as much as Stark. It’s good to be king.
12. When the Moon Hits Your Eye
The owner of the pizza shop in 2008 The Incredible Hulk is played by Paul Soles, the voice of Bruce Banner from the 60s Hulk cartoon.
11. Might As Well Call it The Titanic
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the freighter that is taken hostage at the beginning is called the “Lemurian Star,” a reference to the sunken kingdom of Lemuria, home to the Deviants in the Marvel comics. Probably bad luck to name your ship after an entire city that sunk.
10. Those Trinkets Can be Dangerous
When Red Skull finds the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger, he mentions that “the Fuhrer is too busy digging for trinkets in the desert.” This was in reference to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark where Nazis dug up a trinket that melted their faces off. That trinket was the Ark of the Covenant.
9. I, Robot
When he flees from the Hydra fortress, Dr. Arnim Zola stuffs a bunch of papers into his briefcase, one of which is a blueprint for the robotic body that his character inhabits in the comic books.
8. Playing Doctor
Joe Russo, the director of The Winter Soldier, makes a cameo as the doctor who patches up Black Widow. Let’s be honest, he just wanted an excuse to touch Scarlett Johansson.
7. X Marks the Spot
Brock Rumlow, the character who survives the crash of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier can be seen at the end of the film being resuscitated with two straps across his chest. This is probably a reference to his comic book character, Crossbones.
6. Royale with Cheese
Nick Fury’s grave has the quote “The path of the righteous man…” from Ezekiel 25:17, the Bible passage that Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character famously spouts several times in the film.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Sean Gunn plays Yondu’s second-in-command Kraglin. Sean is the brother of director James Gunn.
4. Once a Schemer
Sean Gunn did all the motion capture for Rocket Raccoon and played Kirk in Gilmore Girls, two characters that had varmint-like qualities.
3. Space Oddities
In Guardians of the Galaxy, several notable creatures can be seen amongst the Collector’s collection including: A Chitauri soldier from The Avengers, Cosmo the dog (one of the original Guardians of the Galaxy), and Howard the Duck.
2. Not Just a Pretty Picture
A mural on the floor containing the Orb at the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy depicts the four Cosmic Entities in the Marvel universe: Death, Eternity, Entropy, and Infinity. In the center of the mural are the six Soul Gems, an important plot device that weaves throughout the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1. Fear Itself
Although he was one of the founding members of The Avengers, Hulk actually left the group shortly after their first battle (against Loki) because he realized that his teammates were afraid of him. He stayed away for fifty years before finally returning.
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