The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated Hollywood blockbusters for over a decade now. Since 2008’s Iron Man burst onto the scene, Marvel’s unprecedented, interconnected movie world has broken box-office records and wowed audiences like nothing ever seen in cinema. And even better, unlike so many blockbusters of the same size and scope, Marvel has managed to produce movies that please movie-goers and critics alike. With the iteration of this universe that we’ve known for 11 years coming to a close with Avengers: Endgame, let’s take a look back at some of the hidden Easter Eggs and behind-the-scenes stories of the MCU.
Facts About The Marvel Cinematic Universe
1. A Codename for the Ages
Studios often attach codenames to projects to keep spoiler hounds from ruining essential details. Tom Hiddleston told the Guardian newspaper that the codename for the first Avengers film was “Group Hug.” Awww, it looks like all the superheroes were finally feeling the love.
2. Can Anyone Say Blockbuster?
Leading up to The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America all received feature films to set up the crossover event. Despite this competition, The Avengers was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to make one billion dollars. We’re sure Marvel is happy they “assembled.”
3. Tons of Money
The first Avengers set the pace, but it should come as no surprise that Infinity War blew it out of the water. The movie earned over $2 billion at box offices worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of all time. It is also the fastest film to reach $1 billion at the worldwide box office ever. That’s a whole lot of very sad people shuffling out of very crowded theaters after the credits rolled.
4. Big Spenders
Incredible box office returns were necessary to make Avengers: Endgame a profit. Endgame has been listed as one of the most expensive films ever made. On top of an estimated budget of $356 million, more than $200 million was spent on the marketing campaign for this film. Frankly, we’re surprised it needed that big of a marketing campaign after all the hype that was already built up by the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
It’s hard to imagine a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie without a Stan Lee cameo. From a bus driver to wedding crasher to intergalactic barber, Lee has made colorful appearances in nearly 60 different Marvel properties, dating back to 1989, when he appeared as a jury member in the TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. Sadly, Lee’s passing means audiences won’t be delighted by any further cameos—his final appearance is set to be in 2019’s Spiderman: Far From Home.
6. Get Swole
Although he’s a pretty big guy, even in everyday life, Chris Hemsworth still needed to gain 20 pounds for Thor. Then, just to make things interesting, he immediately had to slim down for the Formula 1 movie Rush…and then gain it all back for Thor: The Dark World. His bulking lifestyle included protein-packed meals every three hours. His daily intake included 50 grams of cheese a day, four eggs, three protein shakes…you get the idea, guy had to eat.
7. For Your Eyes Only
The story for Avengers: Endgame features several of the characters splitting up and going on different journeys through time to find the Infinity Stones. As a result, not everyone needed to read the full script—which also meant that it could be easier to suppress spoilers and leaks of plot points by having fewer eyes on the full script. Of the entire cast, only Robert Downey Jr. got to read the full script for the film.
8. I’m Seein’ Double Here. Four Black Widows!
Scarlett Johansson was pregnant during the filming of Avengers: Age of Ultron. To hide her stomach, three stunt doubles were used. It became so confusing that Chris Evans recalled starting a conversation with one to realize later he was not speaking with the real Johansson.
9. Nothing Like the Real Thing
During the attack on New York City in the first Avengers film, the military can be seen coming in to help save the day. These were authentic members of the Ohio-based 391st Military Police Force Battalion. Actors are great, but sometimes the real thing works just fine.
10. Unexpected Product Placement
Towards the end of The Avengers, Iron Man asks Captain America if he would like to try shawarma. The end credits reveal a scene where the group of Avengers is sitting at a table enjoying the dish. As a result of this mention, shawarma sales went through the roof in Los Angeles. One shawarma restaurant even saw an 80% boost in revenue!
11. Made for You
Most fans would agree that Samuel L. Jackson is completely perfect in the role of Nick Fury—maybe because the character was actually based on him! While the original Nick Fury was white and fought in World War II, the version of Fury created for the Marvel Ultimate comic universe was actually modeled after Jackson. Years later, artist Mark Millar would apologize for “completely exploiting” Jackson’s image and likeness for the character. Jackson responded, “No, man! Thanks for the nine-picture deal!”
12. Feel the Hype!
Avengers: Endgame is the very first film to make over $1 billion within its opening weekend! As of this article’s publication, the film is set to surpass Avatar as either the first or second highest grossing films of all time, depending on whether you adjust for inflation or not.
Some fans were upset that an important character from the comics was left out of the first Avengers. The Wasp was an integral member of the original team—she even came up with their name. In fact, both the Wasp and Ant-Man were pivotal in the creation of Avengers, so many fans were upset that they were left out of the films. Eventually, both of the characters would get their chance on screen, but while Ant-Man has since teamed up with Cap and the gang, the Wasp still hasn’t made an appearance in any of the Avengers movies.
14. Iron Who? What Man?
The MCU began in 2008 with the smash hit Iron Man, which single-handedly turned Robert Downey Jr. from something of a has-been to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Despite the movie’s eventual success, it was actually a struggle to even get it made in the first place. Around 30 writers were offered the chance to write Iron Man and they all passed. One of the reasons so many screenwriters turned down the chance was because they considered Iron Man too obscure of a character, worrying that audiences wouldn’t show up. Oh, how times have changed.
15. We Need Backup
Screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus began working on the screenplay for both Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War during the production of Captain America: Civil War. At one point, things got so hectic that Thor: Ragnarok screenwriter Eric Pearson was brought in to help the two primary screenwriters out with the monumental two-parter.
16. I Am Not a Robot
It’s hard to picture a world where Iron Man isn’t popular, but before the 2008 movie, that was the case. In fact, while building awareness about the character in the lead-up to the film’s release, Marvel ran focus groups in order to teach audiences that the character was actually a man in a metal suit, not just a robot.
Iron Man’s suit has changed with the times, but the original suit was often shown being plugged into wall sockets for regular charging. That sounds less like a futuristic military gadget, and more like a cellphone. Behold: all the technological advancement of the iPhone 3!
18. Wakanda was Foretold Long Ago
The high-tech African nation of Wakanda was notably mentioned in Avengers: Age of Ultron, getting fans excited for a potential Black Panther years before it was actually released. However, eagle-eyed fans would have noticed that this was not Wakanda’s first appearance in the MCU—it was actually seen as a hotspot on Nick Fury’s map in Iron Man 2—a whopping eight years before Black Panther hit theatres.
19. Brainstorming to the Max
Reportedly, 60 pages of ideas were crafted during the writing process of Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War.
20. Third Time’s the Charm
Worried about the effects of fame on his private life, Chris Evans declined the role of Captain America three times before finally agreeing. Apparently, getting Evans to agree to a role is the same as summoning Beetlejuice.
21. Like a Rock
In the first Captain America, Hayley Atwell improvised the touch on Chris Evans’ chest when he emerged from the pod as the iconic superhero. The surprise on her face was genuine, as she was quite taken with Evans’ physique. Weren’t we all?
22. Royale with Cheese
Nick Fury’s tombstone in Winter Soldier features the quote “The path of the righteous man…” from Ezekiel 25:17, the same Bible passage that Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules Winnfield famously spouts several times in Pulp Fiction.
23. Move Over, Wolverine
With Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. has appeared as Tony Star/Ironman 10 times onscreen. This beats Hugh Jackman’s record for the most appearances as a superhero character, but while Jackman needed 17 years to set his record, Downey Jr. only did it in 11.
24. Colorful Resume
Joe and Anthony Russo were selected to direct Winter Soldier on the basis of two episodes of the NBC sitcom Community: “A Fistful of Paintballs” and “For a Few Paintballs More.” Not a bad jump—from a 30-minute TV comedy to four of the biggest blockbusters in history.
25. And Hulk Will Always Love You
Before there was the MCU and CGI, there was The Incredible Hulk TV show and Lou Ferrigno. Though the modern hulk is created with the help of computers, the iconic bodybuilder has still managed to make his mark on the MCU. In addition to his cameo in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, he also voiced the Hulk in the first two Avengers movies—though since Thor: Ragnarok, the character’s voice has simply been a digitally altered Mark Ruffalo.
26. 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.
27. And Still No Solo Film??
Avengers: Endgame is the seventh film in which Scarlet Johansson plays Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Black Widow. Although if you count her cameo in Captain Marvel, it’s technically the eighth.
28. 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.
29. It Didn’t Work That Time Either
In Age of Ultron, while Tony Stark is planning to put the Ultron program into motion, he uses a famous quote that says the ultimate goal of the program is to create “peace in our time.” This same line was used by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after negotiations with Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s. Much like Stark’s Ultron program, this failed.
30. We’ll Cross that Puente When We Get To It
The New Mexico town where the first Thor movie was set is named Puente Antiguo, which means “ancient bridge” in Spanish. This is very likely a reference to the Bifrost, Thor’s connection to Asgard. Chalk up another point for attention to detail in the MCU.
31. Oh, What’s in a Name?
It’s been a subject of debate as to whether “Endgame” was always meant to be that film’s title or whether it was a last-minute decision. What makes this more confusing is that Marvel Studios and the film’s directors have both said different things about the situation. Marvel has maintained that “Endgame” was always the choice for the title, while the directors have said that the original title was Infinity Gauntlet. Frankly, regardless of which version is true, we’re happy with the result.
32. The Hammer is Mightier than the Pen
Michael Straczynski, a writer of the Thor comic books, makes a cameo in the first Thor as one of the men who attempt to pull Thor’s hammer out of the ground. That gives you a sense of just how important Mjolnir really is. I mean this guy wrote the books, and even he’s not worthy. Who else could possibly stand a chance?
33. The Shirt Off His Back
The shirt that Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) hands to Thor in the first Thor film belonged to an ex-boyfriend of hers named Donald Blake M.D. In the original comic books, Dr. Donald Blake was Thor’s human alter-ego.
34. 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 Norse Mythology and in the Thor comic books. Quoth the Raven(s), “you guys are really terrible siblings.”
35. Quite the Pay Jump!
Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, who respectively play Thor and Captain America, each made $15 million for Endgame, just as they had for Avengers: Infinity War. How far they’ve come: Evans made just $300,000 for his work on Captain America: The First Avenger.
36. Both the Ravens
Those same ravens can be seen perched on either side of Odin’s throne in Thor, and in its sequel, The Dark World.
37. Can You Smell What the Korg is Cooking?
The gentle-giant Korg was one of the standouts in Thor: Ragnarok, but that wasn’t technically the first time the character appeared in the MCU. At the beginning of Thor: The Dark World, the hero battles a big rock monster that was based on Korg, who first appeared in the same comic book in which Thor made his debut, Journey into Mystery #83. But, since this version was never named in the movie, they were able to re-introduce Korg as everyone’s favorite kiwi-voiced alien years later in Ragnarok.
38. How’d It Get There?
In one of the credits scenes from Age of Ultron, audiences got a peek at Thanos, who brandished the Infinity Gauntlet and vowed to seek out the Infinity Stones himself. Many astute fans were left puzzled by this for a very good reason: the Gauntlet had been shown in Odin’s Vault in the first Thor, so how the heck did Thanos get it? This inconsistency was cleared up in Thor: Ragnarok when Hela revealed that Odin’s Gauntlet was a fake. What’s more, really clever fans would have noticed that Thanos’ Gauntlet is left-handed, while Odin’s was right-handed.
39. Something’s Missing!
Fans of Captain Marvel might remember the mid-credits scene which people believed to be a scene from the film Avengers: Endgame. However, that scene does not appear at all in the final version of Avengers: Endgame.
40. Does That Count as Freudian?
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Janet Van Dyne, the mother of Hope, who serves as Scott Lang’s quasi-love interest. This might be a bit awkward, given that Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd (who plays Lang) were previously lovers in the movie I Could Never Be Your Woman. That must have made for some awkward jokes around the film set!
41. Jack of All Trades
Rare among Marvel movies, lead actor Paul Rudd was given a writing credit on both films in the Ant-Man series. As of 2018, the only other lead actor who has gotten that honor was Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool 2, which came out the same year as Ant-Man and the Wasp (but Deadpool isn’t in the MCU, so were not counting him here).
42. Once Bitten
In The Avengers, after Bruce Banner falls from the sky, the security guard (played by Harry Dean Stanton) nervously asks him if he’s an alien. Given the circumstances, it’s a fair question—but it makes even more sense when you know the full context: Harry Dean Stanton played one of the crew members that was killed by the titular creature in Alien. It seems like directors in the MCU can’t pass up any opportunity to sneak in an Easter Egg.
43. Where’s Quicksilver?
For all the people who reprised their Marvel characters for Endgame, one person who did not return was Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was widely assumed that he would be in the film, but he is nowhere to be seen in the final version of the film. Was he left on the cutting room floor.
44. Nobody’s Perfect
In the comics, it’s well known that Tony Stark is an alcoholic, and his battle with addiction was brought to light in the iconic 1978 Demon In A Bottle storyline. The fact that a superhero was forced to battle with such a human problem was revolutionary at the time. This was actually loosely adapted for the MCU in Iron Man 2, when Stark gets drunk at his birthday party and fights his friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes.
45. Take Away the Suit and What Are You?
Stan Lee based Iron Man, or more accurately, Tony Stark, on the real-life millionaire playboy philanthropist Howard Hughes, which must be where Stark got that iconic description for himself in The Avengers.
46. Just a Fan
Tony Stark can be seen wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt in The Avengers. It’s a solid a reference to the band’s hit song “Iron Man” which has nothing to do with the Marvel character…but is a pretty awesome song. It played over the credits in the original Iron Man movie, right after Tony declared, “I am Iron Man.”
47. Live Long and Prosper
One of the main inspirations for the story of Avengers: Endgame was the finale for the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. We won’t go too deeply into the similarities in case someone who didn’t read the spoiler warning somehow managed to get this far!
48. No Pain, No Gain
Chris Evans injured his bicep while filming the iconic Captain America: Civil War shot of him essentially doing a bicep curl with a helicopter. Evans described it as a “very unnatural position to use to stop something but we used it because I have to flex my bicep.” He also described the scene as “bicep [adult material].” Sounds about right.
49. Take that, Spidey
Black Panther originally had a much smaller role in Civil War, but when it seemed like they wouldn’t be getting the rights to Spider-Man, the writers expanded his role significantly. By the time they found out that they did, in fact, have the rights to Spider-Man, Black Panther was already an integral part of the story, so they left him in and gave Spider-Man a smaller part.
50. Good as Gold
The massive cast of Avengers: Endgame boasts 19 Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning actors. The full list includes Michael Douglas, Angela Bassett, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taika Watiti, William Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bradley Cooper, Don Cheadle, Brie Larson, Jeremy Renner, Josh Brolin, Natalie Portman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Ruffalo, and Marisa Tomei.
51. Change for the Better
Marvel decided it was best to change the name of a key character from the Black Panther comic who is featured in the 2018 film. The character of M’Baku is actually named Man-Ape in the comic, and is often covered in fur and wears an ape mask. I think it’s pretty clear why Marvel thought some viewers might have an issue with that.
52. A Lil Superhero Trash Talk
The day before filming a fight scene in Civil War, Sebastian Stan sent Robert Downey Jr. a video of himself doing bicep curls in front of the decapitated head of an Iron Man suit with the attached message, “Looking forward to our scene tomorrow Robert.”
53. Farewell, Pepper
Gwyneth Paltrow has stated that her part in Endgame will be her final appearance in a Marvel film.
54. Going Up
When the Helicarriers were revealed for the first time in Winter Soldier, Nick Fury tells Captain America that Stark tech was used to upgrade the propulsion systems. This is a nod back to Avengers, when Iron Man had a bit of an adventure restarting the propeller-based engines of a Helicarrier from an earlier generation. The new Helicarriers use more advanced repulsor technology, similar to what the Iron Man suit uses.
55. Some Changes Are Good
In some of the early Marvel Ultimates comic storylines, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver teased an incestuous relationship. Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver) played around with this storyline in the Avengers: Age of Ultron, as Olsen said that this inspired the way they acted around each other in the film. That’s interesting and all…but to be honest, I’m OK without the familial-relations in my superhero movies.
56. You Can Make Friends with Salad
In Winter Soldier, when Robert Redford opens his refrigerator, viewers can see a bottle of Newman’s Own salad dressing, which is a tribute to Redford’s good friend Paul Newman, with whom he co-starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
57. First Things First
Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, filmed all her scenes for Avengers: Endgame before production on Captain Marvel had begun. Considering that Captain Marvel came out before Avengers: Endgame, can we call that a bit of time travel in and of itself?
58. Power Couple
In the comics, Black Panther became one half of a true power couple when he married X-Men member Storm in his homeland of Wakanda. Unfortunately, after Wakanda was attacked, T’Challa realized he needed to focus more on being a king than a husband, and the marriage was annulled. Even more unfortunately, this union seems unlikely in the MCU because of 20th Century Fox’s separate X-Men film universe—though, with Disney’s purchase of Fox, you can never say never.
59. The H Stands for Horton’s
In Winter Soldier, Black Widow mentions the Canadian agency called Department H. This is the organization that created the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, the Great White North’s answer to the Avengers.
60. Stalking Works
Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon, wrote a series of e-mails to Marvel begging for any role as a comic book character. These e-mails caught the attention of Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, who offered him the role.
61. Oh Snap!
Between Endgame and Infinity War, the completed Infinity Gauntlet with the Infinity stones are used for four different snaps. We won’t give away who makes those four snaps, though, just in case!
Anthony Mackie reportedly wanted to be involved in a Marvel film so he could show his son and other black children that there are superheroes who look like them.
63. Small Screen
The movies may take up a lot of airspace when it comes to the MCU, but the shared universe is also all over the silver screen, with over a dozen different TV shows and even more in production. In the case of the show Runaways, it was originally intended to be a film and even had a completed script written by Drew Pearce—who co-wrote Iron Man 3—but it was shelved after the success of the first Avengers. A few years later, it found new life as a television series, and premiered on Hulu in 2017 to positive reviews.
64. Let’s Save Jeremy Renner for Later
The opening scene of Avengers: Endgame, which features Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and his family, was originally meant to be part of the finale in Avengers: Infinity War. However, it was determined that since Hawkeye wasn’t in the film previously, it would serve better as a prologue to Endgame and as Hawkeye’s reintroduction.
65. A Rare Miss for Marvel
Not everything can be a home run, and unfortunately, the TV show Inhumans is considered a rare failure in the MCU. Hated by fans and critics alike, the show is the lowest rated property in the MCU, with an 11% rating from critics and 45% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. It was canceled after just one season consisting of eight episodes.
66. We’ll Do It Live
It’s no secret that Iron Fist is considered the weakest link out of all the Marvel Netflix shows, and it probably didn’t help that the show was rushed through production. Finn Jones—who plays Danny Rand/Iron Fist—revealed that he would learn the fight choreography for a scene sometimes as soon as 15 minutes before filming.
67. Future Movies?
Two of Marvel’s other superheroes are vaguely hinted at during the runtime of Avengers: Endgame. In one case, a character discusses a man named “Braddock.” This is a reference to Brian Braddock, better known as Captain Britain. The other reference comes when someone brings up a seismic event under the Atlantic Ocean. Fittingly, the Atlantic Ocean happens to be the home of Namor, Marvel’s rough equivalent to Aquaman.
68. The Off-Brand Avengers
The Marvel films and shows all exist in the MCU, and the shows don’t shy away from mentioning their film counterparts, but they tend do it in an awkward way. You may hear the character names Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, or Iron Man mentioned in the shows, but you’ll also hear them referred to as The Flag Waver, The Big Blond Dude with the Hammer, The Iron Suit, or The Incredible Green Guy. And those are just our favorites, there are plenty more.
69. Method Acting
Charlie Cox went the extra mile, and then pulled back, when it came to playing Daredevil. Rather than pretending to be blind, he had special contacts made that actually impaired his vision. However, after two days of shooting and needing the crew to help him get around, he threw the contacts out.
70. One Tough Cookie
While filming a fight scene for an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chloe Bennet, who plays Daisy Johnson/Skye, broke her arm. She fought through the pain though, finished the scene, and even did one more take.
71. One Last Walk-On
Among the many people who reprise their Marvel characters for this film is Robert Redford. Fans will remember that he played one of the villains in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Since then, Redford had announced his intention to retire from acting, but he returned for Avengers: Endgame. As far as last films go, Redford chose well!
72. Like a Champ
Similarly, while filming a fight scene for season two of Jessica Jones, Krysten Ritter took an uppercut right on the chin. She ended up unconscious on the floor, but it wasn’t from the punch. She almost bit through her tongue, and when she saw the blood she passed out. If acting doesn’t work out, Ritter could have a future in boxing with a chin like that. Except for, uh, all the blood.
Shields of various materials were constructed for the first Captain America film. Shields used for punching people were made from rubber, a magnetized shield was used whenever it was attached to Captain America’s back, and any shield that was thrown was created digitally.
74. Basically, the Whole Phone Book
Before it ultimately went to Chris Evans, Sam Worthington and Will Smith were in early talks for the role of Captain America. Also on the “shortlist” were Garrett Hedlund, Channing Tatum, Scott Porter, Mike Vogel, Sebastian Stan, Wilson Bethel, John Krasinski, Michael Cassidy, Chace Crawford, Jensen Ackles, Kellan Lutz, Ryan Phillipe, and Alexander Skarsgard, because evidently, the producers didn’t know the definition of the word “short.” Hey, at least no one can say they didn’t do their due diligence.
75. Let’s Try a Change of Hats
Arguably one of the most important characters in Avengers: Endgame was Nebula (Karen Gillan). However, headlining such a big film as this doesn’t mean that’s the limit of Gillan’s ambitions. While promoting the film, she’s made it clear that she would love to direct a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Frankly, we’d love to see how that turns out!
Vibranium is a rare–and fictional–metal that can only be found in Wakanda. It’s what was used to make Captain America’s shield and Black Panther’s suit.
77. Blonde Widow
After years of being a redhead, Black Widow went blonde in Infinity War. Having appeared with a different hairstyle in each of her appearances, the choice to go platinum was an homage to Yelena Belova, the second character who uses the moniker of Black Widow in Marvel Comics.
78. Spittin’ Bullets
In The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner mentions a botched suicide attempt. This is a reference to a deleted scene from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton. Poor Norton, eh? He doesn’t make the cut for the movie, but they don’t have problems alluding to the original Hulk. He must be pretty angry…and you wouldn’t like him…when he’s…
79. Let’s Hear it for the Ladies!
In Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are revealed to have had a daughter named Morgan together. This child is a reference to the son that Tony had in the comics. This makes for the fourth time that the Marvel films have changed the sex of a comics character from male to female. The previous examples were the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, Ghost from Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Mar-Vell in Captain Marvel.
80. Feel it Siri
J.A.R.V.I.S., the name of Iron Man’s first AI assistant, is an acronym for “Just a Rather Very Intelligent System.” I wonder if Paul Bettany knew he was signing up to play a superhero as important as Vision when he agreed to provide J.A.R.V.I.S.’s voice in the first Iron Man?
81. How It’s Made
A partially disassembled prototype of Captain America’s shield can be seen in Tony Stark’s workshop in Iron Man 2.
82. 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. They’ve got a pretty cool logo though! So they have that going for them.
83. Thank Goodness He’s Back!
Anyone interested in a remarkable Easter egg should pay attention to the Endgame scene during the third act when the Wasp appears for the first time. If you look next to her, you can see Howard the Duck standing with the rest of the Avengers!
84. Big Bank Take Little Bank
While Tony Stark is rich, he’s not the richest Marvel superhero. That honor goes to Black Panther, who is worth five times as much as Stark. This is one of those situations (oh which there are many) when it really pays to be a literal king.
85. When the Moon Hits Your Eye
The owner of the pizza shop in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk is played by Paul Soles, the voice of Bruce Banner from the 1960s Hulk cartoon. Crazy how far a guy can fall. One day you’re a massive green behemoth, conquering the world’s most dangerous supervillains…and the next you’re selling cheap pizza in a dingy shop. Sorry, former-Bruce.
86. Might As Well Call it The Titanic
In 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 a race called the Deviants in the Marvel comics. Probably bad luck to name your ship after an entire city that sunk.
87. Third Time’s the Charm
Part of Avengers: Endgame takes place in the Norwegian city of Tønsberg. This is actually the third time that Tønsberg, known as the oldest city in Norway, makes an appearance in the series. It appears in the opening of both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
88. 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 (Spoilers!) ends up kind-of… you know…melting their faces off. That “trinket” was the Ark of the Covenant. Well played, MCU producers. Add another one to the “Very Small Details” scoreboard.
89. I, Robot
When he flees from the Hydra fortress in Captain America, 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. He would never actually make the suit in the MCU, instead inhabiting a bunch of ancient computers, as revealed in Winter Soldier, but hey, at least he thought about it.
90. Space Oddities
The Collector, the mysterious alien played by Benicio del Tor in Guardians of the Galaxy, stays true to his name: He collects a lot of things. Included in his collection are a Chitauri soldier from The Avengers, Cosmo the dog (one of the original Guardians from the comics), and Howard the Duck.
91. Mama’s Boy
When Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) journey to find the Soul Stone in Endgame, they come across the stone’s guardian, who greets Barton as “Clint, son of Edith.” This is a poignant reference to Barton’s origin story in the comics. Barton was very close to his mother, Edith, while despising his father, Harold. Harold’s alcoholism eventually led to him killing himself in a car accident, along with Edith.
92. Don’t Mess With Mjolnir
All fans know the mighty Mjolnir, Thor’s Hammer, which has been described as “one of the most formidable weapons known to man or god,” but most people don’t realize just how powerful it really is. In the comics, the weapon is actually capable of creating force fields so powerful that they can destroy an entire galaxy. And that’s not all. Mjolnir is so strong that it can travel through whole planets to return to Thor. Too bad Hela smashed it in Ragnarok.
93. Just Go With It
In the comics, Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel, had a pet cat named Chewie—except that Chewie ended up not being an actual cat, but a Flerken, an alien creature that disguises itself as a cat but actually has giant tentacles and fangs. The only reason she found out about its true form was that Rocket Raccoon was able to sniff it out. Such an amazing character obviously couldn’t be left out of the MCU, and the “cat,” renamed Goose (in reference to Top Gun), stole audience’s hearts in 2019’s Captain Marvel—even playing an important role in getting the Tesseract into SHIELD’s hands.
94. Great Scott!
Given that Endgame is all about time travel, there is the inevitable scene where several time travel movies get named by the characters. One of these is Back to the Future, but a subtler reference is also given to that movie in another scene. When Thor leaves New Asgard to join the Avengers again, he is wearing the same kind of sunglasses worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II.
95. Putting in the Reps
To get into shape for Captain Marvel, Brie Larson trained for nine months. To be as authentic as possible for when she appears on screen as Danvers, Larson actually visited an Air Force base, met with various pilots, and learned about different fighter jets. She even got the chance to fly in one!
96. What Could Have Been
There were actually plans to have Captain Marvel appear in two separate Marvel properties before her movie was made—a cameo in Age of Ultron and a much bigger role in Jessica Jones. In fact, Captain Marvel was supposed to be Jones’s best friend/sidekick, but ended up being replaced by the character Trish Walker, who the writers felt was a better fit for Jones.
97. Calling an Audible
Nicole Perlman, co-writer of the Captain Marvel movie, mentioned in an interview that they slightly tweaked Danvers’s origin story for the movie to avoid any similarities to DC’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern movie. In the comics, they are both fighter pilots who interact with and gain powers from an alien race.
98. That Neglected Bromance
While it’s hard to find anyone who would say that the writing in Avengers: Endgame was below par, the writers themselves didn’t walk away without misgivings about their own talent. Looking back on the film, Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus have expressed their remorse for not giving Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes more scenes together. Given how closely they’ve been tied together across the Marvel films, we can’t blame them for wanting more of Barnes and Rogers’ friendship!
99. The Benefits of a Connected Universe
Captain Marvel has quite a few tie-ins to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as one of the co-writers, Nicole Perlman, was a co-writer for the first Guardians movie, and two characters from that movie—Ronan the Accuser and Korath—returned for Captain Marvel.
100. Brains and Brawn
Everyone knows Black Panther has superhuman strength and reflexes, but his brain might actually be his greatest power. He has a PhD in physics from Oxford University and he’s considered to be one of the eight smartest people in the entire Marvel universe. Also, you know, he can punch really, really good.
101. Unique Style
Director Ryan Coogler has said that he feels like the majority of the films in the MCU look and feel the same, which is why he insisted that Marvel Studios allow him to use the same crew he had on his previous projects to make Black Panther feel like more of a Coogler movie than a typical Marvel movie—and according to audiences and critics alike, that was the right call!
102. Try Out These Powers
In Endgame, Clint Barton (Hawkeye) becomes the first person apart from the Pym family and Scott Lang to test out the Pym particles. This is a reference to a storyline in the Marvel comics where Barton uses said particles to grow in size. He thus abandons his “Hawkeye” persona and becomes a new hero: Goliath. Maybe this is foreshadowing to a new sequel for Barton?
103. The Dark Knight
Black Panther is considered Marvel’s answer to Batman, and he shares similar abilities, intelligence, bank accounts, and costuming with Bruce Wayne. They both also stick mainly to the shadows, and generally work alone unless needed by their respective groups. Now we just have to wait for an MCU/DCU crossover…
104. Magical Herb
Black Panther gets his super strength and heightened senses and abilities from a plant known as the Heart-Shaped Herb, which only grows in Wakanda. However, when Erik Killmonger takes over the mantel of the Black Panther in the 2018 film, he has the sacred grove of the Heart-Shaped Herb burned to the ground, so the future of Black Panthers after T’Challa is, as of yet, unclear.
105. RIP, Sir
During the scene in Endgame where Ant-Man is repeatedly sent back in time, only to emerge at wildly different ages, multiple actors were brought in to portray these various stages. Actor Lee Moore, aged 93 at the time, briefly portrayed a very old Ant-Man in the scene. It was the last film role in Moore’s career, as he died soon after.
106. Take That, Captain Marvel!
Released in 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp is the very first MCU movie to have a female superhero in the title. And it only took them 20 films to do it!
107. X Marks the Spot
Brock Rumlow, the SHIELD/HYDRA operative played by Frank Grillo in Winter Soldier, survives the helicarrier crash and is seen being resuscitated at the end of the movie. Two straps were noticeably crossed across his chest in this scene, which many fans took as a reference to the character’s name in the comics, Crossbones. Sure enough, Rumlow reappeared in Civil War, this time in a far more Crossbones-like costume.
108. Tying up Loose Storylines
Because of the complexity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peyton Reed spent a good part of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s pre-production in close contact with the Russo brothers, who were in the middle of shooting both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Reed also had to keep the continuity of Captain America: Civil War, where Scott Lang appeared and sided with Captain America against Tony Stark.
109. The First to Break Through
Endgame marks the first time that a character who was exclusively from a Marvel television series has appeared in one of the films. That character is from Agent Carter—Howard Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis, played by James D’Arcy.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Sean Gunn plays Yondu’s second-in-command Kraglin. Sean is the brother of director James Gunn. So yea, technically nepotism…but he plays the role well! It was pretty minimal in the first movie, but it was expanded in the sequel and Sean nailed it.
111. Once a Schemer
Sean Gunn also did all the motion capture for Rocket Raccoon and played Kirk in Gilmore Girls, two characters that had varmint-like qualities. That’s a cool opportunity for an actor… but also sort of an insult when it’s coming from your brother, no? “Hey Sean, you know what you would be perfect for? Acting like a raccoon on camera. It’s so easy to imagine!”
112. Infinite Credit Roll
For those that sat down and watched Infinity War all the way through, sitting through the credits felt like gazing at infinity itself, as name after name rolled up the screen. In fact, there are over 10,000 names in Infinity War’s full credits. That’s as if the population of Sedona, Arizona, all got together and made a blockbuster!
113. Improvising Along
Tony Stark and his daughter, Morgan, share a line in Endgame which has become hailed as one of the most memorable by the fans. Interestingly, “I love you 3,000” wasn’t in the original screenplay. Robert Downey Jr. allegedly says that to his own children, and he couldn’t resist bringing it into the film.
114. Premature Spoilers
Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner/The Hulk, accidentally spoiled the ending of Infinity War while being interviewed with Don Cheadle at Disney D23 Expo. As Ruffalo is slowly pressed by the interviewer to give out more information about the movie, Cheadle gets visibly worried, and Ruffalo asks “Am I in trouble?” Looking back, it is quite possible that Ruffalo was in a lot of trouble. But hey, when there’s 10,000 people on the cast and crew, someone is going to spoil it. Good thing the ending was so shocking that nobody took him seriously!
115. Part of the Plan
After Doctor Strange peers into over 14 million—14,000,605, to be exact—possible future timelines using the time stone, he claims to have seen one timeline that wins over Thanos. The rest of his actions can be seen as setting up this one timeline, including losing the fight to Thanos, giving up the time stone, and being erased from existence.
116. Brain and Brawn Combined
Endgame marks the first time that Bruce Banner has completely merged his powers as the Incredible Hulk with his own personality and brain. This references the plot point in Avengers: Infinity War where Hulk refused to be summoned by Banner during the fight. While initial fan speculation was that the Hulk was afraid to fight after losing to Thanos, the truth was that Hulk was sick of being used as a pawn by Banner whenever he needed to beat someone up. This is also a reference to the “Professor Hulk” identity, which Banner adopts in a comics storyline.
117. Nebulous Future
In The Infinity Gauntlet, one of the comic books that Infinity War takes inspiration from, Thanos similarly ends many lives using the infinity stones and his gauntlet. In this comic, his daughter Nebula eventually acquires the gauntlet and uses it to reverse the deaths of everyone that Thanos kills. It should be noted that Nebula was one of the characters who survived the snap in Infinity War.
118. Obscure Cameos
Infinity War snuck an unprecedented amount of familiar faces onto the screen. Most strangely, Tobias Fünke from cult-favorite sitcom Arrested Development made the cut. He appeared as a specimen in the Collector’s collection, but he was played by an unnamed extra—David Cross could not appear due to scheduling conflicts. His cameo was a nod to Joe and Anthony Russo’s roots—one of their first big credits was directing episodes of Arrested Development.
119. Worth the Wait
Endgame marks the first time that the full phrase “Avengers Assemble” has been said in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it was teased at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the full phrase was saved for this movie.
120. To-Do List
In Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers keeps a list of cultural events/items that he needs to brush up on to acquaint himself with the 21st century. For audiences, this list changed depending on the country where the film was shown, so in Mexico, Rogers had written things like Shakira and Neri Vela (the first Mexican astronaut), while in England he had the Beatles and the 1966 World Cup final.
121. Stop Asking About My Underwear
Despite playing a badass female hero on the screen, Scarlett Johansson has faced sexism during the press work for the MCU. For example there was controversy surrounding the photoshopping of her figure on one of the posters for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Even worse than that, she has had to watch her male co-stars get asked serious character questions during interviews while she gets asked about her body.
She finally exploded on an interviewer who asked her whether her underwear was hard to wear under her costume. Scarlett replied angrily: “What is going on? What—since when did people start asking each other about…their underwear?” Then she said, “I’ll leave it up to your imagination. Okay?” It was awkward.
122. Remembering Greendale
Before their work with Marvel, the Russo brothers made their reputation as directors with the hit comedy series Community. The brothers have paid homage to their roots by placing former cast members of that show in MCU cameo appearances. Avengers: Endgame features not one but two such cameos, from Ken Jeong and Yvette Nicole Brown. Additionally, Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) appeared in several episodes of Community as a minor character.
123. Direct Sequel
While the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War won’t be released until May 2019, it was shot immediately after Infinity War. That means the footage for Endgame was filmed years ago, so the continuity between the two films should be incredibly tight.
124. That Balancing Act
We’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t like the final battle scene in Endgame where all our heroes unite to defeat the armies of Thanos. Naturally, it’s very difficult to get a film sequence like that exactly right, and the Russo brothers had to juggle all the footage that they’d filmed for the scene. Originally, several reunion scenes were filmed between certain characters, such as Ant-Man and the Wasp or Groot and Rocket. However, as emotional as those reunions were, the brothers decided that it would drag the battle down. You can decide whether you agree with them or not.
125. After the End
While Avengers: Infinity War had a cataclysmic ending, it’s far from the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to Endgame, there are future titles for Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy confirmed, as well as many other projects hinted at in interviews. The amount of films planned is simply staggering!
126. What’s My Creation Done?!
Fans of Endgame will remember the scenes where humanity is grieving the billions wiped out by Thanos’ “snap” at the end of Infinity War. Two of these men happen to be high-profile cameos. One is the film’s co-director, Joe Russo, playing the first openly gay character in a Marvel film, while the other is Jim Starlin, the man behind the Marvel character Thanos.
127. They’ve Got Stones
The Infinity Stones that power the Infinity Gauntlet can be seen throughout the Marvel films: The Tesseract was the Space Stone, Loki’s Scepter/later the gem in Vision’s head was the Mind Stone, the Aether from Thor: The Dark World was the Reality Stone, and the Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy was the Power Stone.
128. Here’s Looking at You, Internet!
When Thor: Ragnarok was first released, fans noted that its lighter tone and humor was very similar to the Guardians of the Galaxy series. As a result, a nickname given to that film by its fans was “Asgardians of the Galaxy.” At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor openly uses that term to describe his team-up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
129. We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Cheque
A furious Ike Perlmutter, Marvel Entertainment’s CEO, demanded the writers cut Robert Downey Jr. out of the script for Civil War completely. Why? Robert Downey Jr.’s role was originally smaller, requiring only three weeks of work. Downey pushed for a bigger role, which would have resulted in a bigger payday.
However, Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios’ president, pushed for Downey’s expanded role, arguing that it could lead to many future storyline possibilities and, as a result, Downey got his payday after all, which includes a hefty back-end participation deal. After this debaucle, Feige made sure that the famously-stingey Perlmutter had only limited input on future MCU films. Thank goodness!
130. Who Will It Be?
One of the biggest twists in Endgame (SPOILERS, again), is the decision by Steve Rogers to stay in the past, living the life he always wanted. An elderly Rogers then gives his Captain America shield to his friend Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon. Comic book fans will know that there is a precedence for this, as Wilson became Captain America in the 2010 Shadowland series. Of course, those fans will also point out that Bucky Barnes (who witnesses the exchange) could also have been a candidate for the job, since he was also the man behind the shield in the 2007 comic series The Death of Captain America.
131. Going Down
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury recounts the tale of his grandfather being an elevator operator. In a case of art imitating life, Samuel L. Jackson’s grandfather actually was an elevator operator.
132. When Heroes Prove Themselves
As you can tell by this list, Avengers: Endgame serves as a true finale to many of the film’s characters, with call-backs made to nearly all the previous films. One of the most powerful examples of these call-backs refers to the original argument between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in the first Avengers film.
Rogers dismisses Stark as not being the guy to make a self-sacrifice, while Stark declares that everything special about Rogers “came out of a bottle.” In this film, they both prove the other wrong: Rogers’ personal character and morals are such that he can wield Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, while Stark makes the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Thanos.
133. Past, Present, and Future
According to one of the Russo brothers, Avengers: Endgame originally included a scene where Tony Stark gets a vision of his teenage daughter, Morgan. Katherine Langford was cast in the role and the scene was filmed, providing a sort of magical message to Tony that his sacrifice worked and everything would be okay. However, the scene was cut from the final version of the film.
134. No Norton
Though he played Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, Edward Norton was not cast in The Avengers because the director, Joss Whedon, considered him not creative enough, and “lacking the collaborative spirit.” I suppose Norton’s loss is Mark Ruffalo’s gain—although, it’s a little difficult to imagine that Edward Norton is lacking creative energy.
After all, this is a man who has written scripts himself, and been a part of critically-acclaimed pictures like American History X…which is hardly an unoriginal movie. It seems more likely that the issue had more to do with the second criticism: “lack collaborative spirit.” After all, Norton has a reputation for tweaking screenplays while a movie is shooting. Sounds like a bit of a control-freak…which can be a little bit difficult to work with.
135. Money Trouble
Even though Stan Lee was receiving a nice payout from Marvel through much of the 1990s and 2000s, he owned no equity in Marvel when it was sold to Disney for $4 billion. Lee later said: “One of my lifelong regrets is that I’ve always been too casual about money. It’s been made abundantly clear to me, by friends and others, that I should have realized I was creating a whole kaboodle of characters that became valuable franchises, but I was creating them for others.”
136. Next Question
While promoting Avengers: Age of Ultron, Robert Downey Jr. walked out of an interview with a journalist who insisted on dredging up the actor’s past. After bringing up Downey’s controversial 2008 interview with the New York Times—to which Downey responded with: “Are we promoting a movie?”—the reporter then ventured into such topics as Downey’s past drug use and his relationship with his father. At this point, Downey had had enough and he walked out of the interview.
137. Always Pushing Buttons
The journalist in question, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, was no stranger to combative interviews. After similarly pushing Quentin Tarantino into topics he didn’t want to talk about, a similar scene unfolded—but instead of walking out of the interview, Tarantino berated the reporter for several minutes!
138. Dark Agenda Seems a Little Dramatic
Long after the controversial interview, Downey Jr. appeared on the Howard Stern Show and discussed the events, saying “I’m one of those guys where I’m always kind of assuming the social decorum is in play and that we’re promoting a superhero movie, a lot of kids are going to see it. This has nothing to do with your creepy, dark agenda that I’m feeling like all of a sudden ashamed and obligated to accommodate your weirdo s***.”
139. 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) in the comics, because he realized that his teammates were afraid of him. He stayed away for fifty years before finally returning.
140. 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 of the Marvel universe: Death, Eternity, Entropy, and Infinity. In the center of the mural are the six Infinity Stones. That’s right, they were teased that long ago, but nobody was paying attention.
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