Avengers: Endgame is a love note to the 21 preceding films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and closes the chapter on the Infinity Saga. This post includes as many of the of Avengers: Endgame Easter eggs, cameos, and callbacks we could catch in our viewing of Avengers: Endgame. 4,000 words later, here they are.
Avengers: Endgame Easter Eggs – Complete Marvel Universe References
If you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame, turn back now! You’ve been warned. This post contains MAJOR spoilers.
When does Avengers: Endgame take place?
Avengers: Endgame takes place 21 days after the end of Avengers: Infinity War, 23 days since Thanos first arrives on Earth.
An additional day goes by before Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel rescues Tony Stark and the whole team reconvenes at Avengers HQ.
And then we jump 5 years into the future.
The Avengers: Endgame “Time Heist”
The recap of previous MCU movies during the Avengers: Endgame “time heist” to collect the Infinity Stones and undo the effects of Thanos’ snap and includes a slew of Easter Eggs.
From the first Avengers movie, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, we see who all of the movies play a role in the culmination of this final movie. We also see elements from Infinity War, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The time heist includes a series of callback scenes with the many cameos from actors from the above-mentioned films.
Seeing events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (such as Peter Quill’s dancing and Nebula’s being tortured) from a different perspective was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki for scenes set during the events of both Avengers and Thor: The Dark World.
With the time heist sequence we see the return of characters such as Red Skull on Vormir; Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Thor’s mother Frigga (Rene Russo) on Asgard; The Ancient One (Tilda Swan); Howard Stark (John Slattery) Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and James D’Arcy (Edwin Jarvis) at Camp Leigh in 1970; Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford); Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s HYDRA operatives Crossbones/Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández), and Jack Rollins (Callan Mulvey).
“I Can Do This All Day”
“I can do this all day” is a Steve Rogers’ mantra. He told that to a bully in a New York alley in the first Captain America movie. He said it again to Tony Stark when fighting in Captain America: Civil War. This time, he says it to himself and responds, “Yeah, I know.”
The Elevator Scene
One of my all-time favorite moments in Cap cinematic history is in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when Steve Rogers fights Hydra operatives inside the moving elevator. Who knew I’d get to have a better version in Avengers: Endgame!
We also now know how Hydra ended up with Loki’s Sceptre between The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron: the secret Hydra cell took the weapon right after the Battle of New York.
And since Loki escaped, during The Avengers portion of the time heist, does this mean that Loki is still alive in the MCU? Could make the Disney+ Loki series that Tom Hiddleston is teed up to star in easy for continuity.
The time heist is such a great compilation of scenes. When Hydra, the supernatural Nazi cabal that Cap fought in Captain America: The First Avenger, and again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier are involved, it’s epic. The “Hail Hydra” whisper is also a nod to the “Secret Empire” comics when Steve Rogers is shown to be a secret Hydra agent.
Peter Parker reunites with his school pal Ned (Jacob Batalon) at the end of the movie.
Endgame directors the Russo brothers used to direct “Community” so you’ll see Ken Jeong managing a warehouse and Yvette Nicole Brown at Camp Lehigh.
Joe Russo’s daughter Sophia Russo plays Hawkeye’s daughter Lila Barton.
A Suit of Armor Around the World
“A suit of armor around the world” is a line originating from Avengers: Age of Ultron when Tony Stark said it to Banner after he proposed to make an intelligent defensive program using the Mind Stone inside Loki’s scepter. We all know it backfired and Stark created the rogue A.I., Ultron.
Avengers tend to gather around meals to discuss important things…shawarma is just one of their favorites. This time it’s Chinese take-out.
Korg’s Pineapple Shirt
When Bruce and Rocket go to New Asgard to recruit Thor, they find him with Korg and Miek. Korg is voiced by Thor: Raganarok director Taika Waititi. During the Thor: Raganarok promotional tour, Waititi donned a two-piece pineapple romper at SDCC. You may notice that Korg is wearing a pineapple shirt!
Reportedly the Russo brothers are huge fans of the video game Fortnite game, which explains why Avengers: Endgame has a funny moment involving the Fortnite.
Epic Games announced a crossover collaboration with Marvel last year that allowed players to temporarily play as Thanos. Another crossover is being planned this year for Avengers: Endgame.
I’m with you until the end of the line
The last words Steve and Bucky exchange before the final time travel trip are “Don’t do anything stupid until I get back,” and “You’re taking all the stupid with you,” are the same exchange pre-super soldier serum Steve Rogers had with Bucky at the Stark Expo in 1943 (except their lines were reversed) in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Morgan H. Stark
As teased in Avengers: Infinity War, Tony and Pepper have had a child, and Tony named her after his eccentric uncle after all. Morgan Stark has never appeared in the MCU but first showed his face in the 1965 “Tales of Suspense” #68.
Pepper’s armor helmet (and the armor itself) is a nod to how she appeared as “Rescue” on the Iron Man: Animated Adventures series with it’s blue/purple tint.
In the comics, Pepper has worn her armor as the superhero Rescue, although the armor is made to rescue people, hence the name, and doesn’t pack all the superhero powers we see in the movie.
New Asgard, where the surviving Asgardians have resettled, is Tønsberg, the same Norwegian village in Captain America: The First Avenger where the Odin hid the Tesseract until Red Skull snagged it. Tønsberg was the site of a battle between Odin’s army and the Frost Giants in Thor. In the comics, “New Asgard” is a floating city above Broxton, Oklahoma.
Thor handing New Asgard to Valkyrie isn’t canon but feels like a set-up for more MCU Valkyrie action in the future.
The Hulk as a “cure” instead of a “disease” is a great societal message that we can get behind.
Hulk becoming the “best of both worlds,” with Banner’s brains and sensitivity paired with the Hulk’s power is a great concept and not one unprecedented based on the comics. He spent “18 months in a gamma lab” to merge the two halves of himself. Not canon per se, but we’ll roll with it.
In the comics, the majority of “smart Hulk” stories are in the early 90s, the same time we see original “Infinity Gauntlet” story. Peter David’s Incredible Hulk is perfect for the “smart Hulk” lover.
At the end of Infinity War, we caught a glimpse of a planet, which turned out to be Planet 0259-S. Turned out, Thanos has retreated to it, similarly to the comics (Farmer Thanos is back).
I can’t find any information online and am not familiar with that planet designation in the Marvel Comics canon but Thanos calls it “The Garden” in the movie.
But “the Garden” exists elsewhere. In the “Thanos Quest” series that leads up to the “Infinity Gauntlet,” Thanos had to get the Time Gem from “The Gardener,” an Elder of the Universe who had created his own “garden” on the Blue Area of the Moon (also home to the Inhumans).
There’s only 1 scenario in which they win, and when Tony asks for clarification, Strange refuses to tell him what the scenario is…until it’s upon them. This moment gave me chills.
At Avengers HQ when the team is researching the stones, Tony and Natasha are talking about Doctor Strange. Pepper says his address is on Sullivan St., and Tony corrects her to the nearby Bleecker St. Sanctum Sanctorum is located at 177A Bleecker St. in the West Village.
Tony also refers to Strange as a “Bleecker St. magician.”
When Peter Parker and Tony see each other at the final battle scene and hug, it’s so sweet. But beyond sweet, it’s a call back to the moment Peter dusts away Infinity War and the exact opposite of the almost hug between Peter and Tony in Spider-Man: Homecoming when Peter thinks he’s getting a hug in the car and is not.
We get to see the Iron Spider-Man armor.
While we will likely never see it in the MCU, Peter Parker and Carol Danvers have a brief fling in the Ms. Marvel comics.
When Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel appears after the 5-year gap, she has a new haircut that looks like her comic book hair. We see Carol Danvers iconic comic book short hair in Endgame. We love Rocket harassing her about her short hair; it is perfect because we know Carol has spent time with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, much of which they spent teasing one another.
Carol spends a lot of the movie doing “out space stuff.” She reminds the team there are other planets that need her help.
Carol’s glowing version of Captain Marvel at the end of the movie looks like the Binary version of Captain Marvel.
I literally laughed out loud when Tony called him Lebowski, he even resembles the movie character in that outfit.
And he gets Mjolnir back in the time heist sequence while in Asgard.
I am HERE for Emma Furhmann as the 5 years older Cassie Lang, teeing us up for a Young Avengers story with Cassie as the superhero “Stinger” (when small) and “Stature” (when giant) in the comics.
I loved seeing the vintage comic book and Ant-Man helmet (presumably a prototype) on Hank Pym’s desk at Camp Leigh in the 1970 time heist sequence.
Wanda and Vision
“You took everything from me.”
There is nothing like a woman with a vengeance.
In the comics, Wanda is known for being incredibly powerful and losing her shit occasionally. We don’t hear about Vision in this movie but this one scene in the final battle feels similar to the intensity we see Wanda exhibit in the comics and we may see more.
We know that without the Mind Stone, there is no Vision. When Captain America returns the stones to their “rightful” places when he returns to the QR at the end of the film, what are the chances he may have returned that stone to Vision?
Does that make the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision a prequel?
At Tony’s funeral, Hawkeye expresses to Wanda he wishes he could let Natasha know it all worked out. Wanda tells him, “She knows. They both do.” We assume she is referring to Vision.
Rocket Raccoon’s outfit is similar to his classic outfit from the comics in most of the movie.
Tony calls Rocket “Ratchet” The Asgardians’ call him a Rabbit. I see meme’s in the future.
Asgardians of the Galaxy
Asgardians of the Galaxy is a thing in the comics, but with a different cast of characters.
Nebula indeed picks up the Infinity Gauntlet, and for a hot minute it felt like we were going to get that classic moment from the “Infinity Gauntlet’ comic,
Time Travel Movie and Nerd References
As an 80s kid, I can’t help but love the many Back to the Future References dropped. From “no betting on sporting events” by Rhodey to a joke about not losing Scott in the 1950s by Banner. I giggled at some of the others like Hot Tub Time Machine, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Star Trek, Terminator, Timecop, Time After Time, Quantum Leap, A Wrinkle in Time.
Rhodey suggests killing Baby Thanos, as a reference to the hotly debated ethical question: if you have the ability to time travel, do you go back and kill Baby Hitler?
In a deleted Deadpool 2 scene, Deadpool goes back in time and in a maternity ward, stands over a crib marked “A. Hitler” but he couldn’t kill him.
And if you want to get SUPER nerdy, Tony references three pieces of physics knowledge when discussing the challenges of time travel. The Planck Scale: relativity meets quantum mechanics meets gravity.
The EPR Paradox, is a thought experiment proposed by physicists Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (EPR) that they interpreted as indicating that the explanation of physical reality provided by Quantum Mechanics was incomplete seems to be related to quantum entanglement.
“The file came from these coordinates.”
“So did I. This camp is where I was trained.”
―Natasha Romanoff and Steve Rogers
Tony and Steve end up at Camp Lehigh on April 7, 1970, to find the Time Stone during the time heist. Camp Lehigh was where Steve Rogers was trained in the first Captain America movie.
This secretive New Jersey military base serves as the “birthplace” of Captain America. In The Winter Soldier, Cap and Black Widow visit Camp Lehigh and find Hydra operative Arnim Zola uploaded his mind into a super-computer. Zola is mentioned by Howard Stark in this scene: Stark is looking for Zola, who uploaded his consciousness to a computer 2 years later.
Also, Steve’s fake uniform has the name “Roscoe.” Since this is a 1970s time travel, the original “Secret Empire” (not the Nazi Cap one) but the one by Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema features a storyline with Falcon where he took on a junior partner by the name of Roscoe Simons to take Cap’s place. Could this be a nod to that comic? Cap wearing “Roscoe’s” uniform?
Stan Lee Cameo
In the 1970 time heist sequence, we spot Stan Lee is driving a car with a bumper sticker that reads “‘nuff said.” That was one of the catchphrases that he often signed off within his “Stan’s Soapbox” column. “Hey man, make love not war!” and the 420 license plate wasn’t unnoticed. We know this to be the late Stan Lee’s final cameo.
First Openly Gay Character in the MCU
We’re LOVING the first openly gay character in the MCU played by none other than Director Joe Russo himself. During the group therapy session, Steve asks one of the attendees about his date. Thank you Marvel Studios to taking a stand and telling the world you see us all!
Another member of the group therapy session is Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos.
How about those Mets?
There are two Mets references in the movie. The first is the pan over of the deserted CitiField in the 5 Years Later scan of Manhattan. During Joe Russo’s group therapy session, he talks about missing the Mets. Peter Parker is a Mets fan.
Interestingly enough, Sam’s job when we first meet him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a group counselor.
We’re in the Endgame Now
The security guard (played by “Community‘s” Ken Jeong) in the warehouse where Scott Lang’s van is being stored is reading a collection of JG Ballard short stories called Terminal Beach. Fun fact? One of the stories in that volume is entitled “End-Game.”
Marvel Women Power
“She’s got help.”
This scene in the final battle scene when Carol Danvers takes the new gauntlet from Peter Parker for protection is a nod to the scene in Avengers: Infinity War when Scarlet Witch is in the ditch. The whole group of women shows up as a backup. It also feels like a nod to the A-Force.
We’re not mad about Marvel doubling down on the female power.
Music Easter Eggs
This is possibly Alan Silvestri’s best work. So much great music and incredible tracks.
Traffic’s “Mr. Fantasy” to open with? BOLD.
The Kinks “Supersonic Rocket Ship” on their trip to New Asgard.
The Captain America: The First Avenger main theme is playing when Tony gives Steve his shield back at Avengers Headquarters.
The song playing as Steve and Peggy dance at the end of the movie is “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” a 1945 hit with lyrics that are extremely apropos. This sounded like the version by the Harry James band and Kitty Kallen singing. But the song is also featured in The Winter Soldier.
“The earthquake under the sea?”
“We handle it by not handling it.”
We won’t know for sure if this is an Easter Egg until we see that reference again, but we’ll lose our nerd card if we don’t mention it as a possibility. Is this a call out to Namor, the Sub-Mariner? We know there are rights issues here, so no one will call it Namor in a Marvel Studios film, BUT while it could just be an actual earthquake, it could be a subtle way to work in a character without naming a character given the context.
Celestials and Vormir
Vormir is described as the “center of celestial existence.” Celestials are central to Jack Kirby’s Eternals, who are set to get an MCU movie of their own. Also, two Celestials have already appeared in the MCU, Knowhere is the severed head of a Celestial seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 Eson the Searcher is seen on a monitor screen later in the same film.
It had to be Black Widow. We can’t have a Young Avengers Story with a Hawkeye/Kate Bishop story if Hawkeye is the sacrifice.
Clint’s journey is core to the Endgame story, so much so it was a pre-credit sequence, which was a Marvel Studios first. The pre-credits show Nathaniel Pietro Barton (named for Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron), Lila Barton, and Laura Barton all vanish into dust during the Thanos snap. The man he kills in Tokyo is Akihiko, who in the comics was a member of the Yakuza’s Science Division (Japanese crime lords).
Clint even tells young Lila, “great job, Hawkeye.”
We know Clint will be giving more archery lessons in the Disney+ Hawkeye TV series, where Barton will pass on his torch to Kate Bishop.
Clint’s crisis/revenge story sets him on a killing spree as Ronin, though in the “New Avengers” comics, the reasoning behind it was different.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Clint’s mother’s name was indeed Edith, as Red Skull tells him on Vormir.
Natasha learns her father’s name right before her death when she goes to Vormir with Hawkeye. Red Skull calls her “daughter of Ivan.”
“We’re a long way from Budapest” is a call back to the first Avenger’s film that Hawkeye makes when they’re flying the Milano to Vormir. We’ll probably never get this backstory but maybe it’s a nod to the stand-alone film or simply a callback to the line during the Battle of New York in The Avengers when Black Widow says to Hawkeye, “It’s like Budapest all over again,” and he says, “You and I remember Budapest very differently.”
Natasha’s death here mirrors Gamora’s in Infinity War, but her death now all but confirms that the upcoming Black Widow solo movie will be a prequel.
Steve and Natasha’s friendship has been a foundational part of their teamwork since the beginning and was critical in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is still strong. Natasha has been urging Steve to “get a life” since The Winter Soldier when she was constantly trying to set him up on dates.
When Nebula and Rhodey enter the cave on Morag to get the Power Stone, Rhodey voices his concern over skeletons on spikes jumping out. This is a reference to the Indiana Jones trilogy.
On Your Left
When Falcon makes his entrance in the final battle scene, he says “On Your Left,” which is a nod to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when we first met him and he first meets Steve after Steve laps Sam several times during an early morning jog in DC.
We finally get to hear Captain America declare the famous “Avengers Assemble!” battle cry. It was teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron but we’ve never heard him utter the words on the big screen until now.
Another Worthy Moment?
Our whole theatre cheered when Cap summoned the Mjolnir and Thor acknowledged his worthiness. There’s nothing like watching Captain America wield Thor’s Mjolnir in battle.
Among other things, this is also a callback to a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It’s well established that only those “worthy” can up Mjolnir. The Avengers all accept Thor’s challenge of worthiness and myth of the Mjolnir. Tony, then Tony and Rhodey together, and finally Clint and Bruce all try but to summon Mjolnir no avail one somber evening. When Cap tries, for a moment, Mjolnir wiggles. Thor looks worried. When Mjolnir doesn’t summon, Thor is relieved.
To tie this to the comic books, Cap has wielded Mjolnir a few times in the comics, specifically in the “Fear Itself” event, which allowed Cap to use the hammer to defend the world.
Wasp refers to Captain America as “Cap” when she and Ant-man go to set up the QR machine in the back of Luis’ van. This is a callback to Ant-Man and the Wasp when she makes fun of Scott for calling him Cap because he says that’s what his friends call him.
Captain America’s Shredded Shield
Cap’s shield getting shredded in battle with Thanos is a panel image right out of the original Infinity Gauntlet comic. It’s also demolished in much the same way it appeared in Tony’s apocalyptic vision from Ultron.
“I Am Iron Man”
It starts and ends with Iron Man. I’ve said this all along, and I don’t even like Iron Man.
This was Stark’s final line in the 2008 Iron Man before the credits roll.
Tony Stark’s Funeral
• “Proof That Tony Stark Has a Heart”
In Iron Man, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) gave her then-boss Tony a keepsake of his original arc reactor” (the one engineered of car batteries in a cave in the Middle East) engraved with the words, “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart.”
The keepsake was in the floating bouquet in the lake at Tony’s funeral during Avengers: Endgame.
• The Boy from Iron Man 3
That was Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), the then-10-year-old boy who helped Tony when he was stranded in Tennessee in Iron Man 3, standing off to the side at Tony Stark’s funeral. Tony later sent the boy inventor a swag of robotics and tech. Is this hinting that Keener is poised to be the next Iron Man, or maybe a Young Avengers character?
• Funeral Cameos
Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Marisa Tomei, Cobie Smulders, and Samuel L. Jackson had cameos in this scene.
Stark Loves Cheeseburgers
Morgan asks Happy for a cheeseburger when he asks if she is hungry after the funeral.
In Iron Man, one of Stark’s first requests upon returning to the U.S. after escaping the Ten Rings is “an American cheeseburger,” and Happy (Jon Favreau) gives Tony a Burger King Whopper.
The Fate of Steve Rogers
Steve seems to be wearing the same tan jacket that pre-super soldier serum Steve Rogers wore in Captain America: The First Avenger.
New Captain America
I’m not mad, but I wanted it to be Bucky. I wanted a White Wolf storyline.
Sam Wilson has spent time as Captain America in the comic books. Cap has a habit of handing off the shield from time to time. Once was to John Walker. Then Bucky spent as Captain America. Cap didn’t get a say in either of those storylines.
But Sam is the only one to don the shield who was actually given the shield with Cap’s blessing. It also happened in a storyline in the comics when Steve Rogers had also been aged up to an elderly state, similar to what we see at the handoff scene in Avengers: Endgame.
We also know that The Falcon and Winter Soldier are slated for a team-up series on Disney+. This is a great tie-in to that material.
Post Credit Scene Avengers: Endgame
If you listen very carefully, as the music in the end credits fades out, you can hear a faint clanging. It sounds like Tony Stark forging the Mark I armor in the cave from the first Iron Man movie in 2008, which is the first movie in the MCU.
“I’m fine. Totally fine.”
– Tony Stark
Tell us what we missed! Did you catch any references we didn’t?
Avengers: Endgame is in theatres everywhere.
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