For fans of any existing property, be it a video game, comic book, or even beloved 1980s cartoon series, the news that said property is being adapted into a massive blockbuster is just the first gift. The second comes when the movie hits theaters, and the hunt for subtle nods to the source material, clever references to re-imagined stories or characters, and even background items or artwork crafted by fans, for fans can truly begin. It’s a world of easter eggs these days, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy set a high bar for the studio.
Whether it was sly lines of dialogue, inside references for those who lived the years prior to Peter Quill’s departure from Earth, or homages to some truly niche Marvel Cosmic characters, Guardians was a feast for fans of easter eggs and trivia. That thrill wasn’t lost on director James Gunn, who clearly had the passion to put them there in the first place. And luckily for the fans hungry for more, Gunn confirms that the easter egg game will be taken to a new level in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
While visiting the set of Guardians 2, we had the chance to raise the issue of easter eggs and fan service with Gunn directly, including that one hidden secret the director maintains has been found by no one. Unsurprisingly, both the amount of secret touches that wound up in the theatrical cut, and the fervor with which fans pursued them (still finding new ones) urged the filmmakers to get bolder, braver, and above all, more “ridiculous.” The game has changed, Marvel fans:
The first movie had the collector scene, and a lot of Easter eggs. Is there a scene in this movie where you can put in the Adam Warlock…
Oh my God. Our Easter egg obsession is insane. And in fact I have the dumbest Easter egg. We have so many incredibly obscure Easter eggs in this movie that it’s ridiculous. Yeah, we’ve been working hard on the Easter eggs. I feel this need to do it now since people have been pouring over stuff so much.
Are people still hunting that last one?
It’s an enticing choice of words, since the first film’s links to Marvel Comics and its robust mythology were not exactly complicated to grasp – perhaps hard to spot (as seems to be the case with the last remaining specimen), but once found, were usually playful references to unimportant, or simply obscure characters in alien histories. But for Gunn to claim that the game has gotten “incredibly obscure,” or simply “dumb” is challenging on an entirely different level. The days of missing just one easter egg may soon seem like a distant memory.
What makes the addition or increase in obscurity even more satisfying is that, unlike other films in Marvel or DC projects, these references tend to free themselves from actual franchise ramifications. Few audience members expected to see Cosmo the Spacedog return for a substantial role, or for Peter’s love affair with Bereet (Melia Krieling) to form any connection to Hulk. They’re taken as loving nods to the strange comic book tales that gave rise to this film’s many characters, political factions, or alien threats, and fans move on to the next (even if that one about Peter Quill’s mother’s cancer is still unsettling).
The latest Super Bowl spot for the film offered a few hints at updates, changes, or simple excisions of some major characters (quite possibly for the better), so the doors are wide open on predicting what new wrinkles from the Marvel Universe will be introduced to streamline the narrative. How will Ego the Living Planet’s powers or existence be tied, literally or thematically, to other Marvel beings of such magnitude or power? And sure, the Infinity Stones may be taken care of for the time being, but even the tiniest nod is guaranteed to be caught by some on opening weekend (or conjured up out of nothing).
Frankly, the fact that one major easter egg remains a total mystery should be a feather in Gunn’s cap, and that of the ones who so successfully placed it. But if that’s to be expected en masse for Guardians 2, there’s no telling how rabid fans may get. Because as scintillating as it may be to search for a needle in a haystack, being told that the number of near-unsolvable secrets has been multiplied could be bad for some Marvel fans’ health. Watch at your own risk, we suppose.