In this day and age of shared universes and endless sequels, it’s hardly a surprise that movies are increasingly planting clues and teasers for the next entry. It’s now expected that a comic book movie will feature a post credit teaser and leave numerous plot threads dangling that will pay off in the next entry. Only recently, Kong: Skull Island left a juicy end credit teaser that got everyone excited for the upcoming MonsterVerse, which will eventually have Godzilla facing off with King Kong himself. The recent Power Rangers movie left a similar tease for franchise fans after the credits.
These teasers are now part of the marketing machine, but it’s always nice to look back on a movie and see that it planted – really subtly – the seeds of where the story would eventually head. One movie might have left a clue that paid off in the next installment, or in some special cases, it would only pay off years later.
Sometimes these clues can be so well hidden that they go unnoticed for years, and it’s only when fans inspect the movie with a magnifying glass that they are found. These 15 Movies That Subtly Teased Future Twists did just that, hiding clues for those observant enough to find them.
15. Yukio Predicted The End Of Logan – The Wolverine
By now, anyone who’s seen Logan will know the character’s journey comes to a definite end, where he fights to the death with his clone X-24 and then succumbs to his wounds. It’s an emotionally charged ending, and not one audiences are used to seeing in a superhero movie.
Some super observant fans remembered a scene in his previous solo outing The Wolverine, where his kind-of-psychic bodyguard Yukio lays out how he’ll die. She sees him laying on his back, covered in blood and holding his heart in his hand, but Wolverine ultimately survives that story. Yukio admitted herself that the predictions can be fuzzy, and it turns out that she was seeing his death over fifteen years later during the climax of Logan, where he’s laying on back, holding the hand of his daughter, X-23. (She’s his heart, get it?)
14. “Two Faced Friends” – Batman Begins
The effect Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins has had on the comic book movie genre can’t be underestimated. The franchise had effectively had a stake driven through its heart thanks to Batman & Robin, but Nolan’s grounded reboot brought it spectacularly back to life and inspired similar “gritty” reboots.
Nolan always maintained that he was taking the trilogy one movie at a time, and while he had notions of where a sequel could potentially go, he’d only accept the job once a good story was broken. He did sprinkle some clues into Batman Begins, though, with the obvious one being the Joker card that appears in the final scene. Observant viewers also noted Bruce’s speech during a party at Wayne Manor, where he refers to his guests as “two-faced friends”, which hinted at the arrival of Harvey Dent’s villainous alter-ego in the next movie.
13. Jill’s Mysterious Letter – Saw VI
The Saw franchise quickly realized the value of planting clues for future movies, and always made sure to end on a cliffhanger of some kind. Despite his death in Saw III, series villain Jigsaw made sure to leave a tape behind assuring the police – and the audience – that there were more games to come, and it left plenty of plot threads dangling too.
The biggest unanswered question running through the series was the whereabouts of Dr. Lawrence Gordon, who played Jigsaw’s game in the first movie and whose fate was left ambiguous. The following five sequels refused to confirm his whereabouts, though part six did set the stage for his return.
Jigsaw’s wife Jill is seen dropping off a mysterious envelope during the movie, and viewers don’t learn what’s in it or who it’s intended for. Saw VII reveals during the climax that the envelope was intended for Dr. Gordon, who not only survived the original, but is confirmed to be Jigsaw’s secret apprentice. Hopeful fans felt that this was probably the case, but it was nice to finally get a resolution to his fate.
12. The Wakanda Map – Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 suffered somewhat from Marvel attempting to set up The Avengers and tease several other future franchise outings, instead of being its own self-contained movie. Hidden among the parade of easter eggs was an incredibly subtle reference to Black Panther, which only hardcore fans would likely spot.
At one point in the story, Tony Stark meets with Nick Fury to talk about The Avengers some more, and in Fury’s command center, there are numerous references to the future of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Hulk is seen smashing things up in news footage, the crater where Thor’s hammer landed is shown, and a map of Wakanda is visible in the background.
The character himself wouldn’t turn up in an MCU outing until Captain America: Civil War, a full six years after Iron Man 2. That’s some impressive forward planning, and it showed that Marvel was more than confident in their ability to pull off their cinematic universe.
11. The National Guard Looters – Diary Of The Dead
George Romero is rightfully considered a horror icon, and the easiest way to sum up his contribution to the genre is this: no Night Of The Living Dead, no Resident Evil or The Walking Dead. Sadly, his later entries in the zombie genre aren’t his best work, with both Diary and Survival Of The Dead being considered the weakest entries in his filmography.
Diary is a found footage movie and is intended as a commentary on the media. Unfortunately, the small budget and ropey acting hold it back, though it still has some effective scares and zombie kills. There’s an important plot turn around midway through the story, where the protagonists are robbed by some National Guardsmen.
It seems that Romero knew where he was heading with the next film, because these National Guard thieves went on to become the heroes of Survival Of The Dead. He also had plans for two more movies centered around other characters seen in Diary, though these films have yet to emerge.
10. “Remember” – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
The Wrath Of Khan is widely considered to be the best Star Trek movie to date, thanks to the way it juggles thoughtful sci-fi with adventure. The movie also has one of the most tearjerking scenes in the entire series, when Spock sacrifices himself to save the crew during the finale.
Leonard Nimoy went into the movie fully intending to retire the character, but the actor ended up having a change of heart during production. While they still went through with Spock‘s emotional death, they set up a backup plan in case they wanted to bring him back for the next movie. Before his death, the beloved Vulcan has a mind meld with McCoy, asking him to “Remember.”
Audiences don’t learn who are what he’s supposed to remember until the next movie, The Search For Spock, where it turns out that Spock passed his lifeforce onto the good doctor. Spock’s body was also resurrected, thanks to his coffin landing on the Genesis planet, and when he’s reunited with his lifeforce, he’s as good as new.
9. The Thorn Tattoo- Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers
The storylines of Halloween IV-VI were so impossibly messy that H20 – which brought back Jamie Lee Curtis – decided to ignore them altogether. One of the most maligned plot twists of the franchise features in part six, which reveals that Michael Myers is actually under the control of an evil Celtic cult and that’s why he has to slaughter his entire family.
This was set up in a few ways by the previous movie, where Michael is seen with a strange tattoo on his wrist that looks like a thorn. This movie also marked the first appearance of a mysterious character dressed in black, who breaks Michael out of prison in the finale.
The Curse Of Michael Myers explains this tattoo is the mark of the cult, and the mysterious figure was Dr. Wynn, who also was responsible for freeing Michael in the original. The producers have since admitted that they didn’t actually know who The Man In Black would ultimately turn out to be in part five, but the tattoo was there to establish the cult angle.
8. Mothra – Godzilla
Godzilla split viewers down the middle, with some loving the less is more approach taken by director Gareth Edwards, and others being left frustrated by the lack of giant monster battles. The human side of the story was also deemed by many to be lacking, with lead Aaron Taylor-Johnson making for a bland hero.
While the movie provided the King of Monsters with a couple of cool baddies to battle, none of his original rogue’s gallery appeared. Obviously, producers realized that if the movie was a hit, they’d be bringing in some of the classic monsters too, and there’s a tip of the hat to this during the scene where Joe Brody visits his old home.
A dusty aquarium is shown briefly, with a dirty label saying Mothra on it. Mothra is probably Godzilla’s best-known nemesis, and a post credit scene for Kong: Skull Island confirmed that he’ll be appearing alongside Rodan and King Ghidorah in a future movie.
7. The Nemesis Program – Resident Evil
The Resident Evil series is pretty much designed to be a guilty pleasure. The characters are one-note, the stories make no sense and they’re goofy as hell, but they’re great fun if you go in with the right mindset.
The first movie was more of a thriller than the action blockbusters the series evolved into, and it involved a group of people trapped underground in a high-tech lab. It avoided using any of the characters from the game in an attempt to build tension around who would survive, and outside of a few easter eggs, it didn’t have many links to the game series’ story, either.
It did, however, provide an origin story for one of the game’s most famous enemies when human survivor Matt begins to mutate shortly after escaping from The Hive. He’s seized by an Umbrella medical team, and when tentacles start sprouting from his wound, the head doctor tells the team to take him for “the Nemesis program.” This teased Matt’s return as the Nemesis in Resident Evil: Apocalypse, where just like the game, he’s a nearly unstoppable Terminator-like figure.
6. Tia’s Locket – Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
It’s hard to imagine a time when Johnny Depp’s drunken, slurring routine as Jack Sparrow felt fresh, but he was downright mesmerizing in the original Pirates Of The Caribbean. He gave the type of leading man performance that’s rarely seen in a blockbuster, and he even got an Oscar nod for it.
Over the course of three sequels, his performance started to grate, however, and the novelty eventually wore off. While the second movie, Dead Man’s Chest, didn’t feel as fresh as the previous entry, it had some fun set pieces, and Bill Nighy gave a great turn as the cursed Davy Jones. Jones is a pirate who turned into a monster after being scorned by his one true love, ripping his heart out and burying it in a chest.
He keeps a locket as a memento of his former love, and for those paying close attention, they’ll notice a very similar locket on the sorceress Tia Dalma. It’s revealed that she was his lover in the next movie, and a significant amount of the plot revolves around the two of them.
5. The Lament Configuration Building – Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth
The Hellraiser franchise has a fascinating mythology that had the potential to make for a great horror series, but unfortunately, it never really lived up to its early promise. The first two movies are great, the third is an enjoyable (if badly dated) slasher movie, and the rest range from poor to outright torturous.
Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth was an attempt to make the series more user-friendly, toning down the S&M kinkiness and making Pinhead into a Freddy Kruger-like figure. Taken on its own terms, it’s a fun horror flick, but it lacks some of the visceral thrills that original creator Clive Barker would have brought to it.
The film ends with the heroine deciding to get rid of the cursed Lament Configuration puzzle box, which she plants in cement on a construction site. The final scene cuts forwards a short time later, revealing the inside of the building is now covered with box designs. The building itself becomes an important story point in the next movie when the audience learns who built it, and the box buried underneath it also comes into play.
4. Wayne Satellite/Lexcorp Truck – Man Of Steel
Zack Snyder has made no secret of his love for Batman, especially comic author Frank Miller’s take on the character. It often seemed that he was settling for second best when he took on Superman with Man Of Steel, where he tried to give the character a bit more grit than past cinematic versions had possessed.
Both he and the studio must have had some kind of game plan for Batman V Superman already in mind while shooting the first DCEU outing, because they weren’t shy about hiding a few hints in plain sight. Bruce Wayne gets a callout when Superman flies to a Wayne satellite, and during Superman’s destructive brawl in Metropolis with Zod, a Lexcorp truck gets destroyed.
Needless to say, both Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor became key figures in the next movie, with Dawn Of Justice even establishing that Wayne was in Metropolis witnessing the chaos on that day.
3. “Next Time Baby” – Iron Man
Marvel established early on that they weren’t tolerating any drama when it came to actors, which is why they publicly dumped Edward Norton and Terrence Howard from their respective roles. Norton’s hands-on approach led to bitter arguments over the tone of The Incredible Hulk, and the studio wasn’t keen on repeating that experience for The Avengers.
With Howard, it seemed to be a money dispute, though apparently, the actor wasn’t the easiest to work with. It’s a shame considering how much chemistry he and Robert Downey, Jr. shared in Iron Man, and the film winked at the audience when Rhodey sees a prototype War Machine suit and states “Next time baby.”
His prediction came through with Iron Man 2, though it was with Don Cheadle playing the role instead. Rhodey became a regular character in the MCU, and while it would have been interesting to see where Howard told the role, nowadays, when fans are asked to think of War Machine, Cheadle is the man they picture more often than not.
2. “There Is Another” – The Empire Strikes Back
Darth Vader being revealed as Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back is the twist that steals all the thunder, but there was another that slipped by many viewers. When Luke abandons his training to help his friends, Obi-Wan and Yoda have a brief talk about his destiny.
Ben calls him their last hope, but Yoda casually drops a bombshell about “another.” This foreshadowed the fact that Luke had a sister, which was only revealed in Return Of The Jedi. Originally, Luke’s sister wasn’t going to be Leia, and that choice was only made when the script for the third entry was being written.
It’s also an early hint that there was more to Luke’s history that his mentors were shielding him from, which was also a part of Jedi’s story. Later movies in the series would sprinkle clues into their story, and fans are still waiting to see what’s going on with Rey’s visions from The Force Awakens.
1. The Newspaper Clipping – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The second Captain America solo outing’s revelation that Hydra had been using The Winter Soldier (aka Bucky) as their personal assassin for decades indicated that he had quite a dark history, and the Russo Brothers knew how one storyline, in particular, would pay off.
When Steve is talking to Zola about Hydra’s misdeeds, a newspaper clipping shows that Howard Stark died in a car accident in 1991, which Zola hints was anything but. The deaths of Howard and his wife are a key plot point in Civil War, with Tony shown to still be feeling guilt over it, and Bucky is implied to have been involved.
Tony finds out for sure in the finale, where he witnesses The Winter Soldier murdering his parents in a piece of surveillance footage, leading to an epic three-way fight. The Russo brothers have since confirmed the newspaper clipping was always something they’d link back too, and it was there to plant the twist in viewers’ minds.
What other movie twists were so subtly teased that most fans missed them entirely? Let us know in the comments.