It’s a fact of life that the world is divided into Marvel and DC fans; each one constantly trying to destroy the other’s taste in comic book and cinematic entertainment. But whatever side of the Marvel/DC divide you fall on, people in all corners of geeky fandom can agree that there’s nothing better than a good Easter egg in your favorite superhero universe. And when it comes to embedding secrets into their films, DC certainly know how to deliver.
It is a now a fairly standard way of measuring films – not just by the plot or characters – but by the depth and layers which you can uncover by analyzing it further. Many fans love nothing more than analyzing films this way and superhero films are known to reward that – DC films especially. DC movies are as filled with references and Easter eggs as they are spandex and fight scenes. However, when perched on the edge of your seat in the midst of a supervillain scheme or a superheroic rescue, it is easy to miss out on some gems. So what should you keep your eyes peeled for in your next DC movie marathon? Well, we would recommend these 15 Secrets Hidden In DC Movies.
15. Man of Steel – Keep Calm and Call Batman
When making Man of Steel, Zack Snyder had already had a vision of Batman for the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming Justice League movie. He wanted an older, more experienced Batman who had already been through a series of turbulent battles and was well-established in Gotham. Although it has been suggested he was unaware of the poster, Batman’s cultural impact in Metropolis was alluded to in Man of Steel with a “Keep Calm and Call Batman” poster in the film. The poster perfectly shows that Batman is a well-known figure, and presumably one that the people trust to keep them safe.
In addition to this, a satellite shown in the film is shown with a large Wayne Enterprises logo on it. The somewhat ominous shot was definitely a clue for audiences that they do share a universe, and it could have even been a sign of the looming battle between the two heroes that took place Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
14. Batman Begins – The Joker card
The closing scene of Batman Begins was a memorable one that instantly teased fans with its hinting at the Joker’s role in the sequel. Understandably, this got many of DC’s fans excited– so excited it seems, that they may have missed a small detail further alluding to the Joker. The card was in a police evidence bag and, as written on the bag, was handed in by one J Kerr – a shortened version of Joe Kerr.
If it isn’t already obvious enough, Joe Kerr is one of the aliases the Joker has been known to go by. This means the Joker handed in his infamous card under this alias to the police. These are the kind of small details that DC are notorious for putting in their films, and they often add layers to the story you wouldn’t otherwise pick up. Time to re-watch the films in slow motion!
13. Man of Steel – Smallville references
Zack Snyder made himself known as a self-confessed Smallville fan when directing the Superman flick Man of Steel. His directing ensured the film to be filled with DC references and it provided a good excuse to put some of his Smallville love to good use. He certainly put it to use in the casting, with several actors from the TV series making appearances in the movie.
And that wasn’t where the Smallville shrine ended. In the film, we see a teenage Clark being bullied by a group of football players. The scene takes place in front of a building with a sign reading “Sullivan’s Truck & Tractor Repair”. The name Sullivan may ring a bell to Smallville fans, as it is a direct reference to the character Chloe Sullivan. The character may have been created exclusively for the TV series, but given her popularity it is easy to see why Snyder chose to hint at her legacy.
12. The Dark Knight- Catwoman reference
When Bruce Wayne is in need of a new Batman new suit that will increase his mobility, Lucius Fox is happy to provide him with one. When he is showing off the new armor, Fox warns Wayne that it will leave the Caped Crusader more vulnerable to knives and gunfire. However, Bruce is more concerned about whether or not it would hold up if he were attacked by dogs, after a nasty run in with some earlier on in the film. In response to this, Fox replies that it should do fine against cats.
The joke is a sly nod towards the well-known Batman character Selena Kyle – more commonly known by her part as Catwoman. It would seem that the reference wasn’t just a nod to the character in the comics, but a hint at who Batman would come up against in the sequel, The Dark Knight Rises. In the sequel, Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) became a central character.
11. Watchmen – Batman never happened
Watchmen may have divided opinion among DC fans, but many did credit it for its superb opening sequence. It set a montage providing some back story to the aptly-named song “The Times They Are A-Changin” by Bob Dylan. Within this montage, the original Nite Owl is seen fighting some crime in a dark street – it all seems fairly typical. But hang on a second, let’s look closely. He is seen punching an armed criminal who was seemingly attempting to rob a rich couple outside a theater. By association, any DC fan would be quick to name the couple as Thomas and Martha Wayne, the parents of Gotham’s favourite hero Bruce Wayne. Further references in the scene confirm this, such as the theater being called the Gotham Opera House and the play showing is Die Feldermaus or “The Bat”. Could it get more obvious?
But what is more exciting than the Easter Egg itself is the implications behind it. If Bruce’s parents were never killed, then he would have been raised normally and never had a motive to turn to crime fighting. And if that were the case, then there would be no Batman. Yes, DC created a cinematic world where their most popular hero never existed. And it was all done with just a few camera shots. Brutal.
10. Superman – Lois Lane’s parents
The original Superman can be credited for a lot of things. After all, it kick-started Superman’s long-lasting movie career. One thing it was noted for doing particularly nicely was some fan-friendly cameos that we’re still geeking out over. They came in the shape of two much loved Superman veterans, Noel Neil and Kirk Alyn. They appeared together as Lois Lane and Superman in film serials in 1948 and 1950. Neil also played Lois in the TV show in the 1950s.
When the Superman film came along way later, in 1978, they took the chance to reunite, much to the happiness of fans. They may not have reprised their lead roles for the big screen but they did get to feature in the first act as the parents of a young Lois Lane. Richard Donner wasn’t the only director to have this smart idea either, as Noel Neil managed to sneak another cheeky cameo in to another Superman movie – Superman Returns. That was way later in 2006 , which means over the course of seven decades she starred in a ton of Superman TV and film stuff playing three completely different characters.
9. Batman – Bob Kane sketch
Tim Burton’s Batman was one of the better Batman films, and was certainly one worthy of the Batman legacy (we could name a few that weren’t). And clearly Burton thought the Batman legacy was worthy of being in the film too, as he paid homage to it with a subtle Easter egg. He decided to pay tribute to the one man that we have to thank for Batman – Bob Kane.
The Easter egg in question comes into the film when reporter Alexander Knox is handed a comical (comical, not comic) sketch of the notorious Batman that he is investigating. The sketch is signed by none other than the original Batman creator Bob Kane. It’s a sweet tribute to the comics, but also canonically speaking has some pretty cool implications. It implies that in this fictional world where he didn’t create Batman, he still exists and is still drawing Batman – even if it is jokingly.
8. The Dark Knight Rises – John Daggett
The Dark Knight Rises was the final installment of an absolutely superb Batman trilogy, and it didn’t disappoint in quality. It also did a good job of tying into other Batman media, and even sneakily borrowed a character from the animated series while trying to keep us in the dark about the matter. The character in question is one of the minor antagonists in the film, John Daggett. If the name doesn’t sound familiar yet, allow us to adjust it slightly for you – Roland Daggett. How about now?
Roland Daggett was a corrupt businessman and enemy of Batman introduced in Batman: The Animated Series but he was deemed worthy of being on the big screen when The Dark Knight Rises came around. However, his name didn’t make the film along with his character. Whether they thought the name sucked and wasn’t Hollywood enough, or whether they were trying to cover up the fact they had borrowed the character from the cartoon, Roland was recreated as John. And they thought they could fool us!
7. Man of Steel – Blaze comics
Hardcore DC fans will instantly recognize the name Blaze Comics. Blaze Comics is a fictional publishing company in the DC universe who were known for publishing Booster Gold comics. Booster Gold is a long-standing member of the Justice League and a regular in the DC universe. He is a time traveler who uses his future technology and gadgets to fight crime; they give him abilities such as flight, power blasts, and advanced strength.
The reference to the hero was initially seen as an Easter egg that could be hinting at his role in a Justice League movie, but with the movie coming in 2017 it has now been confirmed he will not have a role in it. Furthermore, it seems it doesn’t point to a shared universe either. Director of the in-development Booster Gold movie, Greg Berlanti, has claimed the movie would not be part of a shared universe in connection with the other films. However, the hidden reference to Blaze Comics is still pretty cool.
6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Nicholsan Terminal & Port Company
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came with twice as many heroes, and twice as many hidden details, as your run of the mill DC movie. One such detail pays tribute to one of the most exciting and memorable portrayals of the Joker of all time. Yes, Jack Nicholson seems to get his own subtle shout-out in the film, although the scene it is in is so action-filled that you may have been completely oblivious to it.
If you play close attention in the epic car chase scene, there is a familiarly named building placed in the scene. The building that Batman’s famous Batmobile erupts out of is named the “Nicholson Terminal & Port Company.” Maybe it really is just a coincidence, but given the level of detail that is usually put into in the films and the level of intricacy there is to some of the Easter eggs, we’re pretty sure it’s legit. Especially considering the legacy Jack Nicholson has within all things Batman.
5. Green Lantern – Star Sapphire references
With the recent success of Marvel’s Deadpool, we think it is fairly safe to say Ryan Reynolds has moved on to bigger and better superhero films than the 2011 film Green Lantern. Although Green Lantern may not be the most iconic of DC films by far – in fairness, it has some very tough competition – that didn’t stop it continuing the tradition of sneaky secrets and comic book references.
Of particular note are its references to Star Sapphire. Some have even claimed that they might have had a sequel planned in which Star Sapphire would be a big focus. For those who aren’t familiar with the comics, Carol Ferris goes on to gain power and turn into Star Sapphire, who is actually quite nasty. This is referenced in the film by the symbol of the supervillain appearing on the helmet near the start of the movie. However, a sequel never materialized – some were disappointed, others relieved – and so we’re left to assume it was just a playful reference.
4. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – The Riddler Graffiti
The scenes in which our new favourite Batman, Ben Affleck (too premature?), is preparing a battle field for a big showdown contained an interesting little detail. Because of the way the scene was filmed, it was only on screen for a few quick flashes. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it detail could be described not just as a secret, but as a clue… or you could say a riddle. It is of course, one of the pieces of graffiti on the wall that seemingly belongs to the Riddler. The famous question mark, somewhat a calling card for the villain, may appear only briefly but it is enough to get us all speculating as to what it could mean.
It may be impossible to know that, but there is a chance that this little marking is a sign of what is to come in the DC cinematic universe. Perhaps more cruelly, it could just be there to keep us guessing as to what is happening next. You could say it has left us with a big looming question mark – literally.
3. Suicide Squad – Latin writing
Since the release of the trailers for Suicide Squad, fans have been analyzing every detail of every shot with a magnifying glass. And the rewards were fruitful since director David Ayer seemed to have delivered more Easter eggs than the Easter bunny himself. But it wasn’t always just DC references that were catching fans’ attention, as many thought-out details could be analyzed to give insight about the film. One such detail came in the form of writing in the shop window display. Yes, that shop window display that Harley Quinn steals a bag from the scene that was used to the death in the trailers.
The writing in the shop window is in Latin – but they’ve chose their words carefully. The writing actually translates into the phrase “if you want peace, prepare for war” – a rather fitting sentiment to the film’s plot. It is a principle through which the Suicide Squad was created – in order to eliminate threats, they got a group of bad guys together to fight down the threats.
2. Man of Steel – Weisinger School
It looks like Man of Steel just can’t stop freaking us out with its insane Easter eggs, but this one has to be by far the most obscure of the film – if not of all DC films. Although it might not be the most overwhelming revelation, it definitely gets points for how well-hidden it is in the film. Luckily for you, we have uncovered it already to save you missing out.
In a photo album within the film, a shot appears of a baby-faced Clark Kent winning a prize at school. The photo itself doesn’t seem anything exciting, but upon closer inspection there is an exciting detail to be revealed. In the background of the picture, there is a sign with “Weisinger Primary School” written on it. This school may ring a bell for you Superman fans out there, as it is named after the highly respected Superman editor Mort Weisinger, who created a large amount of the current Superman mythology way back in the 1950s and 1960s.
1. Suicide Squad – John F. Ostrander Federal Building
In one of the pivotal moments of the film, the Suicide Squad are making their way through Midway City in a search for their target. As the search picks up, they come to find their “high value target” in a building named the John F. Ostrander Federal Building. For those who are big on DC comics, this proves to be an interesting reference and a nice tribute. The name of the building is in reference to Ostrander, who is credited for reinventing the Squad into what they are today by shaking up the premise back in 1987.
He is not the only one who gets a tribute in the building, even though he is the only one with big lit-up letters on display. His tribute is probably the only one you’ll get a chance to catch in the shots too, as the others have been revealed via set photos. Each of the offices that surround the fight scene in the building belong to a series of familiar names, with the names of characters from the DC publisher and fictional universe being used. Now that’s what we call attention to detail.
Do you know any other DC secrets we might have missed? Don’t keep them to yourself, let us know in the comments!