One of the most impressive features in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been Marvel Studios’ ability to maintain an over-arching continuity in an ever-expanding sandbox of characters who populate a year-round schedule of film and television releases that have to both stand on their own and connect to one other.
But not every plan for the MCU goes on to be fully realized, and sometimes, Easter eggs tease the inclusion of characters or the exploration of storylines that don’t end up going anywhere. While it is frustrating for fans whenever Marvel alludes to something exciting only to ignore it later, we have to understand that, with every new release, it becomes increasingly harder for the studio to hold this universe together without cutting certain ties and abandoning a few ideas.
In a perfect world for Marvel fans, the MCU would have a flawless continuity that keeps building on top of previous releases, turning inconspicuous Easter eggs into fully realized storylines and new characters, and never has to negate or ignore something that has happened before. But in the real world, where different writers, directors, producers, and Intellectual Property rights are involved in each separate project, we cannot expect the Marvel Studios machine to realize all of its ideas.
These are 15 MCU Easter Eggs That Didn’t Go Anywhere.
15 THE INFINITY GAUNTLET IN ODIN’S VAULT - THOR
One of the biggest points of contention in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity was the location of the Infinity Gauntlet.
During the first Thor movie, fans were able to spot the Infinity Gauntlet sitting as a collectible piece secured inside of Odin’s vault. However, years later, during the post-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos was seen wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, even though there was certainly not a moment in the MCU in which Thanos visited Asgard to retrieve it.
The humorous tone in Thor: Ragnarok allowed Marvel to address this issue: the Infinity Gauntlet inside of Odin’s vault was a fake copy, which is a point Hela makes very clear as she makes her way inside Odin’s vault and pushes the gauntlet in Asgard to the floor, matter-of-factly labeling it as “fake.”
14 HOWARD THE DUCK - GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Marvel fans went wild after they saw Howard the Duck being featured in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy - so much so that the character was brought back for 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and plans of a standalone film for the character were discussed among comic book critics as a possibility.
Ultimately, however, Howard the Duck was just an Easter egg that didn’t really lead to anything, akin to Stan Lee’s plot-insignificant cameos in all the Marvel movies. Though James Gunn has previously discussed the possibility of developing Howard the Duck as a proper Marvel Cinematic Universe character, the writer/director seems to be more invested in shaping the Cosmic MCU, which will play a substantial role in the franchise after Avengers: Infinity War.
Sorry, Howard the Duck fans! It looks like the MCU is not interested.
13 PROWLER / MILES MORALES CONNECTION - HOMECOMING
As the Marvel Studios deal with Sony went through but Spider-Man: Homecoming was yet to be officially announced, Spider-Man fans seriously asked Marvel to consider leaving Peter Parker alone for a while and give Miles Morales a chance to shine as Spidey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As it became clear the Miles Morales pitch would not be heard and that Spider-Man fans would get a third cinematic adaptation of Peter Parker (but now included in the MCU), hopes concerning Morales’ inclusion in the franchise were quickly weakened. Little did everyone know that Aaron Davis – Donald Glover’s character in Homecoming that will possibly become the Prowler over time – would have a conversation with Peter where he mentions “a nephew” that fans quickly identified as Miles Morales.
However, as Peter Parker has just recently joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe and many sequels based on him are currently being planned, it is extremely unlikely that the Miles Morales Easter egg will be turned into anything more significant than a casual shout-out.
12 FIN FANG FOOM IN IRON MAN
In a particular scene in 2008’s Iron Man, a poster containing the image of dragon-looking extraterrestrial villain Fin Fang Foom was undeniably spotted in the background, opening the possibility for the character – which is a known antagonist to Iron Man – to be included in a future installment of the MCU. Fin Fang Foom was created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in a Strange Tales #89 comic book released in a period many call “pre-superhero Marvel.”
As Iron Man 2 focused on Whiplash and Iron Man 3 went with Aldrich Killian as the main villain, the Fin Fang Foom Easter egg turned out to have no bearing on the franchise, which disappointed some Marvel fans who wished to see him on the big screen fighting against Tony Stark.
11 BETA RAY BILL, ARES, AND BI-BEAST ON SAKAAR - RAGNAROK
As Thor finds himself on Sakaar and is forced to fight against the Hulk during the events of Thor: Ragnarok, viewers were able to see how the planet celebrates its fiercest warriors by engraving their faces on a great pillar that holds the coliseum where these fights take place.
And though the image of the Hulk is the most recognizable face among those that were engraved on the pillar, Marvel fans were quick to recognize other characters that were also featured on it: Beta Ray Bill, Ares, and Bi-Beast.
Unfortunately, however, Ragnarok did not feature a single one of these three other characters who, like the Hulk, were supposedly celebrated warriors on Sakaar. This could’ve been the perfect introduction to Beta Ray Bill, Ares, and Bi-Beast into the MCU, but ended up as a major missed opportunity.
10 JOCASTA - AGE OF ULTRON
It is generally agreed-upon that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a “villain problem.” Aside from Thor’s Loki, Jessica Jones' Kilgrave, Daredevil’s Kingpin, fans have historically felt indifferent toward villains in the MCU, and one of the greatest disappointments of all was Ultron, who did not meet the expectations set by audiences who were excited about Avengers: Age of Ultron.
That film, however, had quite an interesting Easter egg that could’ve maybe shaken things up. The name “Jocasta” was spotted in a laboratory scene, making a reference to Ultron’s Artificial Intelligence bride – a character that could’ve potentially joined him in Age of Ultron or succeeded him in a future installment of the franchise.
What happened instead, however, was nothing. The name Jocasta was teased, and then the MCU moved on without even trying to build on that idea in any way.
9 NAMOR - IRON MAN 2
In Iron Man 2, fans identified a S.H.I.E.L.D. map in the background of a particular scene (where Tony Stark is being debriefed by the agency) that seemed to pinpoint the existence of other superheroes who would later join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The map identifies the location of the Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer), the Hulk, and a frozen Captain America, which all turned out to be confirmed characters in the MCU that joined the fold during Phase 1.
More dubious, however, were the S.H.I.E.L.D. map’s pinpoints of locations in the Southwest of Africa – which we now know is Black Panther’s Wakanda – and in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The latter, fans assumed, had to do with Namor, but the character hasn’t been teased, mentioned, or addressed ever since that Iron Man 2 spotting - unlike Black Panther, who is headlining a standalone film in 2018.
8 THE ORIGINAL HUMAN TORCH
There was once a pre-Fantastic Four, non-Johnny Storm superhero called Human Torch, and he was an android. This original character was created by Marvel in 1939, and for nearly thirty years he was the one and only hero who went by that name. As the Fantastic Four version of the Human Torch (as Johnny Storm) became popular, the original character faded into the background, and it’s safe to assume that no one was expecting Marvel Studios to make allusions to him in a film.
Well, that was until Captain America: The First Avenger came out featuring a very clear appearance of the costume worn by the original, android Human Torch. Since Marvel Studios already hadn’t owned the movie rights to the Fantastic Four for a while, some fans speculated whether the MCU would bring this original Human Torch into the franchise. However, that Easter egg just turned out to be fruitless.
7 EXTREMIS / MAN-THING
A lot of the plot in Iron Man 3 had to do with Extremis, and Marvel decided to include the character Ellen Brandt as one of the test subjects of this new technology in the film. Then, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a mention of Man-Thing took place, and everything seemed to be pointing into the direction of properly introducing this couple into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But then nothing came of it. The MCU never followed up on developing any further storyline that involved Ellen Brandt and her husband Man-Thing, even though they are well-known characters in the comic books. The Extremis technology Brandt was involved with was contained to Iron Man 3, and the existence of Man-Thing ended up just being a reference made in passing.
6 PROJECT PEGASUS / PROJECT 42
During the events of the Civil War comic book storyline, Tony Stark develops something called Project Pegasus upon the signing of the Superhuman Registration Act. That project involved the creation of a prison known as Project 42, which was built to incarcerate super-powered criminals defeated by the Avengers team, in accordance with the new law.
In 2012’s The Avengers, one can easily spot the terms Project Pegasus and Project 42 showing up in a scene, and many expected that those concepts would be explored in the Captain America: Civil War installment. To the surprise of many, those ideas were never brought up by Tony Stark as the superheroes in the movie went on to sign the Sokovia Accords (the MCU equivalent to the Superhuman Registration Act).
5 ADVANCED IDEA MECHANICS (A.I.M.)
Much of the initial phases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe focused on S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra as over-arching organizations that played a big role in the franchise. More discreetly (but quite consistently), there was also the Roxxon Corporation; Marvel Comics’ analog to the real-world oil company Exxon, which was featured time and time again in various scenes of movies and TV shows in the MCU.
But how about A.I.M.? Advanced Idea Mechanics appeared in Iron Man 3 as the company owned by Aldrich Killian. In the Marvel comic books, A.I.M. is a well-known evil corporation that has been historically associated with Hydra. As the MCU decided to put an end to the official continuation of Hydra, it seemed fitting that an organization such as A.I.M. would replace it as an entrepreneurial menace to the franchise’s heroes.
But instead, the inclusion of A.I.M. turned out to just be an insignificant Easter Egg.
4 THE LEADER
Besides the original Iron Man, there was another (often forgotten) movie release in 2008 that is technically still canon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner.
While the film went on to become one of the storylines that Marvel Studios would rather have you forget, there is a particular Easter egg in the film that showed a lot of promise and left fans upset as it wasn’t followed-up on.
By the end of The Incredible Hulk, Samuel Sterns is seen transforming into what is expected to become The Leader, one of the Hulk’s most infamous enemies of all time. But as that movie never got a sequel and, by 2012, The Avengers had completely revamped its adaptation of the Hulk (with Mark Ruffalo), it became clear that the introduction of The Leader to the franchise was not happening anymore.
3 DAMAGE CONTROL
In 2015, Disney-owned network ABC ordered a pilot for a Damage Control comedy series that would be centered around this construction company in the Marvel universe that keeps cleaning up the mess left by superheroes. As the company was prominently featured in Spider-Man: Homecoming and got a mention in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., fans of the MCU believed that plans for the TV show had advanced, and that a release date for the series would be promptly announced.
Well, apparently everybody was wrong. Talks of Damage Control are pretty much non-existent at this point, leading audiences to believe that this company will just exist in the background of MCU films and remain as an unsubstantial Easter egg, only making appearances when the plot requires a “clean-up” company to be involved in a storyline, as it was the case in Homecoming.
2 DOCTOR NICODEMUS WEST
As Stephen Strange finds himself in serious need of a hand surgery during the events of Doctor Strange, it is a Doctor Nicodemus West who operates on him – a name that fans might definitely recognize from comic books.
In the comics, Nicodemus West is a longtime fan of Stephen Strange’s, and goes on to train with the Ancient One and challenge Doctor Strange as a fully-fledged villain. While his inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe gave hope to some who wish to see him become a major antagonist in the franchise, the development of this character seems extremely unlikely, especially as the Doctor Strange film willfully chose to spend time developing Mordo (who was previously an ally) as the potential villain Stephen Strange will have to face next.
The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spent an enormous amount of time and energy teasing what many fans assumed would be the inclusion of the alien race Skrulls into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show constantly came back to the phrase “embrace the change,” which is clearly a reference to the Skrulls, and even featured the Skrull alphabet in various writings and formulas seen on whiteboards and walls of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As the series went on, however, it seemed like plans changed, and the Skrulls were never actually introduced to the MCU in the way that most expected. All the teasing that took place in season 1 was, for the most part, completely ignored in seasons 2 and beyond. As the third season turned its attention to exploring the Inhumans and the fourth season added Ghost Rider to the mix, it feels like the Skrulls were definitely tentative Easter eggs that, in the end, didn’t go anywhere. They will, however, make their big screen appearance in Captain Marvel.
Are there any other MCU Easter eggs that led nowhere? Let us know in the comments!
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