By now Marvel movie fans have come to expect not only a worthwhile adventure from the studio's superhero films, but a significant dose of comic book nods, references to the decades of Marvel history, as well as teases and hints of what's still to come. Promising to bring a longstanding Avengers foe to the big screen in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, writer/director Joss Whedon did not disappoint.
Needless to say, there will be SPOILERS in our list of Avengers: Age of Ultron trivia, so read at your own risk.
Hawkeye's New Threads
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken more than a few leads from Marvel Comics' 'Ultimate' universe, particularly as it applies to the Avengers. But where the super-team's initial film saw Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) pull his costume almost entirely from the Ultimate variant, Age of Ultron sees him sport a new look, pulling influences from his original purple outfit, as well as his time spent under the moniker of 'Ronin.'
The upgrade allowing Cap to retrieve his shield with the use of magnets may seem like movie magic, but it actually dates back to the original comics, in which a similar trick was used, again crafted by Tony Stark for his star-spangled ally.
Grand Central Monument
The signature statue of New York's Grand Central Station, "Transportation" designed by French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan unfortunately met its demise (or at least the likeness of Greek God Hermes) when crashed into by a Chitauri Leviathan during Avengers' Battle of New York. Age of Ultron reveals Avengers Tower to be newly constructed, along with Grand Central's statue - now depicting a tribute to the first responders who came to their city's aid.
Dr. Helen Cho
The brilliant Helen Cho may take the spotlight in the film -both for her advances in human healing as well as the melding of human tissue with artificial intelligence - but in the comics, it's her son Amadeus who plays a pivotal role. As an incredibly brilliant young mathematician, Amadeus ended up devoting his powers to the side of Marvel's greatest heroes, though his presence in the MCU seems a long shot for now.
Stan Lee Cameo
As always, legendary Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee supplies a cameo, this time as a veteran looking to test his drinking prowess with 1,000 year old Asgardian liquor. The booze proves too much for the man, but he does get to shout out his signature catchphrase: "Excelsior!"
Fans of Thor's brother and regular nuisance, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) will recognize that Age of Ultron marks the first time that the god of thunder appears without his brother in tow - having shared the screen in Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. Even more startling is the fact that Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is nowhere to be seen, marking the first time Tony Stark has appeared without her in five Marvel movies.
During the Avengers' 'wrap party,' Sam Wilson a.k.a. 'Falcon' (Anthony Mackie) tells Steve he doesn't mind being left out of the superhero action, since the 'missing persons case' is keeping him busy. Those who saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier can surmise who he's referring to: Bucky Barnes, disappearing before the film's close, with Steve intent on tracking his old friend down.
'If She Be Worthy'
When the crowds at San Diego Comic-Con got an early peek at how the Avengers spend their downtime - attempting to prove they are 'worthy' of picking up Thor's Hammer, Mjolnir - it was Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) who passed, claiming "that's not a question I need answered." Funnily enough, an alternate comic timeline (Earth-23223) saw Thor killed, ushering in Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. It was in that disaster that Black Widow was found worthy of the hammer, becoming the new goddess of thunder.