Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame
It's finally upon us. The launch of Avengers: Endgame brings the first age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a close - and a brand new batch of Easter eggs and franchise callbacks and comic references. The world's love for Marvel's heroes only continues to grow, which means the cast and crew of Endgame now have the chance to bury not only comic book secrets into their films, but layer after layer of MCU connections, too. That means twice as many moments of fan service with Marvel Comic nods, character cameos, shared universe connections and references even the biggest of fans might miss.
The Russo Brothers made sure to make the Avengers' ultimate mission and 'last hurrah' an all-out celebration of Marvel's Cosmic history for fans. The Infinity War may have crushed the Avengers' hopes of saving the day, but their mission to 'avenge the fallen' is fantastic news for the audience. We've collected the very best Endgame Easter eggs, secret backstories, inside jokes, and huge Marvel Cinematic Universe hints that fans could have overlooked - and are breaking them all down here.
So with one final SPOILER warning, let's get started. Here are the 30 Things You Missed in Avengers: Endgame.
30 Hawkeye's Daughter
There’s no question that the opening scene of Endgame will give Hawkeye fans a special treat. Until the pre-snap sequence breaks their heart, Clint is helping his daughter Lila Barton train up in her archery skills (and she shows some talent, hitting a bullseye before being turned to dust along with her brother and mother). While passing on the "Hawkeye" name will give fans a taste of the upcoming TV series, in which Clint passes on the Hawkeye name and hero moniker to Kate Bishop (his successor in the comics), the actress playing the part is also a bit of an inside joke.
The part of Lila Barton is played by Ava Russo, daughter to director Joe Russo, whose other daughter Sophia previously played a teenage girl in Captain America: Civil War.
29 Director Joe Russo's Cameo
Sticking with director Joe Russo for a moment, the support group scene which introduces audiences to the world post-snap should be watched closely for a few reasons, as well. On the one hand, fans can have their hearts warmed when they realize that with Sam vanished in Infinity War, Steve Rogers has apparently taken over his job of helping others (as Sam suggested might be helpful when the pair spoke about combat overseas in Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
But one of the attendees will stand out from the others, since he’s director Joe Russo in a cameo. Russo had previously appeared as Nick Fury’s surgeon in Winter Soldier as well, so fans can decide whether they are intended to be the same character, or merely another chance for the director to get in front of the camera.
28 The Creator of Thanos Finally Gets a Cameo
While most of the attendees of Steve Rogers’ support group (struggling to deal with the task of moving on despite half of the world having turned to dust) all blend together, except of course director Joe Russo’s extended dialogue, one character does stand out. While cutting between the members responding to Cap’s input, one older man in the group is held in frame for longer than the others. He may look familiar to some, but his creations are now known to the entire world.
The man is Jim Starlin, writer of the original Infinity Gauntlet comic book, and the man largely responsible for turning Thanos into the cosmic Titan that the movie version is based on. His influence is felt throughout the cosmic side of the MCU, so it’s only right he should officially join it himself.
27 Ant-Man Lives in The '616'
After being stranded in the Quantum Realm since the post-credits scene of Ant-Man and The Wasp, fans didn’t know how long Scott Lang would truly be lost. Thankfully, Endgame reveals that what felt like years was actually just a matter of hours. The passage of time is a mystery, just like the possible intervention of a heroic rat bringing Scott back into the normal world. But that’s not what fans should be watching for.
The abandoned van in long term storage will need to be searched in future viewings, but one thing audiences can spot is that it’s stored in the lock-up labeled "616" – an impossible to miss reference to Earth-616, the version of our planet that the heroes of Marvel Comics occupy in the larger Multiverse.
26 Yes, That's Ken Jeong in a Cameo
The directors Anthony and Joe Russo have made plenty of room for cameo roles, calling on cast members from Community to round out the background characters of the MCU (a TV series which had the brothers behind the camera for many acclaimed episodes). And when Scott Lang returns to his van in a basically abandoned storage locker, they drop one of their most well-known collaborators… but fans probably won’t recognize him.
Even if they think that the security officer hidden behind a crude disguise actually is Ken Jeong, the fact that he never speaks may make it seem like a long shot, since he is arguably the most recognizable Community cast member to claim an MCU role. But his appearance is all viewers will have to go on, making it one of the best such Easter Eggs for Russo fans.
25 Another Type of 'End Game'
There’s one other secret detail worth noting when the camera cuts to Ken Jeong’s security guard character, but it’s a bit of a deeper cut than even devoted Marvel fans will care to research. Yet every MCU fan knows that when a character is shown reading a book, the question of which book is the first one they should be asking. In this case, it’s The Terminal Beach, a collection of short stories by British author J. G. Ballard.
While most well-known for his novel Empire of the Sun, along with Crash and High-Rise – all of which have been adapted into films or TV series – Ballard is acclaimed for his variety of short stories. And, no surprise, The Terminal Beach includes one in which a condemned man lies out his life comfortably, completely unaware of when his execution will arrive. The title? "End-Game."
24 Pepper & Tony's Daughter Morgan
Despite running into some relationship troubles thanks to Tony's PTSD in Iron Man 3, both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War showed that Tony and Pepper Potts were well on their way towards a happy ending. A happy ending that included a child (a biological one, not a surrogate son like Peter Parker). When Tony and Pepper enter the story of Infinity War, Tony shares a dream in which Pepper and he already had a son. Not only that, but the child was named after Pepper's eccentric uncle, 'Morgan' - a name officially bestowed upon the pair's daughter in Endgame.
The name holds special meaning for fans of Iron Man comics. Morgan Stark wasn't Tony's son, but his cousin, at least in the classic comics. Originally introduced as the scheming son of Howard Stark's brother, later comics would see Morgan's jealousy towards Tony transform him into the supervillain Ultimo, operating a massive mechanical monster. Hopefully this female version of Morgan will, ironically, face a brighter future (even if it's one in which half the universe died and was brought back five years later).
23 Pepper's RESCUE Armor
When Tony Stark first introduces his daughter Morgan into the MCU, the bombshell idea of seeing his and Pepper’s child may distract some fans from the setup of another armored warrior in the MCU. The helmet that Morgan appears doesn’t belong to her, but a special present that Tony is working on for Pepper. A suit of armor that Marvel fans know will turn her into RESCUE, her own superhero alter ego from the comics (a surprise somewhat spoiled when Gwyneth Paltrow took a photo of herself in the armor).
Fans had hoped to see Pepper Potts don her own suit and identity for years, and came close when Pepper wielded part of the Iron Man suit in Iron Man 3. But in the final battle she makes her debut, fittingly, coming to the rescue of the Avengers. The color scheme is a perfect match for the version made popular in Marvel’s Iron Man Armored Adventures animated series.
22 Tonsberg, The New Asgard
The Norwegian city of Tønsberg truly owes the Marvel cinematic Universe some tourism money at this point, now that Avengers: Endgame reveals the seaside town to be not only Thor’s new home on Earth, but what remains of Asgard. The sign welcoming Banner and Rocket Raccoon into the town proclaims it has also been designated "New Asgard." Which is fitting, if fans remember the movie history of the location.
Not only was Tønsberg the site where Odin led his war against the Frost Giants on Earth in the prologue of the first Thor movie, it was also the place where Johann Schmidt a.k.a. Red Skull discovered the Tesseract. Fans didn’t know that the ‘Cosmic Cube’ was actually an Infinity Stone back then, but at this point we’re just assuming the residents of Tønsberg (in reality a city of over 40,000) know every bit of the MCU’s history.
21 Hulk-A-Hulk-A-Burning-Fudge Ice Cream
After missing two full years of Earth time fighting in the gladiator pits of Sakaar, Dr. Bruce Banner had plenty to catch up on when he returned to the planet at the beginning of The Avengers: Infinity War. Aside from the breakup of the Avengers, Banner also discovered that he had a new flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream named after him. Well, technically, named after his green half.
We can’t begin to imagine what Hulk-A-Hulk-A-Burning-Fudge would taste like, although it’s apparently better than Tony Stark’s "Raving" tribute. Thankfully the scene of the remaining Avengers sharing meals includes a shot of Hulk diving into a massive tub of the dessert, meaning he too is a fan of the Hulk-inspired creation. We hope… otherwise that’s just a bit tacky.
20 'Professor Hulk' Joins The MCU... With a Twist
Marvel fans have guessed for some time that the movies were building Bruce Banner and the Hulk towards some form of a shared identity. In the comics, the two managed to find common ground in the formation of a new, third form, dubbed ‘Professor Hulk.’ As Bruce explains in Avengers: Endgame, it’s a version of themselves that combines Hulk’s brute strength and invulnerability with Bruce Banner’s intellect and self-control.
In the comics that Professor Hulk was actually a distinct character, while the movie casts aside most of the idea of Banner and Hulk as separate beings. Instead, Bruce found a way to sort of… half-transform into Hulk. Possessing more of his natural appearance, voice, and mind. While still being green and almost impossible to kill, obviously.
19 Hawkeye Becomes Ronin
As the only true ‘family man’ of the Avengers film franchise, Clint Barton’s wife and children were revealed as part of Avengers: Age of Ultron, helping to raise the stakes for his character, in particular. That makes it all the more heartbreaking to consider what he lost in the snap of Thanos’ fingers. When the first whispers of Hawkeye becoming an avenging angel began to surface, fans knew exactly what would cause his fall…
In the opening scene of Avengers: Endgame the worst comes true, as fans watch while Clint’s family is erased. He responds by donning a black and yellow costume, a mask and hood, and a samurai sword to kill killers around the globe. A not so subtle transformation into Ronin, the masked moniker he took on following the comic book Civil War, but a faithful adaptation all the same.
18 Captain Marvel's Modern Haircut
For a regular movie, the fan base coming out of the theater wanting to talk about the height of characters’ hair might be a bad thing. For Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, it’s actually called out on screen by Rocket Raccoon. But for fans of Marvel Comics, the change from Carol’s ‘90s hair to a short up-do is perfectly in keeping with her modern character re-design.
While neither her origin movie nor Endgame explain why she’s able to breathe in space, it’s obvious that she no longer needs a full face mask or partial helmet to pull off space flight. As a result, she no longer needs to worry about a hairstyle that would be beaten down by a helmet. The answer? A short, seriously coiffed cut that might deserve a supporting cast nod all on its own.
17 There Might Be a Hint of Namor & Atlantis
With the world more broken than ever before and only half of the heroes left alive to keep the pieces together, Black Widow has taken it upon herself to organize what’s left into an overseeing task force. But in the scene where her teammates communicate via holographic projection (first seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) the movie may also drop a hint of another, aquatic superhero in the MCU’s future.
When it’s revealed that a massive seismic incident has occurred along the ocean floor, the action plan offered by Okoye is… well, to do nothing. As it stands, the Avengers aren’t really built to handle "earthquakes at the bottom of the ocean." But it seems odd to mention the home of Marvel’s Atlantis in potential crisis, and a disaster that only Namor the Sub-Mariner could address. It might be a stretch, but so was the Wakanda Easter Egg in Iron Man 2, and look where that ended up.
16 "Hail Hydra"
The Avengers traveling back to the events of their previous movies is a premise filled with small gags and callbacks (like audiences first enjoyed in Back to the Future). For Steve Rogers, it means the opportunity to fight himself during the events of The Avengers. But it also means the chance to homage one of Cap’s greatest fight scenes to date: the elevator ambush in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Only this time around, it’s to give Steve the upper hand. Since he knows everyone present in Agent Sitwell’s team are Hydra sleeper agents, he whispers “Hail Hydra” to fool them into thinking he’s on their side. While it serves the movie’s plot first, it’s worth mentioning the comic book version that stirred up controversy when Captain America revealed he was Hydra all along by uttering the same phrase (the Hydra mantra).
15 The Shawarma Scene is Avengers Canon
What began as an offhand joke by Tony Stark in the first Avengers movie eventually became a delight to fans after the movie’s credits. We’re referring, of course, to the Avengers’ group meal of shawarma, after they managed to defeat Loki and the invading Chitauri army in New York City. The audience was treated to a short clip of the Avengers cast silently enjoying shawarma… and now Avengers: Endgame has worked the scene into the MCU timeline. When the Avengers descend their tower, fans may be too focused on Tony’s attempts to hijack the Tesseract to listen to the past version.
If they do, they will hear Tony and Thor explain to S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Pierce that "where they’re headed" is to take in some lunch, and then on to Asgard. This puts the shawarma scene into the timeline between Loki’s defeat and their gathering to send him home in shackles. Which begs the question… where was Loki while they were filling their stomachs?
14 The Stan Lee Cameo
The Marvel movies have ranged from obvious to subtle and poetic when it comes to Stan Lee cameos, and Endgame’s means of paying tribute to the comic icon definitely falls into the 'fans will notice it' variety. As the first Avengers film to include a glimpse of Lee after his passing, audiences may be pleased to see one of the most outrageous cameos yet. After Doctor Strange got trippy, and Ant-Man and The Wasp basically alluded to acid flashbacks for the elderly Lee, Avengers: Endgame once again waves the ‘hippie’ flag proudly.
Lee appears driving past Camp Lehigh with a female friend, proclaiming to the military base that they should "make love, not war" with a bumper sticker shouting his 'Nuff Said!' slogan. The license plate also includes the number "420" because… well, it was 1970.
13 The Last Community Cameo?
Tony and Steve’s plan to travel back to 1970 and steal the Tesseract from government custody (before accidentally allowing Loki to steal it just after The Avengers) is a solid one, as plans go. Unfortunately they don’t realize until they are actually on site that to the employees of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, the face of Captain America might be a little familiar. However, it ends up being Tony Stark’s facial hair that is the real tipoff for one suspicious woman.
The woman is perhaps better known to audiences as ‘Shirley,’ yet another cameo from a Community alum. This time being played by actress Yvette Nicole Brown, in what might end up being the last of its kind now that Anthony and Joe Russo have decided to step away from Marvel Studios.
12 Cap's Secret Identity: 'Roscoe (Simons?)'
Fans can debate the effectiveness of any disguise worn by Captain America, but in army uniform, it’s not impossible to believe that another soldier could have the body or looks of Steve Rogers. But make no mistake, Marvel fans: Steve’s choice of disguise is no coincidence. According to the name on his dress shirt as he’s picking his way through camp Lehigh with Tony, he’s undercover as "Roscoe" – which is a key name in the Captain America legacy.
It refers back to Steve’s time out of the Captain America identity. While Infinity War paid homage to Steve’ Nomad persona, the name her refers to the man who stepped up to replace Steve as Cap (one of them, anyway). The man was Roscoe Simons… who is perhaps best known for being tortured, killed, and put on display by Red Skull. Not a happy story for Roscoe, but a fitting tribute all the same.
11 Ant-Man's Vintage Helmet
As part of the Ant-Man movie’s story, it was required that Hank Pym’s original Ant-Man suit and technology be more or less identical to the one that Scott Lang stumbles across. The version of Scott in Endgame has the newer model, but because the film never dove into Hank’s prototype phase in the 1960s, there was never a chance to see how his designs actually began. Until now.
Well, fans at least get a good look at his first attempt at a helmet. The shiny chrome helmet can be seen on Hank’s workbench before Steve Rogers calls him to get him out of his laboratory. It’s a dead ringer for his first comic book version of the Ant-Man helmet (and a seriously far cry from where he eventually took the technology).
10 Tony Stark Gets His Last Words With His Father
While the movie is a team-up film in every sense of the word, the story, like the entire Marvel movie universe, begins with Tony Stark. And thankfully, his visit to Camp Lehigh in 1970 ends up letting him meet his father before he ever came into his life as a son. Fans are sure to have their favorite moments of their entire scenes together, but one key detail shouldn’t be missed. Back in Captain America: Civil War, fans got to see Tony’s last conversation with his mother and father, before leaving young Tony for what would be their deaths at the hands of the Winter Soldier.
As they leave, Tony’s mother tells him to say something nice to his father, and he does. But the sentiment, “I love you Dad. And I know you did the best you could,” is revealed to be a fantasy. As the real Tony says, “that’s how I wish it happened.” When saying goodbye to his father this time around, Tony gets to tell him in person.
9 Thanos Breaks Captain America's Shield
The image of Captain America’s shield broken into pieces first appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as part of a nightmare vision shown to Tony Stark by Scarlet Witch. It was used as a symbol for total defeat, but in Avengers: Endgame, it becomes something more. For Cap, even a shattered shield can’t stop him from fighting. The real Easter Egg is how it gets broken. We won’t dive into the feasibility of Thanos hacking his way through a vibranium shield with his own weapon, and simply point to the comics.
It’s a rare moment from Infinity Gauntlet recreated almost perfectly, where Thanos also reduced the shield to splinters just by slashing away at Steve. The movie version still ends up with a cool half-shield, but the imagery is as powerful as ever.
8 Captain America is Worthy of Mjolnir
Back in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it seemed downright impossible that anybody but Thor would ever be able to lift the hammer Mjolnir. In fact, that assumption was used for a laugh when Vision passed it to the god of thunder, beginning the debate of whether or not the idea of “being worthy” extended to artificial beings. But nobody, least of all Thor, forgot how the hammer slightly shifted when Steve Rogers tried to lift it after a cocktail party in Avengers Tower.
In Avengers: Endgame that tease is made good on, with Steve Rogers lifting it overhead and wielding the powers of lightning. Captain America has used the hammer a number of times over Marvel history, but rarely in as pure a fashion as in Endgame. Nobody should be surprised… Thor sure isn’t.
7 Captain America Stands Against Thanos Alone
Every single member of the audience will remember the first moment that the deceased heroes realized Cap was in need of their help, and began to filter into the New York battlefield from Wakanda and Titan. But the moment leading up to that assembly is one of the most long awaited references to the original Infinity Gauntlet comic. When all the heroes have fallen… and only Captain America remains to stand on his feet.
The image of Cap confidently striding up to Thanos, and telling him that so long as one man stands opposing him, Thanos can never claim he has won. The movie cuts the dialogue and puts an army behind Thanos, but the power and meaning of Cap marching to the front line all by himself remains completely intact.
6 You Got It, Cap
The Wasp may only play a small role in Avengers: Endgame, but a small moment between her, Scott, and Steve Rogers should be enough to delight fans of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly’s MCU franchise. After Wasp and Ant-Man have been pulled in for a mission of their own – to get the van-sized quantum tunnel back online and send the Infinity Stones back to their original times – Steve sends the team into action. It’s then that Wasp shoots out a supportive, determined, "We’re on it, Cap." She and Scott share a meaningful look followed by a smile.
It’s a moment that will be lost on fans who don’t remember the pair’s exchange in Ant-Man and The Wasp, when Scott apologized for not inviting Hope along to fight in Captain America: Civil War. Referring to him as "Cap," Hope points it out with a smirk. Scott tells her (flustered) that "Cap" is what his friends call him.
5 Iron Man 3's Kid Sidekick Harley
Given how iconic a hero and leader Tony Stark turned out to be among the Marvel community (whether he ever intended to be or not) it’s no surprise that so many of the MCU’s heroes turn out for his funeral. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, S.H.I.E.L.D., and even General “Thunderbolt” Ross. But one teenager standing by himself is sure to puzzle a few viewers.
It’s a reminder that a long time has passed between Endgame and Iron Man 3, but the then-young Harley Keener clearly never forgot the generosity of Tony Stark. Played by actor Ty Simpkins, Harley remains one of the best characters to ever deflect Tony’s trademark snark and sarcasm right back at him.
4 The Asgardians of The Galaxy
After Thor leaves the remainder of Asgard under the protection of their new Queen… well, whatever name Valkyrie chooses to take, we suppose, he finds a new home aboard the Benatar with Rocket, Star-Lord, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy crew. At least, until he finds a new mission of his own. Slapping Star-Lord on the shoulder and noting they have now become the "Asgardians of the Galaxy," their slow wrestle for control of the team begins almost immediately.
Marvel Comic fans know that the Asgardians of the Galaxy are actually another standalone team of heroes. The name is likely just a nod for comic fans, since that team’s roster includes Thor’s sister Angela, another Valkyrie, the Frog Thor, Skurge (killed in Ragnarok) and more. But don’t count on seeing them in the MCU just yet.
3 Old Captain America Passes The Torch
It’s a fitting end to Steve Rogers’ role in the MCU, and Chris Evans’ time as Captain America that the closing scenes of the movie should focus on the love of his life Peggy Carter, and the life that they finally got to share together. The technology is jaw-dropping to turn the youthful Evans into a century-old man, but the means of making a comic book story so much more emotional is the real wonder. In the comics, natural aging eventually came for Steve Rogers as well.
In that version of the story Steve had the super soldier serum removed from his blood by a villain, allowing time to wither away his strength into the age he actually should be. It was then that he passed on the shield to his replacement, Sam Wilson. The movie manages the same, while giving Steve the happy ending he always deserved.
2 Steve & Peggy's Song
After Captain America: The First Avenger ended with Steve waking up in the modern world and lamenting that he “had a date,” it only seems right to conclude the story of these Avengers by making sure that he made it after all. But if the scene of Steve and Peggy slow dancing and sharing a kiss in their home isn’t heartwarming enough, the song they’re dancing too is too perfect for words. “It’s Been a Long Long Time” may mean more to Steve than Peggy, but the lyrics alone are practically written for these reunited lovers.
Kiss me once, then kiss me twice/Then kiss me once again/It's been a long, long time/Haven't felt like this, my dear/Since I can't remember when/It's been a long, long time/You'll never know how many dreams/I've dreamed about you/ Or just how empty they all seemed without you…
1 The Iron Man Clang in The Credits
There may be no better way to tell fans that the Marvel Universe they watched develop has truly come to its conclusion than to have a post-credits scene teasing… nothing at all. There is no Avengers: Endgame post-credits scene awaiting fans, but there is a small Easter Egg. As the music fades and the last credits roll, the audio fades in of a hammer clanking against an anvil. That’s the sound effect of Tony Stark hammering together his first suit of armor and the arc reactor to keep him alive, as a reminder of how this all began. One man, in a cave, with nothing but a box of scraps.
Those are all the Easter Eggs, Marvel Comic references, inside jokes, and secret details that we could find in Avengers: Endgame, but there are sure to be more as the days, weeks, and months ahead reveal more and more. If we've missed any, be sure to let us know in the comments!