[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Deadpool.]
With each new film in a superhero or comic book universe, there comes a wide variety of inside jokes, homages, nods to the comics, and even celebrity cameos aimed squarely at the comic book crowd. Since it's the sense of humor and fourth-wall-breaking nature of Deadpool that made him a compelling character to begin with, it's no surprise that his solo film had almost too many references or easter eggs to count.
Considering how veiled, subtle, or niche some of star Ryan Reynolds' references really were - and given the speed with which some of them are delivered - we thought it worthwhile to break down the truly hidden or nuanced bits of trivia for fans. Whether you're a diehard fan of Wade Wilson, or just a casual movie fan who would like to see how many jokes and one-liners they completely missed, we hope our list is exactly what you're looking for.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of SPOILERS in our list of Deadpool Easter Eggs & Hidden References.
The nods to the comic book creators are plentiful, and it doesn't take long for the crew to start throwing them around. The movie opens on a slow-motion pan through a tumbling SUV, with a coffee cup clearly visible floating through the air. The camera tracks close enough for audiences to catch the "Rob L." written on the outside of the cup, but some may not realize it's a reference to comic writer and artist Rob Liefeld, who co-created Deadpool more than two decades ago (don't worry, more cameos are still coming).
The First Green Lantern Shot
Fans knew that there were going to be some shots taken at the expense of Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds' previous attempt at bringing a beloved comic book character to life. Surprisingly, the jokes aren't cruel in any way, and the first throwaway laugh comes in the same opening sequence. One of Deadpool's victims' wallets is seen floating through the SUV, with what looks to be a collectible card of a man in a Green Lantern costume (and grinning ear to ear). The suit isn't distinguishable as GL (since the rights would probably be hard to wrestle), but the joke lands all the same.
On top of the card and coffee cup, a tube of Hello Kitty lip balm is also tumbling along with the SUV's occupants during the title cards. It's safe to assume that Wade brought it with him into the car, since his affection for the Japanese brand - which somehow makes complete sense - was earlier established by the movie's official Twitter feed. As the sole Twitter account being followed by the mercenary's online crew, the appearance here is a joke with a suprising number of levels.
Someone Order a Pizza?
Ryan Reynolds makes his un-costumed debut in the movie in an unconventional way, having broken into a stranger's apartment and ordered a pizza to their door - before carrying out the job he was hired for. The scene is immediately familiar to comic readers, since it's pulled straight from the pages of Deadpool #10 (2012). Unfortunately for the pizza boy (here Gavin instead of Jeremy), Wade really did end up killing him as part of his contract. So the movie version is actually a softened, sugarcoated one, it seems.
It's hard to look away from the non-stop one-liners from Reynolds in that same scene, but get an eyeful of the pizza box. Despite the mustached Italian chef on the outside of the box, it's clearly shown to have been ordered from "Famous Feige's" - an overt reference to Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige. Despite Deadpool being made at Fox, that was actually where Feige got his start in the genre, having produced X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man 2, and even Blade: Trinity. Hard to say which job landed him the cardboard cameo, but it's a sweet touch all the same.
Sister Margaret's School
When the other mercenaries and contract killers in Wade's line of work need to find a job, or just kick back, drink some beers, play some pool, and crack some skulls, they head to the ironically named 'Sister Margaret's Home for Wayward Girls.' It fits perfectly with the humor of the movie, but Sister Margaret's is actually the nickname given to the bar in the pages of "Deadpool" comics. It's officially titled the Hellhouse, with the owner and contract dispatcher, 'Patch' having been combined into the character of Wade's trusted ally, Weasel (T.J. Miller).
"Meeting New and Exciting People..."
When recounting his days spent serving in the Special Forces, Wade lets Weasel know that it wasn't all bad, since he got to "travel the world"; his friend completes the sentence for him, already aware that he traveled to "exotic places to meet new, exciting people... and then kill them." He doesn't actually reveal how he knows what Wade was going to say, but movie fans with good memories don't need him to - it's dialogue lifted directly from X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
When Wade actually enters the bar, he greets two patrons at the end of the bar: the big, burly 'Buck' is first, followed by a much less enthused greeting offered to 'Liefeld.' Yes, once again, that's co-creator Rob Liefeld getting the nod, and a cameo as one of the bar's patrons on top of it. It's safe to assume that plenty of other writers got their chance to appear in one form or another in the bar, but fans may have a hard time telling fact from assumption. For instance: is the server named 'Kelly' a nod to famed "Deadpool" writer Joe Kelly, or just a random woman's name? We might never know...
Vanessa Carlysle a.k.a. Copycat
The movie focuses on Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) as the true love of Wade Wilson, but the comics told a very different story. Vanessa Carlysle was also known as Copycat, a mutant capable of shape-shifting. The movie doesn't come close to approaching the idea - perhaps in a sequel? - but she does allude to the power when taken hostage by Ajax. She claims that she's played a lot of parts in her life, but a damsel in distress isn't one of them. Only time will tell just how literal she was being...
Long before fans knew that the Deadpool movie would be guaranteed to land an R rating, Ryan Reynolds and the crew had some fun with the announcement. Aside from Reynold teasing a PG-13 rating on April Fool's Day, he also appeared in an Extra interview with Mario Lopez. Lopez regretted the interview, since he wound up knocked unconscious/murdered by Deadpool in costume. Apparently, Wade actually feels guilty: during the short break in Wade and Vanessa's marathon love affair, Wade can be seen reading "Just Between Us," Lopez's memoir.
The original script for Deadpool had him singing along to Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" while waiting for Ajax and his crew to pass beneath him, but the finished film took a different route. Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop" still keeps the same sense of humor alive, but comes with an added detail. The group's hit single was released in 1993, the same year that Deadpool got his very own comic book series.
When the first test footage leaked, fans of Deadpool reacted with so much enthusiasm and excitement, Fox greenlit the movie almost overnight. It’s director Tim Miller and his effects team to thank for that, since the test reel’s combat was so convincing, most of it made it into the finished movie (in live action). Rob Liefeld got a direct shout out in that test reel, but the when Deadpool first emerges from his crashed vehicle on the freeway, the street signs in the background feature yet another nod, mainly to the other co-creator, Fabian Nicieza.
Along with the other street signs, there's also a turn-off for Parker Blvd. clearly marked. There's only one famous Parker in the world of Marvel Comics (Peter, better known as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man), so it's likely not a coincidence. Considering how many other references to Spider-Man Wade actually makes in the rest of the movie, seeing a nod this subtle is actually pretty refreshing.
"Mansion Blowing Up Builds Character"
As Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus are heading out to intercept Deadpool, the moody teen makes reference to the fact that the Xavier School is regularly being blown to pieces. Colossus seems to agree that it happens a bit too often, but still builds character. Apparently, the destruction shown in the trailers for X-Men: Apocalypse wasn't the only time tragedy befell the beloved school. Still, we can only hope that the three decades since Apocalypse and Deadpool have seen more peace than turmoil for the school's grounds. Then again, seeing how the X-Men universe is already changing, we wouldn't count on it.
A Quippy Canuck
Fans might not know it, but there's something that star Ryan Reynolds has in common with Deadpool beyond their impressive physique and knack for humor: they're both Canadian. The exact birthplace of Deadpool isn't officially known, but it did give the actor some opportunities to sprinkle in a bit of Canadian humor. Aside from his golf commentary centering on a player from "the city that rhymes with fun" - Regina, Saskatchewan - Wade uses his hand being pulverized against Colossus' face as an opportunity to sing the first lyrics to Canada's anthem, "O.... Canada!"
References to the character's last appearance in X-Men Origins were bound to be made, and the amount of times that Wade Wilson's character is threatened to have his lips sewn shut (or promising that "his lips are sealed") is just one outlet. But what good is subtlety? Instead of keeping the reference somewhat quiet, a small toy version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine's take on Deadpool makes an appearance as Wade discusses his most prized possession - thankfully, the figure is a diversion, since it's really his WHAM! music collection that he most cares for.
Liam Neeson Nightmare
When he's caught shedding tears by himself at night, Wade hurries back to bed, claiming he had a nightmare that he stole Liam Neeson's daughter - a reference to the now three-films-strong Taken series. It's a simple joke, but one that actually carries another great easter egg for those who know the other films in Neeson's filmography. The name 'Deadpool' may come from the betting pool centered on Sister Margaret's mercenaries, but it was also the name of a movie itself. And, no surprise, The Dead Pool (1988) features Liam Neeson in a supporting role.
This joke was spoiled in the films' first trailers, but it still got just as big a laugh in theaters. As Wade is first being wheeled into the testing facility to have his cancer cured, and become "a superhero," he makes just one demand: that his suit not be animated, or green. They're clearly shots at his ill-fated turn as DC legend Hal Jordan, but still a bit ironic. To get the most expression out of Reynold's performance under the mask, digital animation was used yet again to bring the eyes and face of the character to life.
You don't get too long a glimpse at the other potential mutants in the dark, dank lab, but one is hard to forget. The young woman with bony spikes growing out of her back may seem in need of some serious help, but she may actually be the Marvel Morlock 'Marrow.' The character is obviously still some way away from the battle-hardened character comic readers know, but having served as a member of X-Force in Marvel Comics - and the previous rumors of an X-Force movie being planned at Fox - her cameo here could be no coincidence at all.
Bitten By A Radioactive Shar Pei
When Wade starts to get a bit more flexible and self-deprecating about his scarred physical appearance, he claims that he's what happens when you're bitten by a radioactive Shar Pei. It's yet another nod to the origin story of Spider-Man, in many ways the same character minus the odd powers and insanity, but the Shar Pei one-liner actually comes from the comics. In fact, the very same panel made a crack at actor Ryan Reynolds' expense.
The Deadpool Rap
Before the Merc with a Mouth was starring in his very own movie, he was starring in his very own video game. It proved such a hit with fans back in 2013, one group - Team Headkick - channeled their enthusiasm into a "Deadpool Rap," released online. For the big screen debut of the character, the team was brought back in to record an updated version, heard as Deadpool is tracking down the men and women in Ajax's organization.
McAvoy or Stewart?
When Colossus cuffs Deadpool and begins to drag him back to the X-Men's jet, the Russian juggernaut claims he's taking Wade to see Professor Xavier. Deadpool responds by asking if he means Patrick Stewart, or James McAvoy, claiming that the movie series' timeline is getting impossible to follow. It's the kind of meta joke that pushes the reality of Deadpool well beyond reason, but an outsider's perspective is often just what's needed.
Making His Escape
Deciding that meeting Professor X isn't his idea of a great day, Wade turns to some extreme measure - 127 Hours extreme. Once he slices into his wrist and sends blood flying, he utters the title of the famous Judy Blume novel, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. For those who never read the book, it seems like nonsense. But those who did know that the story of the book's heroine coming to terms with puberty, adolescence, and womanhood offers one crude answer. Just connect the dots between Wade's injuries and a young girl's journey to becoming a woman, and you're set. And we accept none of the blame.
Ajax and Angel Dust wind up outnumbered when they attempt to rough up Weasel for details on Wade, but the bar owner has the last laugh. The last joke, actually: telling the villains to enjoy their midnight screening of Blade 2. Although the movies following the Marvel vampire-slayer wound up criticized for trying to be too "dark" or "cool," it was an attractive franchise for Deadpool's star. Whether the joke is aimed at the black-clad villains or Ryan Reynolds, who appeared in Blade: Trinity, is anyone's guess.
Stan Lee Cameo
As always, Stan Lee delivers on the promise of a "Gratuitous Cameo," but his appearance in Deadpool, it's safe to say, is unlike any other before. This time around, Lee can be seen DJ-ing at the strip club that Wade and Weasel head to in order to track down Vanessa. We don't know if introducing a stripper named 'Chastity' to the stage was on the legendary comic creator's bucket list, but if it was, it's crossed off now. And our hopes couldn't be higher for the sequel.
A Familiar Mansion
If the mansion Deadpool heads to in order to recruit Colossus and Negasonic looks familiar, it probably should. The building is actually found at the Hatley Park National Historic Site in British Columbia, and has been used not only as a stand-in for the Xavier Mansion of the X-Men series, but the home of The CW's Lex Luthor (Smallville), as well as Oliver Queen's (former) home on Arrow. In this film, Deadpool approaches from the opposite side as usually seen in X-Men films, meaning thousands of viewers probably got a particularly strong sense of deja vu to go along with building momentum.
Those who steer clear of "Deadpool" comics will have no idea that he truly is a man of simple tastes - literally. There's nothing he loves more than a chimichanga, leading to the food being something of a trademark, or even a catchphrase. But when Wade, Negasonic and Colossus first show up to take on Ajax's forces, Wade blends his favorite food with the classic Dunkin Donuts "time to make the donuts" ad campaign, claiming that the time has finally come to "make the chimi-f***ing-changas!"
'The Superhero Landing'
If you're reading this list of superhero easter eggs, then it's a safe bet that simply hearing the term "superhero landing" would spell out the scene perfectly. Descending quickly, and landing on a knee, a foot, and a fist is about the coolest way a superhero can keep themselves from hitting the ground (we suppose...?). But looking at just how many superhero movies, and even video games use the trope, it might be time to start dialing back. Maybe have heroes land on their feet, for a change.
It could only happen in Deadpool that the hero stops himself from killing one guard, recognizing him to be a former Special Forces operative who shared plenty of memories of T.G.I Friday's back in the good old days. The familiar soldier is revealed to be 'Bob.' Even though they're old friends, Wade still knocks Bob unconscious. But even if his appearance in this movie was brief, fans familiar with "Bob, Agent of HYDRA" (a regularly occurring character in "Deadpool" comics) might suspect a different plan... or a fantastic nod to the character's oddball supporting cast.
Is That a Helicarrier?
Audiences may have been too distracted by the action, stakes and one-liners to take a closer look at the dry dock-ed ship on which Deadpool and Ajax are having their final bout. Once Negasonic weakens its supports, the entire structure comes tumbling down, revealing repulsor-like engines placed around the ship's hull. It's a design that's only been seen in The Avengers so far, so perhaps Fox's heroes and those of Marvel aren't as far apart as it might seem.
You're Still Here?
A post-credits scene was another no-brainer, but for his last tease, director Tim Miller turned to one of the best-known, earliest-discovered post-credits scenes ever. Ryan Reynolds - in full Deadpool costume - delivers an impression of Matthew Broderick at the close of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, openly wondering why the audience has remained, finally shooing them to go home. That is, until Wade caps off the film with a "chicka-chickaaaa" of his own, emulating the credits song of Ferris Bueller, "Oh Yeah" by Yello.
Last, but certainly not least, comes the biggest bombshell of all, when the post-credits scene features Ryan Reynolds confirming that not only is Deadpool 2 in development, but that the movie will see the addition of the time-traveling, no-nonsense mutant Cable. The differences in the two mutants' personalities should make them hate one another - and there's definitely hate going in one direction - but the successful pairing of the two in "Cable & Deadpool" proves that it's what the fans want more than anything. And apparently, it's exactly what they'll be getting.
Those are the easter eggs, secrets and tiny touches we spotted in Deadpool, but be sure to let us know which ones we've overlooked, and we'll keep updating the list as more and more secrets are uncovered.
Deadpool is in theaters now.