Warning: SPOILERS for Detective Pikachu
It's the movie Pokémon fans never dreamed they would have, but at long last Detective Pikachu has officially arrived in theaters - bringing a massive collection of Easter Eggs, franchise callbacks, cameos and secret references to Pokémon lore.
The Avengers and Pikachu may compete at the box office, but as the most popular and profitable franchise in human history, nothing can really compare the two in the minds of Pokémon fans. And that includes the cast and crew of Detective Pikachu, who made sure to fill the movie with as many moments of fan service, secret references to the anime and video games, and inside jokes only the most experienced Pokémon trainers will catch. But some of them are sure to be missed by even the most passionate fans. We've collected the very best Detective Pikachu Easter eggs, secret backstories, inside jokes, and nods to the mythology fans could have overlooked - and are breaking them all down here.
So with one final SPOILER warning, let's get started. Here are 20 Pokémon Secrets You Missed in Detective Pikachu.
20 The Crying Cubone
Nothing demonstrates the fan service at work than the filmmakers' decision to not only include one of the most dark, twisted, and disturbing Pokémon origin stories in the big screen adaptation, but use it to begin the movie. No, we're not referring to the Mewtwo escape sequence, or the car accident that caps it off, but the appearance of the most macabre Pokémon fans will ever find: Cubone.
The skull-masked Pokémon is one of the most instantly recognizable in the entire universe, so it makes sense that it would be the Pokémon targeted by Tim's friend (the perfect partner, since it's just as lonely). In the actual fiction, it's the skull of its mother that Cubone wears on its face, endlessly weeping in the night out of grief. The movie only refers to it as the skull of "a relative," but the full moon mentioned--when Cubone's wailing is at its loudest--confirms the same origin is at work.
19 Snorlax is Blocking The Path
Players of the original Pokémon games will know off by heart that when first trying to travel Route 11, connecting Vermilion City with Lavender Town, they meet their first Snorlax. The giant, hairy, and sound asleep beast is too big to actually move or pass by, and players are instead forced to detour through a nearby cave. But that does that have to do with the movie?
When Tim first arrives in Ryme City (beginning his own Pokémon adventure, in a way) one of the very first examples of humans and Pokémon coexisting is the appearance of a Snorlax. One that is, you guessed it, sound asleep in the middle of the road. It's a direct callback that shouldn't go unnoticed, even if a traffic redirecting Machamp is doing his best to keep the cars flowing around the snoring obstacle.
18 Yes, That's a Diplo Cameo
There is no task in Ryme City that a Pokémon can't handle with added flair, and that includes supplying music for the city's underground (and possibly illegal) Pokémon battles. A point best proven by the sound system in the Roundhouse fighting arena, when the 'speakers' for the DJ are revealed to actually be several Loudred, using their speaker ears not for attacking, but for pounding the electronic music for the clubgoers and fight spectators. But it's the DJ who will look most familiar.
Yes, that really is Diplo, one of the most successful and influential DJs in the world getting in on the Pokémon action (although having named himself after his favorite dinosaur, maybe we shouldn't be surprised). He's also a professed fan of dubstep, so when the Loudred are infected by the "craze-inducing" purple drug and produce dubstep as a result, fans can be sure that Diplo is in on the joke.
17 Magikarp, The Movie's Best Joke
The movie may make plenty of references to the Pokémon anime, but one of its best creature-based jokes comes in the same Roundhouse sequence. When Pikachu decides to use a Magikarp to defend them from a raging Charizard, Tim notes that the Pokémon is absolutely useless... and he's right. And the movie makes more than one joke at its expense. For those who don't know, Magikarp is one of the best and most elaborate jokes in the entire Pokémon universe. For starters, it can be caught just by flicking a fishing pole into almost any body of water--which doesn't matter, because it really is just a fish. Only by tossing it into battles to be beaten, over and over, slowly grinding out experience, can it eventually evolve... into one of the most powerful and majestic beasts in the game: Gyarados.
When the Pokémon first begin to rage, the fish tank holding the Magikarp shatters, splashing water onto nearby enemies with absolutely no effect at all (another shot at Magikarp's first, pointless Splash attack). Since it actually does evolve into Gyarados, we can only assume that the club's owner was keeping it in a ringside fishtank to slowly gain experience, just like in the original game.
16 Mewtwo is From The First Pokémon Game
For those unfamiliar with Mewtwo (or its ancient, mythical ancestor) the psychic Pokémon is going to seem like a god-level being... which it actually is in the Pokémon universe. The character eventually hints that it's lived through at least some of the events of the first, animated Pokémon movie, but it's connection to the games goes much deeper. Because this movie's Mewtwo might actually be THE Mewtwo from the original game.
When Tim and Lucy make it into the secret test facility and activate the surveillance footage of the holding cells being assembled, Dr. Laurent (Rita Ora) sends Tim's father off in search of Mewtwo. According to her, it "was last seen twenty years ago in the Kanto region." The same location it appeared in the original games, and around the same year they first released.
15 Mewtwo's Voice Actor(s)
While initially introduced as a villainous character, and later revealed to be a heroic figure, there's no question that Mewtwo is permanently... unsettling. Giving off a more alien vibe than any other Pokémon, its ability to speak in language that can be understood by humans is based on its psychic abilities. Even so, it may be the voice speaking Mewtwo's words that some viewers fixate on, instead of its actual message. And that's for a very good reason.
The voice of Mewtwo in Detective Pikachu is provided by not one actor, but two: Rina Hoshino and Kotaro Watanabe. By combining not only two different voices, but one male and one female, Mewtwo speaks with more depth and internal identity than any normal character, human or Pokémon. The change from the animated show and films may not be to every fan's liking, but you can't argue with the eerie results.
14 Pikachu Actually Hints at The Twist
It's safe to say that more viewers than normal will be taken by surprise in Detective Pikachu's final scenes, when it's revealed that the identity of Tim's 'Pokémon partner' is actually the consciousness of his father, merged into the body of his Pikachu. There's no real reason to assume that might be the case before its revealed, but believe it or not, Pikachu (Harry?) does drop a major hint to his true identity early on in the film.
When Pikachu and Tim are interrogating a Mister Mime as good and bad cop, the Pokémon fails to grasp the mine's meaning. When seeing Mister Mime make a pushing motion, Pikachu suggests that their suspect is offering insight into his own intimacy issues, saying "I push people away and then blame them for leaving." Tim brushes it aside at the time, but since that actually seems to be the reason why both Tim and Harry drifted apart, it's a great clue in hindsight.
13 'Mother of Arceus!'
There's only so much lore that Detective Pikachu can get into in a single film, and it's likely that devoted Pokémon fans might assume that because the deeper mythology isn't mentioned out loud, it isn't addressed or visible in the background (sometimes literally). Case in point? Arceus, the ancient Pokémon considered to be "The Original One", as it is said that it created all of the most divine guardians and creators of the Pokémon universe.
Arceus actually makes a cameo of sorts in Detective Pikachu, but the ability to hear a Pokémon's thoughts in perfect English delivers one of the best moments fans never thought to hope for. When things truly get out of hand, Pikachu exclaims "Mother of Arceus," confirming Pokémon take 'God's name in vain as often as their human companions.
12 Clifford's Flareon is a Dead Giveaway
Since viewers don't actually know that they're about to meet Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) when Tim and Pikachu are ushered into his office, a few key moments pass by without being properly analyzed. For casual fans, it goes without saying that they'll miss the evolutionary stones Clifford has on his desk, used to force desired evolutions for any number of Pokémon. But they might also miss the blinding light that obscures Clifford entirely when Tim and Pikachu enter the room. That's the light of a Pokémon evolution... and a major hint that this secret villain is not as he seems.
Only experienced players will appreciate the joke that while Clifford claims to be the most visionary and brilliant expert in "evolving," he enters the story by unveiling his latest work evolving an Eevee into a glorious Flareon... the agreed-upon WORST Eevee evolution. Officially, any of the other choices--Vaporeon, Jolteon, Espeon, Umbreon, Leafeon, Glaceon, and Sylveon--would have solid cases. More solid than Flareon, confirming there were holes in Clifford's story.
11 Clifford's Legendary Fossils
Audiences should also make sure to look away from Clifford and the blinding light of his Flareon evolution, towards the massive models hung high in his office. The movie actually offers more than one good look at them, although it's unclear if they are sculptures or actual fossilized Pokémon. We will assume the former, since getting complete fossils of Dialga, Palkia, and even Arceus would be a tall order.
There may also be a deeper meaning to their placement above Clifford's head. Dialga (the mascot creature for Pokémon Diamond) represents time in the creation trio, Palkia (the mascot for Pokémon Pearl) represents space, and Arceus embodies Creation. That's a trifecta of total control over the world outside Clifford's window, so it makes sense for him to try to channel their powers... even symbolically.
10 Jigglypuff at Karaoke Night
One of the simplest and admittedly, silliest jokes in the Detective Pikachu movie isn't about a punchline, but a question: what role would Jigglypuff find in a city shared by people and Pokémon? The movie supplies the answer when Tim and Pikachu enter their local bar... and discover Jigglypuff entertaining the crowd with some soothing karaoke.
It's a great inside joke for fans of the anime series, since Jigglypuff gained its reputation for serenading bystanders in the animated show. There, Jigglypuff was determined to sing for an audience without putting them to sleep (the result of its hypnotizing eyes and voice). Jiggly is obviously angry that sleep has once again claimed its target, but fans don't get to see if the sleeping man's face gets drawn on as punishment here, as well.
9 Lucy's Spoink Dashboard Toy
Cubone isn't the only Pokémon with a shockingly grim origin story to appear in the film, but the second will be even harder to spot. Technically, the cameo from Spoink isn't of the living, flesh and blood Pokémon, but a small toy version. It can be seen mounted to the dashboard of Lucy's car when she and Tim drive to the secret base that was formerly home to Mewtwo.
On the one hand, it makes perfect sense for drivers of Ryme City to affix miniature Spinks in place of other dash ornaments. After all, the Pokémon is literally a cross between a small pig and a coiled spring. And since the bouncing is what keeps Spoink's heart beating, we can only assume the bouncing of Lucy's car does the same for the miniature version. Like we said: grim.
8 Team Rocket... Sort Of?
The fan-favorite villains known as Team Rocket don't appear in Ryme City, at least not yet. But that doesn't mean that their legacy isn't honored in a few different ways over the course of the movie. First and foremost, with the villainous Clifford using an aggression-inducing drug to execute his villains master plan. The name of the drug? Simply "R" - a perfect coincidence that's also the insignia worn proudly by both Jessie and James. Fans are free to decide if the "R" graffiti visible around Ryme City is a reference to the drug or the team.
Second, the pink hair and sleeves, along with the rest of the uniform worn by Clifford's right hand woman strongly evokes Jessie... even if the reveal of her true identity is less fan service, and more nightmare-inducing Ditto horror.
7 Tim's Unown T-Shirt
Most of the Pokémon seem throughout Ryme City will be at least casually familiar to fans of the games and media of the 1990s, but there are also a good amount of nods thrown in to more obscure, or strange inhabitants of the Pokémon universe. For instance, there is the Unown: a species of Pokémon that appear as small symbols on walls, taking the shape of letters, a question mark, and an exclamation point. Weird? Extremely. But still worthy of a shout out in Detective Pikachu.
The symbols of the Unown can be seen on several places and signs in Ryme City, but the easiest to spot is on Tim's t-shirt (pictured above). Sure, it's not technically a living Pokémon, but an homage is just as good. And for the letter 'O' it's surprisingly stylish.
6 Tim's Pokémon Card Collection
Even if fans can wrap their heads around a city where Pokémon and humans are expected to coexist as equals, the question of merchandise and Pokémon entertainment in the movies reality can create some interesting conundrums. Pikachu singing the TV show's theme song is one example, but another instance may be a bit easier to explain.
When Pikachu decides to get to know Tim better by rifling through his belongings in the bedroom kept by his father, he flips through a binder. But not an ordinary binder, this one is filled with what is obviously Tim's collection of Pokémon cards, confirming that the Pokémon trading card game also exists in the film's universe. A small detail, but one that players and collectors will love.
5 The Noctowl
The bar at which Tim and Pikachu first come up with a plan to find Harry, and later to meet with Lucy for the same purpose, may seem like a standard watering hole. Albeit with a Ludicolo bartender whose scream will shock most viewers who don't know his particular vocabulary (or delivery). But pay close attention to the signs, and you'll see that the the diner is officially called The Noctowl.
As even non-Pokémon fans can guess, that's referencing an owl-like Pokémon who is just as nocturnal as the patrons of the bar. There are enough birds shown flying through Ryme City to make it possible a Noctowl cameos in the flesh, but if not, the one on the bar's sign is good enough.
4 The Home Alone Gangster Movie
Filling Detective Pikachu with referenced to the show, the games, and even the manga all make perfect sense. But making an overt callback to Home Alone? That's something truly unexpected, but nevertheless something this film delivers. When Tim first let's himself into his father's apartment, he mistakes a movie on the TV for somebody actually waiting for him to enter. And the "detective movie" that Tim brushes off is going to feel eerily familiar to a LOT of viewers.
Officially, the movie is titled Angels With Filthy Souls. But technically, it's not a movie at all. It was filmed specifically to be used in Home Alone, and the same goes for the sequel, Angels With Even Filthier Souls. The scene is also the exact same one Kevin watches, in which "Snakes" is sent by "Acey" who apparently "ain't in charge no more." It's a good thing everyone knows how that scene plays out for Snakes.
3 Love Letter to Misty (and Psyduck)?
It may seem like blasphemy that the first live action Pokémon movie should star anybody but Ash Ketchum, but fans can still hope to see the most iconic Pokémon Trainer take the spotlight sooner or later. However, fans do get their dose of Misty... even if she's going by another name.
The trusted friend and companion to Ash on his many adventures, Misty was by his side very step of the way, carrying her Psyduck along with her. Once Lucy comes into the story with her own Psyduck in tow, fans will see the parallels. Why the movie didn't want to actually use Ash and Misty is up for discussion, but the Pikachu/Psyduck dynamic is what really matters.
2 Pikachu Sings the Song
They will be harder to spit than the visual Easter Eggs and homages, but fans should pay just as close attention with their ears as their eyes. The soundtrack to Detective Pikachu regularly incorporated classic songs from both the animated series and the movies, not to mention remixes of the original game soundtrack. The most iconic theme song makes its first appearance backing a CGN news report, but the anthem proclaiming a trainer's mission to "Catch 'Em All" returns in a far more... emotional scene.
We can't say exactly what the song is famous for in the world of the movie, but it's popular enough for Pikachu to be singing it to himself as he walks sadly down the road after parting ways with Tim. Heartbreaking? Definitely. But it will still be one of the best moments for fans who were singing right along with Ryan Reynolds.
1 Tim Leaves His Hometown, Leaventown
With so many iconic cities and towns in the Pokémon universe, fans were shocked that the movie would be set in a new location. Even more shocking, a city that wouldn't be named for a distinct color, either! But inside jokes don't need to be subtle or complex for fans to appreciate. The town that Tim isn't ready to leave when the movie begins, and the town he chose to stay in with his grandmother instead of leaving to be with his father? The train ticket to Ryme City confirms it: the town Tim is leaving... is Leaventown. Well played.
Those are all the Easter Eggs, Pokémon references, inside jokes, and secret details that we could find in Detective Pikachu, 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!