Iron Man 2 set up quite a few Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. By all accounts, production of Iron Man 2 was a conflicted affair; Marvel Studios had committed to their Avengers strategy by that point, and they were determined to use Iron Man 2 as setup. There are rumors of tension behind the scenes, with Jon Favreau believing the film was being rushed into production.
Whether these reports are true or not, the fact remains that Iron Man 2 is absolutely jam-packed with Easter eggs. Some of these things were direct setups for the next few movies, most notably Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. Some of them, though, were a little more surprising, as they were additional details slipped into Iron Man 2 to broaden the shared universe and, hopefully, pave the way for future projects.
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What's even more interesting, however, is that there are a number of Easter eggs that still haven't amounted to anything, which is quite remarkable. Given that's the case, here we're going to look at all the different MCU movies Iron Man 2 set up - and also the remaining Easter eggs that are yet to be developed.
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Captain America: The First Avenger
The first Iron Man film had strongly implied there were ties between the Stark family and Captain America. In one scene, Tony referred to his father, Howard Stark, as having fought Nazis; in another, in the background of Tony's lab there was a very distinctive shield. Marvel decided they wanted to develop these hints into the plot of Captain America: The First Avenger, turning Howard into a sort of Q figure for the proto-S.H.I.E.L.D. - and they used Iron Man 2 to set that up.
Iron Man 2 hinted at just how closely Howard Stark had been associated with S.H.I.E.L.D., and returned to that star-spangled shield in a brilliant scene featuring Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson. "What's this doing," Coulson asked, startled to see a recognizable shield among Stark's equipment. "You know what this is?" In retrospect, this is all the more amusing given The Avengers established Coulson as a Captain America fanboy. Perhaps the most subtle piece of setup, however, is another scene in which Tony Stark skims through some of his father's notes - and leafs past a page with a sketch of the Tesseract.
Amusingly, even the very end of Captain America: The First Avenger - where Steve Rogers' body is recovered from the ice by S.H.I.E.L.D. - is foreshadowed in Iron Man 2. Near the end of the film, Nick Fury meets with Tony Stark to tell him he's been evaluating him for potential membership of the Avengers Initiative. During the scene, the camera pans around the two characters, showing a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. holoscreens displaying areas of interest for the organization, such as Tony Stark on the West Coast, and the Hulk's battle with General Ross in Virginia. One other location that's marked is Greenland, where Captain America had crashed a Hydra jet during World War II; S.H.I.E.L.D. units were scouring the ice cap searching for Steve Rogers' body.
One of Iron Man 2's subplots involves Agent Coulson coming to conclude that something's going on in New Mexico. He leaves Stark and heads off to investigate - leading to Iron Man 2's fan-favorite post-credits scene, where he arrives at a mysterious impact crater in the middle of the New Mexico desert. But that's not what's important. What is important is that Thor's hammer Mjolnir is at the center of that crater; the post-credits scene, of course, is direct setup for Kenneth Branagh's Thor movie.
Iron Man 2 introduces Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, the super-spy who would serve as another key member of the original Avengers. Marvel needed her to be an established character for The Avengers, and incredibly were already considering a solo Black Widow movie - a project that's finally getting traction almost a decade later. But that's not the only setup; in one scene, Tony retrieved technology his late father had been working on, and went through some old crates - one of which was labeled "Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S."
In The Avengers, Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. was the name of the joint NASA/S.H.I.E.L.D. research base that was studying the Tesseract; presumably it was established before Howard Stark's death in 1991, which fits with his Tesseract notes. Later in Iron Man 2, an extended scene showed Stark make another reference to the project when he asked JARVIS to call up records on "Projects P.E.G.A.S.U.S., Exodus, and Goliath."
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- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019