When working on a big studio film, directors know that if it hits with audiences, most will choose to watch it more than once. Some titles reach $1 billion at the box office by repeat business at the theater. And while reliving the excitement of a story, witnessing an incredible performance, or seeing that one amazing scene again is part of the fun, there’s more to be gained when you settle in to watch a movie again.
With the advantage of planning ahead for multiple viewings, filmmakers like to include several hidden elements and Easter eggs to give fans incentive to keep coming back. Often times, there’s so much happening on the screen, that one viewing isn’t enough to take it all in. Keep an eye out for these next time you watch one of your favorite films from 2015.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Amazing Details Hidden in Popular Movies.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Fans of J.J. Abrams’ filmography knows that he likes to pay homage to his grandfather, Kelvin. In the opening sequence of his 2009 Star Trek reboot, George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) is on board the U.S.S. Kelvin. And in its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, there’s a shot of the Kelvin Memorial Archive. When Abrams made the jump from the Enterprise to the Millennium Falcon, he continued this tradition in a very subtle way.
Early on in the film, Rey (Daisy Ridley) rescues BB-8 from captivity. When helping the droid find a safe place to go, she points him in the direction of Kelvin Ridge on Jakku, before she reluctantly allows him to tag along (setting off her incredible journey). It’s one of the ways Abrams put a personal stamp within a massive franchise film, paying respects to his beloved family member. We’ll have to wait to see what Abrams does next, but you can bet the name Kelvin will be involved in some capacity.
Colin Trevorrow’s record breaking summer smash features several nods to the seminal 1993 original, but some are less obvious than others. One of the main characters, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) wears all white during the film. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when one factors in that she’s the park’s operations manager (essentially putting her in charge of the whole operation), it establishes a rather clever connection to the first movie.
Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), was of course the director of the original Jurassic Park. He too always wore white while at work. This is a nice touch that tips a hat to what came before, while also symbolizing Claire’s responsibilities in the film. The similarity in wardrobes calls into question if it’s simply a coincidence or if that’s a Jurassic dress code for supervisors.
Straight Outta Compton
One fun bit of trivia for Straight Outta Compton is that director F. Gary Gray worked with the real Ice Cube on the cult comedy classic Friday. With Gray directing Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., in the N.W.A. biopic, it only makes sense for there to be a couple of references to that collaboration. In once scene from Compton, Ice Cube (Jackson, Jr.) is shown working on the screenplay for the first Friday movie, which was released in 1995. And the Easter eggs don’t stop there.
Though the Compton filmmakers claim this is not an origin story for the expression, fans will certainly have a fun time thinking it is. At a hotel pool party, the group kicks a woman out, Cube closes the door and says, “Bye Felicia,” an obvious callback to the famous line from Friday. We may never know where Ice Cube got the idea for that bit of dialogue, but they do say to write what you know, right?
As most fans know by now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe likes to make references to other projects in the franchise. Whether it’s teasing what’s to come in the future or connecting a film to the past, finding the MCU threads is part of the fun of watching one of their movies. Ant-Man is no different, and it ironically finds a way to give a nod to one of Marvel’s biggest heroes. The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) isn’t in the movie, but the character’s lone solo vehicle is.
While 2008’s The Incredible Hulk mainly gets the short shaft when it comes to the famous #ItsAllConnected motto, the studio is beginning to incorporate more of that film. General Ross (William Hurt) is part of the massive Captain America: Civil War ensemble, and Ant-Man showcases Bruce Banner’s place of employment in the standalone movie. Ant-Man‘s San Francisco scenes feature posters for the soda company Pingo Doce, and Bruce (Edward Norton) worked at their Brazilian factor in the first act of Incredible Hulk. After what happened with Stan Lee’s cameo in that movie, you’d think they’d go out of business.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Unlike most franchises, the Mission: Impossible series is not one known for its continuity. Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) teammates change with each installment, and there’s rarely any connection between multiple films. That is, until Rogue Nation. For the most part, the group from Ghost Protocol is back together, and they’re even hunting down the same cast of villains.
At the end of Ghost Protocol, Hunt gives his team a new assignment, where they are tasked with hunting down an operation known as “the Syndicate.” Fast forward to Rogue Nation, and the heroes are still going after the “anti-IMF.” This establishes some connective tissue between the two films while also preserving the standalone nature of the various M:I films, a fun reward for the moviegoers who have been following the franchise from the beginning. With Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie coming back to helm the next movie, who knows what other references he’ll make?
Directors like to make nods to their body of work whenever they’re making a contemporary film, and Sir Ridley Scott is no exception. In his Best Picture nominee, The Martian, he acknowledges his storied history as a sci-fi filmmaker with a bit of dialogue that will make his longtime fans smile. As the Ares crew attempt to get Mark Watney (Matt Damon) back on board, Beth Johansson (Kate Mara) tells her love interest Beck (Sebastian Stan) to be careful because “in space…”
The unfinished quote is taken directly from the iconic Alien tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream,” and Scott was the director of that 1979 film. Its inclusion in The Martian is actually two-fold; it underscores the severity of the situation while also serving as a moment of levity. Scott incorporated a number of pop culture references in his latest film, many of which come from the 1970s (Happy Days, disco music, etc.). So it’s no surprise he found a spot for Ellen Ripley, the classic character he helped create all those years ago.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
As it turns out, you don’t need a live-action film to be referenced in the MCU, the only prerequisite is an existing Marvel comic book like. Disney’s hit film Big Hero 6 is based on the Marvel property of the same name, introducing audiences to the lovable robot Baymax. He resonated with so many viewers, that Joss Whedon couldn’t resist including him in his massive superhero sequel.
After the creation of Vision (Paul Bettany), the Avengers gear up. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) needs a new A.I. system for his suit after J.A.R.V.I.S. became Vision. He eventually picks one labeled F.R.I.D.A.Y. (itself a Marvel Comics nod), but his other options are more intriguing. One of the chips is marked as “Tadashi,” which is the same system that controls Baymax in Big Hero 6. We’re not saying this is the groundwork for a Baymax cameo in Avengers: Infinity War, but the Russo brothers are planning on having a lot of characters play some kind of role in those films. There wouldn’t be too many people against it, either.
The five emotions of Pixar’s critically acclaimed smash received pitch-perfect casting, with each voice actor essentially serving as the living embodiment of the character they were portraying. But celebrity voices weren’t the only way the studio made them stand out. According to director Pete Doctor, a lot of thought went into the design of each emotion so they each had a unique look that conveyed what they were all about.
Joy is modeled after star, Sadness is obviously a teardrop, Anger is meant to look like a firebrick, Fear is a frayed nerve, and Disgust – in playing along with Riley’s personality – is a piece of broccoli. It was a nice touch that made each one memorable, even if they don’t all get the same amount of screen time. That kind of attention to detail is what made Inside Out a hit with moviegoers of all ages.
Mad Max: Fury Road
When it was being developed, there was some confusion about where Mad Max: Fury Road fit into the franchise timeline, but it’s essentially a series reboot that establishes Tom Hardy as the new Max Rockatansky. But as the director of all four features, George Miller made sure to tip his hat to the character’s legacy and didn’t clean the slate entirely. He found an organic way to pay homage to Mel Gibson’s version through Hardy’s costume – specifically his jacket.
That’s right. The jacket Max wears in Fury Road is a replica of Gibson’s that was featured in the final two installments of the original trilogy, Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome. Longtime fans may be upset that Gibson’s days of playing the character are over, but this was a fun little Easter egg for them to enjoy that showed Miller didn’t forget where it all started. Franchise restarts like to pay respect to what came before, and this is one of the more subtle pieces of fan service in recent memory.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
As a huge Star Wars fan, it’s no surprise that J.J. Abrams made sure to reference the previous films set in a galaxy far, far away. There are plenty of Easter eggs to go through, but the universe’s history is on full display at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana. When Han Solo takes Rey, Finn, and BB-8 to see Maz, a shot of the building’s exterior features numerous flags hanging around the outside. And repeat viewings are a necessity to catch everything Abrams included.
One of the flags clearly includes the famous Mandalorian symbol, a reference to bounty hunter Boba Fett (who may or may not get his own Anthology film one day). A closer examination reveals that there may even be some podracing flags from the well-known Episode I sequence. Abrams tried to distance himself from the prequels as much as he could, but even he couldn’t resist acknowledging the complete saga from time to time (Kylo Ren mentioning a clone army). The prequels are maligned, but they do have their supporters, so it’s nice for them to see those films included in The Force Awakens.
Those are our picks for amazing details hidden in popular movies. Are there any we missed? Which ones are you going to look out for next time you watch one of these movies? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one!