In this golden age of superheroes on television, fans are getting to spend hours and hours with their favorite heroes, or even being introduced to new ones they might not have been as familiar with before.
Each of these shows are traditionally built upon decades of comic book history. The benefits of series like these, other than their immediate popularity, lie in the fact that they have such a rich history of talented storytelling that they can in all likelihood continue to mine their source material for years and years.
Even 21st century titles like Runaways and Jessica Jones have at least a decade of comic history to their name, which is no small amount and plenty of material to still power those shows for years to come.
Comic book storytelling, in general, is like a tapestry. There are so many moving pieces. So many elements introduced early on that will connect to a larger event as the story progresses. Comics make the most out of foreshadowing, and the TV shows are no different.
In this list, we’ll be looking at spoilers, whether they’re Easter eggs or major moments of foreshadowing, that were teased early on in superhero shows, sometimes early in the first season, often right in the pilot itself. Even in your favorite series, these are major spoilers and moments of foreshadowing that you may have missed.
With that said, here are the 15 Spoilers You Completely Missed At the Start of Superhero Shows.
15 Punisher Ends The Lives Of the Remaining Dogs of Hell
When the Punisher was introduced into Daredevil, he was taking out all of the local gangs that may have had any connection to his family’s death, including the Dogs of Hell.
This biker gang had also previously appeared on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The gang goes without an appearance until the beginning of The Punisher, which kicks off with Castle hunting down all of the remaining loose ends left from New York.
In this montage, Punisher takes out what fans can only assume to be the last remaining Dogs of Hell.
This means that the biker gang, which had been one of the few connective forces between the Netflix shows and the ABC shows, must no longer exist.
Unless there are other chapters out there, hoping that they don’t do anything to find themselves caught in the Punisher’s crosshairs.
14 The Repeating Number 52 In the Arrowverse
From the premier of Arrow, through The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, the number 52 has always been a constant repeating theme.
Beginning with Arrow, appropriately enough, with Quentin Lance’s call sign being DC-52. The Pipeline on The Flash is also known as 52, and Channel 52— which somehow serves both Starling and Central City— is basically the Arrowverse equivalent of Fox News.
The repeated use of the number 52 is a direct reference to the New 52, a relaunch of DC Comics that happened right before Arrow made its debut. These smaller references led to the reveal on The Flash of a connected multiverse consisting of 52 Earths.
This was somewhat rescinded by the introduction of Earth-X, but it was explained that that Earth was so vile that no other Earth in the multiverse wanted to share connection with it.
13 Sara Lance Foreshadows Laurel Becoming The Black Canary
Arrow took a different approach to the Black Canary, a character seminal to DC Comics history and especially Green Arrow himself. The show teased out Laurel Lance’s eventual turn to becoming Black Canary by revealing that her believed-to-be-dead sister Sara had taken on the mantle first.
When Sara once again dies early in Arrow’s run, she foreshadows that Laurel will indeed take on the Black Canary name as comic fans had hoped.
Since then, Laurel has served her tenure as the Black Canary and Sara Lance has gone on to her own co-starring lead on Legends of Tomorrow, becoming the White Canary.
Laurel’s destiny as Black Canary was also teased back in the Arrow pilot, with Tommy mentioning her favorite wine is Pinot Noir, an obviously dark wine that stems from Canary Hill.
12 The First Flash/Supergirl Crossover Predicted Crisis on Earth X
When it was revealed that Supergirl would not take place in the same universe as the other existing Arrowverse shows in the same universe, some were left wondering if it would ever be able to cross over with the other series.
Luckily, fans didn’t have to wait long. Supergirl crossed over with Flash in its very first season. It was the perfect time, as Barry was just discovering the multiverse that season while battling several residents of Earth 2.
In that episode, while explaining the multiverse to Kara, Winn, and James, Barry casually notes that there’s an Earth where the Nazis won World War II and that it’s terrible. Obviously, this feels huge in retrospect after the enormous and successful Crisis on Earth X crossover.
11 Daredevil Teased Iron Fist From the Beginning
Daredevil was initially announced alongside Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist as a Netflix deal that would lead up to The Defenders.
So as soon as it hit, people knew everything that was coming. Naturally, they were looking for Easter eggs from the start. Surprisingly, Daredevil dropped the heaviest teases for the last pre-Defenders show, Iron Fist.
Not only were all of the drugs made by Madame Gao references to Iron Fist lore by bearing the symbol of the Steel Serpent, but Madame Gao also teases in that first season that she is from somewhere very far away.
This is apparently teasing the mythical city of K’un-Lun.
Iron Fist would later confirm this connection between Gao and the city Danny Rand grew up in, while Defenders would make that connection into a major plot point.
10 The Flash Pilot Set Up Its Entire Finale
The Flash had a tricky thing to set up from the very beginning, as the show would reveal itself to heavily utilize time travel as it went on.
With the reveal that Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, killed Barry’s mother and framed his father for the murder, the writers had to factor that in to the pilot’s opening flashback without drawing too much attention to what was going on. After all, they wanted people to be surprised when the reveals finally came.
It worked, too. Barry spent years obsessing over the details of a lightning storm inside his house, which was of course a fight between Reverse Flash and his future self. This fight would obviously factor heavily into the season finale, in which Barry goes back in time to stop the murder, only to stop himself from saving his mother’s life.
9 The Gifted Teases the Strucker Siblings’ Powers Early On
As soon as it was announced that the X-Men related show The Gifted would star a family called the Struckers, fans immediately started wondering if that would somehow connect to Andreas and Andrea Von Strucker, incredibly powerful and villainous twins from the comics.
The notion of sharing their powers and how destructive they could be together was teased right from the beginning, especially when their grandfather displayed a recognizable power.
Fans finally had their suspicions confirmed when it was revealed that the twins were actually descendants of Andreas and Andrea Von Strucker and actually shared that same immensely destructive power.
It was an inventive twist on the comic book origin that allowed for surprising new storytelling. Viewers are given a glimpse of Lauren and Andy about to hold hands and the light that passes between them, which signals the destructive power they showcase later in the season.
8 Curtis’ Story in The Punisher Predicts Frank Saving Donny’s Life
This is a very nice, constrained piece of foreshadowing just within the Punisher pilot itself. Opening in a support group for soldiers adjusting to their return home, Curtis tells a story about digging a hole and being forced to dig his way out of it using all of the tools provided for him.
This relates to the struggle of nearly every character throughout the series. Frank Castle himself is struggling with climbing out of the deep hole he’s fallen into, as is the tortured Lewis.
However, it also foreshadows the end of the episode, as Frank stops keeping his head down and minding his own business to come to the rescue of Donny, who is about to die at the end of the episode by literally being thrown in a hole and drowned in cement.
7 Daredevil’s “Stick” Episode Predicts the Entire Plot of Season 2
For the most part, Daredevil’s first season is incredibly self contained. It’s about the respective rise of both Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk to coming to grips with themselves and the role they were destined to play as Daredevil and the Kingpin, respectively.
The only major exception here is the episode “Stick,” which introduces Matt’s hard-edged mentor from the comics, played by Scott Glenn. While it’s still an incredibly character-focused episode, it sets up virtually the entire second season of the show.
There are teases to larger things from Daredevil lore, but they all prove to be major.
Stick mentions that he’s working with a larger network, which turns out to be The Chaste, a group dedicated to fighting The Hand— both of which are central to the world of Daredevil.
While the initial promos focused on the Punisher, The Hand and The Chaste formed the backbone of the second season.
6 Arrow Teases Thea’s True Parentage
In the beginning of Arrow, Thea Queen is not in a good place. She’s believed her brother to be dead for years and has been coping terribly. Somehow his return only makes things worse for her.
Nicknamed “Speedy,” she effectively reinterprets the junkie storyline of Green Arrow’s ward in the early comics. However. everyone is always quick to let her know how much they care about her. Oliver’s best friend Tommy Merlyn lets her know early on that he thinks of her as a sister.
This proves to be a great bit of foreshadowing, as Thea later learns that her real father is none other than the villainous Malcolm Meryln, which would make her Tommy’s half-sister. Unfortunately, this is something that she only learns after Tommy’s death at the end of the first season.
5 The Flash Foreshadows Everyone Getting Superpowers
At the end of The Flash’s second episode, Barry has just seen for the first time how well Team Flash works together and gives an incredibly cheesy and inspiring speech.
He tells them that “we were all struck by that lightning,” meaning that they have all been granted with this gift of doing something, of helping others and coming together as a part of this group.
However, it actually perfectly foreshadows the future of the show.
Caitlin and Cisco are both revealed to be metahumans later on, whether through natural circumstances or through alterations that are later made to the fabric of their reality.
Dr. Wells, on the other hand, turns out to be the Reverse Flash, the cause of the lightning strike and a speedster born of nearly identical circumstances to The Flash.
4 The First Shot of Runaways Predicts The Final Battle
Marvel’s Runaways opens with a shot depicting a young woman reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. It kicks off an introduction that leaves viewers uneasy, especially as it begins to weave in the cult that the show ultimately revolves around.
However, even that one shot proves to be incredibly insightful into how things are going to unfold. The book signals where and how the final battle will eventually take place, when the kids finally face off against their dangerous parents.
The book is worth noting on one level as a literal dinosaur becomes a major part of the show after forming a bond with one of the titular Runaways and essentially becoming a member of the team.
However, most importantly, the fight takes place at a dig site with a massive and mysterious hole in the ground, providing a literal journey to the center of the earth.
3 Defenders Signaled Matt’s Fate in Episode 1
There is a repeated theme throughout The Defenders that this is the biggest threat that these characters have ever faced. It would have to be, after all, for them to need to come together and lean on each other.
For the most part, these are lonely, even broken people. There’s every chance that they might not get out of any given situation alive. However, that’s always been a more prominent focus for Matt Murdock, as his death wish has frequently been addressed on both shows.
Foggy wasted no time warning Matt about the costs of his vigilante alter ego as soon as he discovered the truth.
When Defenders opens, though, Matt is retired, but right from the beginning, there’s the reminder that if he falls back old habits, he will wind up dead.
That turns out to be at the very least incredibly close to the truth, if not exactly on the nose.
2 Luke Cage Predicted the Loss of Misty’s Arm
In most of her Marvel comic appearances, Misty Knight has been known for having a bionic arm. When reimagined as an NYPD detective for Luke Cage, it seemed completely unlikely that she would be sticking too close to that comic book origin.
Nonetheless, when she sustained a serious injury during that show, fans couldn’t help but wonder. As the on-call for all street-level heroes, Claire Temple repeatedly warned Misty that she had a good chance of losing the arm.
However, it didn’t happen. Claire patched Misty up and everything was fine, with many assuming that was the only nod to the bionic arm they were ever going to see.
At the end of Defenders, however, Misty’s arm was hacked clean off, paying off on everything viewers had expected to see the previous year. It was suggested that Danny had the resources to help her, so fans will likely see Misty sporting the bionic arm in her next appearance.
1 Gotham Pilot Broadcasts Everyone’s Fate
Easily the least subtle of all the foreshadowing on this list, Gotham made its on-the-nose intentions clear right from the pilot. Oswald Cobblepot is told that he walks like a Penguin. Bullock tells Edward Nygma that they don’t have time for riddles.
Even young Bruce Wayne immediately feels the need to avenge his parents’ death.
It gets to the point where almost every line is an Easter egg.
That kind of foreshadowing is always fun for fans, especially when it comes to Batman, as everyone knows who at least a good chunk of those characters are.
However, the pilot goes so far that it almost feels like it’s explaining who these characters will become while introducing them, which somewhat distracts from the story and takes the audience out of the moment.
Can you think of any other spoilers that were revealed at the beginning of Superhero shows? Sound off in the comment section!