What an incredible eleven years it has been. Starting the whole story in 2008, Tony Stark has been through Hell and back in the name of protecting the Earth. To commemorate this landmark, not only did Marvel make this swan song a bumper three hours long, it stuffed this final chapter with plenty of Marvel Easter Eggs for the avid superhero fan.
We did our best, we might not have spotted them all, but here are all the Avengers: Endgame Easter Eggs we could find in this giant-sized finale to what is being called the Thanos Arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1. Carol’s New Haircut
Carol is looking rather different compared to Captain Marvel! In Endgame’s five-year time gap, she had time to change her hair. It just so happens that Carol updated her hairstyle into something comics-Carol adopted some time post-2016, a little after the introduction of her blue-and-red jumpsuit.
2. Professor Hulk
It might have come as a surprise to see Bruce Banner all big and green, but this has happened before in Incredible Hulk #377. Also known as Professor Hulk, this version of the green giant was an idealised combination of Bruce and the Hulk; fully intelligent, could speak coherently, and was as strong as Regular Hulk when he wanted to be.
3. Pepper to the ‘Rescue’
Seeing Pepper take on her persona as Rescue got comic fans all giddy. The suit of armor which was an anniversary gift from Tony in the movie is a direct reference to the character’s hero-version in the comics. Pepper’s worn her own Iron (wo)man suit in the comics – the Mk. 1616 “Rescue” Armor was a secret project Tony Stark had designed specifically for Pepper to use. She put the armor in good use for when Tony Stark was made a fugitive after the Skrulls (long story) used his technology as a cornerstone for the Secret Invasion.
4. Fortnite: Battle Royale
When we visit Thor in New Asgard, he, Korg and Mick are sat in front of the TV eating pizza and, by the looks of it, playing none other than Fortnite: Battle Royale. Noobmaster69 was the name of the kid that Thor yelled at on the headset – a familiar encounter if you’ve ever played the game. The Russo brothers are also fond fans of the game which explains Marvel and Epic Games’ crossover last year.
5. New Asgard
The Asgardian refuge that replaced Tonsberg, Norway sounds like a pretty quickly thought name. But this one is a double hit, first for making good on Odin’s line that Asgard can be anywhere, even Norway. Second, there’s been a New Asgard in the comics. Except it was in the middle of Ohio rather than along the Norwegian coast.
6. Rocket’s Uniform
Rocket’s not just wearing any old outlaw outfit. The red chest piping, the buttons and the cool blue tunic are all hallmarks of the outfits classically worn by all members of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics.
7. Carol’s Sash
Here’s a comic book Easter Egg only eagle fans noticed! Carol Danvers is now wearing her belt sash, a staple of the character since she adopted the persona of Warbird (later Ms. Marvel) in the 1990’s. It’s shorter than in the comics but anything longer might have hindered her flexibility.
Although his codename is never given in Endgame, Hawkeye’s new look is very reminiscent of the time he became the second Ronin after the comics-side Civil War, a travelling assassin for hire. He’s got the sword, the hood and the dark attire for it all to fit.
9. Hail HYDRA
Steve Rogers has actually uttered this phrase in the comics…well, sort of. It was actually said by the Supreme Commander, a HYDRA Agent, who for years had been posing as Captain America – an important element of the 2017 Secret Empire arc.
10. Steve Rogers the Worthy
Ever since he budged the hammer in Age of Ultron, there’s been intense anticipation that Steve Rogers would at some point wield Mjolnir, proving his worthiness (whatever that means). This is one of the landmark things Steve Rogers has ever done in the comics, proof that he really is one of the most heroic figures in the universe.
11. Budapest Reference
As Natasha and Clint fly though space for the first time to Vormir, they mention that they’re a long way from Budapest. We still have no idea what exactly happened among them in the Hungarian capital or how it was so messy, but they sounded glad to be far away from it. This is a direct callback to The Avengers when Natasha shouts “Just like Budapest all over again”.
12. Avengers Assemble
He teased it in Age of Ultron and in Endgame, he finally said it! Eleven years of waiting and Captain America finally said his full team-up catch phrase. Sure he kind of grumbled the second part but the suspense he built up more than made up for it. Avengers Assemble!
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13. Black Panther and the Infinity Gauntlet
While it is certainly more practical to have the superhuman, T’challa run with the Infinity Gauntlet like an all-star quarterback, this moment in Avengers 4 could also be a nod to the one time the Panther king himself had and used the Infinity Gauntlet during the Secret Wars story arc of 2015.
14. Captain Marvel Attacks the Dreadnaught
Captain Marvel punching her way through Thanos’ Dreadnaught? Sentry did something very similar during Norman Osborn’s assault on Asgard during the 2010 Siege storyline.
15. “Proof that Tony Stark has a Heart”
To commemorate his death, Tony Stark’s ashes were placed within the gift Pepper had made him years ago when he started to become a more charitable person – his first arc reactor placed within a circular plaque, framed with the words, “Proof that Tony Stark has a Heart.” It brings a tear knowing this token was kept by the two of them, Tony and Pepper, for so long and through so much.
16. “I Can Do This All Day”
We’ve heard Steve say this line so frequently, as though it’s something he tells everyone, even his older-self cuts him off like “yeah, yeah, I get it.” In fairness, he does overuse it a little bit. Cap previously uttered the symbolic line, “I can do this all day” in The First Avenger and Civil War. A fun reference to Cap’s previous movie appearances.
17. Captain America’s Fighting
Just like how Steve uttered “Hail Hydra”, this one is also a callback to Marvel Comics’ 2017 summer crossover, Secret Empire. During this arc, the real Steve Rogers comes back and challenges the Hydra super-agent in an intense fight to end the Secret Empire and HYDRA’s iron grip over the world.
18. Cap’s Broken Shield
When Marvel wants to show just how dangerous something is, they have it break Captain America’s unbreakable shield. Just like in The Infinity Gauntlet comic, Thanos, without the stones, was able to shred the shield with his giant sword. Despite how often it happens in the comics, it’s no small feat and definitely a strong sign that even without infinite power at his disposal, Thanos is a force to be reckoned with. The image of the broken shield is also a callback to Age of Ultron, when Scarlet Witch shows Tony Stark a nightmare vision.
19. Instant Kill Mode
This feature was teased in Spider-Man: Homecoming as an advanced feature of the Spider-Man costume. It’s an odd feature as Peter has never really been up for killing, but it came perfectly in handy fighting Thanos’ legions in Endgame. Just in the nick of time too.
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20. Thor, The Big Lebowski
An Easter Egg outside the MCU but cool, either way. No easy way to put it, Thor really let himself go after the whole Thanos thing. His look after five years of not taking care of himself inspired Tony to change his nickname to that of the slacker and bowling aficionado, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski from the 1998 movie, The Big Lebowski.
21. Stan Lee’s Last Cameo
Owing to the creator’s unfortunate death near the end of last November, this scene was indeed Stan Lee’s final cameo. Regardless, the man went out in style. Driving a car featuring bumper stickers with Stan’s trademark phrases like “Exelsior” and “Nuff Said”, blasting loud music and sitting with a beautiful woman in the sun of the 1970’s. Stan went out in style.
22. Harley Keener’s Cameo
Tony’s funeral was a who’s-who of the Avengers and their allies. Near the end, some might miss recognizing him, but the kid in front of the stairs is a now-older Harley Keener who helped Tony out during the latter’s struggle with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. If so, we smell a hint at Kang the Conqueror.
23. Ant-Man’s Original Helmet
Look around the collection of accessories and scientific equipment when Steve and Tony visit the 1970’s and you might spot a familiar piece of headgear – not just Hank Pym’s Mk. I Ant Man helmet, but a design amazingly similar to what Hank initially wore in the comics. The mandibles, the open mouthpiece, the metal antennae, every key detail is there!
24. Old Man Steve
Steve Rogers has been an old man in the comics before. The most prominent time was when his Super Soldier Serum accelerated his ageing and someone else had to carry the mantle.
25. “On Your Left”
The first thing Falcon says as he arrives out of the first of Dr. Strange’s portals in Endgame echoes back to Winter Soldier when we first met him, with Steve lapping him around the pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and saying “on your left” every time he lapped Sam. Gotta love a nostalgic nod!
26. It’s Been a Long, Long Time
After some seventy years waiting, Steve finally gets that dance with Peggy Carter. And to none other than to the tune of It’s Been a Long Long Time, a song that echoes how she missed her perfect man. Steve heard the song playing in her room while she was on her deathbed in Winter Soldier, and the song did indeed come out in 1945, but you’re never too late to hear something for the first time.
27. Stature Time?
It half feels like a coincidence but given the five-year gap, Cassie Lang should be old enough by now to take after her father and become part of the Pym Particle Family – where she would become the size-changing superhero, Stature. Was this Marvel’s way of sneakily introducing the next generation of heroes?
28. Sam Wilson, Captain America
Sam Wilson becoming Captain America is no coincidence or random choice. Besides the fact that Sam and Steve are best buddies, Sam has already, believe it or not, been a flying Captain America in the comics. This was during a time when Steve was unavailable to be the All-American hero.
29. Effects of The Aether
Hank Pym certainly was right to panic when he was told some technicians had gotten sick after being exposed to a box of red glowing stuff. The incident itself however sounds a lot similar to what happened to Jane Foster when she was infected with the Reality Stone. Exposed to a glowing red substance, this slowly killed her over the course of Thor: The Dark World.
30. “I Am Iron Man”
Four words that symbolised the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Tony Stark’s career as a superhero – “I am Iron Man”. It seems fitting that just as this phrase caused a paradigm shift back in 2008, the same words would again cause a paradigm shift with the ultimate elimination of Thanos and his armies.
31. Tony’s Love of Cheeseburgers
Tony’s daughter, Morgan appears to have picked up her father’s love of cheeseburgers. This is something he talked about way back in Iron Man when the fast food item was the first thing he wanted to do after escaping the Ten Rings.
32. Steven Strange’s Timeline
Fighting in the middle of New York during The Incident, the Ancient One tells Banner that he’s five years too early to meet Steven Strange as Sorcerer Supreme. This finally gives us a rough date for his fateful car crash that matches the 2016-2017 date our Marvel timeline has suggested for a while.
33. One in Fourteen Million
The idea that we were witnessing the one timeline where everything went right for victory has been the thought of many fans since the odds were dropped in Infinity War. Strange turns out pretty evasive as to whether or not this was the golden course of events until he gives Tony a hint, a single finger that either meant “this is it” or “you have one shot.” Hard to tell which though, Strange has been pretty quick to pick up the cryptic sage routine.
34. Edwin Jarvis Cameo
Before he had an AI companion, Tony Stark had a personal butler by the name of Edwin Jarvis. We see this character as Howard Stark’s driver, tying in with how Jarvis in the comics had served the Stark household since before Tony was born. Very dapper, very British. And yes, a historic resemblance to Alfred Pennyworth has been intentional.
35. Tony’s Arc Reactor
If you kept your eyes peeled (or watched the movie again), you probably noticed the clever imagery Marvel used throughout the movie. This particular moment depicting the Avengers’ arms positioned together looks very much like Tony’s Arc Reactor. Cool, huh? And pretty emotional.
36. Hammer Time
While Marvel Studios told us there would be no post-credits scene at the end of Avengers 4, there was in fact, something for those who stubbornly stuck around. Closing off the credits was the sound of a hammer against metal, the same clangs made by Tony Stark when he made his first ever suit of Iron Man armour.
There was no shortage of fun nods to the Falcon-eyed, we can tell you that. A landmark way to end a landmark series. It’s not the end though, that wasn’t in doubt. There will be more and we cannot wait to see what is in store.
Excelsior, Marvel Studios. Excelsior.
Want to discover more Easter Eggs and sneaky clues? Check out our top 10 list of hidden references in Far From Home, the next MCU instalment which picks up eight months after the events of Endgame.