This post is filled with spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Do not, I repeat, do not read this list until you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame. Full spoilers below.
Okay, so we’ve all seen the movie right? I think right about now is a good time to actually talk about the little nods or references that were particularly fun or strong in Endgame. However, if you’ve not yet seen the film, then don’t worry at all, the article will be ready when you are. Anyhoo, the following is an unranked list of easter eggs, callbacks, and references that stood out to me. Let’s get to it.
- Lila Barton: In Endgame, we see Clint Barton’s family disappear during the snap. Barton’s daughter Lila is played by Joe Russo’s daughter Ava Russo.
- A Suit of Armor Around the World – Avengers: Age of Ultron: In Endgame, a sick Tony Stark scolds Steve Rogers for not being there for him when they lost. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers obviously lost touch in Captain America: Civil War, but this disagreement is a callback to Avengers: Age of Ultron in which he had a vision — created by Scarlet Witch — that all of the Avengers would die because of him, or that he could’ve stopped their deaths. In Age of Ultron, Tony decides to create a suit of armor around the world, but that idea led to the villainous A.I. Ultron.
- The Support Group: I believe we see both Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos, and Joe Russo in the support group therapy session that Steve Rogers is a part of in 2023 in Avengers: Endgame. Joe Russo is one of the two directors of Endgame, and he is the character who talks about having been on a date. Apparently, Russo’s character is the first openly gay character in the MCU.
- Morgan H. Stark – Avengers: Infinity War: In Avengers: Infinity War, Tony told Pepper Potts that he had a dream they were pregnant and that they named their kid after her uncle Morgan. In Endgame, they have a daughter named Morgan H. Stark. The H-initial in her middle-name could refer to Happy Hogan or Howard Stark. But it is also possible that it refers to the creators of the original comic book character known as Morgan Stark (Don Heck and Al Hartley).
- Cassie Lang & Harley Keener – Young Avengers?: Cassie Lang is a character from both Ant-Man-films, within which she is a young girl. However, due to the time-jump in Endgame, she is now a young woman. Could this be Marvel’s attempt at setting up the Young Avengers-team, of which she has been a member in the comics? Harley Keener also appeared at Tony Stark’s funeral. Keener is the child that Tony befriended in Iron Man 3. Still played by Ty Simpkins, Keener doesn’t really do anything in Endgame, but I do wonder if they’ll try to add him into a Young Avengers film or series as a young Iron Man. Something like that. Who knows?
- Quantum Realm – Ant-Man and the Wasp: If you want to learn more about the Quantum Realm, then check out Ant-Man and the Wasp, where its ideas were important parts of the plot.
- Underwater Disturbance: So, we might’ve gotten a hint at what Black Panther 2 is going to look like someday. During the first act of Endgame, Black Widow asks Okoye about an underwater disturbance (I think it was an earthquake underwater). Okoye shrugs it off and tells Natasha not to worry. What I, and many others, think this could be a reference to is the Marvel character known as Namor the Sub-Mariner. Marvel’s antiheroic version of Aquaman, Namor has frequently been pitted against Black Panther in the comic books. What is interesting about all of this is that Disney actually does not own the film rights to Namor, but, supposedly, the situation is not unlike what they’ve done with Hulk. They can’t do a Hulk film on their own, but they can put him in other characters’ films. If that’s the case with Namor, then now seems like a good time to put him in a Black Panther-film.
- Let’s Talk About Hulk: In Endgame, the version of Hulk that we’re seeing has the brains of Banner and the strength and look of Hulk. In fact, we only see regular-Banner in 2018. This ‘Smart Hulk’ is taken from the varied pages of comic books, where he has apparently been referred to as ‘Professor Hulk,’ a merged version of Banner and Hulk that is basically the perfect blend of the two. Also, I think there is a teeny tiny reference to a remark from Infinity War in Endgame. In Infinity War, Stark, Strange, Wong, and Banner go off on a tangent about ice cream. Apparently, Ben & Jerry have named some ice cream flavors after the Avengers. In Infinity War, they mention two flavors and one of these is ‘A Hunk-a-Hulk-a Burning Fudge.’ In Endgame, we see Smart Hulk eat a green-ish Ben & Jerry ice cream flavor. I think it’s a fair bet that he’s eating his own flavor, but we may not know for sure until the film is out on Blu-Ray.
- 2012 Timeline: It’s time to talk about the timelines and the little references, cameos, and callbacks found therein. Let’s start with the 2012-timeline within which the Avengers try to hunt down three infinity stones. This leads to cameos from Robert Redford, Tilda Swinton, and many others — it’s glorious. But it’s more than just that, obviously. We get to see scenes from Marvel’s The Avengers from a new perspective, and we even get references to other films during this timeline. We see Loki turning into Captain America, which is a callback to him doing the same thing in Thor: The Dark World. When Captain America steps into the elevator, it is a direct callback to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and his ‘Hail Hydra’ line is a reference to the controversial comic book run where Steve Rogers was an agent of Hydra. Finally, the “I can do this all day,” line is a line from Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: Civil War.
- 2014 Timeline: In 2014, we obviously see the planet Vormir, which we’ve previously only seen in Infinity War. But this timeline has a lot of fun with James Gunn’s The Guardians of the Galaxy. Also, Barton and Romanoff reference an unseen mission known only as ‘Budapest,’ which has previously been referenced in Marvel’s The Avengers.
- 2013 Timeline: The 2013 timeline, to my recollection, only references the not-so-popular sequel Thor: The Dark World. Who would’ve thought this film would become important in Endgame?
- 1970 Timeline: During the 1970s timeline, we see a young Hank Pym as well as a big Ant-Man helmet — which I believe to be one of the original helmet designs for the character. Of course, we see both Howard Stark and Peggy Carter, and a connection between the two (more on that in ‘Edwin Jarvis – Agent Carter.’ When Howard first meets Tony, he very briefly mentions Arnim Zola, the Hydra scientist who rebuilt Hydra within S.H.I.E.L.D.. Zola was played by Toby Jones in the first two Captain America-films.
- Stan Lee: The late-great comic book creator Stan Lee, of course, made an appearance in Avengers: Endgame. In the film, right before we meet Stark and Steve in the 1970s, we see a vehicle driving past the S.H.I.E.L.D. outpost. Behind the steering wheel, a happy and free Lee then says to the camera something along the lines of “Make love not war!” Supposedly, this is Stan Lee’s final cameo.
- Community connection: Directing duo the Russo brothers made their names as comedy series directors. One of the shows they worked on was Community — one of my personal favorite shows of all-time. In every film they’ve made, the Russo brothers have had at least a single Community actor cameo. In Endgame, we saw both Ken Jeong as a security guard and Yvette Nicole Brown as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Of course, Brie Larson — Captain Marvel herself — also appeared in Community, but that’s not really a cameo.
- Edwin Jarvis – Agent Carter: So, one of the big issues some fans have had with the MCU is that it has failed to pay attention to the television series that spun-off Marvel’s The Avengers. We never got to see the Netflix characters in the MCU. The major heroes never really appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It was disappointing, I’ll agree. But in Endgame, we finally got some crossover. We saw the actual human character named Jarvis played by James D’Arcy who played that same character in Agent Carter.
- Worthy: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” Does that sound familiar? Well, it should. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s hammer Mjölnir was destroyed, but in Endgame it makes its glorious return. In Age of Ultron, the Avengers all attempted to lift his hammer. No one was able to lift it, but Steve Rogers made it move, much to the surprise of Thor. Later in Age of Ultron, Vision actually lifts, wields, and hands the hammer to Thor. It’s a good joke. In Endgame, Captain America wields the hammer and fights Thanos with it in one of the film’s most satisfying moments. Steve Rogers is worthy, and he has lifted the hammer more than once in the comic books.
- On Your Left: During the final battle, the returning Avengers make their presence known when Sam Wilson radios in says something along the lines of “Cap, on your left.” This is a reference to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where Steve Rogers said “on your left,” whenever he ran past Wilson while they were working out.
- Avengers Assemble: We’ve all been waiting for Captain America to say the iconic line “Avengers Assemble!” for a very long time. In Age of Ultron, he only said the first half before the film cut to credits. In Endgame, he finally said the iconic line in full and it was glorious!
- Wasp Calls Steve ‘Cap’: In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hope made fun of the fact that Scott Lang referred to Captain America as ‘Cap.’ In Endgame, I believe Hope calls Steve ‘Cap.’ A fun callback.
- Black Panther & Hawkeye: In Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther said he didn’t care what Hawkeye’s name was. In Endgame, Black Panther calls Hawkeye by his name ‘Clint.’ Another cute callback.
- Rescue: In Endgame, Pepper Potts wears an Iron Man suit, which is a reference to her comic book alter ego ‘Rescue.’
- A-Force: In Endgame, we see a cool shot of all of Marvel’s living female on-screen heroes going to battle together. It’s a cool shot that may or may not indicate that Marvel wants to make an A-Force film. A-Force is an all-female team of Avengers.
- New Asgard: In Endgame, we see that the surviving Asgardians are now living in New Asgard. New Asgard is located in Tønsberg, Norway, which was also a location used for the films Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
- The Funeral: During Tony Stark’s funeral, we see the ‘Proof That Tony Stark Has A Heart’ arc reactor gift that Pepper gave Tony in Iron Man. After the funeral, Morgan Stark asks Happy Hogan for cheeseburgers, which is another reference to Iron Man, in which Tony asked for cheeseburgers after returning home from Afghanistan.
- All the Stupid With You: In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers tells Bucky that he’s “taking all the stupid” with him. In Endgame, Bucky says that same thing to Steve, when Cap is about to return the infinity stones and Mjölnir to the parallel timelines.
- Falcon – Captain America: In Endgame, Steve Rogers gives Sam Wilson his shield, so that Falcon can become the new Captain America. This is taken straight from the comic books where, on occasion, Falcon has taken over as Cap’s official replacement. Bucky, however, has also served as Captain America.
- The Dance: At the very end of Avengers: Endgame, we see Captain America dance with Peggy Carter in what looks like the 1950s or late 1940s. While they dance we hear the song ‘It’s Been a Long, Long Time.’ This is the second time the song has appeared in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, the first one being Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is a post-war song about a soldier returning home after World War Two. Their dance is a reference to Captain America: The First Avenger, within which, right before he flies into the ice, he asks for a ‘rain check’ on the dance he promised her. Now he finally got the chance to dance with the woman he loved.
I understood those references, and now you do too. Now, I definitely missed something (I’m not Uatu). But, yeah, to me, those were the most significant references, cameos, and callbacks. Did I miss something you loved? If so, then yell at me in the comment section below.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.