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The 30 best Marvel Easter eggs you need to know about

10. Captain America's shield

The movies: Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010)

The Easter egg: A half-constructed Captain America shield can be seen just behind Tony Stark when Pepper walks in in him taking off his armour in Iron Man, and then again in Iron Man 2 when Agent Coulson hands it to him to balance out the equipment he uses to create a new element.

How obscure is it? Blatantly telegraphed in the second film - so much so that it hardly counts as an Easter egg - but a lot harder to spot in the first film.

9. Rhodey's ringtone

The movie: Iron Man (2008)

The Easter egg: When Rhodey has pilots chasing down a Tony Stark-shaped UFO, he gets a phone all from the man himself and his ringtone is a midi version of the 1966 Iron Man cartoon theme music.

How obscure is it? Easy to spot as long as you've actually SEEN the 1966 Iron Man cartoon.

8. The Infinity Gauntlet

The movie: Thor (2011)

The Easter egg: Ok, ok so it’s not the real Infinity Gauntlet, as Thor: Ragnarok was all too keen to point out, but, at the time, this was massive. The Infinity Gauntlet, essentially the only conceivable way to wield the universe-altering Infinity Stones, took pride of place in Asgard Odin’s vault is home to many a treasure and feared weapon, but, now, this fake’s appearance asks more questions than it answers. At least we know Thanos had the real thing in his possession all along.

How obscure is it? Even if you know all about the Infinity Gauntlet storyline from the comics and the many, many post-credit scenes leading to Avengers: Infinity War, this is still a blink-and-you'll-miss-it, wear-out-the-pause-button-on-the-DVD moment.

7. Selvig knows all

The movie: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

The Easter egg: While the world of Marvel comics is a confusing and complex place, riddled with parallel universes and alternate realities, the MCU has kept mostly to a single world and timeline so audience members’ heads don't spin off into the sunset by Captain America 5. But it still hints at the concept of those many disparate timelines through Selvig. On a chalkboard in the mental institution where he's being held, you can spot a reference to 'Earth-616', the most robust and heavily-used Marvel reality, alongside mentions of 'The Crossroads' from Dr. Strange and 'The Fault' from Guardians of the Galaxy. 

How obscure is it? Even comic fans might not instantly know where these references came from, if they're eagle-eyed enough to spot them in the first place.

6. Lou Ferrigno cameo

The movies: The Incredible Hulk (2008), The Avengers (2012)

The Easter egg: Lou Ferrigno was the lean, green body builder, star of the original Hulk TV show and, at this point, likely to be the only person to ever officially play the character unaided by CGI. He has a cameo as a security guard in The Incredible Hulk. Not only that, but he also voices the Hulk in this film and in The Avengers.

How obscure is it? You're not likely to miss his appearance in The Incredible Hulk, even without the green body make-up, but his voice work in The Avengers? That's one for movie trivia fans only.

5. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s map

The movie: Iron Man 2 (2010)

The Easter egg: As Tony Stark meets Nick Fury at the end, a map can be seen in the background with red hotspots highlighted. From their positions, you can see that they seem to indicate the locations of superheroes, including one in Africa, which can only be the Black Panther in Wakanda, and one in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, presumably denoting Namor.

How obscure is it? You have to really know your superhero geography to get these references.

4. Captain Marvel's origin tale

The movie: Doctor Strange (2016) 

The Easter egg: As Doctor Strange speeds down the highway chatting to his assistant on the phone, he's told about an incoming case: a young woman recently struck by lightning.  

How obscure is it? Eagle-eared Marvel heads might have made the connection to Captain Marvel! Brie Larson is set to make her MCU debut as the character in the very near future, yet with screenwriter Nicole Perlman confirming plans to rework the Cap's origin tale from extra-terrestrial to something more earthly, it *might* have been missed. 

3. Hitchin' a ride

The movie: Captain America: Civil War (2016) 

The Easter egg: In the middle of the film's ultimate showdown, Ant-Man shrinks down and climbs aboard one of Hawkeye's arrows. The archer fires away, blasting Scott directly into Iron Man's suit, a visual directly nabbed from the comics.  

How obscure is it? You'd have to be a knowledgable reader to recognise the cover of The Avengers #223.  

2. I can do this all day

The movie: Captain America: Civil War (2016) 

The Easter egg: As Steve and Tony are beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, seemingly drawing on a never-ending energy reserve Cap wipes his bloodied lip. "I can do this all day," he says. It's a direct reference to his fight behind a movie theater in the first Cap film, when his scrawny physique didn't stop him from saying the exact same line to a circle of bullies. 

How obscure is it? If you've seen The First Avenger recently, or have a phenomenal memory, you should know this.  

1. My arm, my arm!

The movies: Thor: The Dark World (2013), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The Easter egg: Kevin Feige's love of Star Wars, and in particular, The Empire Strike Back knows no bounds: “I’m obsessed with Star Wars, and it didn’t start out as intentional, but it became intentional. Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase Two movie. Every single one.” All of the above movies feature a main character losing a limb, with The Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes being the most recent recipient in Civil War.  

How obscure is it? Any modern day movie fan should be able to recognise the obvious parallels.  

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.