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Spider-Man: No Way Home Easter eggs: the 30 biggest Marvel references

Spider-Man No Way Home easter eggs
(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

There are so many Spider-Man: No Way Home Easter eggs. Too many? There's no such thing. The MCU's Spidey threequel is chockful of Marvel references, cameos, and secrets that not only warrant repeat viewings, but also enrich practically every scene for diehard fans and newcomers alike.

But it can be hard to spot all of them, especially on your first go. That's why we've watched (and rewatched) the epic to bring you our collection of Spider-Man: No Way Home Easter eggs: 30 of deepest cuts from Marvel's storied history, as well as memes, tributes, and blink-and-you'll-miss-it jokes. 

MAJOR spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home follow. You have been warned!

The best Spider-Man: No Way Home Easter eggs

Spider-Man No Way Home spoiler warning

(Image credit: Sony)

DUM-E

Dum-E, an Easter egg in Spider-Man No Way Home

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

First up is – what else? – a reference to Tony Stark. The robotic arm in Happy’s condo is actually DUM-E, one half of Tony Stark’s ‘helper’ arms (the other being ‘U’). They were seen in the Iron Man trilogy and Spider-Man: Homecoming, and can probably count as being one of the more obscure MCU Easter eggs found in No Way Home.

Damage Control

Damage Control in No Way Home

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

“Federal agents,” a man – played by Succession’s Arian Moayed – yells outside Aunt May’s house. In a manner of speaking, he’s correct. He’s part of Damage Control, a superhero clean-up operation that first appeared in the MCU after Tony Stark’s battle with Ironmonger in the first Iron Man. In the comics, the group has existed in various forms since 1988.

They were once part of SHIELD but, as of Spider-Man: Homecoming, were integrated into the US government. They also, indirectly, led to Adrian Toomes becoming Vulture after they took over his salvage crew’s New York contracts.

Howard Stark in the Midtown High mural

Howard Stark in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Peter Parker’s return to Midtown High for his senior year is fraught with tension – and Mysterio conspiracy theories from one member of the faculty. Look behind Peter in his scene with the teachers and you’ll see the face of Howard Stark (John Slattery) tucked away alongside inspirational real-world figures.

Nick Fury is off-planet

Samuel L. Jackson Marvel contract

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Yet another update on Nick Fury’s whereabouts comes in No Way Home. The man from Damage Control replies to Peter Parker’s request to speak to Nick Fury by telling Spidey that he’s “off-planet.”

His exact whereabouts is unknown, though Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene featured him lounging about on a Skrull spaceship. WandaVision also made reference to someone who could be Nick Fury – with a Skrull asking Monica Rambeau to meet Fury in space. Maybe the upcoming Secret Invasion – starring Samuel L. Jackson – or The Marvels will help clue us in to Fury’s interstellar adventures.

MJ’s real name

Zendaya's real name in No Way Home

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

We now know MJ’s real name: it’s not Michelle Jones, but Michelle Jones-Watson. That is, of course, a nod to the comics (and 2002’s Spider-Man, which stuck closely to that source material) as her name there is MJ Watson.

Matt Murdock

Charlie Cox in Daredevil

(Image credit: Netflix)

It had long been talked about. Yes, Matt Murdock (AKA Daredevil) is in Spider-Man: No Way Home. As Kevin Feige promised, it’s Charlie Cox playing him too, returning from Marvel’s Netflix series.

What that means for the status of those shows and how they fit into the MCU is unclear – especially with Kingpin showing up in Hawkeye – but, for now, let’s deal in absolutes: Matt Murdock is in the MCU and is still doing that whole lawyer thing.

During his solitary scene, he sits down with Peter, Aunt May, and Happy to discuss the possible legal ramifications of Spider-Man’s identity reveal. He tells Happy that he’s going to need a lawyer because of his use of Stark technology. For now, Peter is in the clear – outside of the “court of public opinion.”

That judgement comes quite literally flying through the window. A member of the public hurls a brick, which Murdock somehow ends up catching. Peter asks him how he did that. His answer? He’s “a really good lawyer.” Cheeky devil.

A Doc Ock license plate

No Way Home trailer

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Marvel loves sliding in nods to the first appearances of some of its characters. No Way Home is no exception.

During the bridge sequence, the MIT vice-chancellor’s car has the license plate ’63 ASM 3.’ That isn’t just a random collection of numbers and letters. It never is in the MCU. It’s actually a reference to Doctor Octopus’ first-ever appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #3 in 1963.

Stan Lee's birthday

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony/Marvel)

Another Easter egg from the bridge sequence. One of the taxis on the George Washington Bridge has the number ‘1228.’ That’s shorthand for December 28 – the birthday of co-creator Stan Lee. Excelsior!

FEAST

Mister Negative in Spider-Man PS4

(Image credit: Insomniac/Sony)

May is now working for FEAST, a charitable organization that helps the homeless and those in need.

Its comic origins are likely to pique the interest of Marvel diehards. There, FEAST is set up by philanthropist Martin Li, AKA Mister Negative. Fans might know him best as one of the main villains in the Spider-Man PS4 game. He hasn’t appeared in the MCU yet – but this could be the first indication that he’s lurking in the shadows.

A tribute to Steve Ditko

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

If you were keeping a close watch on the FEAST van that cropped up multiple times throughout the movie, you may have noticed an easy-to-miss tribute to Steve Ditko, the artist and co-creator of Spider-Man. The word ‘DITKO’ is spray-painted on the side of the truck, which is a nice touch.

All the Spider-Man villains (and their fates)

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

It feels odd to point out something that has been so heavily publicized going in but, yes, nearly every major new character is pulled from a different universe and has appeared in previous Spider-Man movie. They are as follows:

  • Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) – Spider-Man (2002)
  • Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) – Spider-Man 2
  • Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) – Spider-Man 3
  • Lizard (Rhys Ifans) – The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Electro (Jamie Foxx) – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

A large part of the plot revolves around their ultimate fates in their respective movies. In their own universes, Spider-Man killed them or, at the very least, helped contribute to their deaths. If they get sent back – as Doctor Strange wants Peter to do – then they will be left to die. Peter refuses, and instead attempts to ‘fix’ them all so they can head back to their own worlds and have a change of heart.

In one cute moment, Sandman and Electro swap origin stories. One fell into a particle accelerator, the other into a vat filled with electric eels. They both agree that they should be “careful where they fall.”

Norman Osborn’s Goblin colors

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Pretty early on in the movie, the Goblin voice instead Norman’s head gets the better of him. In a fit of rage, Norman smashes the Goblin mask and heads to FEAST. While speaking to Aunt May, he can be seen wearing tattered purple and green clothes – which exactly match the color scheme of the original Green Goblin from the comics.

"I’m something of a scientist myself"

I'm something of a scientist myself

(Image credit: Sony)

They did it. They actually did it. Norman Osborn’s infamous line from 2002’s Spider-Man has been used as a meme for the better part of two or three years now. The “I’m something of a ______ myself” template has been used to poke fun at current events, as well as contemporary figures in the COVID era.

We got a reprisal on No Way Home. Norman interrupts a conversation in Doctor Strange’s basement to point out that he’s "something of a scientist" himself. Why he keeps telling everyone that, we have no idea.

Captain America’s shield on the Statue of Liberty

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

You may have noticed that the Statue of Liberty has undergone something of a makeover. It’s now been redesigned to include Captain America’s shield – though it’s not known if it’s a tribute to Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, or the Captain America mantle as a whole.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stick around for long – with the three Spider-Men and the movie’s villains destroying the monument during the final act’s climactic battle.

The shield was also indirectly referenced in the penultimate episode of Hawkeye, with Florence Pugh’s Yelena saying she wanted to visit the “new and improved” Statue of Liberty. The Rogers musical also appears in both No Way Home and Hawkeye.

Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man histories

Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony)

Yep, they’re back. Truth be told, we could fill an entire piece with all the allusions to the cinematic histories of both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men. Throughout No Way Home, we’re peppered with mentions of their lives and the tragedies that shaped them: Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy’s deaths (in Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 respectively) are mentioned directly, as are the original fights between all the major villains. Doc Ock’s master plan from Spider-Man 2, a reactor with “the power of the sun in the palm of his hand” is also referenced on multiple occasions. The “Amazing” in Amazing Spider-Man also gets a shoutout, with Maguire’s Spider-Man calling Garfield’s Spider-Man (who appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man) “amazing.”

Tobey Maguire’s Spidey even addresses his relationship with MJ (Kirsten Dunst), saying that things were “complicated” but they worked things out in the end. There are some others, too, but we’ll get to those…

Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man themes

Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

2002’s Spider-Man theme by Danny Elfman plays prior to Tobey Maguire giving an inconsolable Tom Holland a pep talk on the roof. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man theme is also sprinkled throughout the movie. Be sure to stick around to the credits for the full list of musical cues.

Tobey Maguire’s web fluid

Tobey Maguire shooting webs in Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony)

Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland’s Spideys have hand-built webshooters to help them catch thieves just like flies. Maguire, on the other hand, has organic web fluid from his wrists.

This, of course, catches Garfield and Holland off-guard, with the latter asking if his web fluid comes out “anywhere else.” You can take the teenager out of Queens… 

Ned as Hobgoblin

Ned Leeds in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony/Marvel)

In the comics, Ned Leeds was a friend of Peter’s who eventually went on to become the third Hobgoblin. With how often the MCU mirrors its comic book counterpart, fans had expected Ned to turn to the dark side and take on the villainous mantle.

Instead, No Way Home pokes fun at that idea. Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s Peters reveal how their best friends turned evil. This, understandably, leaves Ned skittish and he declares to Tom Holland’s Peter that he’ll never do that.

Happy Hogan still loves Downton Abbey

No Way Home trailer

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Jon Favreau’s Happy has an unhealthy obsession with Downton Abbey, with his fandom first rearing up in Iron Man 3. We get a peek into how he lives in No Way Home – with a DVD of Downton Abbey being glimpsed in his condo.

The Peters recreating the Spider-Man pointing meme

Spider-Man pointing

(Image credit: ABC/Marvel)

This isn’t quite as on the nose as Into the Spider-Verse’s take on the iconic meme taken from the 1960s Spider-Man series that saw an intimation Spider-Man pointing at the real Spider-Man. Still, it’s a fun little moment.

While putting together a science experiment to help ‘fix’ the villains, Ned asks for Peter. The trouble is, there’s three Peter Parkers in the lab, and each of them point at themselves – and then others – to try and identify who Ned wants to speak to.

Rhino from Amazing Spider-Man 2

Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony)

The very last scene in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sees Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man come face to face with Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, who is now charging at Spidey in a mechanical suit.

While swapping war stories about which villains they’ve fought, Garfield brings up Rhino as one of his weirdest – but he’s got nothing on fighting a purple alien in space.

Uncle Ben(s) get a mention

Uncle Ben in Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

In No Way Home’s most emotional scene, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield rip off some emotional Band-Aids and reveal that they each lost someone – like the MCU Peter losing his Aunt May – that helped drive them on to become stronger.

Garfield’s Spider-Man mentions Gwen Stacy (who we’ll get to shortly, as she merits another entry), and Maguire’s Spider-Man brings up Uncle Ben. He even brings up his most famous piece of advice…

With great power…

Aunt May in No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony/Marvel Studios)

…comes great responsibility. Or: “With great power must also come great responsibility”, if we’re being pedantic about its comic book origins. Those are the words said, most famously, by Uncle Ben in 2002’s Spider-Man.

In a tragic role reversal, it’s Aunt May who tells Peter those words in the MCU just moments before she dies after Green Goblin’s attack at the apartment complex.

Electro suit

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Electro’s blue-bodied look in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was widely ridiculed. Jamie Foxx’s Electro, thankfully, gets a makeover here, looking far closer to just ordinary Jamie Foxx. In his Electro guise towards the end of the movie, however, he taps into the MCU’s energy and creates a new ‘suit’ for himself. It’s not just any suit: it closely resembles Electro’s classic comic book suit.

Tobey’s back issues

Toby Maguire as Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony )

No, this wasn’t just a ‘Tobey is old now’ joke. Spider-Man superfans will know that Tobey Maguire allegedly had back issues in the run-up to Spider-Man 2 production – a move that reportedly could have seen him replaced by a certain Jake Gyllenhaal for the sequel.

Fortunately, that didn’t come to pass – but No Way Home just couldn’t resist one last dig at Tobey’s back problems.

A Gwen Stacy callback as Andrew saves the day

Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony)

No moment has shaped Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man more than the day he couldn’t save Gwen Stacy. That shuddering snap as she fell to her death still haunts the character even in No Way Home – but he gets some form of redemption.

After MJ and Ned are chased through a portal by Rhys Ifans’ Lizard and on to a platform on the Statue of Liberty, MJ is suddenly knocked over the edge. Tom Holland’s Spidey attempts to save her but is knocked back by the Goblin’s glider. In a heroic moment that matches any in the film, Garfield’s Spider-Man leaps in to save her – and manages to stop her before she falls in a moment that mirrored Gwen’s demise.

A Black Spider-Man

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

The MCU hasn’t got its Miles Morales yet – but Jamie Foxx’s Electro hopes that there’s a “Black Spider-Man” out there somewhere. He also expresses his disappointment that Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man wasn’t Black.

Multiverse figures in the sky: Rhino, Scorpion, and more

Spider-Man No Way Home trailer time

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

No Way Home’s final act sees the multiverse fully cracked open and hundreds of people from all different universes about to flood in. Among them, it seems, is Paul Giamatti’s Rhino from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We’re sure there are others hiding in there – there’a a very scorpion-shaped creature in the sky – so this sequence well merits a few more thorough rewatches. Some on Reddit have also suggested The Watcher, Kraven, and Black Cat make a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance.

LEGO Palpatine

Palpatine

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Tom Holland’s Peter Parker has long been a Star Wars nerd. To help make his dingy new apartment feel like home at the end of the movie, he places a LEGO Palpatine figure down on his desk. The figure previously appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming as was part of the Death Star set he made with Ned.

Spider-Man PS4 moves in the final scene

Spider-Man

(Image credit: Insomniac)

Tom Holland had previously teased that a move from the Spider-Man PS4 game made its way into No Way Home – and we think we’ve spotted where. During the final shot of the movie, Spider-Man swings through the city and does a few spins and somersaults. Those moves certainly looked familiar. So familiar, in fact, that we’re pretty sure they’ve been pulled from Insomniac’s title.


For more on No Way Home, check out our Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained guide, featuring a breakdown of every major moment in the MCU epic's final act.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.