Aquaman is now in theaters, and while it isn't getting the critical praise of Wonder Woman, it is getting its fair share of good reviews, sitting fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a very high audience score. It almost seems like these solo movies are what the DCEU should have been concentrating on rather than rushing into team-up movies and Justice League. With that said, whether a person is a fan of the movie or not, one thing to note is the great Easter eggs that director James Wan threw up onto the screen.
While many comic book movies are almost heavy-handed with their Easter eggs, Wan took on a few clever options when delivering winks to the fans. Some were there in plain sight (such as the name of towns, the actors cast, and the shots pulled directly from the comics), while others were blink-and-you-miss-it tributes to Wan's own past movies, collaborators, and trivia pulled straight out of both DC Comics and Aquaman stories. Finally, there were Easter eggs that paid direct homage to the story and theme of the movie itself, possibly the best of all Easter eggs in movies. With the film a thrill ride that rarely slows down, many of these are easy to miss. So, here is a look at 20 Aquaman Easter Eggs Everyone (Probably) Missed. Warning, spoilers follow for the Aquaman movie.
20 AMNESTY BAY
It was clear from the start that the DCEU was following much of Geoff Johns' redesigns of the DC Comics world. He brought back old-time favorites like Barry Allen as The Flash, Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, and then he did the impossible: he made Aquaman less of a joke. He did so by writing a new series based on the character that referenced the jokes and had Aquaman act the role of a noble hero in the face of them.
In those Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis comics, Johns created a new home for Aquaman called Amnesty Bay. While this was located in Massachusetts in the comics, it was relocated to Maine in the Aquaman movie. Regardless, this was a clear homage to Johns' work, as is the introduction of Salty, a golden retriever from that comic book run.
When Tom Curry saved Atlanna after she washed ashore, took her in, and helped bandage her up, she woke up confused and disoriented. She attacked Tom and then saw the television. As someone who had never seen something like this before, she stared in horror as the TV show Stingray was playing and then she launched her trident through the screen.
This was an Easter egg on more than one level. First, Stingray is a classic stop-motion puppet series that took place underwater and was actually about invaders from the deep, which ties in well to the Aquaman storyline. On a side note, Stingray is also a character from Marvel Comics who is a deep-sea hero, another interesting connection for the movie.
Take a good look at the monster that Aquaman rides on when he attacks Orm's army and delivers his final knockout blows to the rebellion. It might be easy to see that creature and immediately think of the most iconic mythical sea creature ever invented: the Cthulhu.
H.P. Lovecraft is the man who invented the legendary Cthulhu and there was a great Lovecraft Easter egg in Aquaman. In the scene early in the movie where Atlanna and Tom are sitting in his living room, there is a shot of a snow globe, which shows The Dunwich (a horror book by H.P. Lovecraft) resting under it. The main story in that book is about a son born of two species: another strong tribute to the story of Aquaman.
17 THE MOTHER BOX
In Justice League, it was explained that there were three Mother Boxes hidden on Earth. One was protected by humans, one by Amazonians and one by Atlanteans. As the movie showed, the Mother Box in Atlantis was stolen by Steppenwolf when he attacked the underwater kingdom. Take a closer look at that box, and then look at the small box that Queen Atlanna made for her family as a craft.
As a Reddit user pointed out, this box, which sat on the table beside a photo of Atlanna, Arthur, and Tom, looks exactly like that Mother Box. Since she would have had an intimate knowledge as to what it looked like as the Queen, it is a clearly homage to Justice League as she created something based on her memories of her homeland.
16 DEVIL RAY
When Aquaman first attacks the pirates and saves the crew from the submarine, he faces a father-son duo. As everyone knows, the son escapes alive and becomes Black Manta, however, while the movie does not explicitly state it, the father is a super villain from the world of DC animation as well (or at least the actor was).
Michael Beach plays the father of Black Manta and he also voiced a character in Justice League Unlimited called Devil Ray. So, who is Devil Ray? He is an underwater villain that was originally supposed to be Black Manta, but had to be changed to Devil Ray due to right's issues. Now, in Aquaman, DC finally got to use Black Manta, and the man who voiced a version of him in the cartoon played his dad in the movie.
Before he was Aquaman, Jason Momoa portrayed Conan the Barbarian. That movie was met with critical disdain and never developed into the franchise the studio hoped, but James Wan is someone who loves to throw in winks and nudges at these things. For Momoa, there were two moments that paid homage to Conan:
One took place on the sub with the pirates, where Aquaman held up a pirate's face to the porthole to get it open. In Conan, he did the same thing, but with a severed head. Later, when he faced off with Karathen, he said: “if that's not good enough, then screw you,” which is a play on Arnold Schwarzenegger's line in the original Conan the Barbarian where he said: “if you don't listen, then to hell with you.” Add in the scene where Aquaman wakes up on the boat in wrapping similar to those he wore as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, and there were lots of Momoa Easter eggs in Aquaman.
When Aquaman and his dad are sitting in the bar having drinks, they notice the local television network is talking about how Aquaman saved a submarine and its crew from pirates. His dad then congratulates him and then some biker dudes come up with a request for selfies. However, there are a couple of things to take note of in this scene.
First, the person they are talking to on the news is Doctor Shin, who we will get to a little further down. Second, the network WGBS is where Clark Kent used to work in the DC Comics. It was owned by Morgan Edge, a wealthy villain who worked for Darkseid in the pages of the comics.
Movie directors love to throw in Easter eggs that call back to their earlier movies. Sure, there are no appearances of Vin Diesel in a muscle car in Aquaman, but James Wan got his start in low budget horror movies. Before becoming a masterful action movie director, he directed Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring, and there was at least one Easter egg from his horror history.
Annabelle was a spin-off movie from his Conjuring film, which highlighted a vintage doll with wicked powers. When Aquaman and Mera are looking for her underwater vehicle, they find it hidden in a shipping container with numerous rotted fish among the garbage. In that garbage is none other than the Annabelle doll, sitting there looking spooky.
12 CLASSIC AQUAMAN
One thing that many fans took notice of when Jason Momoa was cast as Aquaman was that he looked nothing like the superhero. For one thing, Aquaman was not a man with long black hair and tattoos all over his arms. Instead, the Aquaman in comic books and on cartoons had short blonde hair and was distinguished for much of his life; although he did get a big beard and long hair when his life got a bit tough at times.
However, James Wan chose to do something interesting in the Aquaman movie. Patrick Wilson, who portrayed Orm, bleached his hair blonde and really took on the look of the Aquaman in the comics, which made him really stand out from Momoa's heroic Aquaman. It was almost like Wan wanted the villain to look like the Aquaman that was mocked from the comic books.
11 MAN OF STEEL
Justice League wasn't the only DC Comics Extended Universe movie to have Aquaman pay a nod with an Easter egg, as Man of Steel is also on the list. Jason Momoa said before the movie was ever released that there would be an Easter egg to this Superman movie and most people knew exactly what the scene would be.
Remember in Superman when the oil tanker was sinking and he had to save all the people on it before they perished along with it? Most people realized that Atlantis and Aquaman would have a problem with this and that is exactly what happened. When Orm is talking about all the destruction that humans inflict on the oceans, that specific oil rig sinking is shown in the flashbacks.
10 TOPO THE OCTOPUS
Topo the Octopus is one of Aquaman's aquatic sidekicks from the comics. Remember, in the old DC Comics stories, Aquaman didn't just talk to aquatic life, he helped train them and one of his buddies was an octopus. In a very strange series of events, Topo learned how to play musical instruments, including the piano, drums, and guitar.
In Aquaman, when Arthur is about to battle Orm in the Ring of Fire, there is a lot of pomp and circumstance. This includes putting on a show and even includes music, which is presided over by a giant octopus playing the drums to set the mood. Sure, a lot of people might not get it, but that was a clear homage to Topo the Octopus from DC Comics.
9 BIGGER HELMET
In the case of this Aquaman Easter egg, it was a simple play on words. When thinking of aquatic movies, there isn't one bigger or more iconic than the classic Steven Spielberg movie Jaws. That film was a giant summer blockbuster, and the giant shark in that movie likely would have fit at home with the sharks that Orm and his troops ride in this movie.
When Orm hired Black Manta to eliminate Aquaman and gifted him Atlantean tech to do it, Manta started to work on designing body armor. He created a helmet with laser blasts coming from the eyes, but it proved too powerful, melting it down. Manta then quipped that he needed a bigger helmet, an obvious homage to the Jaws classic line: “we're going to need a bigger boat.”
8 THE SEAHORSE
There are a lot of Easter eggs concerning past Aquaman appearances. For example, Aquaman was always the brunt of jokes in both the world of DC Comics and in mainstream appearances like Robot Chicken and Family Guy: he talks to fish and rides a seahorse.
The seahorse made a huge appearance in Aquaman and it was not a joke in any way. Sure, it was not as formidable as those giant sharks that Orm rode, or the monster things that came from the deep, but when Drago (King Nereus) is souped up in battle armor and is ready to fight, he makes riding a seahorse look really freaking cool.
7 LEIGH WHANNELL
The Aquaman trailers played hard with a funny moment from the movie. In that scene, Mera leaps from an airplane as Aquaman watches on and the pilot exclaims that she didn't have a parachute, which leads to the hero making a remark about “redheads” before jumping out after her..
It was a funny moment, especially since there was no hero's landing and the two just crashed into the desert sand below. However, the Easter egg here is another pull from the horror history of James Wan. The pilot is none other than Leigh Whannell, the man who wrote Saw for Wan to direct when they both started out their careers. It was a nice moment for Wan to include his buddy in the movie, although Whannell's career is on the rise as well with him directing the amazing Upgrade in 2018.
6 MURK'S HAND IS ATTACKED
When Mera was battling the Atlanteans sent with Black Manta to eliminate her and Aquaman, she uses her amazing powers that control the water to fight back. One of the soldiers that she battles is Murk, and she uses her powers to deliver a very powerful blow to the soldiers hand. Now, some might see this and remember that Aquaman lost a hand in the comics, but that is not what this Easter egg is about.
In the comics, Murk was one of the main soldiers that were there to defend Atlantis against surface dwellers and was the right-hand man of King Orm. In the comics, he was also missing a hand and replaced it with a blade implanted in the stub. Expect him to return with that look in future movies as a loyal follower of Orm.
5 FISHERMAN KING
One thing about heavy prosthetics is that a single actor can play multiple roles. That happened with one actor (Djimon Hounsou) in Aquaman as he also appears in the next DC Comics movie Shazam and also has a role in next year's Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Captain Marvel, which is ironically what Shazam used to be known as.
Of course, in Captain Marvel, he reprises his role as Korath the Pursuer from Guardians of the Galaxy; in Shazam, he is the god, although he is unrecognizable; and finally, in Aquaman, he is also unrecognizable as the Fisherman King: a being that just wanted peace between the underwater kingdom and the surface dwellers. Additionally, he isn't the only surprising cameo either as John Rhys-Davies is the Brine King.
4 DINOSAUR ISLAND
Dinosaur Island exists outside of the normal realm in DC Comics and everyone from Batman to Superman has been there or knows about it. Located in the South Pacific, it is an uncharted island that is home for dinosaurs and other animals that are extinct elsewhere on Earth. For comic book fans who never, ever believed they would see Dinosaur Island in a movie, that dream has finally come true.
While not called Dinosaur Island per se, when Aquaman and Mera went searching for the mythical trident and made it alive through the Trench, they found a land that featured many dinosaur- type creatures flying around. Clearly an homage to Jules Verne, who was quoted in the opening of Aquaman, it is also a clear homage to Dinosaur Island from DC Comics.
3 MARY POPPINS
The Marvel Cinematic Universe somehow managed to catch on with a great moment that went viral when Star-Lord compared Yondu with Mary Poppins. With a new Mary Poppins movie now in theaters, one thing that fans of that original family flick might miss is Julie Andrews, who refused a cameo in the movie. But what is completely bonkers is that Andrews did have a cameo in Aquaman.
The thing is that no one will likely notice when Mary Poppins pops up in the movie. In the scene where Aquaman is at the Lost Sea and is heading in to claim the trident to become King, he is met by a giant creature guarding it called the Karathen. That creature does not believe he is worthy and the Karathen, believe it or not, is voiced by Julie Andrews.
2 DOCTOR SHIN
So, let's look at the post credit scene. Most people knew what they were watching as it concerned Black Manta as they saw that he was still alive and that he wanted vengeance on Aquaman for both his father and his increased injuries. It is also interesting to know that Aquaman still doesn't know that it was Manta that caused the attack on Atlantis that helped Orm start his war.
With that said, who is Doctor Shin? The movie showed him in a quick television news segment and now he is helping Manta. However, in the comics, he is someone who wanted to know where Atlantis was and became an enemy, revealing Arthur's hidden identity to the world. With his immense knowledge of Atlantis (except for where it is located), he could become a very strong ally to Black Manta in a future Aquaman movie.
1 COAST CITY
The very first movie that the DCEU tried to get off the ground in the hoped-for extended universe was not Man of Steel, but was instead Green Lantern, but what resulted was a mess that almost derailed the entire DCEU before it could get started. With that said, there is still hope for Green Lantern as the Corps was shown in Justice League and Green Lantern is shown in the opening logo before DC movies.
In the post-credit scene, Doctor Shin is working on Black Manta's mask while the villain is healing up in the room and on the walls is a ton of newspaper clippings about Atlantis. One of these is from the Coast City Ledger, which DC Comics fans will immediately recognize as Green Lantern's hometown.