MCU films have an extremely knowledgeable fanbase. Not only have they seen the movies several times, they also know the history of the characters. Fans know what stories are coming up and how each movie should lead into the next. Marvel Studios knows this so they include tons of easter eggs throughout the franchise to surprise moviegoers. At the red carpet premiere of Thor: Ragnarok Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed that the easter eggs are more than just fun shoutouts for fans, they are also meant to tie the movies together.
"We put things in, you can call them easter eggs, you can call them hidden items," he said. "They're lots in there. It's not just within each movie, it's connective tissue between all the movies so there are things coming up, there are things in this movie that tie back to ten movies ago that you will only get if you've been tracking them very closely." However, there are definitely some easter eggs that have never been mentioned again. Some of these were always meant to be one offs, but some of them are kind of important, so it’s weird that they were never addressed again. Here’s a compilation of MCU easter eggs that ended up going nowhere.
The following contains spoilers for all MCU properties including Thor: Ragnarok!
15 COSMO IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
James Gunn famously put several easter eggs in The Collector’s museum in Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with Adam Warlock’s cocoon, a worm from Slither and Howard the Duck, Taneleer Tivan is also keeping Cosmo the dog amongst his impressive collection. Cosmo was a former Soviet Union test dog that ended up in Knowhere. Now mutated, he became Knowhere’s head of security, partnered with Nova and also worked with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the movies, Cosmo pops up in the post credits scene of the first Guardians film, escaping after The Collector’s base is destroyed. While it’s possible that he could show up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it seems unlikely since the team already has a tough talking small animal.
14 THE GRANDMASTER’S STONE BUSTS IN THOR: RAGNAROK
The Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions is basically one long easter egg. From the Willy Wonka inspired trip to meet Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, to the glimpse at the outside stone busts of other champions. There are carvings of Beta Ray Bill, Ares and Man-Thing. It’s interesting to see hints that these less conventional heroes could exist at some point in the MCU.
Perhaps these fighters were there before the Hulk and won their freedom, or maybe they’re who the Hulk beat to become the new champion. None of that is made clear and at this point we may never know. Thor: Ragnarok ends with a revolution on Sakaar and The Grandmaster being overthrown, so it’s possible we may be done with that little corner of the galaxy.
13 STRANGE WAS GOING TO OPERATE ON RHODEY
In Doctor Strange, it instantly becomes clear that Stephen Strange, while brilliant, is a jerk. On his way to a conference, right before his fateful car crash, Strange is evaluating the medical records of possible patients. One of those patients is described as “a 35 year old Air Force colonel who crushed his spine in an experimental suit of armor.” He is clearly discussing Rhodey’s injuries from Captain America: Civil War.
For the unfamiliar, Rodey was accidentally hit by the Vision during the big fight, plummeted to the ground and ended up paralyzed. Tony got him an advanced exoskeleton to help him walk, but that’s not a permanent fix, so of course they seek out the help of someone like Stephen Strange. Unfortunately, his car accident put those hopes to rest, so technology will have to do for now.
12 TREVOR IS TAKEN BY THE REAL TEN RINGS
The Mandarin reveal in Iron Man 3 is considered a controversial debate among MCU fans. Some were disappointed that Ben Kingsley didn’t turn out to be the feared villain, while others loved his comedic turn as low level actor Trevor Slattery. Either way, it was such an interesting swerve that Marvel couldn’t let the story end with him being arrested.
In the Marvel one shot All Hail the King Trevor is having a great time in jail. He’s got fans, protection and attention. Of course, the real Ten Rings can’t let him get away with making their leader look silly and they break him out to take him to the actual Mandarin. Poor Trevor hasn’t been heard from since and frankly, neither have the Ten Rings. They’ve taken a backseat to Thanos.
11 HOWARD THE DUCK IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
We already know that the Collector has a very expansive collection, but one of his most surprising items is Howard the Duck. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Taneleer Tivan’s museum is destroyed and Howard is able to escape. This was meant to be one of James Gunn’s one off jokes, but he shows up again in Guardians Vol. 2 partying with the Ravagers.
This is obviously one of those easter eggs that is just there for the laughs. There’s no deeper meaning to be found in Howard the Duck. While he has appeared twice now, Kevin Feige has made it clear there won’t be a Howard the Duck movie. Frankly, that’s probably for the best as he’s a character best enjoyed in small doses.
10 THE PUNISHER JOINS THE DEFENDERS IN DAREDEVIL
We’ve known all along that the Marvel Netflix series were building toward The Defenders. When The Punisher showed up in season two of Daredevil, fans thought they were getting another hero added to the mix. He even helped out Daredevil in his big battle with The Hand, so obviously he would be a Defender right? When Frank Castle was a hit and given his own show, speculation ramped up even more. Why would they add another hero and not make him part of the team up show?
Netflix didn’t help matters by including The Punisher in its Defenders trailers. Even though Jon Bernthal’s name was never included in any casting news, viewers were still waiting for a surprise appearance. Of course, it never happened, so this is one of those cases of fans creating an easter egg where there never was one.
9 ERIK SELVIG’S BLACKBOARD
Thor: The Dark World deals with a lot of high brow outer space and science talk about the Convergence and world aligning. At times it’s hard to follow where all the pieces fit together and what the endgame is. Thankfully, Erik Selvig takes a few moments in his mental ward to write everything down and explain it. Any diehard MCU fan knows they wouldn’t have him write everything on a big blackboard without throwing in a few easter eggs.
There are references to other Earths, the Fault, other possible heroes. In this moment it’s hard to take anything Selvig says seriously, but he is very smart so maybe some but not all of these will lead to something bigger. With Thanos on the horizon it’s hard to say what’s possible and what’s not.
8 A FROST MONSTER IS STILL RUNNING AROUND LONDON
With all the chaos surrounding the finale of Thor: The Dark World we suppose it was easy for a few things to get lost in the confusion. The Convergence was in full swing and the worlds were all colliding. Dark Elves were appearing all over London, Thor and Malekith were fighting between the worlds and gravity was going crazy. After the dust had settled and the good guys won, there was still a giant crashed spaceship in the middle of London. The week after the movie opened Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showed the team cleaning up the mess.
This is why it’s even more baffling that no one ever mentioned chasing down a huge frost monster that was last seen running around London in the end credits. It begs the question, did anybody ever catch that thing or is it still running loose in a major city?
7 BARON STRUCKER IN CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
After Cap burns everything down (literally) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, everyone is left wondering what’s next. In the mid-credits scene Baron Strucker menacingly shows off his creations Wanda and Pietro Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. It makes it seem like he will be a threat in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Turns out he’s not. The Avengers storm his base pretty easily and make short work of his troops. Later he’s killed off-screen by Ultron.
So the MCU set up a classic comic book villain and gave him about three scenes before killing him off. In case you’re wondering, his son was treated even worse on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where Ward had him beaten into a coma, then Coulson used a dangerous brain wave device on him and he died from the stress of it all. The MCU was not kind to the Struckers.
6 TINA MINORU IN DOCTOR STRANGE
At the start of the battle in Hong Kong, Doctor Strange shows a quick glimpse of a character that is not important to the movie, but may become more valuable down the line. In the scene an unnamed sorcerer is seen wielding an unidentified staff, and upon further viewings, it turns out this is Tina Minoru with the Staff of One.
This is important because Marvel’s new Runaways series is set to premiere shortly and it features the now evil Tina and her daughter Nico. However, don’t get your hopes up that any of this will affect the show, since Marvel’s track record of actually connecting its movies and TV shows is spotty at best. It’s more likely that Tina never even mentions her time as a good guy.
5 THE ORIGINAL HUMAN TORCH
By now it’s well-known that there are some heroes that just can’t appear in the MCU. However, every once in awhile Marvel still finds a way to sneak in an easter egg that hints at the rest of its heroes. This happened in Captain America: The First Avenger when Steve and Bucky attend the Stark Expo.
As they walk through the exhibit hall there’s a red costumed mannequin in a glass case. This is a nod to the very first superhero the company had back when it was Timely Comics. The figure is the original Human Torch. For obvious reasons, this is all they could ever show of the character, but it’s still fun for fans to get these teases to the company’s long history.
4 MJOLNIR IS DESTROYED IN THOR: RAGNAROK
During Thor and Loki’s first meeting with Hela, the Goddess of Death, Thor throws his hammer at her. She simply stops it and crushes it like glass. The last we see of Mjolnir it’s left in pieces on a cliff in Norway. For awhile Thor is left weakened by the loss of his trusty hammer. He keeps reaching for it, forgetting it won’t come when called now. There are even jokes about how he’s still dealing with the loss.
However, in the comics Mjonir has been destroyed a few times and always finds a way to come back. So, while Thor may keep his short hair and other elements from Thor: Ragnarok, it’s a safe bet that Mjolnir will return to the MCU. If for no reason other than marketing. You can’t sell toy hammers if there’s no hammer in the movie.
3 DAREDEVIL NEWS IN AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
It’s no secret that fans have long complained about the lack of connection or crossover between the movies and TV shows of the MCU. Occasionally Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will mention something from one of the movies, but for all the talk of “it’s all connected,” they actually aren’t that connected.
Now that there are even more shows, with more heroes running around New York City, it seems even more crazy that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t at least have Coulson reference the ninjas fighting in Hell's Kitchen or the bulletproof guy in Harlem. The closest we got was a fleeting news report about Hell's Kitchen in the background of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As fun as these moments are, they’re kind of mean to fans who know they will never get the crossover event they really want.
2 MILES MORALES IN SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
Once fans got over the excitement that Peter Parker was finally joining the MCU there were so many questions. Which characters would come with him? Which villains would he fight? And most importantly was it just Peter as Spider-Man or would Miles Morales also make an appearance? Turns out Miles does exist in the MCU. During his investigation into experimental weapons, Peter runs into Aaron Davis (Donald Glover).
While being questioned Aaron mentions that he wants these guns out of his neighborhood because he has a nephew who lives there. Aaron’s nephew is actually Miles Morales. So while there’s every chance Miles could show up in the MCU, it’s doubtful we’ll see him as Spider-Man anytime soon, since the franchise is still trying to establish Peter as a full-fledged Avenger.
1 STEARNS IS INFECTED WITH THE HULK’S BLOOD
The Incredible Hulk is pretty much the unwanted child of the MCU. While it’s considered canon, it doesn’t really fit in anymore. Truth be told, you could skip it during a marathon and still be just fine. It’s forgotten status means many of the leftover plot threads and easter eggs have been dropped. Chief among them is a moment that was clearly meant to set up a future storyline.
As The Hulk and Blonsky battle in Dr. Stearn's lab, an unconscious Stearns is infected with The Hulk’s blood and his brain begins to mutate. This was obviously supposed to lead to him becoming the villain The Leader. However, The Hulk has since moved, he’s not even on Earth right now, and there seems to be no plans for him to get another solo story. Guess this will just remain the MCU’s lost easter egg.
Which of these easter eggs do you wish they would explore? Let us know in the comments!