40 ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Easter eggs and references you may have missed
Captain America: Civil War, like most Marvel properties, was chock full of Easter eggs and references. How many did you catch?
There’s nothing more satisfying than combing through a Marvel movie or Netflix show, looking for as many Easter eggs as you can possibly find. Like Cap says, “I can do this all day.” With some assistance from fellow Hypable writer Natalie Fisher, I’ve compiled 40 Civil War Easter eggs and references, harking back to the comics, other MCU properties, and more.
Be warned, this article will contain spoilers for Captain America: Civil War.
- Bucky’s trigger words may seem random at first, but there are some subtle (and not so subtle) nods to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe hidden within them. Homecoming is the recently announced title of Spider-Man’s hotly anticipated solo movie. One, nine and seventeen likely refers to 1917, the year of Bucky’s birth. And… well, we don’t need to point out what Freight Car means, right?
- Redwing, the drone Falcon has in the movie, is a nod to a real falcon that Sam has a psychic connection with in the comics.
- The inciting event of the titular Civil War has some striking similarities between the comics and the movie. In the comics, the New Warriors are facing off against several super villains when Nitro explodes, killing over 600 people. In the movie, it is Crossbones who detonates himself, leading to countless deaths, including some Wakandan diplomats.
- Though Crossbones’ deadly blast didn’t take out his intended target of Captain America, he was more successful in the comics, and is responsible for brainwashing Sharon Carter into carrying out the assassination of Steve Rogers.
- Captain America: Civil War provided us with further evidence that Community exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MIT liaison, played by Jim Rash, bears more than a passing resemblance to Dean Pelton. Danny Pudi also appeared as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in The Winter Soldier.
- Alfre Woodard makes an appearance in Civil War as a mother who blames Tony
StankStark for the death of her son in Sokovia. Though Woodard is credited as ‘Miriam,’ she’ll be appearing later this year as Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage. Will this be the same character with a name change, or will she follow in the footsteps of Enver Gjokaj, Damion Poitier, Laura Haddock and other actors that have doubled up in roles?
- Helmut Zemo is no stranger to the Captain America mythos, and has been a formidable foe for Steve Rogers, operating under the moniker Baron Zemo. Helmut’s father, the original Baron Zemo, was a top scientist of the Nazi party and ally to the Red Skull — he was also responsible for the accident that led to Captain America being frozen in ice and Bucky’s (alleged) death. Helmut later took up his father’s legacy and allied himself with other notable villains, including Red Skull, Arnim Zola and Batroc.
- The Hydra agent that Zemo tortures for information is Vasily Karpov. Karpov, in the comics, was a Soviet officer responsible for retrieving Bucky from the ocean and reprogramming him as the Winter Soldier.
- Were you unbearably in love with Vision’s new threads in Civil War? This is a look the android sported throughout the ’60s and ’70s when he was staying at the Avengers mansion. His love of chess is also a nod back to the classic Avengers comics.
- “Do you really think he’d be on your side?” Natasha says, of an absent Bruce’s potential allegiance. With Thaddeus Ross on the side of the Accords, and their enduring antagonistic relationship thanks to the events of The Incredible Hulk, it’s not hard to believe that Bruce would be on #TeamCap. Sorry, Science Bros.
- Speaking of absent heroes, the Secretary of State doesn’t just make reference to Bruce Banner’s disappearance. He admonishes Cap for losing the equivalent of two nukes in the Hulk and Thor, who didn’t join the fray in Civil War. We’ll be seeing them next in Thor: Ragnarok.
- Sharon’s pointed eulogy at Peggy’s funeral is taken almost word-for-word from the comics, specifically Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War — but was instead said by Steve to Peter.
- T’Chaka, the king of Wakanda, meets a similar end to his comic book counterpart, via an explosion at a political conference. Though his comic book demise was orchestrated by Ulysses Klaw (you may remember him from Age of Ultron), this may not be the last time we see T’Chaka in the films — at least in spirit. T’Challa tells Black Widow that death is not the end, and in the comics he has the ability to channel the power and knowledge of all the former Black Panthers. With Marvel taking a turn for the mystic, seeing this ability make an appearance in Black Panther wouldn’t be out of the question.
- Everett Ross makes his first appearance in Civil War, as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. However, in the comics, he’s far more synonymous with Black Panther. The Everett Ross of the comics is a liaison for visiting foreign diplomats, and becomes T’Challa’s escort while he’s on U.S. soil. He eventually becomes the foremost expert and advisor about Wakanda.
- In Civil War we learn that Bucky has been living in Bucharest, and speaks fluent Romanian. This is likely a tribute to Bucky’s actor, Sebastian Stan, who grew up under austerity and communism in Romania until after the Romanian Revolution.
- Following his arrest, Bucky is imprisoned in container D (standing for Deck) 23 at Berlin HQ. This is a reference to Disney’s D23 club, named in honor of 1923, the year Walt Disney founded the studio. Footage of this scene was also shown exclusively at D23 Expo last year.
- After Zemo triggers the Winter Soldier, Bucky and Natasha share a brief, if aggressive, moment with each other. “You could at least recognize me,” Natasha manages to choke out. While this could be referring back to their meeting in The Winter Soldier, it’s also likely a nod to their knowing each other prior to that. In the comics, the Winter Soldier trained Natasha while she was part of the Red Room, and the two have also been romantically linked.
- The security chief that accompanies T’Challa to his car is very likely a part of the Dora Milaje. The Dora Milaje are an elite team of female warriors, and personal bodyguards of the Black Panther. They’re also considered potential candidates for queen for any unmarried king of Wakanda. Here’s hoping we’ll see them return in Black Panther!
- The brief confrontation between T’Challa’s security chief and Natasha is a nod to a fight that occurred between Black Widow and the Dora Milaje in the Civil War comics.
- When Marisa Tomei was cast as Aunt May back in July 2015, the choice had its naysayers due to her youthful looks — despite her being in a realistic age bracket next to Tom Holland’s Peter. Marvel’s response to that criticism is clear, as Tomei’s Aunt May quips that aunt’s “come in all shapes and sizes.” You tell ’em, Aunt May.
- You wouldn’t be alone in thinking Aunt May and Tony Stark’s chemistry was palpable during their scene together, but this isn’t the first time the two have starred in a movie together. Tomei and Downey Jr. played the other’s love interest in the 1994 rom-com, Only You, and with Tony Stark due to make an appearance in Homecoming, we doubt it’s the last we’ll see of their interactions either.
- We learn in Civil War that Spider-Man has already been operating for six months — which means it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing the demise of Uncle Ben once his solo movie arrives. We do, however, hear an echo of his “great power” speech in Peter’s conviction for suiting up. He’s gotta look out for the little guys, right?
- Could love be in the air for Vision and Wanda? There’s no denying their connection as they flirt over paprikash in Civil War, and that harks back to their comic book origins, where they were married. They also have twin sons, whose souls are eventually reincarnated in Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd — two of the original members of the Young Avengers team. What? I can keep hoping for that adaptation to happen.
- The location of the fractured Avengers’ battle at Leipzig-Halle airport could be a nod to Helmut Zemo’s comic book birthplace — Leipzig.
- We only caught a glimpse of Spider-Man’s suit in the trailer, but it was far more impressive in action. Following in the footsteps of the Civil War comics, Tony gives Peter’s suit an upgrade — though it’s not quite the Iron Spider — and it really invoked a feeling of Steve Ditko’s original designs, with additional elements from John Romita’s suit and logo.
- Spider-Man’s big entrance comes when he uses his web to confiscate Captain America’s shield — as seen in the second trailer. This moment also happens in the Civil War comics.
- Civil War treated us to another classic Avengers cover recreation when Ant-Man hitched a ride on one of Hawkeye’s arrows. This moment has also made an appearance in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the animated series.
- If you kept an eagle eye on Civil War merchandising, you already knew Giant-Man was coming — though nothing could really prepare you for how it played out. Scott Lang never dons the Giant-Man moniker in the comics himself, as that title belongs to Hank Pym — though some other heroes, like Hawkeye, have also used the technology under other aliases.
- Another nod to a classic comic book cover came during this fight, when Black Panther left some pretty impressive scratches in Cap’s shield. Though it wasn’t T’Challa who did so on the cover — that damage came from Wolverine.
- There was no missing the blatant reference to Empire Strike Back, thanks to Spider-Man’s Star Wars-inspired plan to take down Giant Man. But did you notice the continuation of a subtler one? It has been a Phase 2 tradition that at least one character will lose a hand (or arm) per film, a nod to Luke Skywalker’s own lost limb in Episode V. In Civil War, Iron Man blasts off Bucky’s arm, adding another (albeit metal) appendage to the growing pile.
- It was a very Russo affair in Civil War, aside from directing. Joe Russo appeared as the psychiatrist that Zemo murdered and stole the identity of to gain access to Bucky in Berlin — he also played a S.H.I.E.L.D. doctor in The Winter Soldier, though we’re not certain if the two characters are related. Ann Russo was the voice of Zemo’s wife, and she also previously appeared in Winter Soldier as a S.T.R.I.K.E. agent.
- The Raft, the prison where #TeamCap is held following the airport battle, is straight out of the comics — though with some notable differences. Rather than being a straight adaptation of its comic book counterpart, it instead seems to be an amalgamation of Prison 42 (the Negative Zone prison used to house non-registered heroes in the Civil War comics) and The Vault, which is buried underground.
- Prior to entering the Siberian base where the other Winter Soldiers are held, Steve and Bucky reminisce about days gone by — and Bucky’s former relationship with a red-haired woman called Dot. Aside from reminding us of his other potential red-haired love interest, this could also be referring to Agent Carter’s Dottie Underwood — a Soviet assassin from the same Red Room conditioning as Natasha. After all, we don’t know how long she was in operation before making the jump to Carter.
- It’s also true in the comics that Bucky isn’t the only Winter Soldier. Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier: Longest Winter deals with the reanimation of these Red Room assassins that Bucky helped to train. The outcome is vastly different to Civil War’s.
- Tony refers to Bucky as the “Manchurian Candidate,” named for the political-thriller novel by Richard Condon, in which the son of a prominent U.S. political family is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for a Communist conspiracy.
- When Tony and Steve go head-to-head in the bunker, there’s one particular shot that is lifted straight from the comics.
- We caught a glimpse of this moment in the trailer, but it delivered no less of a gut-punch in context. When Cap stumbles to his feet and tells Iron Man “I can do this all day,” it’s a mirror of multiple moments from The First Avenger where Steve says exactly the same line.
- Of course, we got another instance of Bucky wielding Captain America’s shield with some proficiency. He also used it in First Avenger and briefly during Winter Soldier. This is a nod to him eventually taking up the mantle in the comics, following Steve’s death.
- No Marvel movie is complete without a cameo from the man himself, Stan Lee, and Civil War is no exception. This time around he appeared as a delivery man from FedEx, with a package for Tony Stank. No, that’s not a typo. Like Rhodey, we won’t be getting over that any time soon.
- And what was in the package that Stan Lee delivered? A letter from Steve to Tony — which is also a major moment from the comics, though the one Tony receives following the end of the Civil War comic comes after Steve’s death. The content may be different but the sentiment felt very much the same.