Captain America: The Winter Soldier has more than one easter egg for the observant viewer. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is coming to a screen near you this week. If you look closely, this sequel offers many references to the other Avengers, as well as a few hints to what might be coming next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
‘Captain America: The Winter Solider’ easter eggs
A glimpse at the new ‘Avengers’ tower
We wouldn’t blame you if you missed this, it did occur in the most action-packed sequence of the film. But if you looked closely, in the targeting sequence there was a brief glimpse at a target, who we assume is Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), located in none other than Stark Tower. The building acts as the Avengers tower in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Note: Image above is from The Avengers.
Steve Rogers’ list of pop-culture
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) woke up after missing decades of the world, so what is a man going to do? In his case it seems, make a big list of things to catch up on. It also looks like the list was (weirdly) changed specifically for each country that the film is playing in, as other entries in the Australian screening were “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo” and “Tim Tams”, while the UK screening featured “the England World Cup win in 1966” and “The Beatles.” Image via Imgur
An insight into ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’
If you stayed around for the two extra scenes during the Captain America: The Winter Soldier credits (and at this point in Marvel history, you should know to stay), you would have been treated to a very special look at Age of Ultron. Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were the twins in the creepy cages, as Avengers newcomers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. It is also important to note that Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon directed this bonus scene.
The return of Loki?
In the same scene featuring Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver we catch a glimpse of something a little more familiar – Loki’s sceptre. The Avengers never explained what exactly happened to this staff, so it seems that HYDRA has it. But is this confirmation that Loki could return in Avengers: Age of Ultron? Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki has made the character into a fan favourite, so we would not be surprised to see him reprise the role in the 2015 sequel.
The future of ‘Captain America’
During the first fight scene between the Cap and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), there was a significant pause on the image above. The Winter Soldier’s stance and pose with the Cap’s shield could be a hint into the future of the Captain America franchise. After all, Stan has a nine-picture deal with Marvel (as opposed to Evan’s six, which is even more interesting), and in the comics Bucky does replace Rogers as Captain America at one point.
Three references to the other ‘Avengers’
Iron Man got two mentions. The most amusing? When it is revealed that he was responsible for the helicarriers upgrade, having had an up close and personal look at their engines in The Avengers. This refers to the scene when Iron Man had to manually start one of the engines – almost getting sucked into it in the process.
Then, in return for a favour, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) demanded that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) ensures that Iron Man attends Pierce’s niece’s birthday party. “And not just a flyby,” said Pierce, “he’s got to mingle.” We would pay money to see that bonus scene, but after Pierce’s actions in The Winter Soldier, we have a feeling that Fury won’t be sticking to that deal.
The Hulk also rated a mention, or at least his alter ego Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) does. Explaining his ability to survive death, Fury mentioned a toxin that Banner had developed to help with his slight anger management issues. Unfortunately it didn’t work for the green hero, but Fury was able to use it to help fake his own death.
Stan Lee’s cameo as a (soon to be fired?) security officer
As everyone knows, Stan Lee makes a cameo in every Marvel film. In the Captain America sequel, he turned up as a Smithsonian security guard who, thanks to the Cap, could be in deep trouble. Still, when a 1940s superhero decides to steal his own uniform out of a Smithsonian exhibit dedicated to him, there isn’t much that you can do. Lee’s cameos are a little hit and miss, but in our opinion this was one of the best ones in recent years.
Zola returns to his (holographic) roots
Many comic book fans may have been surprised to see Arnim Zola’s (Toby Jones) appearance in the first Captain America film, or at least the way he appeared. In the comics, Zola generally appeared as a body with a holographic projection for a head, and we finally got to see that in The Winter Soldier. His disembodied head appeared on the very primitive computers in the SHIELD base discovered by the Cap and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).
Peggy Carter founded SHIELD
When Cap and Black Widow found themselves in what looked like the very first SHIELD base, they discovered that Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) was one of the founders of the organisation. But that wasn’t the only reference to Carter – how about our collective hearts breaking when Cap called back to the first Captain America film, by reminding Peggy that she owed him a dance. And speaking of Captain America and the Carters…
A replacement Carter
Emily VanCamp played Rogers’ neighbour-turned-SHIELD bodyguard-turned-ally. While she introduced herself as Agent 13, her full name is Sharon Carter – yes, those Carters. In the comic books, Sharon is Cap’s on-and-off-again girlfriend. When Black Widow tells Cap to call “that nurse,” she is referring to Sharon (who used a nurse as her cover). From the end of The Winter Soldier we know that Sharon ended up at the CIA, but that’s no reason why she can’t appear in the next film.
Brock Rumlow AKA Crossbones
Another Captain America villain looks set to be on the way for the next installment. SHIELD (or, HYDRA) Agent Rumlow (Frank Grillo) might have been crushed by one of the helicarriers, but at the end of the film he is seen carried out of the destroyed building. Somehow, he is alive. This looks like set up for Rumlow to be transformed into Crossbones, one of the key villains in the Captain America comics. Even his outfit was a hint at his future – check out the crossed straps he works.
Hello, Doctor Stranger
It seems all but certain that a Doctor Strange movie is on its way. When the Cap (or more to the point, Black Widow) managed to convince Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) to spill HYDRA’s secrets, he listed off some of the targets who would be taken out by the helicarriers that are geared up for, you know, mass murder. But the name that stood out? Steve Strange, aka Doctor Strange. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of this new installment any day now.
‘Captain America’ meets ‘Pulp Fiction’
Even though we know Fury has survived, our favourite characters took a moment to visit his supposed resting place at the end of the film. And the quote chosen for Fury’s grave stone? “The path of the righteous man.” If that sounds familiar, it is because it is the famous line uttered by Jules Winnfield in cult hit Pulp Fiction. Which is funny, because Winnfield was played by none other than Nick Fury actor Samuel L. Jackson.
And one more, without a broader Marvel context…
Wait, was that Abed?
Yes. Yes it was. Community‘s Danny Pudi appeared in a single scene in the SHIELD headquarters, which makes sense, because Captain America: The Winter Soldier was directed by Community directors and executive producers Anthony and Joe Russo.