Captain America: The Winter Soldier has more than one hidden detail 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.

A glimpse at the new ‘Avengers’ tower

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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

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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’

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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?

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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’

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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’

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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

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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.

On page 2: ‘Captain America’ villains, love interests, and… Abed?

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