‘Avengers: Endgame’ Easter Eggs: All Of the Callbacks to the MCU Phase 1
One of the reasons that people love the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so much is their re-watch value. And part of the reason that you watch to view them again and again? All of the Easter eggs. Here’s a quick look at the best callbacks to the Phase 1 MCU flicks in Avengers: Endgame. (Obviously, there are a ton of spoilers ahead.)
This is the movie that kicked off the MCU. We started things with Iron Man, and Endgame (sadly) marks the end of his journey. So there were a lot of references here, but the most notable are as follows:
When Tony and Steve go back to 1970, the former gets the chance to reconnect with his father, Howard Stark. As they say goodbye, Howard gets into a car and speaks to Jarvis, who worked for their family. This is who Tony named his artificial intelligence computer system after.
The other two moments are a bit sadder. When Tony snaps his fingers while wearing the Iron Man Infinity Gauntlet, he says “I am Iron Man,” a callback to when he publicly declared this at a press conference at the end of Iron Man. And at his funeral in Endgame, Happy Hogan has a conversation with Tony’s daughter, Morgan, about cheeseburgers, which is a callback to the food Tony wanted after he got back to the U.S. in the first film.
The Incredible Hulk
Though it’s one of the least-liked films in the MCU, The Incredible Hulk is, officially, still part of the canon (despite the actor change). In the movie, Bruce Banner (then played by Edward Norton) wanted to cure Hulk. Mark Ruffalo’s Banner addresses this is Endgame when he explains how he was able to merge the two parts of him into one.
Additionally, when he decides that he needs to be the one to wear the newly-assembled Infinity Gauntlet, the character says, “It’s mostly Gamma radiation.” Hulk was created through experimentation with Gamma radiation, thus, it is a part of his makeup.
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 is, of the trilogy, most fans’ least favorite. Still, it features a lot of important moments, like when Tony makes Pepper Potts the CEO of Stark Industries. He says, “It’s you, it’s always been you.” In Endgame, he says these same words when recording a message to her, as he believes he’s about to die. However, in this case, it’s about their romance, which grew out of their business relationship.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Endgame is also the end of Steve Rogers’ journey, so he, too, gets a lot of full-circle moments. When Tony gives him the shield he made for him, it’s a nod to how his first shield was given to him by Howard back in the 1940s. Additionally, the military base they infiltrate when they go back to 1970 is where Steve was first trained, which he alludes to when asked if he’s new, and he responds, “Not exactly.”
During the return to the battle of New York, Cap fights his 2012 self, who says, “I can do this all day.” He replies, “I know,” to himself, acknowledging that this is sort of his catchphrase, beginning with The First Avenger.
At the end of the film, there are two callbacks to the hero’s origin story. First is an exchange between Steve and Bucky, in which the former says, “Don’t do anything stupid until I get back.” This is a reversal of how things went in The First Avenger when Bucky went off to war. And, of course, Endgame closes with Steve getting his dance with Peggy, as he once promised her before his ship went down.
As the first team-up flick and the final entry in Phase 1, The Avengers is a pivotal film for the MCU. And while there were lots of callbacks, as well as a full-on recreation of many of the events of that movie and moments that fill in the blanks, we’d like to focus on one particular relationship that begins here.
Though both Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) have appeared in one movie prior to this one, this is where their characters are established as friends. Endgame features many references to this: They talk about Budapest and how Natasha owed Clint for not seeing her as a bad guy. All of this comes full circle when she gives him a second chance after becoming Ronin, and when she sacrifices herself for him in the end.