These ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Easter Eggs Are Callbacks to Phase 2 MCU Films

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a lot of Easter eggs. Many of these are references to comics (since, after all, that’s the original source material), but as the number of films grew, they began to feature callbacks to previous movies. The latest flick, Avengers: Endgame, features more Easter eggs than ever before. Here are the ones that callback to Phase 2 MCU films. (Plenty of Endgame spoilers ahead.)

Iron Man 3

The movie that kicked off Phase 2 was Iron Man’s final chapter, the first of the trilogies to be wrapped up and the only one that was completed during this phrase. Because Tony Stark sadly dies in Endgame, he may get the most callbacks of all the Original 6 Avengers, and a few of those can be attributed to Iron Man 3.

Endgame starts off with Tony in space, recording what he believes to be a final message to Pepper Potts. He does so by using his helmet, which is something he first did in Iron Man 3. Speaking of Potts, she became a hero in her own right in this film, donning one of Tony’s suits. She finally gets her own suit, which she wears in the final battle of Endgame.

But the most talked-about Easter egg is one many may have missed. Tony’s funeral features nearly every notable character from his past, including a young man, standing alone. This has been confirmed to be Harley Keener, the 10-year-old Tennessee boy who helps Tony in Iron Man 3. He’s even portrayed by the same actor, though he is supposed to be in his 20s by now, instead of a teenager like the actor.

Thor: The Dark World

Thor’s second solo film wasn’t exactly well-received, and therefore, probably one of the least rewatched among MCU fans. This is alluded to in Endgame, when Thor, asked to explain what he knows about the Aether, essentially describes the film’s plot when he goes off on a tangent talking to the other Avengers.

Later, we get to see moments of the film from other angles, including seeing Jane (Natalie Portman) on Asgard. Thor even gets to have a conversation with his mom, Frigga (Rene Russo), who was greatly underutilized in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. Endgame gave them a chance to retcon the character a bit, which adds a nice bit of emotional context for the God of Thunder.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Conversely, The Winter Soldier is one of the most well-regarded films in the MCU. It is also the first directed by the Russo Brothers, so Endgame marks the end of their Marvel journey with a lot of tonal callbacks to the one that started it all for them.

The most notable connection is a very specific scene. Steve Rogers of the year 2023 goes back in time to 2012 during the Battle of New York. He gets into an elevator with several men who are members of Hydra posing as SHIELD operatives, including Jack Rollins and Brock Rumlow (Crossbones). Instead of fighting them the way he does in The Winter Soldier, Rogers now knows who they are, and simply whispers, “Hail Hydra” in order to convince them he’s one of them.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Though they remained separate from the rest of the MCU for the first two films, the Guardians of the Galaxy are a pivotal part of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. After all, it’s Gamora and Nebula’s adopted father Thanos who sets all of this into motion, and Nebula’s knowledge is both key to reversing the effects and a hindrance to succeeding with their plan.

When Nebula and Rhodey (War Machine) go back to 2014 to get the Power Stone, they choose this year so they can “follow” Peter Quill (Star-Lord) to it. We get to see what Quill’s opening dance to “Come and Get Your Love” from an outside perspective, making it even funnier than the original.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

There are actually many small Easter eggs referencing the second Avengers flick, but let’s focus on two of the biggest. The first is when Tony, defeated and weak after getting back to Earth, refers to “a dream” he had in which all of the Avengers died. He’s referring to the debilitating vision Scarlett Witch gave him in Age of Ultron.

On a sillier note, there’s a scene in Age of Ultron in which all of the male Avengers try to see if they can pick up Thor’s hammer. The only one to make it budge is Captain America, and this finally comes to fruition in Endgame, when Steve summons Mjolnir in a moment of necessity, causing Thor to shout “I knew it!”

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