Did You Catch These MCU Phase 3 Easter Eggs in ‘Avengers: Endgame’?
The third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the biggest and most ambitious of them all. Nearly every film featured a crossover of some kind, as the franchise wrapped up what is now referred to as The Infinity Saga. Before things come to their ultimate conclusion with Spider-Man: Far From Home, here’s how all of the preceding films connected to Avengers: Endgame.
Captain America: Civil War
Though it’s technically the final film in the Captain America trilogy, Civil War is often referred to as Avengers 2.5, as it features nearly every MCU character to date as they fight amongst themselves about the Sokovia Accords and SHIELD’s desire to control the heroes. This is when the rift between Tony and Steve begins, and it isn’t resolved until Endgame.
There are other tiny callbacks in Endgame to this particular film. Tony shows an MIT badge to his father, which he first acquired in Civil War while speaking to students at the school. And Steve Rogers meets Spider-Man in this film, where they learn they have a New York connection. Steve acknowledges this when they meet up again in Endgame, referring to Peter Parker as “Queens.”
The events of Doctor Strange are essential to Endgame. This is where we first meet the hero as he learns about the mystic arts and becomes a master of them. It’s in his film that we’re first introduced to the Ancient One, the Sorcerer Supreme who guides him before eventually passing the torch onto him.
Bruce Banner encounters the Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton) when he travels back in time to 2012 during the Battle of New York. He finds her in possession of the Time Stone, and she pushes him out of his body the same way she did when she first met Stephen Strange.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The second Guardians movie took place years before they met up with the Avengers, but it still features a bit of connection via the relationships between Gamora and her sister, Nebula, and her love interest, Star-Lord.
Nebula from the year 2023 is now a member of the Avengers, having survived the Decimation and helped Tony Stark return to Earth. She and Gamora from 2014 are able to help save the day when she convinces the then-corrupt heroine to come to the side of the good guys by telling her about how they became friends in Vol. 2. Nebula also tells Gamora about her future relationship with Peter Quill, which Gamora is disgusted by, as she initially appears to be in Vol. 2.
This version of Peter Parker finally gets his own film with Homecoming. Part of his arc is that he sees Tony as a mentor and, in one scene, he mistakenly thinks that “Mr. Stark,” as he calls him, is giving him a hug. He finally gets this hug during the final battle against Thanos in Endgame, during which time he also gets to use the “Instant Kill” setting on his suit.
Thor’s final film was a huge departure from his previous installments, which came as a delightful surprise to most fans. In Ragnarok, Thor joins up with “the Revengers,” which includes a Valkyrie, an Asgardian warrior. The character returns in Endgame, taking a leadership role in New Asgard and finally getting to ride her pegasus once again.
In a more comedic moment, the extremely confident God of Thunder tries to activate the system of a familiar ship — that which Hulk was on when he crash-landed on Sakaar following the events of Age of Ultron. To get in, he says, “Strongest Avenger,” a title which he later gives himself again in Endgame.
Avengers: Infinity War
Given that the two movies are so closely tied together, this may be the Phase 3 movie that gets the post callbacks in Endgame. One of the most endearing is when we meet Tony’s daughter, Morgan, who was foreshadowed in Infinity War after he tells Pepper about a dream he had in which they had a child and named him that.
While many characters (like Scarlet Witch) get their long-awaited revenge on Thanos during the final battle, it’s Thor who has the most notable moment with the villain. Early on in Endgame, when they travel to find him and retrieve the Infinity Stones, Thor uses Stormbreaker to chop off Thanos’ hand that is wearing the Gauntlet — which many felt should have been done in Infinity War to begin with. After they learn that he doesn’t have the Stones, Thor, in a state of rage, chops of Thanos’ head, which is a callback to when he tries to kill him in Infinity War, and the Mad Titan says, “Should have gone for the head.”