20 Avengers Easter Eggs And Things You Missed In The MCU's First Team-Up Movie
The Avengers is a great crossover film, celebrating its individual protagonists' eccentricities, melding those unique personalities under a single banner, and setting up bigger stakes and conflicts moving forward. That it manages to do all this without once slowing down or dragging in the middle is a feat.
It's also an extremely quippy movie. There are lots of one-liners that juxtapose with the movie's end-of-the-world stakes. Compared to the DCEU films that followed, Avengers has a relatively light tone, as opposed to the dark, self-serious, and angst-ridden nature of Zack Snyder's DC films. But today, one could make a somewhat similar comparison between the MCU Phase 1 and Phase 4.
The current movies are so loaded with backstory and self-referential allusions and clues that it's almost a relief to go back to a time before all that--before there was an afterlife in Moon Knight, or a literal Zeus character in Thor: Love and Thunder--before half of all life disappeared and then reappeared. Back in 2012, a simpler time, The Avengers were just six individuals--not all of whom had superpowers)--and the biggest threat was a single portal over NYC rather than the destruction of the universe ad infinitum.
Here are 20 Easter Eggs and trivia facts about Marvel's The Avengers, which is now streaming on Disney Plus. The next Avengers film, Avengers: Kang Dynasty, won't be out until 2025, and its sequel, Avengers: Secret Wars, won't be out until 2026.
1. "I don't always get what I want."
When Bruce Banner is talking to Natasha, and discusses his inability to control the Hulk, he's rocking a cradle that's splattered with green paint. It alludes to the "Other Guy," and it underlines how Bruce feels isolated from intimate things, like falling in love or starting a family, that most people take for granted.
2. Out of Time
A deleted scene, prior to Steve Rogers' boxing introduction, shows him walking around New York City, looking at all the technology and people, and feeling like he doesn't belong. He also stops by a cafe near Stark Tower, where a waitress takes his order and asks if he's there to see Iron Man fly by. We later see this same waitress on a news report near the end of the movie, praising the Avengers. There's also a brief Stan Lee cameo in this deleted scene, but because he also appears in a newscast cameo at the end of the movie, it's rendered redundant.
A lot of fans criticize Phase 4 for the number of references and plotlines that seemingly go nowhere. But there were lots of plotlines in Phase 1 that never materialized either. Like in this shot, which says that SHIELD contacted Mephisto to learn about the Tesseract.
4. Gwyneth Paltrow's Height
Robert Downey is 5'8. Gwyneth Paltrow is 5'9. But in the film, she appears to be the same height or even shorter than her co-star in some shots. That's because Paltrow is walking around barefoot the entire time, and Downey is known for wearing platform shoes to give himself a lift.
Pepper Potts, Paltrow's character, was originally not in the movie. But Downey insisted on giving her a part, because he thought Paltrow's character would help show Tony's character development.
5. The Cellist
We hear Pepper asking Agent Coulson about the cellist he's dating. On the TV show Agents of SHIELD, "the cellist" is introduced in Season 1, Episode 19 as Audrey Nathan. Amy Acker plays the role.
6. Schubert Composition
The song playing during the scene where Loki extracts the man's eye is "Schubert's String Quartet No. 13," by Franz Schubert. It has an A Minor key, which gives it an appropriate level of foreboding.
7. AC/DC Love
The song that Tony Stark uses to hijack Natasha's PA system is "Shoot To Thrill" by '80s rock band AC/DC. This is the same song that Tony uses when he makes his grand entrance at the Stark Expo in Iron Man 2.
8. Odin's Ravens
According to Norse legend, Odin has two Ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who serve as his eyes and ears abroad from Asgard. You can see the two ravens in this shot, during Thor's confrontation with Loki.
9. Stark Improvisations
"Doth Mother know you wear-eth her drapes?" is an improvised line by Downey, who was riffing off the prior reference to Shakespeare in the park. Downey is notorious for these types of improvisations; the first Iron Man movie didn't have a finished script when the filmmakers started shooting.
10. Mark VI Improvements
Tony Stark constantly improves his armor, usually in response to how the prior armor was damaged or destroyed. In Iron Man 2, Whiplash nearly short-circuited the Mark V with his electric whips. So Tony, when making the Mark VI, designed it to absorb electricity. That's why we see its power charge to 400% capacity when Thor shoots Tony with lightning.
11. Playing Galaga
Downey improvised his line about the SHIELD agent playing Galaga. Director Joss Whedon later shot the scene of the man actually playing Galaga to build upon the joke.
12. True Lies Jet
In the director's commentary, Whedon mentions that the fighter jet which attacks Hulk is the same one used in the 1994 action comedy True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis.
13. Ferrigno Audio Cameo
Lou Ferrigno, the original Hulk in the 1977 CBS television show, performed the Hulk's roar effects in The Avengers.
14. "Are you an alien?"
Famous character actor Harry Dean Stanton plays the security guard who finds Bruce Banner after he crashes from the sky and asks, "Are you an alien?" It's a direct reference to the 1979 Ridley Scott movie Alien, starring Sigourney Weaver and co-starring Stanton in a supporting role.
15. Shawarma Restaurant
At the end of the movie, Tony says that he saw a shawarma restaurant that he would like to try. In this shot, you can see the restaurant in the background during the fight.
16. Stan Lee Cameo
During the newsreel footage at the very end of the film, we see Marvel's creative visionary Stan Lee, who plays a skeptical old man in the park. Lee appeared in every single MCU up through Avengers: Endgame, until his unfortunate passing at the age of 95 in 2018.
We see "A113" in the corners of the SHIELD computer monitors. It's a common Easter egg in visual effects-heavy movies, and it's a reference to a classroom at the California Institute of the Arts, where many digital effects and animation artists learned their craft.
18. Senator Boynton
The senator we see in the newsreel footage is Senator Boynton. An enemy of Tony Stark in the comics, Boynton attempts to gain possession of the Iron Man armor and wants to create his own version of it via Project Firepower.
19. First Look at Thanos
In the mid-credits scene, we learn that Loki is not the Big Bad; he's having his strings pulled by the Mad Titan Thanos. This is the first time we see Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The reference to "courting death" is a reference to the Infinity Stones storyline. In the comics, Thanos collects the Infinity Stones as a means of courting Lady Death, an all-powerful cosmic entity.
20. Cap's Beard
Captain America is covering his jaw in the end credits scene. The filmmakers shot the scene late into production, and by that time, actor Chris Evans had already moved on to filming the Korean film Snowpiercer, which required that he grow a beard. He's wearing a prosthetic over the beard in this scene, and he's using his hand to cover it and mask the effect.