The final chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe bought with it the humour, action, adventure, grief, happiness, pride and contentment of the highest order. There was literally nothing that this movie did not have. It made us go through an entire roller coaster of emotions all throughout the emotional spectrum, and it made us go through the same again and again. We barely had enough time to breathe when the movie would soon throw us right into the middle of heartfelt reunions, characters opening up about their failures, intense action sequences or sad departures. This movie will go down in history as an epic end to an equally epic saga. But that is not all it will go down as. Avengers: Endgame is perhaps the most Easter egg riddled movie in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To top it off, there are several cameos and character call-backs that are just too darn significant for any hardcore fan to miss.
What Avengers: Endgame does and does brilliantly is re-creating the element of nostalgia with absolute accuracy. A flurry of memories rushes through the fan when he or she watches Endgame. The first half of the movie itself takes us back to the 21 movies that serve as the foundation of Endgame. Several key moments in the MCU timeline starting from Thor: The Dark World to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 is revisited. Moreover, the movie also manages to go through critical events in several other movies like Age of Ultron, Infinity War, The Avengers, Civil War, Doctor Strange, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. All of this is done through the help of the “Time Heist” which acts as a plot device that opens a window to the past glory of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The scenes also lead us to several key players that fell in Infinity War. Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, was one of the favorites that died at the hands of Thanos. Loki makes it out of the Avengers clutches in during the Time heist when Tony and Ant-Man travel to the past to the events of The Avengers of 2012, leaving the possibility of Loki being alive wide open.
The next character we would like you to focus in that Endgame brought back is Frigga, played by Rene Russo, who died in Thor: The Dark World. We also see the return of Red Skull, Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman), and the Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton). John Slattery portrays Howard Stark – father of Tony Stark. Robert Redford returns as the Hydra benefactor Alexander Pierce. Crossbones aka Brock Rumlow also makes a comeback. Jasper Sitwell and Jack Rollins as well as Agent Carter’s Peggy Carter Edwin Jarvis, played by Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy also make a return in the Time Heist sub-plot.
While inside the Shield Headquarters in the 1970’s we also see a younger Hank Pym, played by a digitally de-aged Michael Douglas. The classic Ant-man helmet, worn by Hank Pym in his very first appearance as the Ant-man in the MCU could also be seen in the background. The 1970’s sequence also sees the cameo of Stan Lee, who appears as a raging hippie driving a car with the tail sign reading “Nuff Said”. He asks the soldiers guarding the military facility to make love, not war.
The movie also sees the return of Ned Leeds, who is reunited with his best pal Peter Parker, who has now returned from the dead. In the support group that Captain America leads, we can see two famous comic book personalities. Joe Russo, one of the Directors of Infinity War and Endgame, is a part of the support group. The other guy we need to mention is Thanos Creator Jim Starlin, who is also part of the group. Other than them, Joe Russo’s daughter Lila Russo plays Lila Barton, daughter of Clint Barton in the movie.
The Funeral of Tony Stark saw the return of Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Aunt May, Janet Van Dyne, Hope Van Dyne, and Hank Pym, General Thunderbolt Ross, as well as one mysterious teenager, later confirmed to be Harley Keener (played by Ty Simpkins), who played the little boy in Iron Man 3.
The Funeral of Tony Stark saw some classic Easter eggs that might have escaped your attention. When Happy Hogan asks Morgan H. Stark, daughter of Tony Stark what she would like to eat, she says she wants Cheeseburgers, just like her dad wanted when he returned from the Ten Rings after donning the first ever Iron Man suit in Iron Man 1. As if that much heartbreak was not enough, Tony Stark’s final words to Thanos “I am….Iron Man” is a call back to the last lines of Iron Man 1 “I am Iron Man”! His words started the MCU and his words ended it. Talk about poetic irony.
Pepper Potts is also seen donning the Rescue armor but this time, it has a lot more firepower than its comic book counterpart. The last time she donned an Iron Man suit was in Iron Man 3. The 1970’s sequence also saw a call back to Camp Lehigh, the place where Steve Rogers became an army man and would later become Captain America. Falcon’s “On Your Left” remark after he makes his returns at the end; is a jibe at Captain America making the same remark when he jogged several laps and raced past Sam Wilson during the early half of The Winter Soldier.
The exchange of words between Captain America and Bucky right before the former leaves to put the stones back in their place, only to come back as a retired, old guy, is also a massive call back. The same dialogues were exchanged between Bucky and Cap, in The First Avenger but the speakers were reversed. Thor’s New Asgard, a town of Asgardian Refugees in Norway’s Tonsberg village, is actually not a new place in the MCU. It was the site where Odin fought the Frost Giants as shown in Thor 1. It was also the place the Red skull’s forces found the Tesseract in The First Avenger.
Norway is also the country where Odin took his final breath in Thor 3. The comic books do have the concept of a New Asgard. It was actually a floating city just over Broxton, Oklahoma, USA that was formed by Thor after the events of Ragnarok in the Marvel Comics Universe destroyed the original Asgard.
Captain America’s Elevator scene in Endgame was what many thought would be similar to the epic scene in The Winter Soldier. But his “Hail Hydra” moment takes the cake this time, hailing to the most controversial Captain America storyline in recent years, where Captain America revealed himself to be a Hydra sleeper agent all along.
Age of Ultron needs to be especially mentioned in Endgame as it served as a door to a lot of Easter eggs. Tony’s complain that the Avengers did not let him build a “suit of armor around the world” is what Ultron was originally intended to be. The smashed shield of Captain America, courtesy of Thanos in the final Endgame fight, is also a throwback to Tony Stark’s apocalyptic vision, where Tony sees the Avengers, dead and dying, with Captain America right beside his broken shield, waiting for his eventual death.
The movie does not have any post credits or even a mid-credits scene as it never needed one. The saga has ended. But it does have something to pique your attention. When the Marvel Logo appears at the end of the movie, as per tradition, it does not have a musical score attached to it. What it does have is a metallic clang like a hammer hitting iron. That is a clear call back to Tony Stark forging his Iron Man suit in the caves of Afghanistan in Iron Man (2008), the first official MCU movie.
The 22 movie saga has come to an end but there are still questions to be answered. What happened to Gamora after the Infinity Gauntlet Snap? Is she dead or alive? What happens to the new Guardians of the Galaxy Team now that Thor is a part of the team? Why are they calling themselves the ‘Asgardians of the Galaxy’ now? What about New Asgard? What does Thor relinquishing the right to the Throne to Valkyrie mean for the surviving Asgardians? And how did Captain America lift Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir when he could not do it before in Avengers: Age of Ultron? And what about Black Widow!! Now that Scarlett Johansson’s character is dead in the MCU, what does it signify for the new Black Widow movie that is in the works? How is it being impacted? There are a lot of questions that the movie never could provide answers for despite its 3 hour long run-time.