The Top 10 Spectacular Opening Sequences in Superhero Cinema

The MCU often uses Easter eggs to tease future stories, but sometimes developments in later movies contradict the franchise’s previous teases.

Split image of Will Poulter as Adam Warlock looking upset in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Namor invading Wakanda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made brilliant use of Easter eggs to tease future developments in the continuity, but some of them were rendered obsolete by the events of later movies. Throughout the movies of the MCU, the franchise has established a number of traits that have contributed to its massive success as cinema’s biggest and most ambitious shared universe. Perhaps one of the most celebrated is the inclusion of small Easter eggs, which are often used to tease future MCU stories.

By referencing specific characters, events, locations, or even objects, the MCU’s movie timeline has been peppered with such Easter eggs. However, the apparent teases don’t always come true, with many events either not occurring at all or being rewritten by later movies. Considering the ever-changing nature of the MCU, it’s hardly surprising that not every Easter egg is able to directly paid off, but here are 10 times when MCU Easter eggs were outdated by later movies.

10. Thanos’ First Infinity Gauntlet

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Josh Brolin as Thanos in Age of Ultron smiling as he wields an Infinity Gauntlet

Thanos’ role as the main antagonist of the Infinity Saga was itself something of an Easter egg, with the Mad Titan revealed during an MCU post-credits scene in The Avengers. After other subsequent teases hinting at his plans to collect the Infinity Stones, Avengers: Age of Ultron’s post-credits scene showed Thanos retrieving an Infinity Gauntlet from a vault and directly announcing his intention. The reveal that Thanos possessed his own Infinity Gauntlet was itself something of a new development, as Thor had previously shown one on display in Asgard’s vault.

Speculation on where Thanos’ first Infinity Gauntlet came from was later dispelled in Avengers: Infinity War, disclosing that he had forced the Dwarves to create it for him. However, confusion as to where in the timeline this happened has effectively rendered the initial tease entirely obsolete, as it’s unclear how the post-credits reveal connects to the established origin of Thanos’ Gauntlet or how he came to possess one during the events of Guardians of the Galaxy as revealed during Endgame’s time heist.

9. Doctor Strange Mentioned On Project Insight

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Sitwell in Captain America: The Winter Soldier holding a phone

Captain America: The Winter Soldier featured a number of Easter eggs that hinted at the MCU’s future, several connected directly to Hydra’s Project Insight. The project was established as a preventative measure, designed to eliminate potential threats to Hydra’s plans ahead of time. The use of an algorithm to identity such people was explained, with Jasper Sitwell later blurting out names including Stephen Strange as connected to the project.

The inclusion of Strange in Project Insight was an interesting Easter egg, but the MCU’s later stories raise multiple questions about its efficacy. The nature of the project implies that Strange would directly oppose Hydra in some way, which he ultimately did not. What’s more, he wasn’t a hero at the time, and possessed no abilities at all. Furthermore, Hydra’s future-predicting algorithm hypothetically should have identified the imminent fall of the organization, making everything about the Easter egg seem decidedly murky.

8. Iron Man 2’s Atlantis Tease

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in front of a map showing Atlantis and Wakanda in Iron Man 2 (2010)

Phase 1 of the MCU was packed with Easter eggs hinting at Marvel’s plans for the franchise’s future, and many of them came to pass. Iron Man 2 featured a scene in which Nick Fury talks with Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative, and an Easter egg in the background shows a map containing marked locations, including Wakanda and another red circle in the center of the Atlantic Ocean. The latter is geographically implied to be Atlantis, teasing the arrival of Namor the Sub-Mariner.

Namor’s later role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s cast directly contradicted the Easter egg, however. The relocation of Namor’s home to the underwater city of Talokan is not in the center of the Atlantic at all, but rather off the coast of South America. Though the tease ultimately came true, the Easter egg itself was proven wrong about how this would come to pass, presumably as Marvel’s plans regarding Namor changed over time.

7. The Lemurian Star

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff investigating the Lemurian Star in Captain America The Winter Soldier

Another apparent tease regarding an underwater civilization came at the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when the titular hero was tasked with boarding a ship commandeered by Georges Batroc. The ship, named The Lemurian Star, seemed to confirm the existence of Atlantis’ underwater rival, the city of Lemuria. In the comics, Lemuria is partly populated by Deviants, and directly opposes the nation of Atlantis.

Though the existence of Lemuria hasn’t been explicitly disproven, various developments in the MCU have made the Easter egg seem outdated. Eternals saw the introduction of Deviants to the franchise, with the Deviant Kro in particular playing a significant role. Despite his comic book links to Lemuria, no mention was made by Kro of the underwater location, making it seem as though the MCU has simply neglected to deliver on the Easter egg’s apparent tease.

6. Thor’s Secret Identity

Thor (2011)

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Asgard kneeling before Odin in Thor (2011)

2011’s Thor introduced the God of Thunder to the MCU. At the time, Thor was considered a less well-known Marvel hero to the general public, with the MCU opting to bring him into the mainstream. One of the movie’s best Easter eggs was the inclusion of two references to Donald Blake, M.D., which in the comics and other adaptations has served as Thor’s secret identity while living on Earth. The inclusion of the name seemed to imply Thor may adopt the alias in his future visits to Earth.

Later movies in the MCU wholly disproved the Easter egg. The Avengers saw Thor return to Earth to fight Loki, and later stories Thor: The Dark World and multiple Avengers movies all featured Thor navigating Earth as something of a celebrity without the use of a secret identity. Though Thor clearly doesn’t require the identity in the MCU’s continuity, the Donald Blake Easter egg made it seem forthcoming at one stage early in the franchise.

5. Tony Stark’s Jocasta AI

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Ultron fighting the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced the titular villain to the MCU, but it also introduced a number of other elements to the franchise. When Tony Stark sets about creating the AI that would become Ultron, and later when he begins to support the creation of Vision, a drive is seen that has been clearly labeled Jocasta. The Easter egg was a clear tease for the character of the same name, who in the comics serves as the Bride of Ultron before becoming an ally of the Avengers.

Despite being a potentially important MCU character, Jocasta never appeared on-screen in the franchise. Ultron’s apparent demise at the end of the movie seemed to dash any hope that Jocasta may appear in connection with the villain, and the subsequent lack of any follow-up has rendered the Easter egg fruitless. Despite the apparent existence of Jocasta, it seems that she isn’t destined to play a role in the MCU, outdating the Easter egg significantly.

4. Tony Stark’s First Meeting With General Ross

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk looking at General Ross

Early in Phase 1 of the MCU, The Incredible Hulk’s ending confirmed the existence of Marvel’s shared universe by having Tony Stark appear in a bar to speak with General Thaddeus Ross. Stark approaches Ross regarding a team, implying that he wishes to talk about the Avengers. Whether Stark is approaching Ross about Bruce Banner, Emil Blonsky, or about Ross himself is unclear, though the latter is perhaps the most likely. The cameo Easter egg seems to hint that Ross or Red Hulk would play some role in the Avengers.

Not only did this not happen, but the later one-shot The Consultant revealed that Stark was actually sent to Ross simply to annoy the General. Hulk was inducted into the Avengers, but not by Stark, and General Ross was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Ross didn’t appear again until Captain America: Civil War, where he was in direct opposition to the heroes of the MCU.

3. AIM Teased Villains Later Changed By The MCU

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Aldrich Killian Explains Extremis In Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 introduced multiple ideas to the MCU, including Extremis, the Mandarin, and Pepper Potts as Rescue. It also announced the existence of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) as a thinktank started by Aldrich Killian. The name of the organization serves as an Easter egg as it references the comics, in which AIM has direct ties to multiple characters, most notably the villain MODOK.

Though the Easter egg hints at MODOK’s eventual appearance, this was later disproven. MODOK’s arrival in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s cast revealed that the MCU’s version of the villain had nothing to do with AIM, which was presumably dismantled after Killian’s public disgrace. Though the apparent tease of the Easter egg ultimately came true, MODOK’s appearance actually rendered the hint particularly outdated by rewriting the character’s backstory and not including any apparent ties to AIM or Aldrich Killian.

2. Adam Warlock’s Cocoon

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

adam warlock in his cocoon in guardians 2 post-credits scene

Thor: The Dark World is one of the MCU’s least-appreciated movies, but it kept the franchise’s healthy inclusion of Easter eggs and Marvel references alive. The movie features an appearance by Taneleer Tivan, better known as the Collector, who is consulted about the Aether. During the scene, a display case is shown that seemingly contains the cocoon of Adam Warlock as it appears in the comics.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 later made the Easter Egg outdated via its own post-credits scene. The movie showed the Sovereign Ayesha creating Adam Warlock as a means of getting revenge on the Guardians, setting up his later appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3Adam Warlock’s true MCU cocoon was a much more golden affair, disproving the earlier tease and begging the question of exactly what was in the Collector’s displayed cocoon.

1. Asgard’s Infinity Gauntlet

Thor (2011)

Hela with the fake Infinity Gauntlet in Thor Ragnarok

Undoubtedly the most blatant dismissal of an MCU Easter egg comes in Thor: Ragnarok, negating one of Phase 1’s most exciting teases. In the 2011 movie, a brief glimpse of an Infinity Gauntlet can be seen sitting in Asgard’s vault. The tease prompted speculation that later proved correct about the MCU’s plan to adapt the Infinity War storyline, but that doesn’t mean that the franchise held the tease in particularly high regard.

Upon assuming control of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, Hela is shown walking through the vault. Upon discovering the Gauntlet, she instantly dismisses it as a fake in a comical throwback to the much earlier Easter egg. It’s an irreverent moment that shows the MCU’s awareness of audiences’ attention to detail, poking fun at the notion that each Easter egg should have profound meaning. Ironically, it also birthed complex theories about the nature of the fake Gauntlet, making it one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best examples of outdating its own Easter eggs.

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