It's All Connected1 of 12
"It’s all connected” – that’s Marvel’s mantra when it comes to their cinematic universe.
Big name cameos are the Marvel movie’s stock in trade, dating all the way back to Samuel L. Jackson’s first appearance as Nick Fury in 2008’s Iron Man. But what about some of the lesser-known cameos and Easter eggs that have popped up in Marvel’s movies over the years – like Martin Starr’s pre-Spider-Man: Homecoming backdoor cameo as comic books' Amadeus Cho?
With Avengers: Infinity War looming (and potentially chock full of wild cameos and Easter eggs), we started looking back at the MCU's previous hidden gems.
While an exhaustive list of Marvel movie cameos would be impossible to show here, we would like to present ten biggest Marvel movie cameos you may have missed.
Doc Samson – The Incredible Hulk2 of 12
Modern Family's Ty Burrell’s character in The Incredible Hulk may not seem very “incredible” on his own, but the character’s gamma-irradiated origins are almost as larger-than-life as the Hulk’s.
Leonard, as his character is known in the film, is actually Dr. Leonard Samson, a powerhouse in his own right with super strength and an origin tied to Bruce Banner.
And while Burrell lacks Samson’s trademark green hair, his onscreen portrayal does share a job as a psychiatrist with his comic book counterpart.
A.I.M. – Iron Man 33 of 12
Advanced Idea Mechanics – better known as A.I.M. – is a cabal of sinister scientists dedicated to the pursuit of profit and forbidden knowledge.
But in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they’re name-dropped as a think tank run by Iron Man 3’s villain, Aldrich Killian, who uses his genius to develop Extremis as a weapon.
The evil scientists’ trademark “beekeeper suits” may not have made it to the screen, but Killian’s sinister motives are right in keeping with the organization’s comic book roots.
Wonder Man - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 24 of 12
This cameo is one that everyone missed - even Nathan Fillion, because it was cut from the theatrical release.
Fillion took part in several photo shoots that were used as faux posters promoting movies starring Simon Williams (a.k.a. Wonder Man) that were to appear as Easter Eggs in the Earth-based scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
When it came time to edit the movie however, writer/director James Gunn reluctantly cut the scene in question because it "slowed down the movie."
Unlike other cut scenes however, Gunn has said that Fillion-as-Wondie is "canon for the MCU" and hopes the actor will reprise his role as Simon for... er... the first time.
The Leader – The Incredible Hulk5 of 12
Samuel Sterns is a central character in The Incredible Hulk, operating as “Mr. Blue,” the anonymous scientist attempting to help Bruce Banner rid himself of the Hulk.
But in comic books, Sterns is actually the Leader, a super-intelligent villain with green skin and an enormous brain. This fate is teased is The Incredible Hulk, when some of Banner’s gamma-irradiated blood drips into a wound on Sterns’s head.
Sadly, this counts as one of the MCU’s greatest dangling threads as Sterns and his secret identity as the Leader have yet to be revisited by any subsequent films.
Warlock’s Eye – Thor6 of 12
Thor doesn’t have quite as many easter eggs as some of Marvel’s other films, but the ones it does contain are deep cuts, to say the least.
First and foremost, visible in Odin’s treasure chamber are numerous artifacts of magical – and comic book – significance. Primary among them is the Warlock’s Eye, a magical artifact that controls minds, which was used in an attempted invasion of Asgard.
Also seen briefly in the treasure room is the Infinity Gauntlet, the glove on which Thanos mounts the all-powerful Infinity Stones - or at least a clever forgery, according to Thor: Ragnarok.
Amadeus Cho – The Incredible Hulk7 of 12
If you couldn’t tell by the rest of this list, The Incredible Hulk is one of the most Easter egg-laden of Marvel’s films. And while many of them are sort of commonly known, this one counts as perhaps its most obscure.
Although he’s only listed as “computer nerd” in the film’s credits, Martin Starr’s student who trades lab access for pizza was revealed to be none other than Amadeus Cho in J.E. Bright’s novelization of the film.
While being relegated to the novelization may make this an iffy cameo at best, Amadeus’s mother, Helen Cho – or at least someone with her name – appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, providing another link to the kid who is coincidentally the new Hulk.
Martin Starr later got an expanded (but unrelated) role as a teacher in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Stiltman – Daredevil8 of 12
While there were a few easter eggs to be seen in Melvin Potter’s workshop in Netflix’s Daredevil season one - not least of which was Potter himself, better known in comics as the Gladiator – there’s one that really stands out.
In another one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” type references, the bottom half of a suit of armor that looks suspiciously like Stilt-Man’s legs is seen among the tools and buzzsaws (themselves a reference to Gladiator).
While the chances that Stilt-Man will ever make it to the screen are slim-to-none, it’s pretty cool that one of Daredevil’s longest-running – and goofiest – foes was given a nod in the popular series.
Weapon Plus – The Incredible Hulk9 of 12
The Weapon Plus program is a series of experiments designed to create a super-soldier that birthed numerous characters in Marveldom, but which has particular ties to the X-Men franchise.
Given the strained (at the time) relationship between Marvel and Fox, the shepherds of the X-Men on film, it’s interesting that a Weapon Plus label showed up on the serum used by Emil Blonsky to take on Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk.
But it’s not that surprising. Blonsky’s serum is said to be a derivative of that which gave Captain America his strength, and aside from Wolverine - designated as Weapon X - Captain America is the Weapon Plus program’s most famous recipient – in fact, in comic books, he’s Weapon I.
Fin Fang Foom – Iron Man10 of 12
Fin Fang Foom is as unlikely a villain to appear in an Iron Man film as exists in his rogues gallery (OK, maybe the Unicorn is less apt to appear), but that didn’t stop him from rearing his Makluan head in Iron Man 2.
It’s hard to spot, but in the background of one fight scene, there’s a poster mounted on a nearby billboard advertising a monster movie. The design is one created by artist Adi Granov that’s a little more sophisticated than Foom’s usual space dragon look.
Interestingly, Fin Fang Foom actually predates Iron Man as part of Marvel lore, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the monster comic books of Marvel’s pre-superhero days, as was Groot.
Human Torch – Captain America: The First Avenger11 of 12
In comic books, Captain America’s WWII career spanned several years and wasn’t relegated to simply working with the U.S. Army. In fact, he had an entire team of superpowered soldiers named the Invaders for a stretch.
While the Howling Commandos took the place of the Invaders in Captain America: The First Avenger, one of Cap’s fellow Invaders did in fact make an all too brief appearance in the film – the Human Torch.
While his codename wasn’t displayed, a figure bearing the distinct red and yellow suit of the original Torch is seen in a glass case labeled with the name “Phineas Horton,” the android Torch’s creator, when Steve and Bucky visit the Stark Science Expo.
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