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10 hidden easter eggs in Captain America: The First Avenger
Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Sunday, July 24, 2011
Ever since the release of the first X-Men movie back in 2000, there has been an intelligent attempt to build up the layers of the Marvel film universe. With thousands of characters created throughout the years, and millions of people now familiar with the heroes that populate the Marvel universe, the creators of the modern Marvel movies, as well as the executives running Marvel Studios, are trying to appease fans by giving them quick cameos or mentions of characters and equipment from the comic books.
With every new Marvel movie there seems to be more linkage between other Marvel films. Captain America: The First Avenger doesn’t stray away from that trend, and now with the release of the movie Coming Attractions can give you a list of what easter eggs you may have missed and why the ones you caught were in there.
1. Yggdrasil and the Tree of Life:
After the opening where Captain America’s body is found in the Arctic we see the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) searching for the tesseract, a lost piece of powerful technology once owned by “the gods”. He finds the tesseract hidden inside a monastery in Tønsberg, Norway, where the image of a tree is carved.
If you watched this summer’s Thor movie than you know that the gods the Red Skull talks of are actually the Asgardians, human-looking aliens that also provided the basis for Norse mythology. Yggdrasil is lifted right from ancient Norse legends and is supposedly the tree where all life stems from. And just as there’s a line in the Thor movie that says what we call magic the Asgardians call their science, we’re shown in the Captain America movie that mysterious occult artifacts can really be lost alien technology.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark:
After he holds the tesseract in his hands, Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull makes a comment about how the Fuhrer “searches the desert for trinkets.” That has to be an in-direct mention to the Lost Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not only does it infer to another supernatural relic that will supposedly bestow upon its owner incalculable power, Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of the movies that Captain America director Joe Johnston worked on as a special effects supervisor. Johnston won an Oscar for that gig.
3. The Cosmic Cube:
If you’re wondering why The Red Skull called it a tesseract instead of a cosmic cube, the reason is probably because the former sounds way more scientific and less like it came from a comic book. The Cosmic Cube played an important part throughout the Captain America comics, and in the company’s storylines which spanned centuries and light years. In the comics the Cube can destroy galaxies and even create new universes.
In the Marvel movie universe the “jewel of Odin’s treasure room” is never really explained further than being some kind of ultra-powerful energy source. The Skull uses the tesseract to power his engines of war and has plans to wipe major cities off of the map with its power. If the Red Skull knew about the other capabilities of the tesseract/Cosmic Cube, he never displayed that knowledge to us in the movie.
4. Arnim Zola’s introduction:
The right-hand man and chief scientist of HYDRA, Arnim Zola shares the same background of his Marvel Comics counterpart. He’s still around in the present day Captain America comics, creating sinister genetic monsters.
In the comics Zola doesn’t often appear in the flesh to fight. Instead, he appears via hologram or a screen in the chest of robots, often looking like a detached giant head. In the Captain America movie director Joe Johnston chooses to introduce us to his Zola in a similar way: as a giant, somewhat deformed floating head speaking with the Red Skull via a monitor.
5. The original Human Torch:
Here’s an easter egg that was included for real old school fans of Marvel Comics. On display at the expo that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) go to is a red superhero costume inside a glass display case. This is the costume of the original Human Torch, a character in the old Marvel comic books from the 1940s.
Whether this was meant to establish that there could be other superheroes fighting in World War 2 or as an in-joke to Evans’ role as the modern Human Torch in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four movies is something that the director knows (and so far, he hasn’t spoken about it.)
6. Iron Man’s dad and his flying car:
Howard Stark (played by Dominic Cooper) is one of the more important secondary characters in Captain America. After watching the way the elder Stark is played in the 1940s we can see where a lot of Tony’s charisma comes from.
Stark’s introductory scene shows him wowing a crowd with a hovering automobile. After hanging a few seconds in the air, the auto comes crashing back down.
Now, the thing of it is that the both The Avengers and SHIELD have anti-gravity technology in the comic books. With The Avengers movie coming out next summer and the recent reveal that the Helicarrier and the Avengers’ Quinjet will likely appear in the movie (as seen in this recently released artwork showing Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow), this scene in Captain America could be seen a precursor to the flying vehicles we’ll see in The Avengers movie. After all, it’s not like Marvel Studios hasn’t laid this kind of groundwork before.
During the process which turns Steve Rogers into Captain America’s super soldier, Stanley Tucci’s Dr. Abraham Erskine explains that they will bombard Rogers’ body with “vita-rays”. As hokey as it sounds today in the 21st century, that’s lifted right from the original Cap comic books.
8. The nod to the cover of Captain America #1:
On the cover of the very first issue of Captain America from March 1941 there’s our patriotic superhero knocking out Adolf Hitler. While there isn’t a literal interpretation of this scene in the film, there is an homage to the famous cover by way of the USO stage show that Steve Rogers is in. As the hero later says, he has the experience of knocking out Hitler over 200 times.
9. The Vibranium shield:
When Steve discovers the gunmetal circular shield in the development office of Howard Stark, he asks what it’s made from. Vibranium is a fictional element in the Marvel universe that comes from the country of Wakunda, the land where another Marvel superhero lives, The Black Panther.
The Captain America movie establishes that the red-white-and-blue Captain shields we saw in the first two Iron Man movies aren’t the same shield that Captain America took into battle. The original was recovered from the crashed bomber along with the frozen body of Steve Rogers – which leads one to wonder how that frozen shadow in the ice from The Incredible Hulk movie could have also been Steve Rogers/Captain America.
During the concluding moments in the final battle between Captain America and The Red Skull, the tesseract opens a dimensional portal. Inside the rift we see what looks like a nebula in open space. This is very much what Asgard looked like in the Thor movie released two months previous to Captain America: The First Avenger, and it suggests that the Skull was taken from Earth and is now somewhere in Asgard (or one of the realms connected to Earth and Asgard by the Rainbow Bridge.)
What it also does is keep the door open for a return of the Skull in a Captain America sequel set in the modern day – or even re-introduce the villain in Thor 2 or a sequel to The Avengers.
I'd like to think that my hardcore nerd analysis of Captain America: The First Avenger was pretty through but maybe you found another easter egg, have a question about what they might mean for Captain America 2 or want to ask a question about the movie? Sound off in the comments below and share your thoughts, ideas and musings with the rest of us.