Avengers: Age of Ultron finally arrived in the US yesterday, and man did they cram a ton of references, cameos, and easter eggs in.
I’m sure there are dozens more we’ll need to spot on our second and third (and fourth) viewings, but here are 30 we found so far:
1. Infinity Stones and Thanos
There was a ton of setup for Infinity War in this movie, including Thor explaining to the Avengers what the Infinity Stones are. He even specifically references the one socketed into Loki’s scepter as the “Mind Stone,” the first time it’s been officially named.
During the mid-credits stinger scene, we also see Josh Brolin’s Thanos retrieving the Infinity Gauntlet, declaring, “fine, I’ll do it myself.” He’s referencing the fact that the Gauntlet is designed to hold all of the Infinity Stones, granting its holder unfathomable power. Thanos’s minions have twice failed to retrieve the Stones for him (Loki and Ronan the Accuser), so now he’s getting off his space chair to handle it himself.
2. Hey It’s That Guy
One of the guys manning Nick Fury’s refurbished Helicarrier is Cameron Klein, a former SHIELD technician who showed up before in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He was the one who refused to launch the Helicarriers after Steve Rogers revealed it was HYDRA that was behind them.
3. Friday and Jocasta
After JARVIS becomes the sentient being known as the Vision, Tony Stark needs a new AI for his suit. He turns to a routine called “FRIDAY,” a reference to the time in the comics when he made a hologram AI secretary of the same name.
On his desk, you can also catch a glimpse of a drive labeled “Jocasta,” referencing a robot that Ultron built in the comics to be his mate.
Stan Lee makes his obligatory cameo as a WWII veteran who gets super drunk off of Thor’s Asgardian alcohol. On his way out, he drunkenly says his iconic catch phrase, “excelsior!”
5. Ultron’s Comic Book Connections
The film borrows a lot of imagery from the comics for Ultron. For example, when the Maximoff twins first meet him, Ultron is wearing a red shroud. In the comics, Ultron was first introduced as a villain named the Crimson Cowl.
Additionally, certain story elements are borrowed from the comics. Most notably, the storyline Ultron Unlimited has the titular character invading a fictional East European country with an army of robot drone. The title of the film itself though, Age of Ultron, has absolutely nothing to do with the comic book event of the same name. Director Joss Whedon just chose it because it sounded cool.
6. Where is the Winter Soldier?
During the party at Avengers Tower, Sam Wilson (aka Falcon) remarks that he’s chasing down cold leads on their “missing persons case.” This is a reference to the end of The Winter Soldier, where Falcon and Captain America team up to track down Bucky Barnes.
Tony Stark names his Hulkbuster armor “Veronica,” a reference to Betty and Veronica from the Archie comics. Betty Ross was Bruce Banner’s love interest in the comics and the Incredible Hulk movie, although strangely, she hasn’t been mentioned since in the MCU.
8. Puny Banner
During their fight, Tony Stark apologizes to the Hulk for bringing up “puny Banner.” This is a reference to a one of the Hulk’s comic book “catch phrases,” during a period when the Hulk alter-ego was openly hostile towards his human persona.
9. War Machine is Back
Following all the crap he got from Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, it seems that Rhodey has decided to ditch the red, white, and blue paint job for his armor (War Machine is a way cooler name anyways).
Wakanda gets name-dropped as the source of Vibranium, the metal that Captain America’s shield is forged out of. The fictional country was first introduced to the MCU in Iron Man 2, where it can be spotted on a map in the background of a shot.
Considering it’s the home country of Black Panther, we can probably expect it to be the primary setting of his 2018 film.
11. Ulysses Klaw
Speaking of Wakanda, the character of Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis) is based on a comic book character named Ulysses Klaw. Just like his MCU counterpart, the comic book version is a villain who steals Vibranium from Wakanda in order to create weapons.
The movie spelling of his name is no coincidence either. In the comics, “Klaue” is the last name of his father. Klaw changed it later to avoid the notoriety of his dad’s Nazi war crimes.
12. Can I Give You a Hand?
After accidentally insulting Ultron, Klaue loses a hand. This is similar to events in the comics, where Ulysses Klaw loses his hand while escaping from Wakanda with his stolen Vibranium. He later replaces it with a Vibranium-powered weapon of his own design.
Additionally, this doubles as part of Marvel’s bizarre, Star Wars-inspired Phase Two running gag, with each of the five movies so far featuring someone getting their hand chopped off.
13. Helen Cho
In the comics, Helen Cho is a minor character who’s really only notable for being the mother of Amadeus Cho, a super-genius teen. Here she gets a much bigger role as one of the world’s foremost geneticists, and the Avengers’ go-to doctor.
14. Jane Foster and Erik Selvig
Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest from his two solo films, is mentioned to be one of the world’s foremost astronomers. Erik Selvig meanwhile makes a brief appearance, helping Thor find the Water of Sight. It seems his time with Thor has done wonders for his career, given he’s driving a sporty new luxury car.
15. That’s Not a Question I Need Answered
Black Widow didn’t feel the need to try and lift Thor’s hammer, but she sure did in the comics. In “What If? Age of Ultron #3,” after Thor is killed, Black Widow is able to lift his hammer and even takes on his name.
16. Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
Strucker makes another (and final) appearance after his cameo in The Winter Soldier‘s post-credits scene. In the comics, Strucker is a former Nazi and one of the foremost leaders of HYDRA, clashing with SHIELD constantly since his introduction in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #5 in the 60s.
While Strucker doesn’t make it out of this film, his associate, Dr. List, is presumably still alive. This might be due to his ongoing role in the Agents of SHIELD TV series.
17. Musical Cues
When Nick Fury arrives with his Helicarrier, you can hear some of the same theme used in the original Avengers movie when the Helicarrier was rising out of the water. Additionally, composer Brian Tyler also integrates the themes from Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World during certain scenes with those characters.
18. Invaders Before Avengers
In one of Ultron’s evil monologues, he mentions that everyone creates the thing they dread, including “invaders” creating “avengers.” This may be a reference to the The Invaders, a WWII-era superhero team that fought the Nazis. Captain America was one of the founding members, before eventually leaving to join the Avengers.
19. The Roy Thomas Players
The band playing in Steve Rogers’ vision is called the Roy Thomas Players. This is a reference to Roy Thomas, the comic book writer who created Ultron and Vision.
20. Cap’s Shield Upgrade
Captain America’s new magnetic shield return is inspired by his comic book gadget of a similar design. He would eventually ditch the magnets though, favoring a more “hands-on” approach. Both versions were designed by Tony Stark.
21. Chitauri Space Snake
A dead Chitauri “Leviathan” ship from The Avnegers is featured prominently in Baron Strucker’s HYDRA workshop. In Tony Stark’s nightmare vision, he sees dozens of them converging on Earth, possibly hinting that Thanos still has plenty of Chitauri soldiers at his disposal.
A truck with with “Crawford” written on it can be spotted in the Iron Man vs Hulk fight. This may be referencing Dr. Gregory Crawford, Bruce Banner’s mentor in the comics. Crawford would later go on to become a Hulk-like character named Ravage.
23. Remembering the Battle of New York
Blink and you’ll miss it, but a memorial to the first responders of the Battle of New York has been placed over Grand Central Station, a location that took a beating during The Avengers.
24. Laura Barton
This movie introduced Clint Barton’s wife, who he managed to keep out of SHIELD’s database all this time. She’s based on a comic book character of the same name in the “Ultimates” universe, who is killed by none other than Black Widow.
25. People Like Choking Tony Stark
In every movie that Tony Stark’s been in (all five so far), someone has grabbed him by the throat. Age of Ultron is no exception, with Thor straight up lifting him off the ground this time.
26. Black Widow’s Ballet
Widow’s flashback to her time as a ballerina is directly inspired by the comics, as are the mentions of the “Red Room.”
27. Vision and Ultron
It wasn’t a coincidence that this movie introduced both Ultron and Vision. In the comics, they both made their first appearance in the same issue, Avengers #57.
This wasn’t an aspect of the movie, but Vision and Scarlet Witch also have a lengthy history in the comics, with the two of them eventually falling in love and getting married.
28. Twin Power
Speaking of Scarlet Witch, Elizabeth Olsen has said in interviews that she tapped into her own family as inspiration for how to play Wanda Maximoff. Olsen is the younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
29. So Many Cameos
There were so many little cameos in this movie that we’re going to combine them all into one entry. Making their return to the MCU were Nick Fury, James Rhodes, Sam Wilson, Peggy Carter, Maria Hill, Erik Selvig, Baron von Strucker, Heimdall, and Thanos. Also mentioned are Pepper Potts and Jane Foster. Joss Whedon even shot a cameo for Loki, but it was cut in editing.
There are also a ton of new characters inspired by comic book ones including Vision, Ultron, the Maximoff twins, Helen Cho, Laura Barton, and Ulysses Klaue.
30. Avengers ______!
In the very last scene of the movie, Captain America is just about to utter his iconic call-to-arms, “Avengers Assemble,” right before Joss Whedon cuts him off with a title card.