It’s that wonderful time of the year again, the time for Marvel’s summer movie! The latest entry in the MCU is particularly notable, and not just because it stars a talking raccoon and his tree buddy. Guardians of the Galaxy takes the story into deep space for a full-on sci-fi adventure, and because of that, there was a lot of room for James Gunn and his team to pack in some fun, crazy, and flat-out weird cameos and Easter Eggs.
1. Stan Lee
As always, Stan Lee dropped in for his obligatory cameo (despite the fact that the modern Guardians team was created well after he left Marvel). He appears in the first scene on Xandar, with Rocket making fun of him for hitting on a woman young enough to be his granddaughter.
2. The Collector’s Collection
There are just so many cool little thing’s in The Collector’s base that it’d probably take a half a dozen viewings to catch them all. So far, I can definitely confirm there is a Dark Elf (from Thor 2), a Chitauri (from The Avengers), the creature from Slither (one of James Gunn’s early films), and what looks like Adam Warlock’s cocoon (also visible in the Thor 2 stinger).
Going beyond the background imagery, we get a very good look at Cosmo the dog, although he doesn’t have any speaking lines here (Marvel probably hasn’t even begun hunting for a voice actor). In the comics, Cosmo is a talking dog who heads up the security for Knowhere (the giant space head). He’s also an ally of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and often provides them with information and resources.
3. Howard the Duck
Wow, just wow. James Gunn went and officially brought Howard the Duck into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comics, Howard is from a planet of talking ducks. He has no real superpowers to speak of (aside from being a giant talking duck), although he did once run for president. He even got his own movie in the 80s, produced by none other than George Lucas. It did not fair well at the box office.
Regardless, Howard the Duck in Avengers 3, let’s make it happen Marvel.
4. The Eternals
During the Collector’s monologue on the significance of the Infinity Stones, we briefly see some footage of a giant creature decimating a planet. This giant looks a hell of a lot like one of Jack Kirby’s Celestials, massive godlike entities that debuted in the Eternals series.
The film also has a much more overt reference to these beings, as Knowhere itself is the severed, hollowed out head of a dead Celestial.
5. Infinity Stones
Speaking of Infinity Stones, one more got revealed in Guardians. Some fans think it’s the Cinematic Universe’s equivalent of the Space Gem (since it’s purple), others think it’s the Power Gem. Either way, that’s three down, three to go.
Members of the alien race known as the Sakaaran act as the foot soldiers in Ronan the Accuser’s army, but their appearance might be setting up something bigger. The current rumor going around right now is that Avengers 2 will result in the Hulk getting sent up into space.
The Sakaaran coincidentally play a big role in the Hulk’s most well-known off-planet excursion: Planet Hulk. Marvel has consistently denied a Planet Hulk movie is in development, but if the character does end up in space, that might be an interesting comic to draw some inspiration from.
7. James Gunn and Co.
Director James Gunn himself appears in a small cameo as one of the Sakaaran soldiers. He also found parts for some of the people he’s worked with in the past, such as the face of Troma himself, Lloyd Kaufman, as a prisoner in the Kyln; and Nathan Fillion, who played that big blue guy that Groot bullies around. Gunn got his start in moviemaking at Troma with Kaufman, while Fillion starred in Slither, Gunn’s breakout film.
Last but certainly not least, Rob Zombie voices the Ravager Navigator in an unaccredited role.
8. Josh Brolin as Thanos
This one isn’t exactly an Easter Egg, but if you weren’t paying attention you might’ve missed the fact that Thanos was voiced by none other than Josh Brolin. That’s a hell of a casting decision, so expect to hear a lot more of Brolin-Thanos in the lead-up to Avengers 3.