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Small Details You Missed In The Adam Project

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

"The Adam Project" takes audiences on a journey through time and space as a man joins forces with his younger self and his father to save the future for everyone. The older Adam Reid (Ryan Reynolds), a pilot, hails from 2050, when the advent of time travel has been abused by a greedy former colleague (Catherine Keener) of his father's, Louis (Mark Ruffalo). Now, it's up to Adam to stop his late dad from ever sharing the formula for his spatial discovery with her in the first place. Along the way, he's accidentally reunited with his younger self (Walker Scobell) and the mother he took for granted, Ellie (Jennifer Garner), and he must also confront the truth about his own relationship with his dad, all while saving the world from time-travel tyranny.

In addition to being an action-packed sensation of science fiction, the film is also filled with heart and plenty of emotionally resonant moments. Eagle-eyed audience members are also bound to notice quite a few timeless pop culture references and Easter eggs scattered throughout the film, so here's a look at the small details you might have missed in "The Adam Project."

The pooch with purpose

Throughout the film, audiences are bound to notice a bounty of clever references to time travel, and the first one has a little something to do with the family pet. Yep, in the 2022 era, we find out that Adam has a pet dog named Hawking, which is a clear reference to the late, great scientific genius Stephen Hawking.

As science historians will no doubt know, Hawking had mixed feelings about whether time travel could ever actually happen. He even famously threw a party to "welcome time travelers" in 2009 to disprove the theory. However, he also wrote about the possibility that additional dimensions exist and would allow for travel through time. In other words, Hawking had his own anecdotal evidence that the concept was a fiction, but he wasn't willing to close the book on the possibility of a multiverse altogether.

Similarly, as young Adam tries to understand how his future self came into his timeline, he talks about the possibility of a multiverse to explain why the elder Adam doesn't remember their ongoing encounter. Interestingly, when both Adams travel back to 2018, we see that Hawking is still just a puppy, which means he must've gotten his name right around the time Louis was unlocking the equations that would make time travel a reality. Like Stephen Hawking, even though Adam's father furiously worked to firm up his wormhole theories, he also was also pretty skeptical about whether it would actually work. But while the real-life Hawking didn't have any guests show up to his time-travel party, the four-legged version in this film sure does.

The cinematic homages

While watching "The Adam Project," be sure to keep an eye and ear out for some fun references to some of the biggest sci-fi films of all time. For example, when future Adam makes a joke about helping young Adam make some savvy investments, the kid calls out a comparison to Biff from "Back to the Future Part II" — which, not coincidentally, is almost exactly what the villainous Mya Sorian has already done with her own younger self, positioning her to be the richest and most powerful person in the world in her timeline.

You might notice that the shirt Louis chuckles over in the 2018 timeline is a nice nod to the wonderfully bizarre 1997 film "Face/Off." And when 2050 Adam reveals his signature weapon, his younger self repeatedly notes that the device is a dead ringer for a lightsaber, the sword made famous by "Star Wars." The older Adam also points to the "Terminator" franchise to explain what is so wrong with his timeline, telling his younger self that the apocalyptic setting of the film is "2050 on a good day." "Terminator" is, of course, a film about a title character who travels back through time to change the past, much like what we're dealing with in this picture.

The meta moment

Speaking of film references, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the movie that offers a bit of visual fun for fans of the film's leads, Ryan Reynolds and Mark Ruffalo. Though "The Adam Project" marks the first time these two have shared the screen, they have something majorly in common when it comes to their film history — both are known for their blockbuster superhero roles.

Reynolds is the titular star of the "Deadpool" film franchise and first played the role of Wade Wilson in the 2009 film "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Meanwhile, Ruffalo has memorably portrayed Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the last decade. In a very heartwarming moment involving both actors near the end of the film, when the two Adams play catch with their father one last time, there's a very quick shot of their sticker-filled storage box, which includes some images of both their signature superhero characters as a bit of a wink to fans.

The accidental foreshadowing

Last but not least, there are some meaningful moments of foreshadowing to be found throughout the film. For starters, after young Adam is suspended for fighting and his mother picks him up from school, she warns him to start caring about his future because "[it's] coming sooner than you think." She doesn't know just how right she is about that statement! Meanwhile, the video game that Adam likes to play is also unknowingly preparing him for what's to come when he joins a high-speed spaceship chase in the canyons with his older self.

Perhaps the most emotional instance of foreshadowing comes when Louis reveals that he already anticipates his own fate — even before he finds out about the future of time travel. During his class lecture, he warns his students of the grueling nature of their work, saying, "Physics is a slog, it's a slog ... we are meant to work on problems that our children will solve. You might find the odd solution here or there ... but you will die before your life's work is done. Your cold lifeless husk will be moldering in the ground while generations that come after you will be finishing the work that you started."

Indeed, his words are beyond accurate because his son — two versions of his son, even — are already teamed up to finish (and even upend) his life's work at that very moment. And in each of their timelines, he's already long gone when they begin that journey. With such a well-adjusted outlook as this, it's no wonder Adam's father chooses not to interfere with time and find out his fate in hopes of saving himself. Gulp.