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Superhero movie cameos that were kept under wraps

If you're watching a movie based on a comic book, you can bet there are going to be some cool cameos in it. Whether it be recognizable actors or new characters, filmmakers like to sneak in quick and cool glimpses of people the audiences recognize. Viewers can expect to see Stan Lee in most movies made by Marvel, but there are a lot of other little ones that sneak under the radar...

Iron Man in The Incredible Hulk

By the time Ed Norton made his debut in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, fans had all but given up on the character. Ang Lee had made a cartoonishly weird Hulk in 2003 with Eric Bana that didn't really fit in the emerging Marvel Universe, and this pseudo-sequel took a more serious, gritty tone, but ultimately seemed to fall flat as well. For all The Incredible Hulk's flaws, Marvel did see fit to include one of its now ubiquitous post-credit scenes, and what a scene it was. Iron Man himself shows up to talk to Thunderbolt Ross about a special team being put together. This should have been Nick Fury's job, but it adds a nice touch to see Robert Downey Jr. slumming it in one of Marvel's less-loved movies, if only for a moment.

In a fun twist, because only Iron Man had been filmed already at this point, Tony Stark's appearance is never followed up on in later films, as Sam Jackson takes over recruiting duties and, of course, Hulk is a member of the team and not an enemy.

Paul Soles in The Incredible Hulk

When Bruce Banner finally makes his way back to the US, he gets a hand from a kindly old man at a pizza shop who's willing to hide him from the government. What kind of pizza shop dude is willing to help a giant, green rage-monster? Well, one who knew him when he was younger and one played by the voice actor who brought the Hulk to life in 1966.

This cameo is so on the sly there are probably people who were on set when the scene was being filmed who didn't even know it was a cameo. Given that Soles was a voice actor for a cartoon from the '60s, it stands to reason only the most hardcore of Hulk fanatics would ever have known who they were seeing without being told. But, now that you do know, it shows just how far Marvel will go to add cool little touches to their films.

Wolverine in X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class successfully rebooted the X-Men franchise after Brett Ratner ruined it with 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. Rather than moving forward, the movie goes back in time and introduces a whole new cast of characters and actors. Young versions of Magneto and Professor X are just as cool as the old ones, and we even got Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. What's not to like?

As a fun nod to the fact Wolverine isn't quite as young as he looks, there's a quick scene in the middle of the movie that finds Magneto and Xavier recruiting mutants to their cause when they run across the surly Canadian. It's a fun excuse to have Wolverine swearing at Magneto and Professor X and a fun laugh for the audience. Plus it's yet another movie featuring Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, bringing his total up to seven films.

Rebecca Romijn in X-Men: First Class

X-Men First Class has more than one nod to prior franchise continuity, and one of the most fun ones comes with the inclusion of old and new Mystique. Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique attempts to seduce Michael Fassbender's Magneto, which doesn't go over so well due to her approach. Magneto makes an offhanded remark about "in a few years" and as quick as you can say "Rebecca Romijn," the model who played Mystique in the previous films is there.

The scene is very quick and uncredited, and also makes use of Romijn out of makeup so we get to see her natural beauty minus the blue hue that she's used to sporting as Mystique. Not that it mattered since Magneto apparently prefers the blue ladies, but still, it was a nice cameo.

Professor X and Magneto in The Wolverine

After X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out in 2009, it must have been hard to get anyone to agree to another Wolverine solo movie, since that one had been botched so badly. It had tons of potential and included a lot of great characters including Sabretooth, Blob, Gambit, and sort of Deadpool, but it didn't use any of them correctly. The movie is best forgotten.

In 2013, The Wolverine gave fans get the film they should have had: a solid action movie that mixes in aspects of Wolverine's past from the comics and takes him on a pretty cool adventure. And then, when it's all over, the most amazing cameo experience in comic book movie history occurs as Wolverine comes face to face not just with Magneto but the dead-for-several-years Professor Charles Xavier! If you were in the theater watching this movie, you literally heard fans scream.

Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy

One of the greatest cameos in recent memory comes in a movie packed with little extras and Easter eggs for fans. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, arguably Marvel's most ambitious addition to its Cinematic Universe to date, we go back to the rubble of the Collector's domain. Much of his collection is destroyed, but at least one of his prizes decided to stick around and be mouthy: Howard the Duck.

The infamous duck was last seen in 1986's Howard the Duck, which is widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. The idea of a wise cracking space duck never really resonated with audiences and even his comic, which was meant to be satirical and parody the world around us, was never super popular. Still, director James Gunn's decision to include Howard in a post-credit scene was a fun acknowledgement of Marvel's spacey history and just how weird the company can get. And what better place to include him than in the movie with the violent raccoon and the talking tree?

Noel Neill in Superman Returns

At the beginning of Superman Returns, we're introduced to not just Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor, but also the wealthy widow he married and conned out of her fortune. The elderly lady who plays his wife is only seen for a moment, but a true Superman fan may have recognized her face.

Luthor's bride is none other than Noel Neill, the original Lois Lane from the 1950s Superman serials. In fact, the first time she played Lois Lane was in 1948. Neill also appeared as Lois Lane's mother Ella in 1978's Superman: the Motion Picture and she even showed up in the Superboy TV series that most people forgot even existed in the late 1980s. Interestinly enough, after the 1950s serial, Neill all but retired from acting, only coming back for those occasional Superman-related roles over the years.

Garrett Morris in Ant-Man

In 2015, Marvel Studios released Ant-Man, starring comic actor Paul Rudd in the lead role. Considering how obscure Ant-Man is as a character in terms of his cultural impact, you might be surprised to learn that the movie contains a cameo from the only other actor who's actually played the part of the hero on screen before. If you're scratching your head, think way back to 1979, when Saturday Night Live featured a sketch called "Superhero Party."

In it, Superman and Lois Lane host a cocktail party with guests ranging from the Flash, to the Hulk, to Spider-Man, and the Invisible Woman, all played by various SNL castmembers. And there, among the more famous comic characters, was Ant-Man, played by original cast member Garrett Morris. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed put Morris in the role of a confused cab driver, whose car gets landed on by Rudd's Scott Lang as he's testing out his superhero suit. For such a small hero, that cameo pays some huge respect to the world's first Ant-Man.