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The Best Movie Easter Eggs You Missed In 2017

With everything from superhero team-ups to record-breaking horror releases, 2017 has been a big year for movies—and an even bigger year for all the Easter eggs they hid. It's a lot to go through, so we rounded up the biggest movie Easter eggs of 2017, from Marvel to DC and everything in between.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—A mop and a beer

The fifth entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise saw Jack Sparrow hunting down the mystical trident of Poseidon while evading a new crew of undead sailors, a premise good enough to rake in nearly $800 million for the film and virtually ensure another sequel. Amid all the adventure, fans got to see a heavily CGI'd version of a young Johnny Depp, but that wasn't the only glimpse into the A-lister's past. Just before he's set to be executed, his Uncle Jack (played by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney) tells him a quick joke: "A skeleton walks into a bar, orders a mop and a beer."

It sounds like your average pirate joke—maybe even a nod to The Curse of the Black Pearl, in which Sparrow's former crew were all literally skeletons—but it's actually an Easter egg with roots 20 years in the past that started with Al Pacino, of all people. While Depp and Pacino were filming 1997's Donnie Brasco, Pacino would tell that joke repeatedly, then laugh uproariously and walk off. "I didn't get the joke!" Depp later admitted. "He thought it was my problem. He inflicted it upon me and I could feel my IQ points drop...He would howl every time he told the joke."

What better way to return the favor than to inflict it on millions of moviegoers?

Logan—Play time

Hot on the heels of 2016's Deadpool, Logan proved once again that it's okay for a superhero to spill buckets of blood and swear like a sailor without sacrificing those ever-important ticket sales. Hopefully this will kick off a new trend in superhero films, but Logan wasn't entirely focused on the future—it also had a few pretty sweet callbacks to days of Wolverine past.

While the comic book Laura picks up plays a big part in the plot, you may not have noticed another Easter egg that popped up: in a true blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, you can see one of the mutant children (Bobby) holding a Wolverine action figure—complete with yellow spandex—during Logan's funeral. Considering this is most likely Hugh Jackman's last outing with the adamantium claws, it was a nice touch to put Wolverine's early comics outfit onscreen, even if it only showed up briefly, and on a plastic doll.

Kong: Skull Island—Journey mountain

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is a self-proclaimed video game fanatic, and his sophomore feature film Kong: Skull Island is jam-packed with video game nods, with references to everything from Resident Evil to Shadow of the Colossus. But the best Easter egg in the film doesn't come from a massive franchise—rather, it's a subtle nod to Journey, a game in which players have to cross a huge open world while communicating with other players via musical notes, all while trying to reach a glowing mountain in the distance.

Perhaps to emphasize the journey the characters in Kong had to take to cross Skull Island, Vogt-Roberts stuck a recreation of Journey's mountain in the distance in a few scenes of the movie. It's most visible when the helicopters first breach the storm around the island, and again at the end when the characters are leaving. It's subtle, but awesome once you've spotted it—a perfect example of what an Easter egg should be.

Justice League—Original Jimmy

Remember Jimmy Olsen from the original Superman films? If not, you're not alone, which is why this Easter egg in Justice League was so unexpectedly awesome. In the Superman world of comics and film, Jimmy Olsen is a young photojournalist at the Daily Planet. The character was played by Marc McClure in all four of the first Superman movies (plus 1984's Supergirl), meaning that McClure has appeared in more Superman films than any of the actors who actually played Superman. And thanks to his cameo in Justice League, you can count one more Superman film on McClure's résumé.

In Justice League, McClure showed up as the prison guard checking in Barry Allen when he goes to visit his father. It was a quick cameo, but served as a wonderful Easter egg for any fans in the audience who still remember the old Supes flicks.

Baby Driver—Musical cameo

The music of Baby Driver brings the film to life more than any movie in recent memory, which is particularly fitting considering the core premise has its origins in a music video. In 2002, Edgar Wright (who helmed Baby Driver) directed a music video for "Blue Song" by British band Mint Royale. The narrative of the video is this: a sunglasses-wearing driver takes a group of thieves to a heist, then waits in the car and lip-syncs to a song on the radio.

Sound familiar? That sequence inspired the opening scene in Baby Driver, which sees Baby rocking out to "Bellbottoms" by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion while the rest of the crew pulls off the heist. Even better, Wright didn't pay homage to that video in style only. During a scene in Baby's apartment, the "Blue Song" music video can briefly be seen playing on the TV.

The Dark Tower—Multiple mentions

2017 marked what may have been the single greatest year for Stephen King adaptations, and if you think we're going to crow exclusively about It, check out the 11.22.63 miniseries on Hulu, or Gerald's Game on Netflix, or Audience's Mr. Mercedes series. Also, yeah, It was pretty good.

Although The Dark Tower was admittedly a black sheep in the King-ematic universe this year, it did pay a lot of attention to the details, giving us some pretty sweet Easter eggs to Stephen King's other works. For starters, when protagonist Jake is walking through Mid-World, he passes by a statue of a clown hand holding balloons, with a big Pennywise sign right behind it. Considering It was released in theaters just a month later, that's a very on-the-nose film tie-in, but the filmmakers went even more obscure with the other Easter eggs.

Some of the others: Jake's psychiatrist has a framed picture of the Overlook Hotel from the Shining in his office, a big Saint Bernard that looks like Cujo walks by in one of the scenes, Jake has a toy Christine car, and Roland at one point pushes through a door with a Rita Hayworth poster tacked to it (a Shawshank Redemption nod if there ever was one). That's not even counting the numerous iterations of 19 that show up throughout the movie, but that's a rabbit hole too deep to go into here.

It makes you wonder if maybe the filmmakers should have spent more time on the script and less time on Easter eggs.

Spider-Man Homecoming—Spider-Signal

You may have missed this quick Easter egg in Spider-Man Homecoming, because it was only visible for about a second of screen time. In the scene when Spider-Man is locked in the warehouse in DC, he starts tinkering with his suit to pass the time. For one brief instant, he projects a spider image onto the warehouse wall. That's the Spider-Signal, also known as the worst superhero gadget ever.

The Spider-Signal first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #3, published in 1963, in which the signal is literally nothing more than a warning to criminals that Spider-Man is somewhere nearby—usually (surprise!) at the other end of the beam of light projecting the signal. At other times in the comics, it's also been used as—wait for it—a flashlight. So why is this such a great Easter egg compared to everything else in Homecoming, like the Ultron head Spidey pulls out of a bag later in the same scene? Mainly because it's such an amazingly useless detail to add, and we love it all the more because of that.

Spider-Man Homecoming—The Terrible Tinkerer

Although Spider-Man: Homecoming didn't dwell much on the Vulture's henchmen, they were all heavily influenced by comics characters, like the Shocker and Scorpion. But there was one other important cameo you might have missed in The Vulture's goon squad—Phineas Mason, a.k.a. the Tinkerer, one of Spidey's first foes who's shown up in no less than 80 issues since his introduction alongside the Vulture in The Amazing Spider-Man #2. Even though Homecoming wasn't an origin story, the filmmakers definitely dove into the web-slinger's origins to flesh out the movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—Eye on the prize

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 certainly carried on the Marvel tradition of cramming Easter eggs into every scene, but one in particular made an impact by finishing a joke that was started in the first film. In Vol. 1, Rocket tricks Quill into buying him an inmate's fake leg for their escape from prison, then later tries to pull the same stunt by saying he needs "a Ravager's fake eye." Quill doesn't buy it, and that's seemingly the end of the joke.

Until Vol. 2, that is, when Rocket and Yondu are in locked a cell after Taserface's mutiny and baby Groot is trying to bring them a replacement fin for Yondu—and failing miserably. Among the items he steals from the Ravagers are a desk, a severed finger, and a fake eye—which Rocket decides to keep. The joke might have taken a whole new movie, but Rocket finally got his eye. And yes, he thought it was hilarious.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—Final farewell


On a more somber note, another recurring Easter egg in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise showed up at Yondu's funeral. One of Yondu's favorite trinkets in the first film was that little blue crystal frog that he got at the beginning of the movie. In Guardians 2, just before Yondu is blasted into space, the camera lingers for a second on that same frog, sitting vigil by his side in death just as it did in life. Among the hundreds of Easter eggs we've seen, this is the only one that brought a tear to our eye.

Beauty and the Beast—Walt's initials

Playing "spot the Disney reference" in any Disney film is always fun, and the studio rarely disappoints. In 2017's live-action Beauty and the Beast, the set designers went all out to slyly remind audiences that they were watching a Disney film (as if we needed any reminder), and one of the biggest Easter eggs in the film is built right into the woodwork, so to speak. In the Beast's massive, ornate ballroom, pay attention to the monogram inscribed on the ballroom floor. Hidden within the flowery design is a big "WD"—short for Walt Disney. Honestly, we'd chalk this one up to a trick of the eye if this Easter egg hadn't been confirmed by none other than Sarah Greenwood, production designer for the film.

The Mummy—Book of the Dead

By every reasonable measure, the Tom Cruise-led reboot of The Mummy was a godawful failure. Critics bashed the film for everything from the muddled story to its shameless ripoffs of previous plots, but we can still pick out one little highlight from the movie that might warrant a re-watch. Maybe. If you hate yourself.

In the scene when Russell Crowe's Dr. Jekyll goes full-on Hyde, Annabelle Wallis' character, Jenny, tries to stop him by whacking him on the head with a big book. Look closely, because that book has made an onscreen appearance in the past—it's the Book of the Dead, first seen in 1999's The Mummy. You know, the one with Brendan Fraser. Who would have thought we'd ever miss that version?

John Wick Chapter 2—Gunshot sonata

John Wick: Chapter 2 should be a case study for sequels done right. It took everything great about the first film and injected it with even more awesomeness, and for fans of action films, the bar has never been higher. A lot of that comes down to the incredible detail put into building the franchise's hyper-kinetic world—details that most fans likely won't even notice.

Probably the best example came at the end of John Wick 2, during the climactic gun battle in the museum. The shootout is set to Vivaldi's classical concerti Four Seasons, only the percussion is replaced by the sound of Wick's gun, literally turning his shots into the musical score. Which is...an insanely obscure Easter egg, but a fantastic example of an off-kilter detail that only the filmmakers are likely to ever notice. As director Chad Stahelski put it, "If somebody does pick it up, it'll be two guys going like, holy s—, that's Vivaldi!"

Thor: Ragnarok—Beta look twice

Minor spoilers!

Even in the midst of all the new characters and comic book nods in Thor: Ragnarok, one Easter egg was a particular crowd pleaser. When Thor gets captured and taken to the Grandmaster on Sakaar, the camera follows the ship as it soars over the bustling city where the Grandmaster holds his gladiatorial games. For a few frames, a massive tower can be seen looming over the city. Look closely: it's decorated with busts of warriors who have triumphed in the Grandmaster's arena, all of whom came straight from the comics. Specifically, Beta Ray Bill can be seen on the left side of the tower, along with the twin heads of Bi-Beast, the elephantine face of Man-Thing, and a spiked helmet that may very well belong to Ares.  And that one at the bottom center? We're calling that one Hellcow, because it kind of looks like a cow and, well, it's about time Hellcow got some recognition.

Anyway, as far as cameos go, this wasn't particularly satisfying, especially for all the Beta Ray Bill fans who've been dying to see the Korbinite warrior in action on the big screen. Well, according to Marvel honcho Kevin Feige, Ragnarok originally had a real, in-the-flesh Beta Ray Bill cameo, but it was cut in editing. Feige told Crave, "[Beta Ray Bill] was in it a little bit more and it just didn't do justice. And the feeling is, if you can't do it justice, do it later."

Is that a promise for a future appearance of Beta Ray Bill? We certainly hope so.

Ready Player One—What's in a name?

We know—Ready Player One isn't getting released until 2018, but you can bet it'll have more Easter eggs than you can fit in a basket. Maybe that's why those eggs are already spilling over into the film's marketing: when the film's logo was released in July 2017, fans were quick to spot an Easter egg hiding right in the name of the film. If you look closely, the letters in "Ready Player One" form a maze that starts at the "R" in "Ready" and runs to the "O" in "One." Specifically, it runs to a literal egg in the center of the "O."

As noted by Gizmodo, that's a nod to Adventure, a 1979 Atari game that sees the player moving through the maze-like rooms of a castle to find a magic chalice. More importantly, Adventure is widely believed to contain the first Easter egg in gaming history, and in the Ready Player One book, Adventure is a massive inspiration for one of the characters. We don't want to give too much else away, so you'll have to read the book or wait until March 2018 to see how all those pieces connect.