Spider-Man: Homecoming is the most referential movie in the Marvel Cinematic universe, jam-packed with nods to the comic books and laced with treats for fans of both the Marvel universe and Peter Parker’s comic book origins. From a wink to Deadpool to a Miles Morales reference to a Cindy Moon spotting, there’s all types of stuff in Homecoming that casual fans may have missed, and that even fans might need a second viewing to really catch.
Here are five of the movie’s best Easter eggs; needless to say, there are spoilers ahead.
1) The massive hint that Miles Morales exists in this universe
The Easter egg: In the movie’s second act, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) goes back through his suit’s visual memory and finds Aaron Davis (Donald Glover), one of the men present during the arms deal that Peter broke up when he ditched Liz’s house party. The suit identifies Davis as having the alias “Prowler,” and when Peter confronts him he talks about his nephew who lives in the neighborhood and how he wants to keep the weapons off the street.
What it means: In one timeline of Marvel’s comic books, Davis is the uncle of the character known as Miles Morales. Morales is the black-Hispanic Spider-Man that takes over Peter Parker’s title in the alternate universe (known as the “Ultimate” universe) and is a reader favorite. Further, Davis’s license plate in the movie is “UCS-M01,” what appears to be a reference to Ultimate Comics Spider-Man no. 1 — the first appearance of Miles Morales.
There are actually some other elements that Homecoming borrows and adapts from the Ultimate universe, like Miles’s Asian-American best friend Ganke, whom the movie’s Ned (Jacob Batalon) seems to be based on. And in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen where Davis is identified, the name “Brian Pichelli” appears — possibly a nod to writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, who together originated Miles Morales.
2) The less-massive hint that Silk might exist in this universe
The Easter egg: An Asian-American girl named Cindy is on Peter Parker’s Academic Decathlon team.
What it means: We didn’t get to see much of Cindy (Tiffany Espensen), but the movie seems to be winking at the existence of Cindy Moon, the Marvel hero known as Silk. Silk was bit by the same spider that bit Peter Parker and gave him powers, and that spider granted her similar powers.
3) An homage to Deadpool
The Easter egg: During the gym class scene, Liz and her friends are playing “fuck, marry, kill” with Avengers characters. When Liz says she has a thing for Spider-Man, her friend admonishes her, pointing out that no one knows what Spider-Man looks like underneath his mask and that he could have massive burns on his face.
What it means: This joke seems to be at the expense of Deadpool, a character whose costume is similar to Spider-Man’s, but is in almost every other way the hero’s opposite. Deadpool is a Marvel antihero with massive burns on his face, and is a bit of a smart-ass — Ryan Reynolds played him in Fox’s 2015 titular movie. Deadpool and Spider-Man also share a comic book, Spider-Man/Deadpool, that plays on the comedic chemistry between the two.
As part of the X-Men cinematic universe, Deadpool’s movie rights lie with Fox, so we’re probably never going to get a movie where Sony’s Spider-Man and Deadpool share the screen. But the little joke is a pretty nice reminder of both heroes’ offscreen relationship.
4) Captain America and Iron Man made up, maybe?
The Easter egg: Prior to the final fight, Happy (Jon Favreau) is going over the moving plane’s inventory and mentions a new prototype for Captain America’s (Chris Evans) shield.
What it means: Homecoming takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War, a movie that saw the dissolution of the Captain America-Iron Man friendship. Cap’s shield was heavily damaged in the final fight of Civil War, and Cap left it with Iron Man. Which raises the question of why, after Civil War, Iron Man would have a new prototype of Captain America’s shield?
The Easter egg seems to indicate that, despite their differences, Iron Man is still working on or repairing Cap’s shield, and possibly harbors no ill will toward Cap. Or perhaps Iron Man sees a future where the two work together again. With Infinity War on the way, it seems like more of a given than a possibility.
5) A nod to the best onscreen superhero kiss ever
The Easter egg: During the Washington Monument rescue scene, “Karen,” the AI in Peter’s suit, tells him to kiss Liz after he rescues her.
What it means: The staging of this scene is an homage to the kiss between Peter (Tobey Maguire) and MJ (Kirsten Dunst) from Sony’s first Spider-Man film: an upside down, rain-soaked kiss where MJ pulls Spidey’s mask halfway down before planting one on his exposed lips. The Homecoming scene is similar in that Spidey is upside down and just rescued Liz, and she could easily recreate the scene by pulling his mask down halfway. However, the kiss never happens — maybe because Peter falls before it can, or maybe because Liz isn’t MJ.