Still hunting for the final Easter Egg that director James Gunn planted in Guardians of the Galaxy? It might be a good time to speed things up as the sequel is out now, and Gunn has confirmed to The Independent that he's hidden another particularly tricky Easter Egg in Vol 2.
Sure, you could reach Rocket levels of rage trying to find this elusive secret in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. Instead though, you should probably think about joining us as we break down every Marvel Easter Egg, comic book reference and link to the wider MCU, freeing you up to solve Gunn's most challenging puzzle yet.
Prepare to Star-Lord it over your friends and boost your Ego to new heights with the geeky knowledge you'll gain from this comprehensive list.
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1. Amongst the chaos of the opening sequence, Baby Groot stops dancing momentarily when Drax watches him, only to start busting out moves again when his fellow Guardian looks away. Sure, the little guy is all kinds of shy, but this also pays homage to the end scene from the first movie when Baby Groot dances in his pot.
2. Star-Lord's father identifies himself as a member of the Celestials, a race who date back to the beginning of the universe and use their god-like powers to judge the denizens of the MCU. Ego may be the first Celestial that cinema-goers have met fully, but this isn't the first time that we've seen one in the MCU. During the first Guardians of the Galaxy, one shows up when the Collector discusses the Infinity Stones — and let's not also forget that Knowhere, the Collector's home, was actually built inside the skull of a dead Celestial.
Expect to see more Celestials appear in Thor: Ragnarok, if this picture from director Taika Waititi is anything to go by:
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 introduces a number of new worlds to the MCU which hail from the comics, including the snowy planet of Contraxia. Inhabited by pleasure-seeking aliens, the world is most famous among fans for acting as an occasional home to the Avenger Jack of Hearts, who was half-Contraxian.
4. The planet where the Guardians crash while escaping from the Soverign is Berhert. This world most famously appeared during the '60s when comic book Hulk piloted a damaged ship to the surface. Yes, the Hulk can fly space ships now.
5. Remember when Rocket tried to enlist Baby Groot's help fetching Yondu's fin? A subtle nod to "that guy's eye" recalls Rocket's hilarious request from the first film.
6. Peter Quill's t-shirt slogan may be written in an alien language, but that didn't stop the internet from deciphering its meaning. Using the language Klyn from the first movie as reference, Reddit user OooChimpanzeeThat figured out that the slogan actually reads;
"Gears Shift. Dust, cement, stone, ash. A Teneyck Galaxy Invention"
Doesn't mean much, right? Well, Karen TenEyck just so happens to be a graphic designer who regularly works on MCU movies, so the reference turned out to be intentional after all, and incredibly specific.
7. Over twenty years after Howard the Duck first starred in his own solo movie, the alien bird returned for his second MCU cameo on the planet Contraxia before showing up again in the final credits sequence. Not bad for a character who was universally hated back in the '80s and, you know... is a duck.
8. One of the five post-credits scenes revealed that both Yondu and Sylvester Stallone's Stakar were originally members of their own team, which also included his sister Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum — Smallville's Lex Luthor!), and Mainframe (Miley Cyrus). Many of these heroes were actually in the original Guardians of the Galaxy team in the comics, fighting in the 31st century. More familiar characters such as Star-Lord and Groot didn't fill out the roster until the new team banded together in 2008.
9. Speaking of Stakar, Stallone's character mentions the 'Colours of Ogord' at one point, which then light up the sky in the wake of Yondu's death. Interestingly enough, the term 'Ogord' is the surname taken by Stakar and his stepsister/wife Aleta in the comics — yeah, it's complicated.
10. Director James Gunn changed the location of Peter Quill's birth from Colorado in the comics to Missouri in the film, presumably because that's where he was born too. Sure, that's somewhat egotistical, but Gunn's the director. He can do what he wants!
11. Those spellbound by the moment that Star-Lord falls under Ego's influence may not have realised that Peter whispers the word "Eternity" as his eyes fill with stars. Sure, this could simply refer to Quill's new cosmic awareness, but we wouldn't be surprised if this mention also paid homage to the comic book character Eternity, whose entire being is covered in star-like imagery.
12. Stan Lee's cameo here is more intriguing than most. In just one scene, Gunn reveals that each of Stan's MCU appearances to date have been linked by this one character who hangs out with the Watchers.
The reason why we know that Stan Lee keeps playing the same character is because he mentions to the bald aliens how he once played a delivery man, harkening back to his cameo in Captain America: Civil War.
For those of you not in the know, The Watchers are an alien race who are sworn to observe, but never interfere, in earthly shenanigans. But they do. All the goddamn time.
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13. The Sovereign high priestess Ayesha may have only played a small role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but her post-credits scene revealed that the villain will play a far bigger part in Vol. 3, introducing Adam Warlock to the MCU. In the comics, Warlock became integral to the fight against Thanos, but it seems as though Marvel Studios may retcon his character for the movies, initially using him as a weapon against the Guardians of the Galaxy.
14. Did you spot each dancing character in the credits? While the majority of these had already appeared in the film during earlier scenes, there's a surprise cameo from Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster, who recently starred in the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. Will this be the only link that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shares with Thor's third cinematic adventure, or will the Grandmaster play a larger role in the cosmic realms of the MCU?
15. After we finally learned how Kurt Russell would play Ego in human form — complete with an actual penis, apparently — we assumed that his comic book appearance wouldn't appear. Lo and behold though, the Celestial did indeed take his planetary form in the film's final cut, complete with an improbably large and angry face.
16. Speaking of Ego and his monstrous plan to remake the universe in his own image, did you spot Peter Quill's grandfather narrowly escape the seedlings that threatened to overrun the planet Earth? Gregg Henry reprised the role for this sequel, joining James Gunn's real parents — Jim Gunn Sr. & Leotta Gunn — in the same scene. They're the old couple who ask what on earth is going on.
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17. '80s references abound, thanks to Peter Quill's attachment to the era during which he left Earth, but who would have thought that the decade's most enduring icon would appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? That's right, guys. The Knight Rider himself, David Hasselhoff appears after Peter makes comparisons between Hasselhoff and his father, Ego. As if that wasn't awesome enough, the legendary performer also sings over the end credits.
Director James Gunn told The Radio Times that:
“I liked him so much that I wrote a song for him to sing over the end credits, which we had a great time recording. And so he’s become a good friend, he’s a great guy."
Sounds like this may not be the last we've seen of Hasselhoff in the MCU...
18. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed a few more sight gags as the credits rolled too. In between the numerous post credit scenes and cheeky dances, you can see that several cast and crew members have had their names replaced by the phrase "I Am Groot" onscreen. At the end, there's also this amusing and quite frankly alarming refrain to mull over too:
"No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed in the making of this movie. However, the same cannot be said of their handlers."
19. Laura Haddock reprises her role here as Meredith Quill, but did you know that she first appeared in the MCU as an autograph hunter in Captain America: The First Avenger? We wonder if the two characters are linked at all...
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