With Marvel's Ant-Man having been out for a week, most of the Easter Eggs hidden throughout the movie have finally been sussed out. Most of these hidden treasures have been typical Marvel clichés, like mentioning the Avengers, including Stan Lee, including the name of an old Marvel writer, etc. Some, though, were a little harder to find, but there was one Easter Egg that has been stuck in my head since I first heard about it. It made me start to think that it may have been more than just an Easter Egg. I am, of course, talking about the hidden presence of a well known terrorist group in the Marvel Cinematic Universe...
Warning: Spoilers for Ant-Man lie ahead!
The Ten Rings is a major terrorist group in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having appeared in Iron Man, Iron Man 3 and All Hail the King (a 'Marvel One-Shot' short film). In the comics, the Ten Rings is led by the Mandarin. Most Marvel fans assumed we would see the Ten Rings play a major role in Iron Man 3, but were disappointed to see that this version of the Mandarin was a fake. However, in All Hail the King, Marvel revealed that there was actually a real Mandarin out there and confirmed that the Ten Rings was still, secretly, at large.
You can watch the full version of All Hail the King below if you haven't seen it yet. It is short, yet very interesting to watch.
However, as cool as the Ten Rings may be, it was not just their presence in Ant-Man that interested me, but rather where that presence was...
The Ten Rings symbol was tattooed on the neck of one of the H.Y.D.R.A. buyers who came to purchase the Yellow Jacket suit from Darren Cross during the climax of the movie. It was on the neck of the unnamed H.Y.D.R.A. buyer played by actor Rod Hallett.
Note: the picture above is not from Ant-Man; it is merely fan art. Due to copyright issues and the fact that the movie is still in theaters, no images of his appearance in the film have yet reached the internet. Anyone who has seen the movie, though, should recognize his character and may have even spotted the tattoo on his lower neck / upper shoulder.
What does the Ten Rings tattoo on a H.Y.D.R.A agent mean for the MCU?
Well, to start, we have to look back to Avengers: Age of Ultron where we had a better look into H.Y.D.R.A. as an ever-growing group of 'bad guys'. We began to have our first look into H.Y.D.R.A. recruiting new members into their ranks, specifically the Maximoff twins.
Now, in Ant-Man, we see that H.Y.D.R.A. is doing a lot more than just recruiting; they are apparently teaming up with another group of baddies, the Ten Rings. This shows that H.Y.D.R.A. is not only willing to expand its ranks, but also willing to work with other organizations that are already assembled.
With H.Y.D.R.A. and the Ten Rings possibly working together, it shows that the villains of the MCU are willing to team up, much like the heroes did in The Avengers. The bad guys are finally starting to realize that they cannot take down an entire team of fully-armed superheroes if they work alone, even if they do have an army of minions.
This team-up could only be the beginning, though. Many people predict that there will be an army of villains in Avengers: Infinity War, much like in the comics. It is possible that the H.Y.D.R.A. and Ten Rings plot is building up to an even larger army that is set to be formed during the next Avengers movies. This team may even end up becoming the Masters of Evil, a widely known and feared group of super villains in the Marvel comics.
With H.Y.D.R.A. and the Ten Rings already together forming one large super group, we may see more villains join as well now that they see how powerful the team can be. We may end up seeing villains like Loki (who is confirmed to be in Infinity War), Ulysses Klaue, Nebula and even more villains who will appear during Phase 3 join ranks with H.Y.D.R.A. and the Ten Rings.
With the Mandarin and H.Y.D.R.A. villains like Baron Zemo and Crossbones already on board, and probably many more to come, this team of super villains, these Masters of Evil, may end up becoming a serious threat to the Avengers. Throw Thanos in there too, and you've got yourself a war... an Infinity War...