Easter Eggs usually mean two things: mingling with little kids on an egg hunt and shamelessly stealing all the chocolate off them, or going on a virtual hunt by trying to spot references and tiny additions added to movies and TV series. Since I haven't (yet) discovered a way to conjure up chocolate with my writing, let's look at some of the best Easter Eggs that have ever been found in movies.
Easter Eggs On Set
For starters, did you know that the term for these hidden references didn't really come from the fact that fans would try to spot them, but from an actual egg hunt? The crew of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) had an Easter egg hunt on set, but they weren't able to find all of them. So instead of tearing the set apart, they continued filming, and some of these eggs ended up in the movie.
Now Easter Eggs are a fascinating tradition, sometimes hinting at major story developments, other times just keeping us entertained. Have your eagle eyes spotted all of the following?
1. The Pizza Planet Truck In Pixar Movies
Pixar movies are known for hiding references to their own universe in their movies, and the Pizza Planet truck should be crowned king of hide-and-seek. YouTube user FunWithGuru made a compilation of its furtive appearances until 2013.
2. A Starbucks Cup In Each Shot Of 'Fight Club'
Some of them are nearly impossible to spot, but there's a Starbucks coffee cup gracing every single shot of Fight Club. In an interview with Empire in 1999, director David Fincher told the story behind this massive Easter Egg:
"When I first moved to LA in 1984, you could not get a good cup of coffee in Los Angeles to save your life. I mean, it was really pathetic. Then Starbucks came out, and it was such a great idea: good coffee. And when it became successful there were, like two or three on every block. It's too much of a good thing. But they read the script, they knew what we were doing, and they were kind of ready to poke a little fun at themselves. I mean, they wouldn't let us use their name on the coffee shop that gets destroyed by the piece of tragic corporate art, but they were willing to give us the rest of their stuff. We had a lot of fun using that - there are Starbucks cups everywhere, in every shot. [...] But, no, I don't have anything personal against Starbucks. I think they're trying to do a good thing. They're just too successful."
3. R2-D2 In 'Star Trek'
Maybe to honor those who can't tell the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises apart, the bleeping buddy R2-D2 made a short cameo, flying among debris — both in the 2009 Star Trek movie and in Star Trek Into Darkness.
4. Rapunzel And Flynn Rider In 'Frozen'
In Tangled, Rapunzel goes on to marry Flynn Rider the bad boy, and what other proof of their happiness do we need than them showing up together when Elsa and Anna reopen the gates of Arendelle? But not only do Frozen and Tangled play out in the same world, Ariel could be swimming nearby, too. According to this theory by the cosplay page Beautiful Syn, the sunken ship Ariel discovers could have been that of the former the king and queen of Arendelle's.
5. Mr. Peabody And Sherman In 'Back To The Future'
When the time-traveling Marty arrives in the 1950s in Back to the Future, he crashes into a farmhouse who turns out to be inhabited by a man named Peabody and his son Sherman. In the 1960s animated series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Peabody is a dog and Sherman his pet boy, and they both love to travel through time. Their story was later adapted into a movie by DreamWorks.
6. Pac-Man In 'Tron'
Pac-Man had a little cameo on Sark's battlecruiser in Tron, where we can see him munching on a schematics diagram. Of course a movie about the adventures of a video game creator had to include at least one reference to a game we know.
7. A Batman And Superman Logo In 'I Am Legend'
The fusion of the Batman and Superman emblems visible on a billboard in I Am Legend wasn't an early marketing stunt for this week's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it's a neat coincidence considering the movie came out in 2007. The insertion of the poster was actually initiated by one of the producers of the movie, Akiva Goldsman, who had been involved on an earlier project, which involved Batman meeting Superman.
8. Waldo In 'Apocalypto'
Seeing as Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is a dark movie depicting the decline of the Mayan civilization, the presence of Waldo in a single frame could be qualified a surprising and even disturbing decision. Though it remains unclear why Gibson felt like adding Waldo, lying on the bodies of a mass grave with an arrow in his head, the frame was removed when the movie was released on DVD.
9. Batman's Parents In 'Watchmen'
The first few minutes of Zack Snyder's Watchmen are so packed with Batman references, that they could probably qualify as a Batman movie. You can easily spot the Batman posters on the right, but do you see the title on the top right of the left board of the Gotham Opera House? It says "Fledermaus," which means "bat" in German.
On top of that, the man in a bowler hat getting punched bears a resemblance to Joe Chill, the murderer of Batman's parents. So who else do we need? Batman's parents, that's right. Turns out the couple by the door look quite like Thomas and Martha Wayne in the comics. In conclusion, this scene plays in an alternate universe where Batman's parents' assassination is countered by Nite Owl's punch.
10. Robert Downey Jr.'s Life-Changing Cheeseburger In 'Iron Man'
The Most Meta Of All Meta Easter Eggs Award, however, goes to that cheeseburger craved by Tony Stark in Iron Man. The moment when Stark tells Pepper Potts that he needs to get a cheeseburger before anything else is also the moment when he makes a significant life choice, by deciding to call a press conference and reveal to the world that he is Iron Man. Well, there's someone else who had a life-changing moment involving a cheeseburger, and that's Robert Downey Jr.
In an interview with Empire back in 2008, Downey Jr. explained that he had an epiphany at Burger King:
"I have to thank Burger King. It was such a disgusting burger I ordered. I had that, and this big soda, and I thought something really bad was going to happen."
That's when the actor threw his drugs into the ocean and promised himself to stay clean. While he had already moved past the worst phase of his addiction in the early 2000s, 2008 was indeed the year that scored him a blockbuster role with Iron Man.