(WARNING: The following contains clips and images from multiple superhero movies, as well as some discussion of their context, and so can be considered to contain SPOILERS. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests is wise...)
Now, with superhero walk-ons seemingly so common that it's possible to spot obscure, fan-favorite X-Men heroes in the background of the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer, it's probably fair to say that we're currently living through something of a golden age of random superhero cameos. After all, when else in time could we have reasonably considered the surprise appearance of multiple comic book heroes in the background of major Hollywood blockbusters to be not only perfectly reasonable, but downright exciting?
So in celebration of the glorious cinematic world we live in, here are...
Seven Of The Greatest Superhero Cameos You (Probably) Totally Missed
7. 'Daredevil' Set Up The Entire Plot of 'Iron Fist' With One Symbol
Remember that mysterious red symbol that was marked on Madame Gao's illicit substances back in Daredevil Season 1? Well, for devoted fans of Danny "Iron Fist" Rand, that symbol means a whole lot more than "don't take me." Y'see, that curved snake is the symbol of choice of Iron Fist's nemesis Steel Serpent. Combine that with Gao's reference to her home being "a considerable distance further" than China, and it sure does seem that Iron Fist — and its likely setting of the mystical city of K'un-Lun — is already well established in the MCU's future.
6. Marvel's Latest Hulk (Almost) Turned Up In 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'
If you've been reading the latest soft reboot of Marvel's comic books, you'll likely know that the Hulk isn't currently Bruce Banner, but rather, a young Asian-American kid named Amadeus Cho — better known as the seventh smartest person in the world. Who, as it turns out, almost turned up in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Or, at least, his mother did. That's right, in Marvel Comics, Dr. Helen Cho is: a) not a doctor; and b) Amadeus's mom. Which, seeing as she died in a giant explosion as part of his comic book origin story, might not bode too well for her cinematic counterpart.
5. Doctor Strange Turned Up In 'Spider-Man 2'
Long before Spidey crossed over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange made his way into Sony's Spider-Verse. Now, in fairness, it was only in the form of a throwaway reference from J. Jonah Jameson, but that one line sure did seem to confirm that Dr. Stephen Strange existed in Spidey's world.
4. 'Captain America: The First Avenger' Secretly Featured A Classic Hero
Remember that mysterious red-and-yellow suit we briefly saw back in Captain America: The First Avenger? Y'know, the one labeled "Phineas Horton"?
Well, if you're a fan of old-school Marvel Comics (from back before they were even called Marvel) then you might have recognized the name as being that of the creator of the original (android) Human Torch — and the suit as being his original outfit. We might never have seen him — likely thanks to copyright issues — but it seems The Torch was very much around back in the 1940s all the same.
3. 'X-Men: First Class' Snuck In Three Classic X-Men
X-Men: First Class might have taken some fan-confounding liberties with the original X-Men lineup, but that didn't stop director Matthew Vaughn from slipping in blink-and-you'll-miss-'em cameos from X-Legends Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey — as kids. You can spot the trio during Professor X's first use of Cerebro.
The only problem now, of course, is that they'd all be completely the wrong age to now be played by their X-Men: Apocalypse actors, so this one might have to be chalked up as more a sight gag than an actual tease...
2. Jimmy Olsen Was Secretly in 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice'
Yup, that's right. The photographer we briefly see hanging around with Lois in that early Africa-set sequence? That's officially Jimmy Olsen. Which (and I'm going to throw some SPOILER-protection in here)...
...really doesn't seem to bode well for Superman's pal turning up in any future movies, seeing as he is now apparently very, very dead, meaning it...
...sure was something of a shock.
1. 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Hid The Key To 'Avengers: Infinity War' In Plain Sight
And so, finally, we come to the most infamous secret superhero cameo of them all — Adam Warlock's cocoon. Guardians Of The Galaxy hid one of Marvel Comics' greatest heroes right in front of our noses. And it was awesome.
Not least because — no matter what James Gunn keeps insisting — it sure looks as though the space-faring Thanos battler got out of his cocoon during the course of the movie...
...Avengers: Infinity War, anyone?
What do you reckon, though?
What other awesome superhero cameos do we absolutely, positively need to see? Let us know right here!