The good news: Marvel has not forgotten about Thor and Hulk. The bad: If you haven't seen [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) yet, you might want to stop reading now. There are no major plot spoilers here, but I will be talking about a few cheeky little Easter Eggs that you might prefer not to have spoiled for you.
Then again, maybe you're not that fussy, in which case you've come to the right place. Ready? Let's take a look at five of the best Easter Eggs and references to absent Avengers hidden in Civil War.
1. 'Tell me, Captain...'
During one scene early in the movie, as the Avengers, pre-division, debate whether or not to sign up to General "Thunderbolt" Ross' Sokovia Accords, Ross asks Steve a question that puts the Avengers' power into perspective:
Tell me, Captain, do you know where Banner and Thor Are right now? If I had lost two 30-ton Nukes, wouldn't you be worried?"
It's a great line, not just because it reinforces how superhuman these guys are, but because it calls back to Ross's own beef with Bruce Banner. Clearly, some wounds are not healed by time. And no, Captain doesn't know where they are.
2. Does Natasha Know Where Bruce Is?
Long story short: no. We know this because she outright says as much, which suggests that particularly controversial romance is not about to be reignited.
Smart move on Marvel's part to whip up some Luke Skywalker-esque mystery surrounding the Hulk's whereabouts as the hype for Thor: Ragnarok builds.
3. An Agent Carter Easter Egg, Anyone?
This one is open to interpretation. In a brief pause in the action right after the airport scene, Bucky and Cap reminisce about the time they missed a train because Steve spent their fare money on hotdogs.
Steve then recalls a brief relationship between Bucky and a girl, Dot, which Bucky thinks was perhaps short for Dolores. Steve's lover at that time, Peggy Carter, also had a friend called Dot — or Dottie Underwood, as Agent Carter fans know her.
An undercover Soviet assassin, Dottie's backstory is suspiciously close to Bucky's for this to simply be chalked down to coincidence. Plus, who really shortens Dolores to Dot anyway? I'm choosing to roll with this one.
4. Trigger Words
A word of forewarning: This one is slightly spoilery, so skip to five if you feel the need. During a flashback to a Soviet mission involving Bucky Barnes, Cap's old friend is conditioned to act by being made to listen to a series of 10 trigger words.
"Seventeen. Daybreak. Furnace. Nine. Homecoming."
The only one of the words that seems to have any relevance to anything in the world of Marvel is the last, Homecoming obviously being the title of the studio's Spider-Man reboot. Ironically, given that the words are used to brainwash the Winter Soldier, repeating "Homecoming" a solid 10 times over the course of Civil War almost feels like an (awesome) act of audience brainwashing.
Oh, and guess when that's due out? Twenty-seventeen. We see you, Marvel.
5. Goodbye, 42
Marvel's high-security underwater prison, The Raft, pops up once or twice (literally) in Civil War — but, without giving too much away, the inmates aren't exactly the kind of people you might expect them to be.
In the Civil War comics, the prison used is actually Prison 42 in the Negative Zone, but swapping it out for The Raft gives us one of the movie's most epic visuals, so no complaints here.
I deliberately swerved away from the bigger Easter Eggs here, because they'll be best experienced for the first time in a theater, which you can do from Thursday night when Civil War opens in the US. Before then, tell me: