If you’re a devoted Marvel fan, chances are you know just about everything there is to know about the so-called “Cinematic Universe” that’s dominated the movie industry for so long. But these movies are so filled with easter eggs, fun details, and bizarre backgrounds that there may still be a few things you never realized before. These are 10 pretty interesting little-known facts about the MCU.
1. Super Soldier Serum Has Been Used Twice
Fans of the comics will recognize the fact that the serum that turns Steve Rogers into Captain America actually comes up numerous times. But most will have forgotten that it’s already happened a few times in the films as well. Specifically, the forgettable bad guy, Blonsky from The Incredible Hulk used the exact same serum to turn himself into the Abomination. Needless to say, it doesn’t work as well.
2. Pepper Potts Wasn’t In The Avengers
According to Screenrant, it was Robert Downey Jr.’s insistence that got co-star Gwyneth Paltrow (who plays Pepper Potts) into The Avengers. Director Joss Whedon was likely looking to save screen time for the collaborative epic, but agreed to give Pepper a few minutes when Downey argued that she gave Iron Man depth.
3. Captain America Punched Hitler
Well, sort of. Big time comic fans will recognize this event as one depicted on the cover of issue #1 of the “Captain America” comics. But as was also revealed by Screenrant, that same comic cover is actually visible on the table when Nick Fury tosses blood-splattered hero cards on the table in front of Rogers in The Avengers.
4. Lou Ferrigno Is In The Incredible Hulk, Twice
Many may know that old TV Hulk Lou Ferrigno voiced the Hulk in both 2003’s Hulk and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk—and the monster still kind of looked like him as well. In fact, Ferrigno has basically established the look and voice of the monster for cinematic audiences in general. Even at Gala Bingo, an Internet arcade game based on the Hulk looks and sounds a bit like Ferrigno. The site has Hulk-themed games as a player attraction (in addition to VIP and bonus options), and thus goes for a familiar version. But Ferrigno isn’t just a monster in the MCU. He also plays a security guard in the 2008 film.
5. JARVIS Is An Acronym
That’s right, it’s actually J.A.R.V.I.S., which stands for “Just A Rather Very Intelligent System.”
6. Dr. Yinsen Wasn’t Lying
Fans may remember that in the first Iron Man film, Dr. Yinsen—the helpful, good-natured fellow who risks his life to help Tony Stark build a crude Iron Man suit in a cave±claims to have met Stark once before. Basically, he vaguely states that he saw him at a conference several years previously, in the way that any of us might tell a celebrity we once shook his or her hand. What fans may not have noticed is that, as What Culture pointed out, Dr. Yinsen wasn’t lying! In a look back to 1999, Iron Man 3 actually shows us this conference, as well as a few seconds of footage that show Stark brushing past Yinsen in a crowd. It’s not really that significant, but it’s one of those delightful little connections that Marvel employs to make this a single connected universe.
7. Robert Downey Jr.’s Handprints Are Around
No, this isn’t some vague symbolic reference to the actor’s influence on the films. Rather, it’s a nod to the actor’s actual handprints, which are visible briefly during one of the explosion scenes in Iron Man 3, according to Games Radar. They’re apparently on the pavement outside LA’s Chinese Theater.
8. Huginn & Muninn Are Around
Comic and mythology fans will recognize these as the names of two mystical ravens who essentially serve as assistants and/or guardians of Thor. And sure enough, they’re in the MCU, occasionally flying by (or perching on Odin’s throne) almost unnoticed.
9. Obadiah’s Piano Playing Is Meaningful
You may recall that in Iron Man, Obadiah Stane is seen alone playing a piano, which could easily be cast aside as a generic, vaguely nefarious moment. But in a spectacular list of hidden MCU details, Buzzfeed pointed out that the piece Obadiah is playing is actually one by Antonio Salieri, a composer known to have been dangerously jealous of Mozart. As in, Stane is the Salieri to Tony Stark’s Mozart.
10. Mark Ruffalo References Ed Norton
In one of the cleverer and more powerful lines in The Avengers, Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) intensely reveals, “I put a bullet in my mouth, and the other guy spat it out.” Meaning, of course, that before a bullet could kill him, Banner transformed unwillingly into the Hulk, who could handle it. But if you paid close attention to previous Hulk films, you know this wasn’t just a clever line. In fact, it refers directly to a deleted scene from The Incredible Hulk, in which Banner (then Ed Norton) performed this exact action.
Want to know the fun part about this? These only begin to touch on the hidden details that are sprinkled across this massive cinematic empire. Watch carefully and you’ll start to find all kinds of connections.