Easter Weekend Box Office Worst in Over A Decade

This weekend’s box office was the worst Easter weekend the industry has seen in nearly 15 years. With few high profile film releases, the weekend box office failed to perform as well as holiday weekends typically do.

The biggest release this past week was Warner Bros. and New Line’s The Curse of La Llorona, the newest spin-off installment in the Conjuring horror franchise. It released alongside the faith-based family film Breakthrough and the Ed Helms-narrated nature documentary Penguins, both coming from Disney-owned studios.

Related: The Curse of La Llorona Ending & After-Credits Tease Explained

According to VarietyThe Curse of La LloronaBreakthrough, and Penguins all failed to bring in massive revenue. Together with Shazam! and Captain Marvel, those three films garnered around $112 million at the domestic box office over the holiday weekend. That is the lowest amount the holiday has brought in since 2005. With films like Dumbo and Hellboy both underperforming and getting beaten out by the older Captain Marvel, the box office did not experience the kind of uptick in sales that holidays normally ensure. The low numbers are in keeping with 2019’s 17 percent overall decline in ticket sales when compared to 2018.

However, the while the box office was disappointing as a whole, individual films were profitable. Despite its seemingly low gross and less-than-positive reviews, The Curse of La Llorona is a financial success. The spin-off film has already earned roughly $56.5 against a $9 million budget. Over half of that amount came from overseas audiences. Breakthrough is similarly being lauded as a successful film, already earning $14 million domestically against its $14 million budget. As the first film to be released through 20th Century Fox since it was acquired by Disney, its $20.5 million gross is a positive start that the new owners hope will grow due to strong reviews.

There are several reasons for the decline in overall sales for the weekend. Bad marketing, bad reviews, and general disinterest all likely contributed to a weak Easter audience turnout. Furthermore, each of last week’s three major wide releases were films in niche genres: an R-rated horror film, a Christian faith-based film, and a nature documentary. Only one of those, the faith-based Breakthrough, was particularly suited to do well over Easter.

Of course, this Easter weekend’s box office is different from past ones because of one colossal factor: Avengers: Endgame. The Disney/Marvel cinematic behemoth releases next week and, to no one’s surprise, is already breaking records in ticket sales due to being one of the most anticipated films in history. Audiences may have sat out the holiday to be ready for the event, an event 21 films in the making. Not only is Avengers: Endgame expected to be the most successful of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by a significant margin, but many industry insiders are confident the superhero epic will go a long way toward mitigating this year’s box office losses. Studios were aware that Avengers: Endgame was what most film-goers were going to spend their time and money on, and few seemed willing to put up big budget films against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

More: Every Record Avengers: Endgame Has Already Broken

Source: Variety

2019-04-21 05:04:16

Ricky Miller

Silver Shamrock Easter Eggs In Other Halloween Movies (& Beyond)

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch may have been reviled upon release for not featuring Michael Myers, but the film has gained a steady cult following in the years since – let’s look at the Silver Shamrock easter eggs found in other Halloween movies and beyond. Halloween creator John Carpenter never wanted to make a sequel to the original, so he made sure to burn Michael Myers to a crisp in the finale of Halloween II. The studio still wanted to continue the series, so Carpenter decided to turn it into an annual anthology instead, with each entry telling a new story.

This led to Halloween III, where a doctor arrives in a creepy small town to investigate the death of a patient in the days leading up to Halloween. The story involves witchcraft, androids, and a genocidal warlock, but despite being a genuinely creepy and unique horror tale, it was hated upon release. Audiences walking into the sequel expected to see Michael again and railed against Halloween III’s oddness. The movie underperformed and the series brought back its slasher icon six years later with Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers.

Related: Halloween’s 5 Timelines Explained

The Halloween series is famous for its twisty timeline and semi-regular reboots, so most fans agreed to ignore Halloween III. The movie started to build a fanbase years after its release, however, with viewers starting to recognize it was a true gem that tried something original. The movie’s infectious Silver Shamrock jingle, ambiguous ending, and creepy Halloween masks stuck with viewers long after the credits rolled. Let’s look at some of the later Halloween sequels and other projects that have paid homage to Silver Shamrock.

Knight Rider – “Halloween Knight” (1984)

Halloween III must have made an impression on the producers behind Knight Rider since it was one of the first shows to reference the film in 1984. The pumpkin mask from the film is worn during a Halloween party in the episode “Halloween Knight.” The mask even comes with the famous Silver Shamrock logo, so hopefully, the infamous flashing logo didn’t play that night.

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers tried to explain Michael’s powers away by revealing he was cursed by an ancient cult – the rest of the series ignores this. The film also introduced Minnie Blankenship, Michael’s former babysitter and member of the cult. The character’s name is also mentioned in passing during Halloween III, though given the separate timelines, it’s not intended as a canon link.

Livid (2011)

Livid is a French horror film from Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, who would later direct horror sequel Leatherface. The movie also contains a nice Halloween III reference, when the main characters are approached by trick or treaters wearing the Silver Shamrock pumpkin, witch and skull masks and singing the jingle.

The Guest (2014)

Adam Wingard (Godzilla Vs Kong) is a self-confessed huge fan of Halloween III, with The Guest itself being something of a riff on the original Halloween. In The Guest’s finale, Dan Steven’s villain is hunting down victims in a high school, with the famous Silver Shamrock masks seen hung in the background.

Related: Ranking Every Halloween Movie, From 1978 To 2018

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween’s main characters Sarah, Sonny and Sam dress up as a witch, pumpkin and skeleton, which is a clear nod to Halloween III’s Silver Shamrock line-up.

The Goldbergs – “The Goldberg Girls” (2018)

The Goldbergs is a sitcom famously littered with references to 1980s pop culture, most famously bringing back Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in one episode. During the season 5 episode “The Goldberg Girls” Adam Goldberg references a bunch of movies for romantic inspiration, including holding up a figure from Halloween III of the pumpkin mask figure.

Halloween (2018)

Prior to the release of 2018’s Halloween, the filmmakers promised to include easter eggs to every sequel in the franchise, and they didn’t disappoint. The Halloween III: Season Of The Witch reference is one of the easiest to spot, with a gang of children dressed up in the iconic Silver Shamrock masks during Halloween night.

Next: Halloween 5 Ending Explained: Who Is The Man In Black

2019-04-19 06:04:28

Padraig Cotter

Division 2 Contains A Spider-Man PS4 Easter Egg

The Division 2 has done it again – this time with an unexpected, web-slinging twist. Not content with the Assassin’s Creed Easter egg that may well have given away the location of the next title in Ubisoft’s long-standing franchise, it looks like a Division 2 Spider-Man Easter egg is also an actual thing which has been noticed by Insomniac Games, no less.

Spider-Man was a smash hit when it launched last year, selling over 9 million copies in a few short months after release. After the game’s wealth of DLC and its internet popularity, there were perhaps surprisingly few crossover events with other major titles to capitalize on that. While this definitely isn’t a crossover by any means, the Division 2 Spider-Man Easter egg is still a nice tribute.

Related: The Division 2 Review: Technically Brilliant

The team at Insomniac Games, the minds behind Spider-Man, took to Twitter with footage of someone finding the Division 2 Spider-Man Easter egg. From the video, you can clearly see that the Easter egg is a backpack webbed to a wall. Players can shoot off the webbing and debris to free it, a callback to the way that Peter Parker interacts with these in the Spider-Man game. The backpacks are an iconic part of the web-slinging hero’s arsenal, and there’s a little wink and a nudge here from Ubisoft in using them as the Easter egg in The Division 2; they’re the richest source of Easter eggs in Spider-Man.

The Division 2 Spider-Man Easter egg is pretty neat, and yet another example of Ubisoft paying homage to a popular title (though not necessarily one from the company’s stable). Ubisoft is no stranger to these sorts of callbacks in titles in its own games, considering that it hinted at Watch Dogs 3’s location in Watch Dogs 2. Since players are clearly still finding these little treats scattered throughout the game, it’s highly likely that there’s still more homages and Easter eggs that have yet to be discovered, potentially to do with other AAA games.

There’s going to be an update to The Division 2 soon which will have some difficulty and quality of life improvements for players. So, if the end-game is looking a bit routine at the moment, then now might be the perfect time to go on a hunt for any other Easter eggs the game might have in store. With any luck, a few more Spider-Man Easter eggs may turn up as well.

Next: Next Assassin’s Creed Game Leaked In Division 2, Set In Viking Era

Source: Insomniac Games

2019-04-18 08:04:21

Ginny Woo

10 Easter Eggs You Missed In Blade Runner 2049

35 years ago, Ridley Scott gave us a whole new way of looking at science fiction. The original Blade Runner depicted a dystopian future when most science fiction was more optimistic. The future was only scary in the 1980s if you were in outer space. Blade Runner seemed to combine all of our worst fears about the future, shoving a toxic Earth with a rancid climate and hyper-consumerist economy right in our faces.

The movie became a cult classic. Director Ridley Scott continued experimenting with the complex storyline and characters by releasing different versions. Fans enjoyed analyzing the sophisticated clues and symbols placed throughout both films to unlock certain mysteries. Was Deckard a replicant? How do you tell a replicant from a regular human? Who builds fake memories, and how? Was Rachel Tyrell’s blueprint for the perfect model, so complex that even Wallace couldn’t understand it?

For more than 20 years, fans agonized over these secrets and the release of Blade Runner 2049 raises a few more questions but also provides some answers. Big spoiler alert, for those of you still hunting for clues!

RELATED: Blade Runner 2049 VFX Reel Showcases One of the Year’s Best Looking Movies

10 The Twins

“A dangerous coincidence.” K, Blade Runner 2049

Except that it’s not a coincidence at all. June 14th falls under the astrological sign of Gemini. Only minutes after Joi points out K has the same date in his head connected to a memory, he finds a record of two children with an exact DNA match.

Except that such a thing is impossible. One is fake and one is real. Which one of the twins is fake, the boy or the girl?

This is also a hint of how the film ends. K, the boy, comes to understand that he is the fake. Ana, the girl, is the real thing.

9 Japanese References

Several different languages are used in the film. K uses Japanese is to communicate with the record machine at the police station and there are various signs in hiragana and katakana in the streets.

It seems this is a trend in the LAPD of the future.  The chief of police has a Japanese name, Joshi. It means “Boss.” K’s name also contains a Japanese reference. Some fan theories speculate that the “K” is a reference to “K-9” the police force’s dog unit, a likely name for an obedient replicant. The name is actually from a wacky anime series Puni Puni Poemy.

RELATED: Blade Runner Animated Series Coming to Adult Swim

Anime superhero Shinichiro Watanabe brought us incredible animated shows like Samurai Champloo, Macross Plus and Cowboy Beebop. He directed Bladerunner Black Out 2022, one of the short films that preceded Bladerunner 2049. His name is quite similar to another anime director, Shinichi Watanabe. His body of work is mostly comedy and parody which includes Puni Puni Poemy. Prince K begins the series as a normal boy. By the end of Season 2, he discovers that he’s actually the prince of an alien race. It could just be an incredible coincidence that K of the movie goes through a similar realization.

8 Korean Connections

Is this really Las Vegas?

When K walks into the old hotel, the characters on the high windows behind him have words written in Korean letters. The language is called Hangul and the symbols read haengun, (행운) which means “good luck.”

When they’re in the casino, Deckard says to K, “There’s millions of bottles of whiskey.” Soju, alcohol that comes from Korea, is a type of whiskey. Beyond the casino, the sets and costumes look like they came from the Seoul cyberpunk art scene.

7 Joi And The Wolf

Joi’s startup and shutdown themes are the first few notes of the narrative musical Peter and the Wolf. There’s a deeper meaning here beyond the pleasant tune. The story starts with a duck and a bird having an argument. The bird mocks the duck, declaring it’s not a real bird if it can’t fly. The duck replies that swimming, not flying, is what makes a bird.

What makes a bird a bird, and what makes a human, well, human? This follows the theme of the movie and the Tyrell corporation’s motto, “More human than human.” This line is spoken by Tyrell in the first film and is echoed by Mariette in the sequel.

6 The Art Of Gaff

The character of Gaff only appears once in Blade Runner 2049. He is on-screen long enough to remind the audience of his trademark; symbolic origami figurines.

The first paper animal we see him make in the original film was a chicken. Deckard was reluctant to return to the force and Gaff was teasing him. While K is interviewing him, Gaff makes a sheep and puts it on the table. This could mean a few different things. The first and most obvious is a reference to the story on which the movies are based. Gaff’s most famous origami figurine appeared at the end of the original Bladerunner. The mysterious unicorn that has spawned a million fan theories.

5 One Or Two Of A Kind

“It’s too bad she won’t live. But then again who does?”  Gaff, Blade Runner (1984).

Gaff was at Deckard’s apartment back in 1984, but for some reason he let them go. He left his calling card, this time in the shape of a unicorn.

RELATED: Blade Runner 2049: Jared Leto Knows if Deckard’s a Replicant 

Unicorns are hard to find. Even when they do exist there’s usually only one. Speculation abounded about this symbol. The replicants of the original film were Nexus 6. Was Rachel the “unicorn,” the sole prototype of the Nexus 7 series?

Bladerunner 2049 supports this theory. During a forensic study of Rachel’s bones, K finds her serial number. It starts with a letter and number, N7. Another theory, connected to a dream sequence, argue that Deckard is the unicorn. He is a replicant and doesn’t even know it. Wallace teases Deckard about this but the question is never answered.

4 Windows To The Soul

“If only you could see what I’ve seen through your eyes.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner (1984)

The symbolism of the eyes is a recurring one throughout both films. The light in your eyes indicates the presence of a soul, or so the belief goes. This is particularly true of the creators of replicants, Wallace and Tyrell. Both are portrayed in ways that seem strangely flat or soulless.

In the first film, we never see Tyrell’s eyes. They are covered in thick glasses when he appears onscreen. Roy makes a few chilling Biblical references before killing Tyrell by putting his thumbs through his eyes. It’s not pretty but it is highly symbolic. Wallace is blind, and his irises seem vacant. His god complex is off the scale, even in comparison to Tyrell. He claims he makes “angels” and talks like a preacher. When Joi appears at the end without her irises, she has lost her personality and is simply the programmed angel, ethereal and godlike.

3 Canadian Connections

Ryan Gosling (K) and Mackenzie Davis (Mariette), are both from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Denis Villeneuve is also Canadian and comes from the French-speaking province of Quebec. The French accent is used by two characters in the film. Freysa, the leader of the replicant rebellion and Ana, the memory doctor.

2 Marvel Connections

Luke Scott directed two short films that give some extra backstory for Blade Runner 2049. Yes, that’s Ridley’s son.

2036: Nexus Dawn explains how Wallace convinced Earth’s law enforcement agencies to lift the prohibition on building replicants after a 14-year ban. The location of the serial number and the total removal of any kind of rebellious spirit are the key features of the new models. Benedict Wong, who plays the sanctum guardian Wong in Dr. Strange, also appears in this film.

RELATED: Watch Dave Bautista Dodge Bullets on a MotorCycle on a Stadium

Bladerunner 2048: Nowhere to Run is the story of how the LAPD found Sapper, and takes place only days before the sequel begins. Sapper is played by Dave Bautista, also known as Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

1 Roy’s Story

And so we come to the end.

The end of both the original and the sequel have something in common. The music and certain distinctive lines of dialogue are used to bring the story full circle. As K lies dying, Roy’s death scene music from the first movie starts playing. It’s hard not to hear Roy say that famous line, “All those moments will be lost in time.”  When Deckard steps into Ana’s lobby, the first thing she says to him is, “Just a moment.”

So, if you were someone that was always upset that the first movie was about Deckard instead of Roy, it looks like you got the movie you wanted after all.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

In a world of bad sequels, Blade Runner 2049 was a welcome change. Like its predecessor, it was considered a box office failure but was critically acclaimed as both an art and action film.

NEXT: Ridley Scott Has an Idea for Another Bladerunner Sequel

2019-04-06 11:04:54

Kristy Ambrose

Shazam! Every Easter Egg & Secret DC Reference

After years of waiting, Shazam! has finally arrived, bringing the first superhero movie story to actually put a fan of DC superheroes in the starring role. And in a world filled with Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League, there are far too many Easter Eggs, DC Comics references, and secret references to catch in even multiple viewings.

There is plenty to discuss about the future DCEU movies to follow Shazam! and how Billy Batson’s role could grow larger as a result. And given just how strange the post-credits scenes for Shazam! are going to seem to anyone but the most dedicated comic book readers, audiences might think the only secret details or bits of fan service are aimed at the hardcore fans of Shazam comics. But to make sure that no fan of the movie ends up missing some of the coolest Easter Eggs, impossible to catch inside jokes, and comic book and pop culture references, we’re breaking each and every one of them down. From Annabelle dolls to Batman and Joker references, we’ve got them all in one place.

RELATED: The Shazam Family of Heroes & Movie Version Explained

Needless to say there will be SPOILERS for Shazam! as we dissect the movie’s secrets, scene by scene. Here is our complete breakdown of Shazam! Every Easter Egg & Secret Reference.

If you told us years ago that two of the most anticipated and surprisingly well received DC movies would come from the minds of two directors with horror sensibilities, we would have had questions. But after James Wan blew the doors off the box office with Aquaman, and now David F. Sandberg brings the most child like superhero to life, the responses speak for themselves. But neither forget where they came from.

Thankfully, the nightmare inducing cameo from the Annabelle doll isn’t as difficult to spot the second time around. In Aquaman, Annabelle lay at the bottom of the ocean, difficult to spot among other ocean floor refuse. To find her in Shazam! audiences won’t have to wait long, either. When the police officers first enter the pawn shop at Billy’s urging, keep your eyes on the shelf in the lower left side of the screen, and lock eyes with Annabelle before you can even prepare for it.

When Billy Batson speaks with the social worker trying to find him a home now that he’s fled from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, the assortment of smiley face mugs, balls, and buttons on her desk might seem like some dark humor (considering how distinctly unhappy both Billy and his social worker seem to be with the current situation).

But knowing just how large the shadow of Alan Moore’s Watchmen graphic novel looms over the medium, and Zack Snyder’s film version is pointed to in contrast to his own DC film, fans asked director David F. Sandberg is the allusion was as clear as some claimed. His response? A simple “of course,” confirming the Easter Egg for fans in the know.

Before fans get too excited by the Watchmen smiley faces to miss the scene’s other clever inside jokes, pay close attention to the small plastic toy to the left of the frame (from Billy’s point of view). Considering the context, the smiley faces make sense–even if the attempt to lighten the mood may not be a success. But a small plastic figure if a crocodile? Try explaining that.

We can’t give a justification in the fiction of the film, but fans know that a nod to crocodiles is no coincidence at all (and this isn’t even the most memorable Easter Egg related to them). But as an appetizer of what’s to come, and the other allusions to crocodile comic characters like Sobek, or the evil Crocodile Men Captain Marvel once fought, it’s a fantastic touch.

Look, we’re as disappointed as anyone that the Shazam! movie didn’t find a way to insert an anthropomorphized, walking, talking, sapient tiger man. If they had, we might even have allowed them to not explicitly namr him “Mr. Tawny,” the comic book character known and beloved by ever Captain Marvel fan. But even in the movie’s lighter, adventurous tone, that would be hard to buy. Sadly, there isn’t even room for Billy to enchant a regular, or even stuffed tiger into a massive version (like the New 52 comic reboot).

What fans do get are a ton of nods to “Talky” Tawny connected to Billy’s love of tigers. His desire for a stuffed version is called back to in beautiful fashion, and most fans will spot the tiger stitched onto his backpack. What they might miss are the two tiger heads screwing his cape into the lightning bolt on his chest, as well.

The references and mentions of Superman are hard to call out as Easter Eggs since they’re counting on audiences catching them, and recognizing that these movie characters inhabit a world as filled with superheroes as our own. But a direct reference to Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie? Now THAT is something else entirely.

No, we’re not referring to the use of the John Williams theme, either. There are too many superhero-themed newspaper headlines in Freddy Freeman’s bedroom to spot, let alone read upon the first viewing. And the same could be said for the newspapers tossed or highlighted by Daily Planet editor Perry White in Donner’s classic. However, a headline like “CAPED WONDER STUNS CITY” isn’t one that’s easy to forget. So when it returns this time around, it’s one of the movie’s most exciting, and unexpected surprises.

Even after Freddy Freeman explicitly introduces his collection of Justice League souvenirs as proof of his fandom, viewers are guaranteed to miss at least some of the incredible items scattered throughout the room. The Superman mug, hat, and action figures might be caught (and are actual merchandise available in our own works, too).

But his books examining superhero psychology and its impact on the human world, an issue of TIME Magazine published shortly after the attack on Metropolis by General Zod, and others are going to require eagle eyed scanning, and another excuse for repeat viewings.

Page 2: The Rock of Eternity’s Secrets & a Smallville Nod!

If you’re a fan of DC Comics, you know actor John Glover, even if the role is different. But one thing is for sure: when Shazam! begins by driving home just how awful the Sivana family is to young Thaddeus, his insulting father is going to feel… familiar. For more reasons than it seems at first, as a matter of fact, since he possesses an innate believability in the role of a man responsible for raising a future supervillain.

Most DC fans will know Glover for his time as Lionel Luthor, father of Lex Luthor in the TV series Smallville–where he was also a corporate genius, also had a complicated relationship with his twisted, villainous, bald son, and also got what was coming to him. Hey, when it works, it works.

Even for casual fans, it’s easy to tell that when Billy Batson steps out of his subway train and into the magical Rock of Eternity, he’s picking his way through some of the most iconic magical relics and artifacts that the DC Comics Universe has to offer. Thankfully, audiences don’t need to look too hard to see how the movie has adapted the same locations and artifacts from Geoff Johns’ New 52 comic book.

The easiest to spot is the enormous gilded mirror propped near the entryway. As tempting as it will be for the fairy tale fans to see this as a nod to the “mirror mirror on the wall” from the classic Snow White story, the mirror is actually host to its own entity, named Francesca. The face in the mirror doesn’t appear in the movie, but that’s doesn’t mean she won’t in the future.

We wish we could give a clear explanation of the fiddle burning with magical flames next to Francesca’s mirror, beyond an assumed connection to the Roman Emperor Nero fiddling as the city burned. And the same goes for the golden helmet positioned nearby (it isn’t the Helmet of Nabu, unfortunately for Doctor Fate fans). But one item that looks practically identical to the comics is the glass case holding the devious caterpillar Mr. Mind.

The changes are worth noting, of course: the Wizard of the movie seems to be far more generous a jailer than his comic book counterpart. Where Mr. Mind was held inside a glass flask, inside a glass case, the movie version is given greenery to perch upon (and presumably eat). It worked out terribly for both of them, in the end.

No, once again, the Helmet of Fate doesn’t make an appearance in the Shazam! movie’s version of the Rock of Eternity (not that we can spot, anyway). The above image is taken from NBC’s Constantine, and the relic fans should be paying close attention to is the golden scepter located behind the Helmet. That triangular-topped golden wand is the real treasure, and actually CAN be seen in the Rock of Eternity’s entryway.

The scepter is known as the Ibistick, and it is the key magical device used by Ibis the Invincible. He’s a Golden Age throwback if there ever was one, first appearing in 1940 in the pages of Fawcett Comics (the same birthplace as Billy Batson). It’s a clever throwback to fans of the early days of fantasy and magic adventure comics, but we wouldn’t expect this Egyptian prince to be awoken by the Ibistick in our modern world any time soon.

What started as a common thread between Man of Steel, Wonder Woman, and Justice League has now become a full blown touchstones for any DCEU movie. We’re referring to the tendency of the films to pause their plots, and enjoy a flashback or expositional sequence usually involving storytelling, recounting of history, and often employing a wondrous physical medium or art style to do it.

Shazam! is no exception, as the Wizard scatters glowing gold energy from his staff to tell his story through a magical moving diorama. The story tells Billy about the Council’s previous champion, and his work in destroying all of them save the Wizard Shazam. Fans know that this fallen champion is none other than Black Adam. And even if Dwayne Johnson has yet to appear as Black Adam, enemy to Shazam, it’s nice to see him play a role in the story all the same.

The movie brings many scenes from Geoff Johns’ 2011 comic reboot to life exactly as they’re depicted on screen, but it also preserves one of the biggest changes that series made to the original. Previous to that series the heroes of the Shazam Family resided in Fawcett City, USA. It was a nod to the original Fawcett Publications than created and published stories starring Billy Batson, then known in his superhero identity as “Captain Marvel.” The rebooted comic lifted the action to Philadelphia, and the movie does the same.

The fimmmakers still found a way to pay homage to the character’s beginnings, however, by having Billy and the rest of the foster kids attend Fawcett Central, a school named in honor of the first publisher to make Captain Marvel a superhero rivaling even Superman in his golden years.

Page 3: ACE Chemicals, and Captain America!

Yes, believe it or not the Shazam! movie doesn’t just reference Batman through use of his batarangs or “caped crusader” nickname, but using his greatest enemy, The Joker. Well, at least the chemical company that indirectly led to the birth of the Joker when the man he was before tumbled into a vat of madness inducing toxins. Toxins that bleached his skin, dyed his hair, and snapped his psyche for good.

Oddly enough, ACE Chemicals is also the birthplace of Billy Batson’s superhero identity, since they own the warehouse where he and Freddy test out his powers on camera. The ACE Chemicals logo is only visible on the massive steel tanks filling the space in one shot, but keep a look out and you can’t miss that iconic logo.

The legality of the Shazam/Captain Marvel name means that DC only makes general, passing jokes to the name that the hero originally claimed. But thanks to one invented moniker by Freddy Freeman, fans may be able to confirm that Shazam takes place in the same universe as Marvel’s Avengers.

When Freddy begins to upoad video after video of Billy’s superhero exploits and abilities, he does so under a variety of names. The most commonly visible are “Red Cyclone” and “Thundercrack,” but at least one described him as “ZAP-tain America.” That’s a clever name, given his superpowers over electricity… but the joke really only makes sense if Captain America is a common icon. Either as a living hero or a comic book invention, it’s nice to see DC and Marvel can play nice outside of the spotlight.

The odds that both Marvel and DC’s versions of the superhero “Captain Marvel” would release a movie within weeks of eachother must be astronomical, but they are making the most of it. Stars Zachary Levi and Brie Larson are sharing the love, and the Shazam! movie actually makes a Captain Marvel joke, even if fans will miss it in all but the rarest of circumstances.

Among the names Freddy cooks up for Billy’s hero, the worst is without question “Captain Sparklefingers.” Believe it or not, that’s a reference to Carol Danvers, as her modern comic series from writer Kelly Sue DeConnick makes the same joke. With Carol referred to playfully as “Princess Sparklefists”–a nickname actually made into MCU canon by the tie-in novel–at least Billy Batson gets to have the “Captain” name back.

Fans would assume that it would be Ben Affleck’s version of Batman being referenced in this movie, considering it’s part of the DCEU. But just as Christopher Reeve’s Superman legacy is incorporated, so too is Christian Bale’s take on Batman. At least judging by Billy Batson’s vision of the ultimate superhero lair.

When Freddy describes the kind of secret base they’re looking for to a real estate agent, his vision is an acceptable, universally cool castle. But Billy? Billy is looking for a base overlooking water, with a waterfall that you can drive through to access. That’s a perfect and key description of the Batcave from Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, and as unforgettable to fans as it is to Billy.

At this point its practically mandatory for a superhero movie or TV show to adapt a super hero’s signature catchphrase. Or lacking that, at least use their most iconic exclamation when pushed to the limits. For the original Billy Batson of the comics, that’s an old fashioned “Holy Moley!”–and the movie delivers it twice.

Fans will remember when Shazam first zooms beneath the bus teetering off a bridge, and let’s out an exasperated “Holy Moley” in response to… well, having no idea how to solve the problem. But it’s also the very first words Billy speaks when he enters the film, feigning a ‘gee golly’ innocence to get the better of the police.

The explosion of DC Universe merchandise is felt the strongest when Billy and Sivana’s first fight smashes into a toy store filled with Justice League toys. And director David F. Sandberg made a point of explaining that every product in the store is available in the real world. In fact, that meant the studio needed to approve every toy, so as not to confirm characters they had yet to adapt, or work into canon.

Which makes the appearance of the Batman: Superheavy mech so exciting. The armor can be seen as Billy flees the toy aisles (what looks like the Fisher Price version), but in the comics, it’s the mech suit worn by Jim Gordon in the absence of Bruce Wayne. So if it exists as a product for kids in the DCEU… can we confirm Jim wore the suit at some point in the past? Intended or not, we’re just going to assume.

Page 4: Director Cameos, Lucky Numbers, and Crocs!

From the very first time that the makers of Shazam! were allowed to discuss the movie, the description “Superman meets Big” became a common summation. And for obvious reasons, since the Tom Hanks movie about a kid who wishes to be an adult basically IS the story of Shazam, just with added muscles and superpowers. So it’s only right that the movie pay direct homage.

By this point, there will be many in the audience who never saw Big, and therefore never saw the film’s use of a floor-based keyboard. The version of the scene is much shorter with Billy and Sivana, and a lot less friendly. But a terrific moment for any older fans who have yet to recognize the similarities.

The specific reason that Billy Batson was abandoned has changed over the years, and the scene with his mother Rachel is a total invention for the movie. But one of the nicest details in the otherwise tragic story comes when Eugene explains the information he has found on Billy’s birth parents. Specifically, their names.

Marilyn audiences get to meet, but Billy’s father is only referred to as “C.C. Batson”–a reference to C.C. Beck, one of the creators of Captain Marvel back in his earliest Fawcett days.

Fans won’t need to be told the significance of the number 7 in this story. But we’re willing to bet that the frequency of the number will contain a few surprises. Obviously, the seven deadly sins and the Council of Wizard’s numbering seven can be explained as intentionally matched.

But once you start adding in the fact that Billy’s mother was just 17 when she left him, and now lives in apartment 707, and even the Subways system is shortened to SEPTA–the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority–is based on the number, it starts to look more and more like Billy Batson was destined to be connected to magic long before he ever realized.

You don’t show your sense of humor in the run up to release as much as director David F. Sandberg has without allowing yourself to get in on the fun. And from our first viewing, and speaking with Sandberg on the set of the movie, it looks like he has multiple roles in the movie, whether they’re credited or not. And slipping into one of the Crocodile Men suits is just the beginning.

We are almost certain that the voice of Marilyn’s new boyfriend–the one rudely shouting at her during her entire conversation with Billy–is voiced by Sandberg himself. Which would make a lot of sense… more than the rumors that he also supplies the monotone robotic voice of Mr. Mind in the post-credits scene.

When the kids are fleeing from Sivana and his Seven Sins by running through the halls of the Rock of Eternity, they come upon a sight guaranteed to delight ever fan of the comics: a collection of doors promising to open upon all manner of magical scenes. The first? The gloriously wondrous vision of a group of Crocodile Men sitting at a table, playing cards.

This is the payoff to the earlier crocodile tease with Billy’s social worker, and one that could be a sign of much bigger things in a Shazam! sequel. In the simplest, modern version of the mythology, the Crocodile Men are… well, just intelligent crocodiles. Originally, they were villainous alien henchmen, so whichever origin fans prefer until proven otherwise.

Fans will likely be so enamored with the Rock of Eternity after their first viewing, they won’t feel a need to wonder if there are other doors, to other realms, where magic is allowed to shape reality in more ways than our own. But it’s true: and the movie might actually give audiences their first glimpse of the nightmarish Monsterlands that contain enough evil to wipe out every peaceful people.

In the comics, humans reside in The Earthlands, just one of–you guessed it–seven different magical realms. The only one permanently closed off from the others is The Monsterlands. And while they’ve never been shown or explored in the comics, they would probably look something like the doorway opened by Mary: foggy, mysterious, and enticing… until it tries to kill you. Fingers crossed for the sequel.

Page 5: The Shazam Family, Justice League & Superman!

Remember the mirror we mentioned earlier, visible in the Rock of Eternity and bearing the face of a being named Francesca? In the comic upon which this Shazam! origin is based, Francesca takes it upon herself to urge Billy to do the right thing (appearing to him in reflections om everyday objects, even puddles). All the while trying to make him see that the Wizard granted him a “secret spell” he must eventually unlock.

Since the movie does away with Francesca, the Wizard is given similar dialogue hinting that Billy must “open his heart” so he may share his magic. In the comics, the spell is literally spoken as “Family is what it can be, not what it should be.” While the movie doesn’t make it a literal spell cast, it does make it the theme of the entire story.

What’s better than a kid who can transform into a demigod superhero by uttering a magical word? How about an entire family of kids transforming into heroes? It’s the moment that audiences will be talking about for years to come, not only because of the surprise and impact, but because of just how well it recreates the very same moment from the New 52 comic.

From their costumes to their powers, the superhero versions of Freddy, Darla, Pedro, Eugene, and Mary are taken straight from the printed page. In fact, the movie takes their specialization of powers and goes even further. Pedro remains the strongest (stronger than Shazam), Darla the quickest, and Eugene has a gift for using electricity (in the comics, he can ‘talk’ to technology). But in the movie version, it’s only Freddy who can fly. A poetic touch, considering he would “give anything” to be able to walk or run, let alone soar.

The arrival of the Shazam Family may be the emotional payoff of the entire movie, seeing Darla become a hero, Pedro become strong, Freddy fly, and more. But it follows the emotional climax of the film when the foster siblings go “all hands on deck” and grab hold of the Wizard’s staff to gain their powers. It’s also here where one of the most subtle jokes lands for comic fans.

Billy instructs the kids to do as he did, and “say my name” to have the lightning give them powers, too. But when the kids utter Billy’s name, he corrects them, explaining it’s Shazam’s name that has the magic. In the original comics Billy turned Freddy Freeman into a hero first. As “Captain Marvel, Jr.” Freddy got his powers from Billy indirectly, meaning he actually would need to shout “Captain Marvel!” to gain his own. In hindsight, it’s a weird hierarchy, so the movie is right to say so.

Seeing Adam Brody appear as the “grown up” version of Freddy Freeman is worth the price of admission alone, as millions of viewers suddenly remember who actor Jack Dylan Grazer’s comedy reminds them of. But the transformation actually gives Brody his second chance to join the DC Universe–and he’s not alone.

Back when director Frank Miller was trying to get his Justice League: Mortal movie off the ground and filming in Australia, Brody was already on set ready to play The Flash. The film has the plug pulled before cameras could start rolling, which also meant that DJ Cotrona–who plays the muscle bound adult version of Pedro–didn’t get to play Superman, either. Oh well, second time is the charm.

Most die-hard fans caught a hint or two of Superman’s cameo in the final scene before the movie officially released. And while the actor in the suit is never shown, there are a few details to note. For starters, the Superman suit has been changed from Justice League and Batman v Superman, featuring more red around the hips and ‘belt’ than when Henry Cavill wore it.

But the bigger treat for fans is the introduction of John Williams’ classic theme song for the Man of Steel. Director David F. Sandberg maintained that he didn’t use the music cue during the toy battle between Batman and Superman as a leaked trailer suggested. But he does use it in this final beat, although subtle enough to miss.

Readers will have to forgive us, since we’re still trying to process the fact that the Shazam! movie not only ends with the introduction of Mr. Mind, master mental manipulating caterpillar… but that it keeps completely faithful to the comics. Right down to the voice box he uses to communicate with his prey–we mean his partner, Dr. Sivana. How did he manage to escape the Rock of Eternity and make it to Sivana’s prison cell moving at the pace of a regular caterpillar? Don’t ask. Because seeing him speak through a robotic speaker is incredible. But getting to hear it? That is glorious.

Those are all the Easter Eggs, comic book references, and secret inside jokes fans are likely to miss that WE could spot in Shazam! But if you found some that even we failed to spot, be sure to share them on the comments.

MORE: Everything We Know About Shazam 2

2019-04-05 09:04:48

Andrew Dyce

7 Rick And Morty Easter Eggs You Missed

Despite being a pop culture icon itself, Rick and Morty is no stranger to packing hidden references to other pop culture icons. Consider that the whole show is a dark and twisted parody of Back to the Future. There are so many references and easter eggs hidden with Rick and Morty’s three short seasons that there’s no way we could fit them all into on article, but we’ll touch on some of the best and funniest easter eggs that most fans may have missed. So whether we’re connecting the chaotic and brutal world of Rick and Morty to a show on the Disney Channel or simply pointing out that Rick’s patented burp-talking (a reference to comedian Foster Brooks) isn’t as original as some people may think, so let’s pull out that cursed microscope and analyze the squanch out of Rick and Morty until we can’t brain good no more.

RELATED: What To Expect From Rick & Morty Season 4

7 Rick Brings The Parasites Home

Fans who remember the episode entitled “Total Rickall” from season one probably remember the telepathic parasites that embed themselves in good memories with the various members of the Smith family. Well, those paying close attention to the end of “Mortynight Run” just might see Rick loading his trunk with some glowing green geodes, one of which has the eggs that will birth the parasites just two episodes later. It’s also possible to see Rick tossing the “glowing rocks” in “Jerry’s kitchen” before Rick paints the dining room in a lovely shade of parasite. Thankfully, Rick can always count on Mr. Poopybutthole.

6 The Gravity Falls Connection

Eagle-eyed fans of the Disney XD series Gravity Falls may have noticed while watching “Close Rick-Counters Of The Rick Kind” that Gruncle Stan’s Mug, pen, and notebook that were sucked into a gigantic portal. While Rick and Morty are trying to get the Squanch out of dodge, Rick opens several portals to throw off the Ricks on their tail. One of the portals he opens spits out the exact items Gruncle Stan lost in Gravity Falls. Conspiracy?! We think not. Merely a nod to the Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland’s friend, and creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch. Pay close attention during the scenes in the Citadel to spot a pair of Mortys that look an awful lot like Mable and Dipper with their Rick.

5 Harmonious Claptrap

While Rick and Morty has been rewarding fans for sticking around past the credits since episode one, something many fans may not have stuck around for or even noticed is the difference in the Harmonious Claptrap vanity card between seasons two and three.

RELATED: 10 Best Side Characters In Rick & Morty

This easter egg is a bit sadder than anything of the other entries on this list, but after season two, the Harmonious Claptrap Vanity card changes from Dan Harmon seated with his wife and their dogs and cat to Dan Harmon lying on a couch alone surrounded by his pets, vodka bottles, and garbage. A tough image to take in after realizing this change occurs after Harmon’s divorce back in 2015.

4 Rick’s Room

Fans that stuck around after the credits of “Close Rick-Counters Or The Rick Kind” were treated to a rare glimpse into Rick’s personal space, his bedroom. We see Rick enter as Jerry sits on his cot, lamenting Doofus Rick’s recent departure. As usual, what’s interesting about this scene is everything other than the unemployed lump of carbon wasting space on the cot. On Rick’s wall we can see that he has been tracking all the adventures he and Morty have been on (and perhaps forming some sort of conspiracy theory). Stuck to the wall and covered in the obligatory conspiracy strings you can see pictures of a Cronenberg monster, Mr. Meseeks, Prince Nebulon, Dr. Xenon Bloom from “Anatomy Park”, and even Aberdolf Lincler from the next episode is there.

3 Needful Things

In the season one episode “Something Ricked This Way Comes”, fans get to see Rick and Morty’s take on the age-old debate of science vs. the supernatural. When the Devil opens up shop in town and begins selling cursed items to the townsfolk that carry terrible consequences, Rick can’t help but rain on the fallen one’s parade. Stephen King fans may recognize a similar plotline from his work “Needful Things”, which sees a stranger selling false valuables for cheap, but with one catch: you must pay for the item by pranking your neighbors. What starts out small eventually snowballs into full-blown chaos. If you happen to notice the name on the sign outside the devil’s shop in Rick and Morty, you’ll find the title of King’s work, “Needful Things”.

2 The Community Easter Eggs

Any fans that have been following Dan Harmon’s career at all are aware that before his success with Justin Roiland and Rick and Morty he ran and wrote a little show called Community. While fans of Community may never get to see another Dan Harmon-led episode, there have been a few easter eggs thrown in just for them.

RELATED: 10 Best Rick And Morty Episodes

For instance, in “Auto Erotic Assimilation”, while Summer and Morty and trying to get back home, Rick can be seen commanding a group of familiar looking cast members to perform on the while he sits with Unity. In the “Morty’s Mind Blowers” episode, Rick says “It’s more like a clip show made from clips you haven’t seen before.” this is a reference to the Community episode “Paradigms of Human Memory” which was exactly that.

1 The Ricklantis Mixup

There is so much going on in this episode that it absolutely demanded its own entry. From the Marty Mcfly Morty to a Willy Wonka Rick, heck, there’s even a Justin Roiland Morty. There’s just so much to dive into in this episode. Something even eagle-eyed fans may have missed is the reason behind the confusion of the Rick and Morty from the Citadel when they discover Rick and Morty C-137 in the dimension they’ve popped into. We know that Rick and Morty have switched dimensions once, but fans learned during “Morty’s Mind Blowers” that after Morty catches the attention of the squirrels (which is after they escape to from the Cronenberged Universe), they again abandon another universe. The one thing that we know for sure is that Evil Morty has likely discovered the location of Rick C-137 thanks to an all-too-quick humble brag about destroying the Citadel at the beginning of the episode. Wubalubadubdub.

NEXT: 10 Must-Own Gifts For The Rick & Morty Fan In Your Life

2019-03-16 03:03:31

Danny Hernandez

Captain Marvel: EVERY Easter Egg & Secret Reference

Warning: SPOILERS for Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel has finally arrived in the MCU, and as fans hoped, setting her origin story more than a decade before The Avengers first teamed up has resulted in too many Easter Eggs and secret MCU connections for fans to possibly catch in one viewing. Luckily, we’re here to help.

There will be much to discuss once the credits roll, from the most shocking Captain Marvel spoilers, to the ways in which the post-credits scene sets up Avengers: Endgame. But to make sure that Marvel fans don’t end up missing some of the coolest Easter Eggs, impossible to catch inside jokes, and comic book and pop culture references, we’re breaking each and every one of them down. Whether it’s Carol’s tentacled cat, a tribute to the late Stan Lee, or the ways in which Captain Marvel is retconning the MCU’s future, we’ve got them all in one place.

RELATED: Captain Marvel’s Origin Story & Movie Changes Explained

Needless to say there will be SPOILERS for Captain Marvel (and every MCU movie that came before). Here is our complete breakdown of Captain Marvel: Every Easter Egg & Secret Reference.

As the first MCU film to be released following the passing of comic book icon Stan Lee, Captain Marvel goes to extra lengths for a dedication. That begins with the opening credits sequence, typically a (now longer than ever) montage of different movie and comic book artwork. But for Captain Marvel, it’s Stan Lee’s many iconic cameos that are given the spotlight, along with footage of Lee from outside of his on-screen appearances.

That said, a tradition is a tradition, which means he also makes a cameo in the movie itself–with yet another uncommon twist. Casual viewers will be able to spot Lee as a passenger on the train boarded by Carol in pursuit of her Skrull target. But film buffs will appreciate the script for Mallrats he’s reading aloud, rehearsing his lines. The Kevin Smith film made strong use of Lee playing himself, and with its release in 1995, the timeline of Captain Marvel matches up nicely.

The movie may not dive into the vast Kree Empire as much as some fans will hope, especially considering the surprisingly small roles played by both Korath and Ronan (prior to their appearances in the first Guardians of the Galaxy). But what’s there is largely faithful… with one exception. And believe us, the change in this case is for the better. A point made perfectly clear when audiences realize what the ‘Supreme Intelligence’ looks like in the comics.

Yon-Rogg begins the story by informing Carol–sorry, ‘Vers’ that “communing with the Supreme Intelligence” is a valuable part of every Kree soldier’s development. However, seeing the actual Intelligence itself is forbidden. Considering that in the comics, the fusion of the greatest minds the Kree ever produced takes the form of a massive, multi-eyed, misshapen head, few fans will take issue with this twist for the movie version.

When the first lengthy trailers for Captain Marvel showed Carol Danvers in not only her Kree uniform and helmet, but with her hair forming a mohawk out the top of it, fans rejoiced. But for those who don’t actually know the story or the comic book source material, the feature may seem a bit strange. It all started when writer Kelly Sue DeConnick decided that a new costume was just what Carol needed for her promotion to Captain Marvel in her new, 2012 comic series.

The idea of a helmet that forced Carol’s hair up into a mohawk as it deployed was too intriguing a design to forget, and as DeConnick explained to Polygon, her request of a redesign by acclaimed artist Jamie McKelvie would have cost her… had Marvel editorial not been instantly sold on the look, which is largely adapted for the film, as well:

“I called Jamie and was like, ‘Alright, I want you to make a bet with me. I bet if you do a Carol Danvers redesign for Captain Marvel that Marvel will buy the design from you. And if I win this bet, then I get a redesign and you get paid. And if I lose this bet, I will pay for the redesign… My husband would have murdered me, because you don’t front money for billion dollar companies. I mean, I would have murdered me, that’s nonsense.”

The days of Blockbuster Video may be dead and gone, but the value of nostalgia lives on – as evidenced by most crowd reactions to Carol crashing smack into a Blockbuster (back in 1995). And believe it or not, the scenes really were shot using the last Blockbuster Video store in America, located in Bend, Oregon. A title it now holds after the other Alaskan stores were forced to close up shop, landing it its place in MCU history.

RELATED: Every 1990s Song in Captain Marvel‘s Soundtrack

But there’s one extra detail to the store itself that fans shouldn’t miss, and it may stand out to some. Specifically, those viewers who find that the “Blockbuster Video” logo and sign affixed to the roof of the store seems… off. It may be forgotten now, but Blockbuster Video made the change to simply “Blockbuster” branding and signage in 1996, which lasted until the company’s last days. In the timeline of the film, that is still one year away. But it’s the store shelves that hold the best Easter Eggs…

Page 2: Carol ‘Avenger’ Danvers, Her Creator Cameo & More

Viewers might think that the films chosen to populate the shelves of the Blockbuster Video were selected based purely on their release dates, and that is partly true (the store shelves are filled with period-appropriate VHS tapes). But it’s True Lies that gets a stand out moment, and the meaning of the tribute may be lost on younger fans. For the unfamiliar, True Lies is the film being advertised by the cardboard standee of Arnold Schwarzenegger which has its head vaporized, leaving his co-star Jamie Lee Curtis grinning all by herself.

Those who have seen True Lies know that it resonates for several reasons. The first movie to cost over $100 million to make, ushering in an age of blockbuster films Marvel now produces annually. It’s a tale of spycraft, deception, and double-crossing, just like Carol’s. It also happens to include one of the most iconic uses of a fighter jet ever committed to film. In fact, that fighter jet prop would eventually wind up being repainted for use in The Avengers (2012), cushioning the Hulk’s fall while battling Thor.

With Carol’s career as a test pilot turned outer space traveler, it’s impossible to imagine a version of the movie that doesn’t pay tribute to The Right Stuff. A film now homaged in new films more than its seen by new audiences, it tells the story of the first American astronauts like Chuck Yeager, Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and the other Air Force test pilots whose willingness to push “higher, further, faster” helped put mankind into space.

The film may have been wiped from Carol’s mind along with the rest of her memories, but there’s no question she would have either seen it, or known the stories of these brave pilots herself. So when she picks up a copy of the film off a Blockbuster shelf and considers it, we would like to think that yet another piece of the woman she was is unlocked.

Since it’s Kelly Sue DeConnick’s modern version of Carol Danvers that made the jump to the MCU, it only seems right that the writer should get to jump in on the fun. And believe it or not, audiences can spot DeConnick in the 1995 version of Los Angeles, but they’ll need to keep a sharp eye out.

After Carol follows the passenger train all the way to its destination, she tries–but fails–to keep and eye on her target Skrull. Walking out into the crowds of passing commuters, it’s clear that the Skrull could now be anybody… including Kelly Sue DeConnick, who brushes past Carol. DeConnick is actually the first person Carol sees once stepping off the train, easy to spot thanks to her hair and signature spectacles. She gives Carol a suspicious once-over, which Carol all too happily returns.

As tempting as it may be to say that the Captain Marvel movie is adapting one modern version of Carol’s origin story, the truth is far more interesting. The film does follow the lead of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s modern relaunch of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, right down to her movie costume. But the movie also pays tribute to the Captain Marvel often overlooked, or dismissed as less ‘real’ than either Mar-Vell or Carol Danvers.

RELATED: 20 Versions of Captain Marvel Who AREN’T Carol Danvers

We’re referring to the Skrull Khn’nr, who was revealed to be ‘in disguise’ as the original Mar-Vell as part of Marvel’s Secret Invasion storyline. His story required the Skrulls to actually be the deceitful, invading army that the Kree of the film claims them to be, but Khn’nr’s own decisions mirror Carol’s more than many fans may realize. Once Khn’nr realized that he had only been programmed to believe he was Mar-Vell, and a hero, he instead became one. Defying his Skrull superiors and choosing to protect Earth, embracing the new identity and memories he had been given, it’s easy to see how the MCU version takes the best aspects of his story, as well.

While the reveal of Carol Danvers’ official Air Force callsign isn’t revealed until the movie’s final scene, it’s the moment fans are going to be talking about, so we should address it now. Yes, Carol Danvers had a callsign in the comics. And no, it sure wasn’t Carol ‘Avenger’ Danvers. In fact, the name she went by was about as far away from such a badass moniker as you can get.

As Carol explained on a date back in Ms. Marvel #11 (2007), her callsign is (or was) ‘Cheeseburger.’ She got that name the way that people would assume… once they consider the intense g-forces that pilots undergo in training. Apparently Carol decided to enjoy herself a hefty burger before one memorable training session, lost the contents of her stomach, and was forever graced with a name in honor of the disaster. But we guess The Cheeseburger Initiative has less of a ring to it.

Page 3: Nick Fury’s Protector, Goose The Flerken, and Mar-Vell

It’s also worth pointing out that even though Nick Fury changed his famous Avengers Initiative to pay homage to Carol Danvers, the original name he had for his plan was an Easter Egg, too. Uniting superpowered people to act as ‘protectors’ might seem like an unimaginative moniker, but for fans of the Kree Empire, it’s anything but a random designation. Because ‘Protector’ also happens to be the name of another Kree soldier… and eventually, another version of Captain Marvel.

Granted, it took place in an alternate reality, where Noh-Varr was just one of a larger group of Kree diplomats who faced catastrophe, and was eventually stranded on Earth. Noh-Varr eventually adopted a heroic persona in tribute to Mar-Vell, claiming titles like Captain Marvel, Marvel Boy… and yes, Protector.

There’s no question which moment of the movie is guaranteed to be the biggest, most unexpected surprise. And for most older comic fans, they’ll be as convinced as the average moviegoer that Goose the Cat is… well, just a cat. And the irrational fear exhibited by Talos and the Skrulls? Nothing but a joke! But to those who have read Captain Marvel’s more recent comics–particularly her crossover with the Guardians of the Galaxy–the movie is all one big countdown to the Flerken doing what she does best.

Aside from changing the cat’s name from Chewie to Goose (one famous wingman to another), the abilities demonstrated by the Flerken, chiefly the explosion of killer tentacles from inside of its mouth, are exactly the same as the comics. By the end of the movie, Dr. Lawson selecting such a beast as her personal pet makes a lot more sense, knowing that the Kree will someday come calling. And the actual physiology of those tentacles helps explain Goose’s later role, as well.

The biggest twist of the film, and one guaranteed to enrage those already bristling at the feminist conversation surrounding Captain Marvel, is made to Carol’s mentor. To the American government she is simply Dr. Wendy Lawson. But to the universe at large… she is Mar-Vell, the original Kree superhero to bear the title ‘Captain Marvel.’ With a gender swap and some origin story re-imagining, of course.

RELATED: The Captain Marvel Movie’s Many Villains Explained

Marvel Comic fans know that Carol Danvers is not the first to claim the title Captain Marvel, and actually took years to accept the moniker out of respect for its original owner. To her, it was the name earned and owned by Mar-Vell, the Kree hero who accidentally passed his superhuman powers onto her. The MCU ended up falling in line with our own theory that Mar-Vell would be Annette Bening’s character, but actually follows a less shocking re-telling than the latest comics. There, Carol’s Kree mother is the source of her powers. In the film, it’s Mar-Vell’s research that makes Carol superpowered, not her genes.

Before the mysterious power source at the heart of Mar-Vell’s research is revealed to be The Tesseract, the actual faster-than-light aircraft she was designing seems to be most important. In the end it’s simply one use of the Tesseract’s technology. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a terrific Easter Egg for Marvel comics fans. And it all starts with the test aircraft’s official name: ASIS.

The name isn’t random, but drawn directly from the Ultimate Captain Marvel version of the Kree soldier’s backstory. In that parallel Earth, whose costumes and designs have heavily influenced the MCU as a whole, the Asis aircraft was also the brainchild of Dr. Mar-Vell. Or as he’s known in this parallel reality, ‘Geheneris HalaSon Mahr Vehl.’ In that version of the story, Carol Danvers was head of security for the entire project, with the Kree leader transforming himself into Dr. Philip Lawson to help complete the aircraft. A nice nod for the Ultimates fans, even if it will be missed by most.

Considering how long it has been since the first Avengers movie made good on Nick Fury’s ‘Initiative,’ not to mention how much the state of the MCU has changed, audiences can be forgiven for not remembering every tiny detail about the team-up. For starters, the significance of Project Pegasus, the name of the top secret research group working on the Tesseract under Fury’s supervision… oh, and the project originally started by Mar-Vell, to create technology capable of giving the Skrull refugees a homeworld well beyond the reach of the Kree Empire.

The name isn’t brought up much after the opening scenes of The Avengers, but Captain Marvel reveals that Carol Danvers isn’t just responsible for the team’s eventual name, but making sure there was any promising work done by Dr. Lawson at all. Now we just have to wonder how quickly Fury moved from being completely stunned by the existence of alien technology to weaponizing it like Hydra did during World War II.

Page 4: Carol’s Suit Colors, Starforce, and ‘Photon’ Herself

Of all the mysteries surrounding Carol’s journey from Kree soldier to an Avenger in Endgame, none was more obvious than exactly how her green Kree uniform would be transformed into her signature red and blue suit. Not just what would inspire the change, but how it would actually change color, in a practical sense. In the film the colors are revealed to be adjustable with all color combinations apparently possible. Which means an opportunity to pay homage to even more of the hero’s Marvel Comic history.

RELATED: Every MCU Movie Coming After Captain Marvel

The first color shift results in a suit of red, yellow, and black, the color scheme made famous by both the original Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers in her Ms. Marvel persona. The black and silver suit may call back to Jonathan Hickman’ s S.H.I.E.L.D. variant. But it’s the second-to-last combination of white and green that will be best for comic fans. That’s the very first uniform worn by Mar-Vell upon his arrival to Earth, and remains a faithful color scheme for any Kree soldier in the comics universe.

Captain Marvel may not end up being too much of a prequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, but it does help to flesh out the cosmic side of the MCU. In one of the most unexpected and pleasant surprises for Guardians fans, Carol Danvers also makes one of the most often nitpicked elements of James Gunn’s series officially explained, in-canon. We’re referring, of course, to her “universal translator.”

When Carol first attempts to communicate with the security officer in charge of planet C-53’s district (a.k.a. the shopping center security guard parked outside of the Blockbuster Video), he’s initially too stunned to respond. Carol double checks that her “universal translator” is successfully translating her words into English, which it is. But that’s also the explanation that director James Gunn claimed explained human-alien dialogue in Guardians. In other words, not every character in Marvel’s Universe actually speaks English, too. Now it’s official, even if it’s never stated in the Guardians films themselves.

With a name like Ronan the Accuser, you would have expected the title to have come into play when the villain was introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet Ronan’s official rank within the Kree Empire isn’t even referenced in his first MCU film, described as simply a renegade military figure having broken off from the rest of the Kree. Aside from one moment in which he claims that the people of Xandar “you stand accused” of treachery for which he must claim vengeance, it would be safe to assume that he is simply ‘Ronan’ in the MCU, plain and simple.

Captain Marvel helps to clear up the issue, while still making a change to the canon. When detailing Starforce’s mission onto the planet Torfa, Yon-Rogg states that the planet will first be carpet-bombed by “The Accusers.” Eventually, it is revealed to be a name reserved for the heavy Kree warships and their commanders fond of bomb dropping. It’s still a big change from the police force of the comics, but it’s nice to know Ronan once had more company. And just what the Kree consider an appropraite means of accusing their enemies…

With Carol Danvers first seen as a member of Yon-Rogg’s Starforce in trailers, it was hard to see how they would actually remain faithful to the comic book versions. After all, the Starforce was a group of Kree supervillains, artificially enhanced to be stronger and deadlier than the average member of their race. Eventually the movie versions live up to that nefarious legacy as well. But with some clever changes to their names and appearances.

RELATED: Every Member of Captain Marvel’s Starforce Explained

The Kree military uniforms are easy enough to establish a team mentality (more than their comics book costumes, at any rate). But the subtlest detail is the effort made to work their comic book-y names into the language and culture of Hala. Atlas becomes Att-Lass, Doctor Minerva becomes Minn-Erva, with Bron-Char, Korath, and Yon-Rogg rounding out the roster.

There was some early confusion in the plot details surrounding Captain Marvel when it came to her closest friend and fellow test pilot, considering that’s a character most comic fans would know as Monica Rambeau. But thanks to the time jump backwards, it seems Marvel Studios is hedging their bets. In the movie version, it’s Maria Rambeau who is the colleague and peer of Carol Danvers prior to her Kree transformation. Her daughter Monica is still years away from becoming her own form of superhero. Her own version of Captain Marvel, as a matter of fact.

Whether or not future MCU movies (Endgame, perhaps?) deliver on the passage of time and have Carol meet the now-adult Monica, comic fans know her original fate. Monica Rambeau became Captain Marvel herself, before taking the identity of ‘Photon’ among others. That name is also included in the MCU canon as the official callsign used by her mother, Maria.

Monica Rambeau doesn’t get to listen in on the alien antics being discussed between Carol, her mother, Fury, and the Skrulls, but the future Photon does get to make an impact. First, by helping Carol figure out a new color scheme for her Kree bodysuit. And second, by getting a nickname all her own… even if it wasn’t actually hers in the comic books. But we suppose that one admiring ‘Lieutenant Trouble’ is just as well.

In the comics, the pet name was given by Carol to Katherine “Kit” Renner in her modern comics. Carol was a friend to both Kit and her mother Marina when not adventuring in outer space. Since Carol’s days on Earth are destined to be numbered in the MCU, there won’t be much opportunity to make a similar friend. But if a sequel sees a little girl profess to be Carol’s biggest fan, then Kit is as good as canon, as far as we’re concerned.

Page 5: Captain Marvel Goes Binary, Avengers: Endgame Cameo & More!

Carol Danver spends most of the film having her powers reined in, either by her own insecurities and uncertainty, or by the Kree device apparently embedded in her neck to keep her from becoming too powerful for them to control. But when the movie reaches its climactic battle, and Carol decides the time has come to unleash all the power infused into her by Mar-Vell’s light speed engine, the gloves don’t just come off… they burn off. And make way for a version of Captain Marvel fans may not have dreamed they would actually see.

For the record, Captain Marvel still looks like herself most of the time in comics, even when wielding her powers at maximum level. But when pushed to an even higher level, Carol Danvers became something else entirely in the comics: Binary. Taking the form of a flaming warrior is one thing on the comic book page, but seeing Carol Danvers become Binary in the MCU is a sight to behold, as she makes short work of a Kree bombing run once upgrading her output.

Continuing the tradition of Marvel movies using their credits scenes to offer a big tease of the coming threat, and deliver a laugh paying off an earlier joke, it’s the first scene fans are going to be talked about. Technically, the first Captain Marvel credits scene ended up leaking online even before the movie was released to the public, in what looks and sounds to be a scene lifted from Avengers: Endgame. A scene in which the heroes are struggling to decipher just what signal Fury’s pager is sending, and to whom.

It’s then that Carol chooses to appear, searching for Fury (and in for some intensely heartbreaking news). The questions still remain: How did Carol survive/miss the larger Infinity War? Why doesn’t she seem to have aged? Where has she been for the last two decades? At least she seeinf this scene fans know that Endgame will have no choice but to answer at least some of those nagging riddles.

Finally, there’s the other Captain Marvel post-credits scene to talk about. The one that finally explains how the Tesseract was transported out of the stomach(?) of Goose the Cat, and back into the archives of S.H.I.E.L.D. so that it can be researched as part of Project Pegasus’ next evolution. The actual science behind Goose’s ability to consume the Tesseract is a conversation for another day, but thankfully, the Flerken’s propensity for regurgitating is as strong as a normal Earth house cat.

The final post-credits scene confirms that Goose is till hanging around Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. office days, possibly weeks after the events of the movie. Perhaps as a form of peace offering, having cost him his eye with a single swipe, Goose decides to vomit the Tesseract back onto Fury’s desk. Thus completing the timeline issue presented in the film, explaining how the Infinity Stone got from Mar-Vell’s custody into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s.

Hear us out. No, it’s not an insult to say that the presence of a poster for Babe (1995) is also in honor of Carol Danvers. Again, the timing makes enough sense to justify its presence in the Blockbuster, and the singular movie is a solid reference to get audiences laughing. But dig a bit deeper into the story that Babe was telling, and a direct parallel can be drawn between the Sheep-Pig and Carol Danvers, the Human-Kree.

Think about it: Babe is picked up as an object, and placed in the custody of a sheepdog (along with the rest of her young). Eventually, Babe wants nothing more than to be accepted in that same role, as part of that family, but is nevertheless seen as an outsider at odds with expectations. In the end, Babe proves that he can not only be as good at guiding a lost flock as the sheepdogs born into that occupation, but excels based on his own abilities and sheer determination.

Those are all the Easter Eggs, Marvel Comics connections, MCU setups, and pop culture references and inside jokes we could spot on our first viewing of Captain Marvel, but are there any we missed? Be sure to let us know.

MORE: 25 Powers Only True Captain Marvel Fans Know She Has

2019-03-08 02:03:26

Andrew Dyce

25 Family Guy Easter Eggs Even True Fans Missed

There’s plenty of Easter eggs to be found in Family Guy, but even true fans may have missed this list. Created by comedian Seth MacFarlane, the animated comedy has been entertaining viewers for the last few decades. The series is centered around the Griffin family – Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, and Stewie – and a few other regular friends.

Even though there’s a longer story being told in Family Guy, the main purpose it serves is delivering some edgy comedy to anyone who’ll watch. This has taken the show to some potentially offensive areas, but they’ve also managed to cut some of their more offensive material along the way. When Family Guy does work its jokes in, the show does so with a variety of gags. Some are more straightforward, while others can be pop culture or historical references – but there’s also plenty of additional jokes that may have been missed.

Related: 25 Twisted Family Guy Facts That Will Surprise Longtime Fans

Screen Rant’s latest video (featured at the top of this post) takes a look at some of Family Guy‘s best Easter eggs that fans may have missed, even if they’re diehards. Some of these include references to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, a speech from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and a classic scream from cinema, while there’s also plenty of meta-jokes about the people who work on the show or the fact that Family Guy is a show itself. We’ll highlight some more of them below, but check out the video itself for the full list.

As much as Family Guy likes making fun of other things, this list does show how it can have fun with and utilize the people involved with the show directly. There’s been quick mentions of Family Guy being on TV right now thanks to a TV Guide, while there’s even been copies of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story on sale. It’s also included nods to the composers of the show, created characters named after writers, made fun of the popular Robot Chicken show Seth Greene (the voice of Chris) created, and crossed over with other MacFarlane creations – including bringing his rejected pitch Gumbel 2 Gumbel to life.

These Easter eggs are still just a few of the many references compiled in this video, but they’re also just a select group of countless others Family Guy includes. With Fox already renewing the series for an 18th season, there will be even more time for it to continue adding to the collection. Whether they’re more self-referencial, as simple as a missed visual gag, or even callbacks to previous episodes, the writers of Family Guy have given fans no reason to doubt that this level of Easter eggs will continue.

MORE: Family Guy Theory: The Real Reason Not Everyone Can Understand Stewie

2019-03-05 03:03:20

Cooper Hood

Captain Marvel Replaces A Star Wars Easter Egg With Top Gun

The Captain Marvel movie makes a slight alteration to Carol Danvers’ cat, changing a Star Wars franchise Easter egg to a Top Gun one. Just last night, Marvel Studios unveiled the second trailer for their upcoming 2019 blockbuster, attempting to shed more light on the story of the 1990s period piece. Most of the preview showcased all the typical epic action set pieces fans have come to expect from the MCU, highlighting Carol’s incredible powers onscreen. But it ended with a small moment of levity as Nick Fury bonded with Carol’s pet cat.

Making her first appearance in 2006’s Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1, the animal is known to comics readers as Chewie. While Chewie looks like a cat, she’s actually part of the Flerken species and laid 117 eggs. It remains to be seen if this aspect of the character is translated to the big screen, but the filmmakers have already made one notable deviation from the source material. For the film, Chewie has a new name.

Related: Captain Marvel Trailer 2 Breakdown

As revealed in official Captain Marvel movie merchandise and the end of the second trailer, the cute cate Fury fawns over is called Goose. This is most likely a reference to the fan-favorite Top Gun character Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, best friend and wingman to Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

In the comics, Chewie got her name because she reminded Carol of the lovable Wookiee from the Star Wars movies. This would have been a fun reference to see in Captain Marvel, but it should be obvious why things were changed. As most people know, Marvel and Lucasfilm are both properties of Disney, and the Mouse House already has a plethora of Chewie merchandise from all the recent Star Wars movies that have come out (Chewbacca’s been in three of the four released so far, and will return in Episode IX). The studio is interested in avoiding any potential confusion, so it was just easier for all involved to give Captain Marvel’s Chewie a different name. Already a Funko Pop, Goose is probably going to have a large presence in licensed products.

And, of all the replacement names available, Goose is a fittingly appropriate one for the cat. It’s true Carol served in the Air Force (and not the Navy), but she was still a fighter jet pilot like Mitchell and Bradshaw, so there is a connection there. It also speaks to the close bond people have with their pets. If Carol is the Maverick in this scenario, the furry Goose is her close wingman/partner through life. It should be fun to see how their dynamic unfolds in Captain Marvel.

More: Every Captain Marvel Movie Update You Need To Know

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2018-12-06 04:12:00

Captain Marvel Trailer Easter Egg Reveals Infinity Stone Connection

An Easter egg in the Captain Marvel trailer confirms that the movie will involve The Avengers‘ Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. – a subtle tie to the Infinity Stones. Captain Marvel seems to serve as a prequel to the entire Avengers franchise, revealing a never-before-seen early adventure of Nick Fury and Phil Coulson. It appears to show just why Fury became a believer in superheroes, with Captain Marvel serving as the inspiration for the entire Avengers Initiative. But it looks as though the connections may run a lot deeper than that.

Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. is lifted straight from the comics, where it was envisioned as a scientific base in the Adirondack Mountains. It was originally intended to oversee research on alternative forms of energy, but it gradually became a center for some of the world’s most advanced technology. The MCU version was first referenced in Iron Man 2, which revealed that Howard Stark had been involved in the project prior to his death in 1991. It was finally seen on the big screen in The Avengers in 2012, when Loki infiltrated its facility in the Mojave Desert.

Related: Captain Marvel Trailer 2 Breakdown: 38 Story Reveals & Secrets You Missed

The second Captain Marvel trailer has finally confirmed that Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. will appear in the film. One scene in the trailer sees Nick Fury and Carol Danvers steal a Quinjet – one with a P.E.G.A.S.U.S. logo on its wing. It looks like Fury has taken Captain Marvel to a P.E.G.A.S.U.S. base, which makes sense; the Captain Marvel teaser showed a Quinjet flying into space, and even modern Quinjets don’t have that capability. But a P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Quinjet – probably a rarer design, built as a result of a partnership between S.H.I.E.L.D. and NASA – could well be able to do that.

The P.E.G.A.S.U.S. reference is important for another reason, however. It’s important to remember that, in The Avengers, the P.E.G.A.S.U.S. base in the Mojave Desert was the place where S.H.I.E.L.D. was researching the power of the Tesseract. Given the Mojave Desert is primarily located in southern California and Captain Marvel takes place in Los Angeles (while on Earth), it’s quite likely this is the same facility. The Space Stone was retrieved by Howard Stark sometime before his death; he used to work with P.E.G.A.S.U.S., so it’s possible he studied the Tesseract there, and that it remained at the Mojave Desert installation until Loki’s arrival in The Avengers movie.

It’s interesting to note that Ben Mendelsohn’s Captain Marvel character Talos, the Skrull war-leader who has used his shapeshifting powers to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D., appears to lead a security team at the P.E.G.A.S.U.S. base. Is this just a coincidence – or have the Skrulls targeted this specific installation for a reason? The Tesseract may actually be an important part of Captain Marvel‘s plot; perhaps the Skrulls have learned that the Space Stone is on Earth, and their entire invasion is really an attempt to acquire it. There’s a comic book precedent for that idea; in 2007’s Secret Invasion event, the Skrulls focused a phenomenal amount of effort on capturing the advanced technology kept at P.E.G.A.S.U.S., and they could have the same motive here. If this is indeed the case, and if the Tesseract does play a part in this film, then Captain Marvel won’t just be a prequel story for the Avengers franchise; it will instead set the scene for the entire MCU.

More: Captain Marvel: Every Update You Need To Know

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2018-12-05 03:12:21