Easter Eggs In Eternals You Might Have Missed

Watch out! Big spoilers for "Eternals" ahead.

Easter eggs are the part of Easter most children remember. After all, it's fun to hunt for brightly-colored treasures. Cinematic Easter eggs function largely the same way. They're not essential to the plot, but they are treats for die-hard fans, who love to hunt for them while viewing and often begin discussing them as soon as the movie ends. But Easter eggs didn't begin as a game. As academic and historian Carole Levin tells Time, they were first eaten at pagan festivals, or "possibly buried into the ground to encourage fertility."

That definition seems to have nothing to do with Marvel movies. And yet, look at how the studio uses Easter eggs. More than anything, Marvel plants Easter eggs in its films to tease what's next, or to help inspire the future filmmakers who will be crafting new franchise tentpoles. In essence, Marvel's Easter eggs (and I can't believe I'm writing this) are buried in a project to encourage creative fertility.

As ridiculous as that seems, it's hard to argue that Chloe Zhao's "Eternals" isn't primed to catalyze the creation of new Marvel projects, or to recontextualize older ones. And while the film is packed to the gills with hidden pieces of fan service, the idiosyncratic scope of Zhao's film and its characters' origins make its Easter eggs stranger and more grounded in the real world than usual. Here, then, are the 10 best Easter eggs you might have missed while watching Marvel Studios' "Eternals."

Blade is in Eternals

"Are you sure you want to do that, Mr. Whitman?" With these 10 words, the daywalker Blade arrives in the MCU. The vampire hunter made famous by Wesley Snipes is now played by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali, and looks set to receive a solo film sooner rather than later. It's pretty exciting! 

That said, you'd be forgiven for missing Blade's debut, given that he speaks his first MCU dialogue off-screen at the tail end of the second post-credits scene in "Eternals," one which finds Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) in front of a mysterious sword. According to Harington, even he didn't know about the big reveal. "[Chloé] texted me about that a couple of weeks ago and it sort of blew my mind," he told Fandom. "I didn't know that that would be the case, so it's pretty exciting for me."

All of which makes Blade's arrival an Easter egg in the truest sense. It isn't speculative. It's birthing new stuff, and fans had to genuinely dig for information after having seen it.

Dane Whitman has the Ebony Blade (and is likely the Black Knight)

When "Eternals" screened for critics, spoilers for its first mid-credits sequence leaked quicker than Quicksilver doing wind sprints. But that scene, while fun, doesn't have as much meat on its bones as sequence number two, which finds Dane Whitman standing pensively in front of a case bearing his family's crest. He opens the case. A sword lies within, an eerie, obsidian liquid swirling almost imperceptibly on its surface. Dane notes that an inscription in the case reads, "Death is my reward," before saying, "I'm sorry, I have to try." Blade arrives; audience gasps. 

There's a lot to unpack here, so let's begin with the obvious. Dane is in possession of the Ebony Blade, a magical weapon forged by Merlin from a meteorite. The weapon prevents the death of its wielder, yet comes with a curse: Whoever uses it will lust for violence, bloodshed, and death — and will likely cause all three. In the comics, Dane Whitman is just one of the people who has wrangled the Ebony Blade, taking on his family's generational mantle of the Black Knight while doing so.

Further proof that this appears to be where Marvel's heading: In the short-lived but celebrated 2008 comic "Captain Britain and MI-13," the Black Knight and Blade are both part of a makeshift team that battles the forces of mystic darkness. Speaking of which...

Vampires likely exist in the MCU

One of the most charming traits of "Eternals" is how essential its throwaway lines are. A glib joke by Sprite about Ikaris and the Greek myth he inspired winds up revealing the film's thematic core. Kro brings Gilgamesh's sweet nothings back in sinister fashion while fighting his love, Thena. Because Kingo doesn't age, Karun once assumed he was a vampire, and tried to stab him with a wooden stake. It's a funny image. It's also a telling one.

While it seems obvious to assume Blade would battle the infamous monsters he's known for hunting, it has remained a question, given Marvel's affinity for PG-13 ratings and the ever-expanding scope of the MCU. Would Feige really add vampires to the fold? This is the latest suggestion that, yes, he would and will. In episode 4 of "Loki" (another cornerstone of Marvel's Phase Four), Mobius claims that the TVA has successfully arrested "Kree, Skrulls, and vampires," among other creatures. "Morbius," the Spider-Man spin-off starring the so-called "living vampire," arrives this January, with an appearance by the MCU's Vulture himself, Michael Keaton. 

There's no telling what this will add up to, but it isn't hard to imagine a film in which Dane Whitman is the audience's guide to a dark, heretofore unseen corner of the MCU, or a post-credits scene in "Morbius" that reveals Blade on-screen. All the throwaway lines are adding up.

Star Wars and DC Comics exist in the MCU

Okay, it's possible to argue that the "Eternals" line confirming that "Star Wars" exists in the MCU isn't an Easter egg in the strictest sense, given that Peter Parker, cinephile, already made an oblique reference to "The Empire Strikes Back" during "Captain America: Civil War." That said, Jack's reference to Superman when he meets Ikaris (both glib and slyly on the nose, given what Chloe Zhao has to say) is new and totally head-spinning.

Mentioning Superman in a Marvel movie is like, to reference another movie that may or may not exist in the MCU, crossing the streams from a proton pack — you're not supposed to do it. The Big Two and their properties have historically existed in a state of tenuous separation. That being said, in the comics, they have crossed over before: notably, "Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man" was released in 1976, while 1996's "DC vs. Marvel" miniseries yielded the short-lived Amalgam Comics. 

And while a reference to DC Comics in a Jack Kirby-created property makes more sense than, say, dropping a nod in "Guardians of the Galaxy," Jack knowing who Superman is raises questions. Did his iconic red and blue outfit inspire Captain America's (Superman was created in 1938, years before the super soldier serum)? Has the MCU's version of DC Comics shifted its storytelling since superheroes started to exist in the real world? I have a headache just beginning to think about it, making this an Easter egg best left unexplored further.

The strange romantic tension between Thena and Kro has comic book origins

It's easy to miss, but there's a subplot in "Eternals" that plumbs how easily knowledge can lead to evil deeds, and how heroism is as much about confronting deep truths as it is leaping tall buildings. These lessons are primarily explored through Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Kro (Bill Skarsgård). 

The former is an Eternal who inspired Greek legends, and the latter is the Deviants' leader. In the film, Thena is driven to near insanity by the mahd w'yry, in which the collective volume and weight of an Eternals' memories rip their consciousness from the present moment, often with dire consequences. Kro, meanwhile, absorbs the memories of Gilgamesh (Don Lee) when he beats him in combat, and uses them to attack Thena's already fragile psyche. The ensuing confrontation is frightening and uncomfortably sensual.

That sensuality isn't as random as it might appear at first glance. Though Jolie and Skarsgård's performances only hint at it, the tension between these two characters does, in fact, have loaded and romantic origins. In "Eternals" volume 2, Thena and Kro meet, fall in love, and eventually procreate, forming a nuclear family unit during their time on Earth. Like the gender-swapping of Makkari or Kingo's new origin, the battle between Thena and Kro represents a deliberate nod to and a subversion of the source material.

The Eternals' ship and the film's dinner table sequence presage Thor: Love and Thunder

The reveal of the Domo, a ship the Eternals use to journey from their home world of Olympia to Earth, is one of the more visually stirring moments of "Eternals." In comics lore, however, Domo has an equally stirring history. Domo is an administrator on Olympia who answers to the city's Prime Elders, most frequently Zuras. If that name resembles Zeus, as in "Zeus of Greek mythology," to you, keep reading.

In Earth-616 canon, the Greek gods Zeus and Athena form an alliance with both Zuras and his daughter Azura: The Eternals will act as emissaries of the Greek gods on Earth, better enabling them to both conduct their rule and to be worshiped from afar. As a token of respect, Azura takes the name Thena. Given that Thena survives the film, her history with Zeus, and the Easter egg referencing Zuras, a reunion between Thena and Zeus seems imminent — especially since that latter is set to appear in "Thor: Love & Thunder." Thor was last seen amongst the space-faring Guardians of the Galaxy, and the first "Eternals" credits scene finds Thena headed into the cosmos herself. A collision seems inevitable.

In addition, the Eternals talk about wrestling with Thor as children during the family dinner sequence, directly implying that these characters have a history in the MCU as well as in the comics.

Makkari has collected both Excalibur and the Emerald Tablet

Now that tentpole films filled with Easter eggs are the rule rather than the exception, a certain type of scene has become commonplace: one overloaded with background details that double as references. These are scenes designed for pause buttons, or inspiring Reddit thread after Reddit thread. I call it the "cabin cellar" scene, inspired by the sequence in "Cabin in the Woods" where the film's teenage heroes descend into the titular cabin's cellar and find a melange of objects, each one promising a different storytelling possibility. Even "Eternals," which is meant to exist somewhat apart from the usual Marvel machinery, has a cabin cellar scene, and boy howdy is it loaded.

A decent amount of time into the movie, the Eternals unearth the Domo from its desert lodgings and board to find Makkari, surrounded by both pop culture ephemera and ancient artifacts. Two of the most visible objects in her possession are Excalibur and the Emerald Tablet. Excalibur, of course, is the fabled sword of King Arthur, which opens the door to both the famed Marvel villain Morgan LaFey and also the superhero team known as Excalibur. In that same sequence, Druig also points out that Makkari has the Emerald Tablet, meant to bear resemblance both in power set and appearance to the philosopher's stone, the basis for all alchemy. But that's not all that's on the ship...

Moon Knight's armor possibly shows up, too

By the time you read this, we may have our first official look at Oscar Isaac in the highly anticipated "Moon Knight" series on Disney+. If not, however, "Eternals" may offer our biggest clues yet as to both that show's aesthetics and where a portion of it might be set. 

While aboard the Domo, Makarri is seen perusing various tomes. In the right-hand corner, you can glimpse a statue adorned with ancient Egyptian clothing. In the statue's right hand rests a silver staff. Around its neck is an ankh, an essential symbol of Egyptian culture, and one deeply connected to Moon Knight and his origin story. Furthermore, the silver staff was one of the Fist of Khonshu's first and most iconic weapons. 

All of this points to a deliberate Moon Knight tease, the sort that Marvel has been doing for years now, but is coming at a faster clip as of late — and one that strongly indicates that an Eternals and Moon Knight crossover might not be too far off.

Kingo has Captain America's shield

Phase Four has introduced many unexpected elements to the MCU, ranging from witches to sentient timepieces. However, the most surprising addition is musical numbers. Musical numbers. If you'd suggested five years ago that Marvel would be cranking out Emmy-award winning bops and staging fictional Broadway shows in its shows and movies, someone would've directed you to "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" while chortling. 

Now, it's a reality, which, perhaps, makes it little surprise that Kingo has incorporated Captain America shields into his latest Bollywood epic, one whose filming is interrupted when the Eternals come to inform him that Ajak is dead. While it isn't clear if Kingo's project is a direct retelling of Captain America's origin story, Kingo's backup dancers can be seen holding Steve Rogers' iconic shield, suggesting some kind of major connection.

Even stranger, though, is that Kingo appears to possess Steve's original shield from "Captain America: The First Avenger," which can be seen on his private plane when he takes the crew to retrieve Gilgamesh and Thena. Is Kingo owning the shield representative of a character quirk? Or does his staging of the show and his possession of the shield suggest that a larger design is at play? Either way, here's hoping someone sings about it sooner rather than later.

The Deviants' arrival retcons an Avengers: Age of Ultron moment

More often than not we, as audience members, watch Marvel planting seeds for the future. Recently, however, Marvel films have also started digging deep into the studio's past. "Avengers: Endgame" made a point to send its heroes back in time, retconning "Thor: The Dark World" in the process. "Loki" broke time itself. So, it's little wonder that "Eternals," which deliberately spans thousands of years, manages to retcon a major moment in Joss Whedon's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it sequence.

When Ajak details the arrival of the Deviants post-blip for Ikaris, the film cuts to the moment they collectively crash onto Earth. If that looks familiar, it appears to be by design. Recall that, during "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Thor enters the Water of Sight in an attempt to understand how he and his companions might stall Ultron's rise. Among the many things he sees: a large mass colliding with Earth. 

While viewers at the time assumed that "extinction" event was referencing Thanos (who the MCU was clearly building up as its big bad), it appears now that it was actually the Deviants' arrival which, in turn, preceded Taimut's birth and the extinction of the planet. Given that the Eternals and Thor appear destined to meet sooner rather than later, this nifty bit of retconning is likely to improve with time. For Marvel, both the past and the future look bright.