Like many an arachnid, Spider-Man: Far From Home is chock-full of eggs. No, not terrifying larvae-filled eggs – at least, not that we noticed – but metaphorical pop culture EASTER eggs, aka hidden references, callbacks and jokes referencing other Marvel movies, the original comics and more.
We’ve collected some of our favourite references and easter eggs below, but fair warning – the film is unusually full of fun callbacks like these, so we’ve almost certainly missed a few that we’ll add in later when we’ve had a chance to watch again.
For now, though, let’s kick off with an obvious one…
Video killed the Avengers star
The tribute video that opens the film (well, more or less) is obviously a callback to Avengers: Endgame (and Infinity War), reminding audiences of the heroes now lost or retired (Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Vision) to the strains of Dolly Partons “I Will Always Love You” while the news report fills us in on how Thanos’ finger snap affected the world.
However, the sequence is also a subtle callback to the first MCU Spider-Man movie Homecoming, which also opened with a fan-made video of earlier superhero action. In that case, however, it was Peter (Tom Holland) himself who’d made the video based on his adventures during Captain America: Civil War.
My Peter-tingle is sensing!
Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel, HF)
Spider-Man: Homecoming largely ignored Peter’s trademark danger-sensing power, aka his “Spider-Sense,” but after it was debuted in Avengers: Infinity War it plays a large part in Far From Home’s story.
However, it’s never referred to as his “Spider-sense,” with both May and Happy Hogan (Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau) referring to it as a “Peter-Tingle,” much to Peter’s disgust.
Uncle Ben lives on
While Peter’s famed Uncle Ben (he of the “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” speech) has yet to be directly referenced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the initials on Peter’s old suitcase (BFP) suggest that Ben Parker remains a presence in his nephew’s life.
Blink and you’ll miss it, but when on the plane to Europe Peter flicks through a selection of Avengers-themed documentaries including Wakanda Rising (making reference to Black Panther’s kingdom) and one called “The Snap” with a logo of Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet.
In the end, Peter opts to check out Heart of Iron: The Tony Stark story, just in case he wasn’t sad enough already.
The water Elemental Peter and Mysterio battle in Venice may remind some fans of classic comics (and TV cartoon) foe Hydro-Man – and Far From Home is quick to acknowledge the connection.
Long before anyone knows the true nature of the monster, Flash (Tony Revolori) tells everyone that news site Buzzfeed is suggesting that a sailor called Morris Bench, who was involved in a nuclear test gone wrong, could be the water creature.
Fans will quickly recognise that backstory as belonging to the original Hydro-Man – and while it doesn’t turn out to be true, it’s a nice nod to the older character.
Particularly eagle-eyed fans might also notice that in another shot in Venice, Ned (Jacob Batalon) has a picture taken in front of a boat that reads “ASM 212” – almost certainly a reference to Amazing Spider-Man issue 212, which marked Hydro-Man’s debut.
Of course, the water creature isn’t the only Elemental to bear resemblance to a classic Spider-Man foe, and the use of clever nods to comic-book numbering continues throughout the film.
For example, when Nick, Maria and Mysterio take on a kind of rock monster who bears resemblance to Spider-Man baddie Sandman, a nearby numberplate says “463” – almost certainly a reference to Amazing Spider-Man issue 4, which came out in 1963 and marked the Sandman’s first appearance.
The lava-like Elemental in Prague, meanwhile, isn’t a million miles away from Spider-Man villain The Molten Man, and accordingly a numberplate in that scene reads 2865 SEP – a callback to Amazing Spider-Man issue 28, which came out in SEPTEMBER 1965 and introduced that particular character.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Wong in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel, HF)
It’s so central to the story that it barely needs mentioning, but the glasses Peter inherits from Tony in this movie have been in a few previous Marvel movies, most notably Avengers: Infinity War (see above image) and Endgame.
The “Edith” system contained within them hasn’t turned up before, with the glasses instead able to perform all sorts of other functions, so presumably this is a specific new interface Tony built during the so-called “blip”.
Into the Spider-Verse
While this is later revealed to be a lie, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) claims to hail from a parallel universe, dubbing his world “Universe 833” and the main MCU “Universe 616.”
To hardcore comic-book fans the latter should have already been a clue as to Mysterio’s duplicity, as 616 is the designation given to the universe of the comics – i.e., the continuing stories that have existed in print form since the 1960s.
Realistically, the Marvel movie universe – which is significantly different to the comics – couldn’t possibly be considered the same universe, and in fact the movies have already been officially classed as taking place on Earth-199999.
Earth-833, meanwhile, is an interesting choice for Mysterio to choose as his fictional homeworld, as it too has a comic-book history. Turning up in the “Spider-Verse” crossover comic that inspired 2018 animation Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Earth-833 was the home of a UK version of the webbed hero called Spider-UK, and the universe was destroyed (just like Mysterio says his was).
This could possibly be a reference to star Tom Holland’s British background, or they could have just taken a universe number out of a hat. Who knows!
The missing Avengers
When asking where the other Avengers who could help out are, Spider-Man namechecks Thor, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel, only to be told that they’re “off-world”, “unavailable” and not to “invoke her name” respectively.
While we saw Thor leave Earth in Avengers: Endgame it’s unclear where Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel are, and given that in the second post-credits scene Talos (having imitated Nick Fury) admits he has no idea where the Avengers are, it could be that Cumberbatch’s sorcerer supreme and Larson’s ex-Kree warrior are off on mysterious missions we don’t know anything about.
One consequence, however, of their absence is that Far From Home’s shocking conclusion – where Peter is named as Spider-Man and framed for Mysterio’s attacks – hits home even harder, with even the other superheroes Spidey could turn to for help out of reach. Truly, he’s on his own this time.
The technology Mysterio uses to create his illusions has actually cropped up in the MCU before, most notably in a scene during Captain America: Civil War where Tony demonstrates the tech to MIT students using an old argument he had with his parents.
In Far From Home, we learn that future Mysterio Quentin Beck was present at that presentation – new footage places Jake Gyllenhaal just offstage watching – and had actually invented the tech, and was furious that Stark renamed it Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing as an apparent joke and didn’t see its potential beyond reliving memories.
Notably, the BARF technology was also used as a red herring by Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, with the pair claiming that the film’s time-travel scenes (some of which were snapped by photographers during filming) were all a simulation. This turned out to be misinformation, but the pair went as far as to include a briefcase on set with B.A.R.F. written on it.
“Tony Stark was able to build this, in a cave…with a box of scraps!”
One of Far From Home’s most bizarre deep cuts is bringing back a character from the original 2008 Iron Man, specifically the technician who was memorably yelled at by Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane (the specific quote becoming one of Iron Man’s best known).
Called William Ginter Riva, the technician was played by actor, director and producer Peter Billingsley, known for his lead role in 1983’s A Christmas Story as a child actor and for his producing and directing work on films including Couples’ Retreat, Four Christmases and, er, Iron Man, which he executive produced.
Presumably fired after siding with Stane, William joins Quentin Beck’s crew of dispossessed ex-Stark employees, and plays a fairly large role in Far From Home.
A Master of Illusion
When Mysterio inflicts a terrifying vision upon Spider-Man, it can’t help but remind fans of when he’s pulled off similar tricks in the comics – but the most notable crossover comes when a giant Mysterio appears and tries to grab Spider-Man, in what seems to be a deliberate callback to a classic Mysterio story where he tricks Spider-Man into believing he’s been shrunk using sets, holograms and post-hypnotic suggestion (specifically in Amazing Spider-Man issues 66-67).
Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home (Marvel)Marvel
Look closely during the scene where Peter synthesises himself a new Spider-suit, and you’ll notice that Tony Stark had a few other Peter-friendly designs on the go before he died.
One design previously revealed in trailers is the red-gold comic-book version of the Infinity War “Iron Spider” suit, while others appear to include the green and black Stealth Costume from the Big Time Spider-Man comic storyline (the suit also appears in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the PS4 Spider-Man game).
The new suit Peter eventually makes, meanwhile, has another interesting link to the comics, with the black under-colouring (instead of the usual blue) reflecting how Spider-Man’s suit looked in his very first comic-book appearances, before his suit colouring had been finalised.
The webbing glider “wings” under his arms also formed a part of this original suit.
Iron Man Mk 2
While Peter crafts his suit, Iron Man’s old pal Happy (Jon Favreau) notices the same thing as the audience – namely, that Peter’s technique is very similar to how Tony Stark himself created his Iron Man suits, right down to the way he slides his arm into a virtual gauntlet to test it out.
Accordingly, Happy suggests the perfect music choice to accompany him – AC/DC’s Back in Black, one of Tony’s favourite songs and one used in the very first Iron Man movie.
The shield that guards the realms of (Iron) Men
Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: Civil War (Marvel, HF)
When Happy, MJ, Ned, Betty and Flash are menaced by killer drones in the Tower of London, Happy attempts to see off a foe by lobbing a metal shield, only to miss entirely and have the shield clatter along the floor uselessly.
“How does Cap do that???” Happy shouts, unable to imitate Captain America’s (Chris Evans) signature shield-flinging move.
Get him pictures of Spider-Man!!
Spider-Man: Far From Home’s first post-credits scene adds a massive twist ending to the movie, as Peter Parker’s identity is revealed and he’s framed for Mysterio’s crimes.
But for fans, the delivery of this information will be even more exciting than the twist itself, as the big scoop was revealed by TheDailyBugle.Net, Peter Parker’s famous comic-book place of employment reimagined as a controversial online news source.
And in charge of that website? None other than iconic Spider-Man pest J Jonah Jameson, a longtime critic and thorn in the side of the webslinger who was memorably played by JK Simmons in the original Tobey Maguire-starring Spider-Man trilogy.
For years, fans have said Simmons was irreplaceable as Jameson, and it seems that Sony agrees, because in an unprecedented move the MCU version of the character is ALSO played by Simmons. Clearly, Jameson’s hatred of that masked menace pulled him across dimensions!
Skrull and void
Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and an underling in Captain Marvel (Disney)
The second post-credits scene, meanwhile, calls back to a much more recent superhero adventure – the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel, and more specifically the shapeshifting Skrulls who go from villains to allies throughout the course of that film.
In Far From Home it’s revealed that the Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Samuel L Jackson and Cobie Smulders) Spidey has been dealing with are actually Skrull imposters, specifically Ben Mendelsohn’s leader Talos (Mendelsohn reprising his Captain Marvel role) and one of his associates.
The real Nick Fury, meanwhile, is enjoying a holiday onboard a Skrull ship, which demonstrates the increased prosperity of the race following their dark days in Captain Marvel.