At last, Spider-Man: Homecoming is here, and another Marvel movie means another round of Easter eggs to uncover. In Jon Watts’s new film, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is back home in Queens after webbing up the Avengers in Germany. Under the tough-but-fair guidance of Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), Spidey learns the true responsibility that comes with being a superhero as he squares off against his first nemesis, the Vulture (Michael Keaton).
Set a few years after the Avengers’ epic battle against the Chitauri invasion, in what is known as the “Battle of New York,” Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place just two months after last year’s Captain America: Civil War. As Peter is dropped back into his old life, he investigates the criminal activities of the Vulture, who has been modifying Chitauri salvage and selling them to criminals all around New York.
Although it’s helpful to have some prior knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming mostly stands on its own, with little nods at the interconnected MCU and the comic books from which all these movies come. For your convenience, here’s a round-up of all the important Easter eggs Marvel fans should keep their eye open for when Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters this weekend.
Spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming are below.
Principal Morita, grandson of a Howling Commando
In 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, actor Kenneth Choi plays Jim Morita, a Japanese-American soldier (“I’m from Fresno, ace.”) who joins Captain America as one of the legendary Howling Commandos. Now, in 2017, Choi returns as Jim Morita’s descendant, the principal of Midtown School of Science and Technology. In several scenes in Homecoming, Morita has keepsake photos of his ancestor with the other Commandos in World War II.
Meet the Scorpion (and the Sinister Six?)
Although Michael Keaton plays the film’s primary villain, the Vulture, another member of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery makes his MCU debut: the Scorpion. Identified by name by the FBI, Mac Gargan (Michael Mando) doesn’t wear a fancy costume, but eagle-eyed fans can see his scorpion tattoo on his neck. He first appears at the State Island Ferry, and returns in the post-credits scene in which he tells Vulture about a group who want Spidey’s real name. Is this beginning of the formation of the Sinister Six?
“Of Human Bondage”
During gym class, the gleefully nihilistic Michelle (Zendaya) isn’t paying attention to the square-jawed Captain America (appearing via a cheesy PSA video); instead, she’s engrossed in W. Somerset Maugham’s 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. The book, considered a masterpiece in the genre of coming of age tales, is about a boy who is orphaned and sent to live with his aunt and uncle. Hmm, you know, that premise sounds oddly familiar.
Prowling for Miles Morales
Fan-favorite character Miles Morales, who took over as Spider-Man in the parallel Ultimate Marvel universe, hasn’t debuted in the MCU yet. But a throwaway line by Aaron Davis (Donald Glover), in which he expresses concern about his nephew, is the biggest gesture yet towards the future Spidey. In the comics, Aaron Davis (aka the Prowler) was Miles’s uncle, on his mother’s side.
Speaking of the Prowler, during his first scene when he’s perusing the Shocker’s illicit wares, Davis expresses interest in some grappling equipment… which speaks to Davis’s skills as a master thief.
Spidey sense is tingling…
Unlike previous Spider-Man movies, there isn’t a lot of attention paid towards Peter’s “Spider-Sense.” But during one of the film’s most important scenes, Parker looks down on his mask in a puddle with half of his face reflecting back at him. It’s a nod to how Steve Ditko visualized the Spidey-Sense in the comics.
Oh, and speaking of that scene…
If This Be His Destiny
In issue #33 of The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the final installment of a three-part arc, Peter Parker has to find Doc Ock to obtain a cure for a gravely ill Aunt May. Trapped underneath rubble, Peter breaks free by sheer force of will as he’s doused by flowing water. The iconic moment is recreated in Homecoming when Peter frees himself to hunt down the Vulture on the night of his school’s Homecoming dance.
Early in the film, a Stark-financed group called Damage Control takes over the cleanup of New York following the Chitauri invasion in 2012’s The Avengers. This isn’t the first time Damage Control has been seen; they previously appeared in Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A half-hour comedy about the group, from Daily Show producer Ben Karlin, was announced by ABC back in October 2015. As of now, the show has yet to receive a green light.
“Remember that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back?”
Remember when Spider-Man showed his age in Captain America: Civil War? And remember how he used Luke Skywalker’s strategy on Hoth to take down Giant-Man? Well, it’s pretty weird that he called Star Wars “that really old movie,” since he and Ned are colossal nerds and build a Lego Death Star together in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Good Morning, Betty Brant
Midtown High’s morning news is co-anchored by Betty Brant, played by Angourie Rice (The Beguiled). In the comics, Betty Brant is J. Jonah Jameson’s assistant at the Daily Bugle, who makes sure the mustachioed editor doesn’t suffer a heart attack when he doesn’t get pictures of Spidey. Elizabeth Banks played the character in the original film trilogy by Sam Raimi.
“Karen” knows J.a.R.V.I.S., IRL
When Peter and Ned hack Spidey’s fancy suit to unlock all of its features, Peter is greeted by “Karen,” an A.I. Peter depends on and with whom he even confides some of his personal problems. Sort of like Tony Stark did to J.a.R.V.I.S. So it’s fitting that “Karen” is voiced by actress Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth), who in real life is married to Paul Bettany, who voiced J.a.R.V.I.S. until he became Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
No one can pronounce the name of Thor’s belt
Although Thor is M.I.A. (and will return this November in Thor: Ragnarok), Stark has some gifts waiting for him and even his frenemy, Captain America. While Steve will get a fancy new shield, Stark has a belt for Thor: Megingjörð, which Happy (Jon Favreau) couldn’t pronounce. Also, there aren’t many pictures of Megingjörð, but you can buy Thor belts of your own!.
Happy has been waiting since 2008
When Peter Parker made the “adult” decision to continue fighting crime at his level and not join the Avengers, Tony Stark resorts to getting engaged with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow, in a surprise cameo) to make a room full of impatient journalists (not bloggers) happy. When Tony asks for a ring, Happy remarks that he’s had one in his pocket since 2008. That year, of course, was the beginning of the MCU, with Favreau’s Iron Man kicking off this whole shebang.
Michelle’s real name
Michelle’s real name is Mary. We shouldn’t have to explain this one.
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters July 7.Photos via Marvel Entertainment, StylinOnline, Sony Pictures