Eagle-eyed fans who have seen Avengers: Endgame have noticed one extra, unannounced character in the movie’s climactic battle against Thanos, and it’s none other than Howard the Duck.
While the cameo may not directly set up Howard’s own show, Howard the Duck on Hulu — more on that below — the alien waterfowl’s tendency to crack wise jokes and hilariously break the fourth wall means Howard may end up ranting about saving the universe and no one giving a damn in his animated series.
Minor spoilers for Avengers: Endgame ahead.
If you missed Howard the Duck in Avengers: Endgame, he appears during the final strike against Thanos, when Captain America calls upon the Marvel Universe to “assemble” — a moment that will live on in eternity. The previously lost forces of Asgard, Wakanda, and the Mystic Sorcerers band together, along with the lost heroes, including Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Wasp, Wanda, the Falcon, and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
There’s one surprise participant who steps through Doctor Strange’s portals, though. It’s Howard the Duck, and he’s wielding a BFG right out of DOOM.
Unfortunately, Howard the Duck (created by the late Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik) doesn’t get any badass moments in Endgame, as he pretty much disappears following his brief cameo. But for a single moment, he’s right there, behind Evangeline Lily’s the Wasp and a handful of alien warriors.
If you recall, Howard the Duck has been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his appearance (voiced by Seth Green) in the post-credits of Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. Green reprised the role of Howard the Duck again in a bit part for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 2017. And now, Howard’s back (though he doesn’t say anything) in Avengers: Endgame.
Fans on Reddit, notably the enthusiasts who frequent r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers, picked up on Howard the Duck’s cameo during the film’s opening weekend. (Presumably on second or even third re-watches.) On Sunday, user BoneDaddy2224 posted that Howard the Duck had a cameo in Endgame and proved it with a screenshot. While the film has yet to be legally available on home media, some of Inverse’s own staff members confirmed the cameo after repeat viewings.
Howard the Duck’s cameo is less about Howard the Duck, who is by all accounts a great and important Marvel character. The cameo might be more about Marvel cementing its mark as a diverse and wildly successful film franchise. After grossing $1 billion in its opening weekend, that status is undisputed.
It’s also comically unfortunate that an alien duck got to hang with the Avengers sooner than Marvel TV heroes like Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, the Punisher, and Luke Cage. Sure, a blind ninja and a guy with a bunch of guns might be useless against Thanos, but you could say the same thing about the Winter Soldier, and Bucky was right there with everyone else.
Howard the Duck on Hulu
Being that the series is going to be overseen by Jeph Loeb, the head of Marvel Television, whose fictional characters rarely acknowledge the events of the films — Jessica Jones could never say “Captain America,” instead calling him “the flag-waver” while the cataclysmic events of Infinity War never once affected the TV shows — it seems unlikely that Avengers: Endgame should be considered a prelude of sorts for Howard the Duck.
But just expect Howard to brag about saving the universe any chance he gets.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now.