Fans love Easter eggs in movies. They’re little nods to the mythology and lore. It tells fans “we see you. We appreciate you. And this is part of something bigger.” In the beginning, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was king of Easter eggs. There were tons of little tidbits thrown into Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor that hinted at a larger universe. They got fans excited at the prospect of everything being connected and that we might finally get the cinematic universe we’ve been hoping for. And it was true! The MCU is incredibly expansive and everything it promised to be. But there’s a cost to everything. And in the MCU’s case, the cost is the end of Easter eggs.
Not that MCU filmmakers want to end Easter eggs. It’s not something anyone will do on purpose. It’s just the consequence of a truly connected universe. We’ve already seen this in the comics. Nobody reads a Marvel book and points out something as an Easter egg. It’s just expected to be there.
The Hawkeye TV series highlights this point. In an early scene in the finale, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) are preparing trick arrows for the final battle. Clint uses Stark tech and Pym technology to craft the arrowheads. Would MCU fans consider this an Easter egg? Personally, I wouldn’t. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) are solidified in the MCU. We’ve seen Clint in past MCU films interacting with Stark and Ant-Man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). So he obviously knows they exist and would have access to their devices. It’s neither a wink nor nod; just a reasonable development to the story.
But what if there was no MCU? What if Hawkeye was a standalone show without an established world? Then including Stark and Pym’s name would absolutely be considered Easter eggs. Casual filmgoers unfamiliar with the comics would have no idea what those logos were referencing. But comic fans excited about the prospect that Hawkeye might share a universe with other heroes would love to see that. That’s then way it was before Iron Man‘s release in 2009.
There’s obviously more stories to tell in the MCU. They will never put out enough shows and movies to rival the capabilities of the comics, though it certainly seems they’re trying. And if they are successful in expanding this universe to enormous lengths, it would only be a logical consequence that there will be no more Easter eggs in the MCU. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, as fans are finally getting what they always wanted.
It is nice to get that wink every once in awhile, though.
Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+