12 Times Creators Left Hidden Nods and Tributes Inside Their Movies
Sometimes small hidden marks in movies can be as important as what’s in the script, and even play a role in helping audiences understand the plot of the film. Spotting these little nods and tributes can be fun for the observant viewer. It can also give the audience more information about the creators of our favorite movies than any biography.
1. The Shakespeare bust in The Batman (2022) and Batman (1966)
In The Batman (2022), a bust of William Shakespeare can be seen near Alfred at Wayne Manor. This was a sly reference to the 1966 Batman TV series where Shakespeare’s head contained a secret button when pushed, leading to the entrance of the Bat Cave.
2. The perfect timing in Doc and Marty’s shot
In Back to the Future Part III, when Doc and Marty were taking a picture with the new clock for the clock tower, the time was 08:08. This was a subtle nod to the 88 miles per hour the DeLorean needs to travel through time.
3. The sweet tribute to Stan Lee in Spider-man: No Way Home
Stan Lee, one of the creators of the Spider-man comic book, was the subject of one Easter egg in Spider-man: No Way Home. In the scene where Spider-man was about to face Doc Ock, Stan Lee’s birthday, December 28 or 12-28, can be seen on top of the taxicab behind him.
4. The hidden Star Wars symbols in Raiders of the Lost Ark
In the scene where Indiana Jones was lifting the ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark, a pillar with ancient symbols can be seen beside him. Eagle-eyed fans noticed that, if you look closely, a doodle of droids R2-D2 and C-3PO were inscribed. This was a nod to Harrison Ford’s character in the Star Wars movies, Han Solo.
5. This subtle Wolverine Easter egg in The Greatest Showman
When the credits roll in The Greatest Showman, you can see a nifty detail tucked in the corners of executive producer James Mangold’s frame. It turns out that Mangold is also the director of Logan, a box office film led by the star of both films, Hugh Jackman.
6. The familiar alien language in Men in Black
In the pantry scene in Men in Black, worm-like aliens grabbing cups of coffee can be heard speaking in “Huttese,” a language spoken by yet another famous alien in another universe— Jabba the Hutt from the Star Wars franchise.
7. This tribute in Top Gun: Maverick
If you look closely at the jukebox scene in Top Gun: Maverick, Lt. Jake “Hangman” Seresin can be seen dialing “86” to turn on Foghat’s Slow Ride. This seems like a callback to the year when the first Top Gun movie was released, 1986.
8. This playful homage in Frankenweenie
When all animals turn into Kaiju-like creatures in Frankenweenie, we can see the pet turtle, Shelley, ravaging the town. This may be seen as an homage to the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, who created the story the movie is based on. It can also be a nod to actress Shelley Duvall who starred in the 1984 short of the same name.
9. This clever callback in Bullet Train
When Lemon labeled “The Son” as a “Percy” and put a Percy sticker from Thomas and friends on his forehead in Bullet Train, it was a quick reference to actor Logan Lerman’s time as the beloved Percy Jackson in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians franchise.
10. This shoutout to a high school icon in Do Revenge
Do Revenge is packed with many 1990s film references, and one that stood out was a glimpse of a building’s name, “Horowitz Hall.” It may serve as a nod to Clueless’s queen bee, Cher Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone, a ’90s teenage icon.
11. This cool pantheon in Thor: Love and Thunder
Among the Greek and Norse Gods, other mythological characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to life in Thor: Love and Thunder. Bast, the Wakandan panther goddess, and Kukulkan, a Mayan winged wind serpent deity, can be seen sitting in front of Thor and his buddies.
12. This university shoutout in Coraline
Coraline’s producer, Bill Mechanic, showed some love to his alma mater by having the blue-haired heroine’s workaholic dad wear a green Michigan State University sweater. The mechanic even came back on campus to do a screening of the film.