by Lydia Tan
Easter: That time of the year full of bunnies and coloured eggs and of course, chocolate. But here in Singapore, the Easter weekend is mainly celebrated by the religious, as well as a rare but welcome long weekend break. So to kick off the Good Friday weekend, we went on an Easter egg hunt ourselves, but instead of looking for literal eggs, we looked through some current and upcoming movies to pick out some details you might have missed.
What is an “Easter egg”?
The term “Easter egg” was coined from the 1979 video game Adventure for the Atari 2600 game console. At the time, Atari did not include programmers’ names into the game credits, so Adventure’s programmer Warren Robinett secretly included his own credit in a specific pixel called the “Gray Dot”. By following a series of steps, players could unlock a secret room and reveal the secret message.
The secret was exposed by a player shortly after Robinett left Atari. Instead of removing the message, Atari’s Director of Software Development at the time, Steve Wright, chose to keep it in and encouraged more programmers to include similar messages in subsequent games as “Easter eggs” for consumers to find. This Easter egg plays a key role in Ernest Cline’s 2011 sci-fi novel Ready Player One and its 2018 film adaption of the same name.
In Case You Missed Them…
Here are some Easter eggs you can find in three recent blockbusters and in the trailers of upcoming films.
Fans of the original comic will probably all know that Shazam was the original Captain Marvel but eventually gained his current hero name after a series of legal trademark conflicts. But surprisingly, there are not many blatant jabs at Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel in Shazam! (fans did manage to pick up one possible subtle reference but you can be the judge of that). However, there are two Easter eggs that have been confirmed by Shazam!’s director David F. Sandberg.
The first is in the scene where Billy Batson and his foster brother Freddy are testing Billy’s new powers in his Shazam form. If you look closely in the background, you can make out a logo that says ACE Chemicals. DC fans will recognise that as the factory where the Joker fell into a vat of chemicals that transformed him into his Joker form. Another fun fact: the empty warehouse in that scene was filmed at the Hearn Generating Station outside of Toronto, the same place where the Joker and Harley Quinn acid scene was filmed in Suicide Squad.
The other canon Easter egg can be found in the scene where Billy is talking with a social worker in her office and you can see items with a yellow smiley face covering her desk. If you have read the original Watchmen comics or watched the 2009 movie of the same name, you would know that one of the characters, The Comedian, uses a smiley face as his symbol. A fan tweeted a snapshot of that scene from Shazam!, to which director Sandberg confirmed the reference by posting a picture of The Comedian’s bloodied smiley face symbol among the other smiley face items.
Another bonus Easter egg in this scene: Actress Andi Osho reprises her role as the social worker Emma Glover (as seen here from her nameplate, E.B. Glover) from Sandberg’s directorial debut film Lights Out (2016).
The upcoming Detective Pikachu movie has plenty of Pokémon references to the Pokémon world, from the names of buildings to signages, that eagle-eyed fans have already spotted in the trailers and posters. One of those is the building where Pikachu finds his partner-in-crime Tim Goodman, which has the word OAK written outside in a sort of stylised Japanese font.
This could be a reference to Professor Oak, a Pokémon Professor that appears frequently throughout the Pokémon series. There are also guesses that the address found in Pikachu’s hat seen in the trailer, 1722 Green St., is a reference to Pokémon Green, one of the first Pokémon games released in Japan.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
The new addition to the Spider-Man movie franchise is a sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, and features Peter Parker and his friends heading to Europe for a school trip. In one scene in the trailer where Peter picks up his new passport, fans picked up some notable details from his information page.
First of all, Peter’s original middle name from the comics, Benjamin — taken from his Uncle Ben — has been omitted in his name on the passport. Secondly, his birthday was apparently dated as 14 October in the comics but in the MCU, his birthday is dated as 10 August, referencing the date Spider-Man first appeared in comics. Thirdly and most notable, the years on all the dates have been omitted, which is quite a strange detail to leave out. Maybe this is Marvel’s way of not revealing any details on where this movie fits in the MCU timeline, possibly to avoid spoiling the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Another plausible Easter egg appears when Peter is packing his things for the trip. You can see the initials BFP clearly on the suitcase, which fans have theorised could be the initials of his uncle, Benjamin “Ben” Parker. There is no clear mention of Uncle Ben having a middle name in the comics, so it’s still an open guess as to what that F stands for. Some theories have linked it to Peter’s mum’s maiden name or even the artist’s inspiration for Uncle Ben’s character design.