The 25 Coolest Easter Eggs of the Last 25 Years

Contributed by

September 2017 is Syfy’s 25th anniversary, so we’re using it as an excuse to look back and celebrate the last 25 years of ALL science fiction, fantasy and horror, a time that has seen the genres we love conquer the world of pop culture. For us, that means lists! ALL THE LISTS! We’ll be doing two “25 greatest” lists per day all throughout September, looking back at the moments, people, and characters that shaped the last quarter century. So keep checking back. Please note: Our lists are not ranked; all items have equal standing in our brains.

What items in our lists were your favorites? Did we miss something? We welcome respectful debate and discussion, so please let us know in the comments!

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS

They can be references to other classics in the genre, or straight up links to a director’s previous works—but regardless of the form they come in, Easter Eggs are always a fun thing to discover. Some are glaring right at you, while others may only become apparent the fifth time you watch something. Some Easter Eggs are so well hidden, that it can be years after a film’s release that they are discovered. Video games can have them, too, and occasionally, a random stroll off the beaten path can cause you to discover something hysterical, if not something necessary to advance the game. Grab a cup of Slusho, get ready to nuke a fridge, and avoid the Sumatran Rat Monkey, as we take a look at the 25 coolest Easter eggs from the last 25 years!

01

Betty Ross’ gift of Stretchy Purple Pants – The Incredible Hulk

In the only Hulk stand-alone film that the MCU has done so far, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) gives Bruce Banner (Edward Norton, before he was replaced) a special gift. Tired of seeing him always ripping his clothing every time he changes, Betty gives him a special pair of stretchy purple pants. Not only will they not tear, but they are a hilarious homage to the comics, as well as the old Hulk TV show. 

02

Bride of Chucky’s locker

The Bride of Chucky is quite a collector! When the movie shows you in the inside of her locker, we see that it almost functions as a horror film history museum. Contents include: Jason’s hockey mask, Leatherface’s chainsaw, Freddy’s trademark glove, and Michael Myers’ mask. We appreciate her love of her own genre. 

03

The Ceramic White Horse – Twin Peaks: The Return

The final episode of the epic return of Twin Peaks was a doozy, to put it mildly. One of the only recognizable images is a ceramic white horse that sits in the house where Laura Palmer - sorry, Carrie Page - now lives. An image that has popped up on the show before, the white horse gives us a sense that things may be more connected than they seem.

04

Cyclops and Storm appear in Cerebro scan – X-Men: First Class

Charles Xavier sees all kinds of mutants when he uses Cerebro in this prequel reboot (it was built by Beast, apparently???), and two of them are quite recognizable. Sharp-eyed viewers will be able to spot famous mutants Ororo Monroe and Scott Summers among the herd. It wasn’t the last time we saw them, either—thanks to incredibly weird and nonsensical continuity of the X-Men movies, we spent time with the classic versions of these characters in X-Men: Days of Future Past, as well as their younger counterparts (played by new actors) in X-Men: Apocalypse. We assume Charles was seeing their younger iterations in this film.
 

05

Dancing Props – Aliens: Space Marines

In the mission “One Bullet” from this video game (based on the classic film), you may come across a special containment capsule. Within, you will find a tiny straw hat and cane. Familiar to anybody who knows and loves Mel Brooks’ epic space parody Spaceballs, these props show that a tiny alien in this game might be ready at any moment to burst into song, singing “Hello my baby, hello my honey…”

06

E.T. in the Senate – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Amidst the thousands of worlds represented in the galactic senate, one can just barely make out a very special race of aliens joining in the debate. In one shot of the enormous, hover car filled senate room, a group of aliens that are of the same race as E.T. are chatting about political matters in the GFFA. We hope that they didn’t approve those emergency powers! It was most likely all for fun, but it could also mean that E.T. is a stealth Star Wars film. Almost certainly, it’s the former.

07

Every Stephen King Movie – The Dark Tower

This summer’s adaptation of The Dark Tower came crammed to the breaking point with references to countless other Stephen King adaptations, and the entire film is almost one, giant homage itself. The huge list of eggs within include: a rundown Pennywise amusement park (IT), a framed photo of The Overlook Hotel (The Shining), a poster of Rita Hayworth (The Shawshank Redemption), a dog that looks just like Cujo (Cujo), a car that looks just like Christine (Christine), a copy of the book Misery’s Child (Misery), two creepy twins (The Shining again), and the number 1408. That’s not all! Further references to Stand by Me, Mr. Mercedes, and Salem’s Lot are included, as well.

08

Fin Fang Foom on a billboard – Iron Man

It’s hard to spot, but during the fight on the freeway, a billboard can be seen in the distance that shows the image of this classic Iron Man villain. This version of the metallic dragon, Fin Fang Foom, comes from the Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas miniseries, which director Jon Favreau wrote himself.

09

George Takei’s License Plate – Heroes

Appearing in the TV series Heroes as the character Kaito Nakamura, the famous former helmsman was the father of series favorite character, Hiro. If you take a look Nakamura’s license plate, it bears the registry number of the Enterprise herself—NCC-1701.

10

Ian Malcolm’s Book – Jurassic World

Bryce Dallas Howard’s very ill-fated assistant Zara can be seen kicking back with a book during one of her scenes in this film. The book she is reading? None other than “God Creates Dinosaurs” by the famous Dr. Ian Malcolm. Jake Johnson’s character can also be seen in possession of the book later on. It’s good to know that Dr. Malcolm still exists in that world, (and will appear in the sequel) and if the book was real, we’d certainly buy a copy.

11

Jar Jar in Carbonite – The Force Unleashed Video Game

In this incredibly fun Star Wars game, you eventually wind up on the home world of the Wookiee. Find a trophy room while there, and you can discover what a great deal of Star Wars fans have desired for so very long—Jar Jar Binks frozen in carbonite. It looks like he’s in a fair bit of pain, too. Although this is not the “canon” fate of the Unfortunate Mr. Binks, it’s a fun thing to discover in the game.

12

“The Mudd Incident” is referenced – Star Trek: Into Darkness

Before climbing aboard that fun round ship that they use to fly through Q’onos, some of our crew make reference to “The Mudd Incident.” We assume that, between films, they may have come across a character from the classic series—who just so happened to be the galactic scoundrel and fashion icon, Harry Mudd. 

13

The Necronomicon returns – Jason Goes to Hell

Not only is this famous tome from Evil Dead glimpsed in this film, but the famous Skull Dagger from the series appears, as well. This has led some to believe that the Evil Dead series in linked to the Jason films in some way, but reports are unconfirmed at the present time.

14

Nuked Fridge – Fallout: Las Vegas

In this installment of the Fallout video game series, it is possible to discover a refrigerator in the wasteland. If you open it, you’ll discover a skeleton wearing a fedora—meaning that it is none other than a sadly deceased Indiana Jones. A reference to Indy’s infamous “nuke the fridge” moment from his fourth cinematic adventure, this version of Indy probably didn’t walk away from the escape to go on an epic adventure with Professor Harold Oxley.

15

Number 237 – Get Out

Director Jordan Peele loves The Shining (as evidenced by a great sketch from Key and Peele), and he found a way to make another homage in his brilliant film from earlier this year. It’s subtle, but when the heroic Rod is at the airport worrying about his friend, you can hear a reference to “flight number 237” over the intercom. Room 237 is, of course, one of the more haunted hotel rooms at the Overlook Hotel. 

16

The Original Human Torch Costume – Captain America: The First Avenger

When the pre-serum Steve Rogers visits the World’s Fair early in this film, you can spot a glass case containing the very first costume of The Human Torch. It’s a fun image for Marvel fans, but it’s also great because of Cap actor Chris Evans’ former role in Marvel films—he played the Human Torch in two Fantastic Four films (and was good) before taking on the role that he was born to play.

17

Other mutant names appearing on file – X2: X-Men United

When Mystique breaks into the files of William Striker, she comes across way more information than she was looking for. She finds the information on where they are keeping Magneto, but listed alongside his name are several other names of famous mutants from the series. The one that leaps out the most is none other than Remy LeBeau, also known as Gambit.

18

Pennywise from the 1990s appears in 2017 – IT

At one point in this film, one member of the Loser’s Club enters a room full of Pennywise imagery. It’s quite disturbing, and we’re sure it was meant to be, but a fun homage can be found here as well. Among the many different versions of Pennywise on display is the iconic Tim Curry version, from the original miniseries in 1990. He’s hard to spot, but he’s there. Also in this film: a glimpse of Pennywise’s arch nemesis, the turtle Maturin, in toy form.

19

R2-D2 appears – Star Trek

Looking out over a field of debris from the bridge of the Enterprise, it’s hard to make him out, but he’s there. Among the flotsam of space, R2-D2, himself, can be spotted, and it was even confirmed by ILM. Did director JJ Abrams already have his sights set on Star Wars? Who’s to say, but it’s nice to see that it is possible to be a fan of both franchises without creating a rupture in existence.

20

Slither’s Funeral Home

In the opening scene of this early effort from James Gunn, you can see a location named “R.J. McCready’s Funeral Home.” The name they are referencing is Kurt Russell’s character from the John Carpenter classic, The Thing. James Gunn knows his genres well, and knows how to reward people who watch his films.

21

Slusho – JJ Abrams Projects

This fictional drink first popped up in the second episode of TV’s Alias, and ever since it has appeared in many JJ Abrams-related works. Betting that “you can’t drink just six,” Slusho pops up in Star Trek, Cloverfield, Super 8, and again on TV in Fringe. At this point, if a real-life version of the drink were made, it would probably sell very well.

22

Students get “intimate” on the Marauder’s Map – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

During the credits for this third Potter film, the Marauder’s Map provides a backdrop, and the footsteps of teachers and students continue to appear walking hither and yon. At one point, though, two sets of footprints look like…well, they look like they may be managing mischief. Is it all perfectly innocent, or is it a stealth Potter-verse sex scene? Odds are it was just the sequence designer, Rus Wetherell, having a laugh. But…bottom left corner of this video.

23

Sumatran Rat Monkey Sign – King Kong

Captain Englehorn must be crazy to have transported this thing. When being taken to his cabin at the start of the journey, Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody) is being told of all the different animals the SS Venture has transported. They’ve just done a drop off, so the cages are empty—which is a great thing for everybody on board. One of the crates is marked with a sign that reads, “Sumatran Rat Monkey,” which is the disgusting little creature that causes the outbreak and chain of violence in Peter Jackson’s earlier splatter masterpiece, Dead Alive. Thanks, Captain Englehorn! You’re horrible.

24

“Who Watches the Watchmen?” graffiti – Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

This graffito that appears many times in DC’s Watchmen can be seen sprayed on a wall (in Latin) in this film’s version of Gotham City. As the film deals with the rights and wrongs of vigilante justice (as well as aliens playing God), it’s a fun Easter egg, but also thematically relevant. Director Zack Snyder is no stranger to this phrase, as it was naturally featured in his film adaptation of Watchmen years before. The extended cut of Bat v Supes: DOJ also shows graffiti reading “The End is Nigh” at one point, which is another famous bit of Watchmen lore. Those words are printed on a sign that Walter Kovacs valiantly carries in both the film, and the comic. 

25

Winona’s croquet mallets – Stranger Things

Coming in between two scenes containing Winona Ryder’s twinkle-light enthusiast Joyce, there is one scene in which the heroic Nancy is in Joyce’s house, looking for a bat. As she searches the room, the camera momentarily lands on a set of croquet mallets. Does this mean that Joyce enjoys croquet as much a she enjoys screaming over tangled Christmas lights? Probably not—it is most likely a nod to the 1988 film Heathers, in which Winona’s character endlessly plays the game. 

These were OUR choices from the last 25 years. What are yours? Let us know in the comments which Easter eggs we should keep an eye out for!

And check out our complete "25 Greatest" lists here! 

Related Stories