After the end of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is well on its way to Phase 4. As any hearty fan of the MCU knows, the releases of Marvel movies fall under groupings called "phases." However, what fans may not know is that ever since the beginning of the MCU, spoilers for upcoming plot points have been hidden in plain sight.
The very start of the MCU, meaning those Phase 1 and Phase 2 movies, held secret implications for later films. It is, quite honestly, astonishing how much thought and attention filmmakers of these comic book movies placed in those early stories. It's also amazing how blind we've all been. Seriously, you have no idea how many spoilers for later stories there were in those first movies. Read on if you want to know about all the things the MCU hid right in front of our noses.
20 The Hydra Senator Wanted Tony's Suits (Iron Man 2)
In Iron Man 2, Senator Stern was just an annoying bureaucrat who wanted Tony's Iron Man technology. However, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we find out that Stern is a member of Hydra. Hydra is the secret organization that infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and plotted against the Avengers. No wonder Stern wanted Tony's Iron Man designs so badly!
19 Tesseract Village Makes An Early Appearance (Thor)
Thor showed us the small village of Tønsberg on Earth, a place where Odin once saved humans from the Frost Giants. Tønsberg makes another appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger. This is where the Red Skull finds the Tesseract hidden. Turns out that tiny village was not just a throwaway location!
18 Jarvis' Stocking Shares Vision's Coloring (Iron Man 3)
A hilarious Easter egg in Iron Man 3 may have revealed to us Jarvis' future as the Vision. In Tony's mansion, you can see that he has laid out a stocking for Jarvis on the mantelpiece. The stocking contains the exact color scheme that Vision's costume has in later films. Is this a Christmas coincidence?
17 Hints Bucky Killed Tony's Parents (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Anyone who was surprised that Bucky Barnes killed Tony's parents in Captain America: Civil War was not paying attention during The Winter Soldier. When the Zola-computer shows Cap and Black Widow footage of Bucky's life as the Winter Soldier, a newspaper clipping of Howard Stark's obituary is flashed on the screen. This image is closely accompanied by footage of Bucky at the scene.
16 The Avengers Initiative (Iron Man)
Nowadays, everyone knows to wait till the extreme end of an MCU movie. Usually, a cinematic end credits scene awaits eager viewers. However, not everyone knew that after the first Iron Man film. Though many know of it now, even hardcore fans did not anticipate Nick Fury's arrival at Tony's place with the "Avengers Initiative" proposal.
15 Zola's Future As A Computer (Captain America: The First Avenger)
In The Winter Soldier, we find out that Arnim Zola, a Nazi scientist who worked with Red Skull, has become a computer. This transformation was teased in The First Avenger. When Captain America storms the Nazi base to free Bucky, Zola escapes, gathering a collection of documents to his chest. One of these documents is a blueprint to a robotic body.
14 Thanos' Quoted Arrival (The Avengers)
Okay, don't lie. When the first Avengers movie was over, and we all got a good look at this large-chinned, pink-skinned individual, we did not know who he was. Only the most die-hard of Marvel fans could have guessed that this was Thanos. Plus, it was mostly thanks to the "court death" quote that they could suss it out. Who would have thought Thanos would be the big bad in Phase 4?
13 Falcon's Wings Bear The Stark Industries Logo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Keen-eyed fans should always pay attention to costuming. That way, they can pick up small spoiler-like details that other people miss. On Falcon's mechanical wings in The Winter Soldier, the Stark Industries logo can be found. This tiny detail clued viewers in to Falcon's later involvement with the Avengers.
12 The Creation Of The Leader (The Incredible Hulk)
Nothing much came from the story of The Incredible Hulk. Sequels that were teased never really came to fruition. However, ardent comic book fans can still appreciate the potential villain Samuel Sterns might have been. Toward the end of the movie, when Sterns' forehead was pulsing and enlarged, we knew that he was eventually going to become the Hulk villain known as the Leader.
11 Howard Stark's Tesseract Sketches (Iron Man 2)
This particular spoiler is interesting. When Tony is looking through his father's old sketch books, he comes across a drawing of a cube-like structure. This drawing is of the Tesseract, an object that does not come into play until The First Avenger. This glimpse at the Tesseract is so quick, no one caught it until it was too late.
10 Red Skull's Teleportation (Captain America: The First Avenger)
The Tesseract was initially thought to be this random cosmic cube of immense power. It was only until Avengers: Infinity War that it was confirmed to be an Infinity Stone. Observant fans could have seen the Tesseract's true identity as the Space Stone during Red Skull's "death." Instead of vaporizing him, it teleports Red Skull.
9 Stephen Strange Is A Target Of Project Insight (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
The existence of Stephen Strange was teased all the way back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. When Hydra is listing individuals that could be dangerous to their cause, a Stephen Strange is one of them. Project Insight, an operation intended to locate such individuals, determined Strange's importance to the MCU before he even debuted in his own movie.
8 The Involvement Of The Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Division (Iron Man)
We should all take a moment to appreciate how much of a foundation Iron Man laid out for the MCU. Not only did it jump-start the Avengers, it also introduced audiences to S.H.I.E.L.D. When Phil Coulson introduces his organization to Pepper Potts, he states they are part of the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Division.
7 Red Skull's Future Career As Soul Stone Guide (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Red Skull's fate as the guardian of the Soul Stone on Vormir is somewhat hinted at in The First Avenger. When the Red Skull inputs the target location for his airship, it says "ziel," which is German word for "target." However, knowledgeable audience members would also have known that "ziel" is the Dutch word for "soul."
6 The Flag Of Tony's Captor's Is The Flag Of The Mandarin (Iron Man)
Back when Tony was taken as a hostage in the first Iron Man movie, the ransom video his captors took shows a red flag with a sword encompassed by circles holding other swords. This exact same symbol is later used as the Mandarin's symbol in Iron Man 3. Was this foreshadowing at its finest, or what?
5 Odin's Posture Mirrors Loki's (Thor: The Dark World)
Before it was revealed at the end of Thor: The Dark World that Loki was alive and masquerading as Odin, observant fans should have known immediately. Whenever the real Odin sits on Asgard's throne, he always sits erect. His posture is as straight as a dagger. Loki slouches on the throne.
4 Bruce Banner's Knowledge Of The Chitauri Attack's Location (The Avengers)
Tony eventually figures out that the Chitauri are going to centralize their attack on New York right above Stark Tower. When Bruce was trying to find out the location right before a mind-controlled Hawkeye attacked the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier they were all on. Avid watchers will have noted that Bruce looked in Tony's direction before the explosion stopped him from saying where the attack would fall.
3 S.H.I.E.L.D. Monitoring Africa Points To Wakanda (Iron Man 2)
Black Panther was by no means a Phase 1 movie. However, Wakanda's existence was revealed during the MCU's first phase. In Iron Man 2, when Nick Fury is talking to Tony Stark, you can see a map of the world on a screen behind him. If you look closely at Africa, you can see that Wakanda's location is of interest to S.H.I.E.L.D.
2 Banner's Serum Sets Up Captain America's Origin (The Incredible Hulk)
The Incredible Hulk, while perhaps the most forgettable of the MCU movies, set up the premise of The First Avenger. Emil Blonsky is given a "super soldier" serum to try and combat the Hulk. The serum is an attempt to recreate the one that worked on Captain America. Its similar coloring in no way means the new serum was a success.
1 Song In Cap's Apartment Is His "Dance With Peggy" Song (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
The Winter Soldier introduced us indirectly to Captain America's future with Peggy Carter in Endgame. While Nick Fury is waiting for Cap in his apartment toward the beginning of The Winter Soldier, he has the song "It's Been a Long, Long Time" playing in the background. This very same song plays when Cap and Peggy finally have that dance at the end of Avengers: Endgame.